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December 9, 2008

Darwin

Did you enjoy the video? You'll find more like it at the history.com mini-site here...

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December 8, 2008

Dinosaurs, Testing Faith

Did you enjoy the video? You'll find more like it at the history.com mini-site here...

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November 29, 2008

A Book For You

And the winner is Satinsheeds I've read it, and enjoyed it. Would you like it? The book is The Canon by Natalie Angier I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high. Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting....

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August 20, 2008

Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

Scientists Create Blood From Stem Cells | Wired Science from Wired.comScientists have used embryonic stem cells to generate blood -- a feat that could eventually lead to endless supplies of type O-negative blood, a rare blood type prized by doctors for its versatility. "We literally generated whole tubes in the lab, from scratch," said Robert Lanza, chief science officer at Advanced Cell Technologies. People usually require blood transfusions that match their own blood type: A mismatch can be fatal. Type O-negative can be safely transferred into anyone, but is only possessed by about 7 percent of the population, leaving supplies perpetually short. The new technique, devised by Lanza and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic and University of Illinois, is still preliminary. Its safety hasn't yet been proved in animals, much less humans. A Strangely Elegant, Convex-shaped Writing Machine—By Wyatt Mason (Harper's Magazine)In its name is the essay’s difference: where other literary modes–novel, poem, play–succeed or fail, the essay, by definition, tries. Too short to be definitive on any topic, the essay can’t manage the comprehensive. It aspires to adequacy, fluency. An essay can argue well, to be sure, but usually argues best for itself and for it’s writer’s best self. “I am myself the matter of my own book,” the namer of the essay said at the beginning of his book of 107 attempts, better and worse, at defining the form. Basics - The Furcifer Labordi Chameleon Has a Short Life and an Interesting Life History - NYTimes.comSure, Michael Phelps may have snapped a string of Olympic records like so many Rice Krispies in milk, but what was this child of Poseidon up against, anyway? Elite human athletes from 250 countries. A small, speckled, asparagus-green chameleon of Madagascar, by contrast, holds a world speed record among just about all of the nearly 30,000 different animals equipped with four limbs and a backbone. Click to translate - The Boston GlobeMillions of people are deciphering vintage texts without knowing it - and forging a new path for computing. McCain staffer slams Dungeons and Dragons players - Boing Boing Editorial - Risking the Galápagos - Editorial - NYTimes.comIt’s hard to imagine an ecosystem better protected by nature — and man — than the Galápagos Islands. They lie some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Most of the land is included in a national park, and the waters surrounding the islands form one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. The Galápagos Islands have often been portrayed as an evolutionary laboratory, which is how Darwin came to understand them after stopping there in 1835. But in recent years, the islands have become a laboratory for conservation — an ongoing experiment in how to preserve a nearly intact ecosystem while still making it available to tourists....

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August 16, 2008

President Jimmy Carter - Energy

How sad, that he was not reelected. Instead we got Reagan, and Republicans, and the problems we face today....

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August 9, 2008

Quantum Mechanics

Science Saturday: Problems in Quantum Mechanics Defining Quantum Mechanics (16:13) Why the Schrodinger equation seems crazy… (08:43) …and a few possible ways to make it seem sane (09:29) Sean on the many-worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (04:00) David attacks the many-worlds interpretation (17:22) Quantum Mechanics and free will (07:29)...

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July 19, 2008

SuperYou

What is your favorite super power? Keith explores the real world possibilities with the physicist Michio Kaku author of Physics of the Impossible...

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June 29, 2008

Dawkins Cameo in Dr. Who

Richard Dawkins makes a cameo appearance in recent Dr. Who episode. E','target','myself','enablejavascript','true'); // --> Quicktime Video 1.7 MB | Duration: 01'17 Quicktime 7 required This file is available for download here. Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac) or Rt-Click and 'Save Target As' (PC) the link above....

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June 17, 2008

Kenneth Miller - Intelligent Design

Kenneth Miller compares advocates of intelligent design to welfare queens waiting for the government to give them a handout....

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Links With Your Coffee - Tuesday

Language Log » What’s wrong with being naked? Naked men meet cop and pass the time of day. Nothing to see here, move along. A sound theory? : Nature NewsA new theory suggests a natural basis for our preference for musical consonance. But does such a preference exist at all, wonders Philip Ball. Dispatches from the Culture Wars: McCain:Ignorant or Lying?My father, a lifelong Republican, called and left a message on my voicemail yesterday saying that McCain's reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on habeas corpus and the Gitmo detainees had sealed any chance McCain had for getting his vote in November. And McCain's statement was so ridiculous that one has to wonder if he is really that ignorant of the law or if he was simply lying through his teeth. Here's what he said: We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called, quote, Habeas Corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate, because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases. That may be the single dumbest thing said in this entire election so far. BBC NEWS | Health | Early man 'couldn't stomach milk' (tip to David)Analysis of Neolithic remains, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests no European adults could digest the drink at that time. University College London scientists say that the rapid spread of a gene which lets us reap the benefits of milk shows evolution in action. Good Math, Bad Math : The Koranic Speed of LightA reader sent me a really wonderfully wacko link. It's a fundamentalist islamic site, which tries to use relativity to argue for the divinity of the Koran. It's remarkably silly. t r u t h o u t | Dan Rather Slams Corporate News at ConferenceFormer CBS News anchor Dan Rather delivered a blistering critique of corporate news on Saturday night at the National Conference for Media Reform hosted by Free Press. Passenger Rail: We Can Say It Now Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip » Blog Archive » Cindy McCain Continues To Steal Easily Googlable Recipes Obama's Blind Spot on Israel Bumper stickers reveal link to road rage : Nature NewsBumper stickers such as “Make Love, Not War” and “More Trees, Less Bush” speak volumes about a vehicle's driver — but maybe not in the way they might hope. People who customize their cars with stickers and other adornments are more prone to road rage than other people, according to researchers in Colorado erv : Atheist Q&A...

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June 12, 2008

Gary Marcus About Kluge

Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind is an excellent book. I liked the third chapter on belief, it was particularly well done....

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June 11, 2008

Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe McClatchy Election 2008 blogHours after Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush, his campaign says his website "was shut down by a series of suspicious and fast moving events." Kucinich said he was getting an "overwhelmingly positive and powerful" response to his proposed impeachment when some uknown or unseen force stopped his effort to get out more information. Plants Found to Show Preferences for Their Relatives - NYTimes.com(tip to David, Mark, and koma604)From its diminutive lavender flowers to its straggly windblown stalks, there is nothing about the beach weed known as the Great Lakes sea rocket to suggest that it might be any sort of a botanical wonder. Yet scientists have found evidence that the sea rocket is able to do something that no other plant has ever been shown to do. The sea rocket, researchers report, can distinguish between plants that are related to it and those that are not. And not only does this plant recognize its kin, but it also gives them preferential treatment. Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab - life - 09 June 2008 - New ScientistA major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait. And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events. Iraqis Condemn American Demands - washingtonpost.comHigh-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely. Top Iraqi officials are calling for a radical reduction of the U.S. military's role here after the U.N. mandate authorizing its presence expires at the end of this year. Encouraged by recent Iraqi military successes, government officials have said that the United States should agree to confine American troops to military bases unless the Iraqis ask for their assistance, with some saying Iraq might be better off without them. "The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq," said Sami al-Askari Terry » Archive » THE GOD DELUSION (VIDEO)RICHARD DAWKINSAPRIL 29th, 2008 Atheist Sees Image of Big Bang in Piece of Toast(tip to Chris) Henry Miller's unfond memories of NYC - Boing Boingvideo Robert Ritchie: Regime change in heaven | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk...

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May 28, 2008

Sokal Revisited

Contributed by: Brad Kelley Yesterday 1gm linked to an article in the NY Sun by Michael Shermer reviewing Alan Sokal’s new book, Beyond the Hoax, which describes in more detail than he (Sokal) has done so far his views of the wonderful hoax he pulled and it’s massive, voluminous fallout. I don’t think I’ll read it, for reasons I give below, but I agree with most of what Shermer has to say. My field is Science Studies, the academic home of the very movements he decries (as do I)—postmodernism, social constructionism, and relativism (Shermer uses a slightly different list, and we could quibble, but same idea). This hoax is famous in our field, inciting eruptions of vitriol and intense emotion on both sides. 
 
 Still, the hoax wasn’t exactly what Shermer and many other scientific rationalists make it out to be. Lots of heat, no light, I think is the saying. The journal wasn’t peer-reviewed, and though it might or might not have been a major source that pointy-headed academics turned to, the editors of the journal weren’t, as I understand it, turning down many articles. If you sent something in, it pretty much got published. I don’t plan on reading Sokal’s book, for one because there are so many other good things out there, and from reading Sokal’s writings on this and other things before, well, let’s say that as a philosopher, he’s a very good scientist. “Ham-fisted” in making and keeping to subtle distinctions, one of my colleagues correctly said. 
 
...

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May 25, 2008

NASA Spacecraft Appears to Have Landed on Mars - NYTimes.com

NASA Spacecraft Appears to Have Landed on Mars - NYTimes.com PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft appeared Sunday to have made a safe, flawless landing on Mars. In the mission support room during the final, tense minutes before the landing, long stretches of quiet were punctuated by cheers and clapping as confirmation of crucial events like the deployment of the parachute were confirmed. Then, at 7:53 p.m. Eastern time, Richard Kornfeld, the lead communications officer for entry, descent and landing, announced: “Touchdown signal detected.” The mission controllers erupted in cheers and began hugging one another in congratulations. Some early pictures Check out NASA for updates. Also Mars Phoenix is using twitter (thanks Steve)...

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May 16, 2008

Crows

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April 15, 2008

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss sat down for a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008. The focus was on Science education, but the discussion also covered religion, physics, evolution and more. This video will be released on DVD soon at RichardDawkins.net , along with other new unmoderated discussions with Richard Dawkins. reposted from: Richard Dawkins.net You will also find the Q&A that followed at Richard's site. E','target','myself','enablejavascript','true'); // --> Quicktime Video 107 MB | Duration: 52'22 Quicktime 7 required This file is available for download here. Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac) or Rt-Click and 'Save Target As' (PC) the link above. Download Q&A...

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April 10, 2008

Expelled - Scientific American

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's Take DEBATING DARWIN: Ben Stein stands in front of a statue of Darwin at The Natural History Museum in London. Photo by Kelly Engstrom You wouldn't expect Scientific American to take a particularly positive view of a movie that espouses intelligent design over evolutionary biology. Then again, you wouldn’t expect the producers of said film—in this case, Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed—to offer the editors of said magazine a private screening....

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April 2, 2008

An Atheist's Call To Arms

Richard Dawkins: An Atheist's call to Arms, part of the Is there a God? theme was recorded in 2002 but recently added to the TED site. You can also download audio and video from link above. Most of you have already bookmarked Richard Dawkins site, but if not why not do it now....

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March 22, 2008

Five Favorites

'Richard Dawkins on five of his favorite books (link to audio) Richard Dawkins joins Mariella Frostrup to reveal the part that fiction plays in his life, and chooses five of his favourite books. It's worth a listen. I quite enjoyed it. Richard Dawkins's Five of the Best: The Black Cloud: Fred Hoyle Dark Universe: Daniel Galouye Red Strangers: Elspeth Huxley The Lion Children: Angus, Travers and Maisie McNeice Sword of Honour: Evelyn Waugh...

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March 13, 2008

Presidential Science Policy

contributed by: inwit From the Feb 4, 2008 issue of The California Tech [the Caltech student newspaper], a feature entitled "A Scientist's Guide to Super Tuesday", listing the various presidential candidates' positions on science policy issues Science Policy Table from 2008-Feb-04 issue of The California Tech.pdf (pdf file). Some highlights: The ideal Presidential candidate would spend $50 billion to convert Phoenix or Los Angeles into a completely solar city, according to Caltech Chemist, and National Medal of Science Laureate, Harry Gray. “[Sen. Hillary Clinton] is the only candidate who has put out a really complete statement about how her administration will fund science. I give her enormous credit for that.” —David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate in Biology, and former Caltech President. Rep. Ron Paul is in favor of removing all federal departments except those of Justice and Defense; therefore, he does not support government funding of science at all....

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February 22, 2008

My Favorite Debate Moment

Finally, one of the most important topics is raised. Let's hope that the Democratic candidate continues this focus on science. E','target','myself','enablejavascript','true'); // --> Quicktime Video .7 MB | Duration: '23 Quicktime 7 required This file is available for download here. Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac) or Rt-Click and 'Save Target As' (PC) the link above....

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February 19, 2008

Break The Science Barrier

What you haven't watched Richard Dawkins Break the Science Barrier? What are you waiting for? You can watch it online or better yet get your own copy. Hell, it's only $15.00. Here's a short clip. E','target','myself','enablejavascript','true'); // --> Quicktime Video 2.4 MB | Duration: 01'53 Quicktime 7 required This file is available for download here. Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac) or Rt-Click and 'Save Target As' (PC) the link above....

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February 15, 2008

What is Evo-Devo

These guys offer a great podcast you really ought to subscribe. 60-Second Science E','target','myself','enablejavascript','true'); // --> Quicktime Video 2.8 MB | Duration: '60 Quicktime 7 required This file is available for download here. Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac) or Rt-Click and 'Save Target As' (PC) the link above. 60-Second Science...

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