Friday, May 25, 2007

Stunning Photo of Saturn Backlit By the Sun

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of these days, Edge may want to run this photo, which
planetary scientist Carolyn Porco,
leader of the Imaging Team for the Cassini mission
to Saturn, showed us at the TED Conference: Saturn backlit
by the sun, with the Earth appearing as a tiny dot in upper
left (shown in the inset blowup). It is not only perhaps the
most stunning photograph ever taken, but the fact that it
has not appeared on the cover of Time, New
York Times
, etc., is a sign of our culture's indifference
to science. This is truly awe-inspiring — not just visually
beautiful, but a mind-boggling technical achievement, and
a way to depict the finiteness and fragility of the planet
in a way that we haven’t experienced since the famous "Earthrise" photo from
the Apollo program in the late 1960s. — Steve Pinker

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Criminal Animal-Rights Activists: Terrorists?

If the action of the person was driven by the desire to intimidate others with the threat of physical harm, is that not terrorism?

Yet, not one of these actions have resulted in the physical harm of anybody.

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Equating animal-rights activism with terrorism increases the penalties for offenders and will please many of their victims. But it is not in the interests of science.

Terrorist is not a word you throw around lightly. And it is certainly not a word you apply to anyone with whom you would like to have a civil conversation.
They are criminals, to be sure. Their arson cost millions of dollars and destroyed scientific work in progress. But although some of their more knuckleheaded actions could easily have accidentally hurt someone, their ethos was to damage property, never to hurt or kill.
many people have personally felt terrified by the actions of the most extreme. But 'terrorist' is a word so debased and loaded by political use that, if it has any meaning at all, it is counterproductive.
We should avoid building an unbreachable wall between criminal activists and their victims
We must all speak more objectively and calmly.

Darwin Sceptic: 'views cost tenure'

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He's a young astronomer with dozens of articles in top journals; he has made an important discovery in the field of extrasolar planets; and he is a proponent of intelligent design, the idea that an intelligent force has shaped the Universe. It's that last fact that Guillermo Gonzalez thinks has cost him his tenure at Iowa State University.

But other researchers think that the department's decision was entirely justified. "I would have voted to deny him tenure," says Robert Park, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park. "He has established that he does not understand the scientific process."

The 43-year-old astronomer is also a deeply religious evangelical Christian, and his faith has shaped his views on science.
"The Universe is designed for scientific discovery."
Darwin sceptic says views cost tenure
But Park says that a researcher's views on intelligent design cannot be divorced from the tenure decision.
But not all scientists agree.
"intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision."
 blog it

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If I Had My Life to Live Over

by Erma Bombeck
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I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have taken the time to listen to my
grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children
and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while
watching television, and more while watching life.

There would have been more “I love you’s.”
More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would
seize every minute… look at it and really see it…
live it… and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry
about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s
doing what.

And what we are doing each day to promote
ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as

Life is too short to let it pass you by.

We only have one shot at this and then it’s

Friday, May 18, 2007

'Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science'

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Resistance to certain scientific ideas derives in large part from assumptions and biases that can be demonstrated experimentally in young children and that may persist into adulthood. In particular, both adults and children resist acquiring scientific information that clashes with common-sense intuitions about the physical and psychological domains. Additionally, when learning information from other people, both adults and children are sensitive to the trustworthiness of the source of that information. Resistance to science, then, is particularly exaggerated in societies where nonscientific ideologies have the advantages of being both grounded in common sense and transmitted by trustworthy sources.

'The New Synthesis in Moral Psychology'

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People are selfish, yet morally motivated. Morality is universal, yet culturally variable. Such apparent contradictions are dissolving as research from many disciplines converges on a few shared principles, including the importance of moral intuitions, the socially functional (rather than truth-seeking) nature of moral thinking, and the coevolution of moral minds with cultural practices and institutions that create diverse moral communities. I propose a fourth principle to guide future research: Morality is about more than harm and fairness. More research is needed on the collective and religious parts of the moral domain, such as loyalty, authority, and spiritual purity.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Marijuana: Where there is no smoke...

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Vaporizing cannabis leaves instead of burning them can release the drug's active ingredient just as effectively — while avoiding the harmful toxins inhaled through smoking the drug, according to a pilot study.

The active ingredient in cannabis leaves is in oils on the surface of leaf 'hairs'.

The potential benefits of marijuana include pain relief for multiple-sclerosis sufferers, a treatment for glaucoma, as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients and an anti-nausea agent for people on chemotherapy.
Rather than smoking, some use the leaves to make tea or cakes for consumption. But this means that the active agents are metabolized by the liver rather than entering the bloodstream unaltered.
the pace of research has been slow, partly because there is only one source of research-approved marijuana in the United States
the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
which critics accuse of dictating research along a political agenda.

Friday, May 04, 2007

MS Font maker

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Hidden Program In Windows XP

Go to Start > Run > and type in eudcedit - this will
open up a font editor - allowing you to design your own custom
fonts and characters to be used in things like MS Word.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The World without America

I found this paragraph of particular interest:
The United States created an environment in which inventive minds had access to easy credit, a willing market and the freedom to dream and create without fear of prosecution or recrimination.
Is this still true? And what s missing form this description? The openness to outsiders that also made America attractive. This, we know has changed.
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I am happy to report to you that the Oxford Union, in its infinite wisdom, has allowed America to continue existing.
US flag and statue of liberty model
After a raucous debate in front of a packed house, the motion - "this House regrets the Founding of America" - was overwhelmingly squashed.
But what music would we be listening to on our iPods? Would it be German marching songs or Russian ballads? Would we even have an iPod?
So much for iPods... what about ideas? How different would the world be without the Bill of Rights? What about Thomas Jefferson?
The Sopranos
The list goes on and on (and I apologise for any omissions): Thomas Edison, who had 1,093 patents for inventions in his name; Henry Ford; the Wright brothers; Bill Gates; the Boeing corporation; Desperate Housewives; The Sopranos and, of course, SpongeBob SquarePants.

The United States created an environment in which inventive minds had access to easy credit, a willing market and the freedom to dream and create without fear of prosecution or recrimination.

Life in the fast lane 'speeds up'

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The pace of life for city dwellers is literally getting faster, a new British-led study suggests.
People are walking 10% more quickly than a decade ago, according to research in 32 cities across the globe.
Office workers walk during their lunch break in Singapore

Thousands of pedestrians were secretly timed in city centres with Singapore's residents found to be the most swift, followed by Copenhagen and Madrid.


1. Singapore; 10.55s

2. Copenhagen (Denmark); 10.82s

3. Madrid (Spain); 10.89s

4. Guangzhou (China): 10.94s

5. Dublin (Ireland); 11.03s

6. Curitiba (Brazil); 11.13s

7. Berlin (Germany); 11.16s

8. New York (USA); 12.00s

9. Utrecht (Holland); 12.04s

10. Vienna (Austria); 12.06s

Time in seconds to cover 60ft (0.02km)

Source: British Council

New York was ranked 8th, while London was outside the top 10. The Middle East tended to have the slowest pace of life.