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Which is, y'know, kind of ridiculous cos it's still twenty lightyears away and all. But still. Here's a great interview about the possibilities of the new planet.

But reading about it just makes me want to go reread so many old stories and stuff. I mean, think about it: We may have found a planet with life, or at least habitable conditions. Holy fuck, dude.

Let's go.
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Yeah, so you know how I'm meant to be constructive? Pfft. It is Sunday morning and I have my caffeine at Village Cafe and Scott is grading (or something...he has his Three-Ring Binder of Doom anyhow) and we ran into Mary and Roy. (Friend Mary, who is virtuous, moved to a different table so she CAN work.) Anyhow. Here's the Sunday roundup (blame Roy for finding things I need to share):

Stephen Hawking warns of contact with alien races:

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said.

Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact.

He explained: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."

Roy also furthered my iPad obsession with this vid:

I also found these two pieces at the Times:

First, an article on how Jon Stewart is the enemy of Fox News (and, y'know, my hero):

Combining the earnestness of a journalism professor and the sarcasm of a satirist, Mr. Stewart routinely charges that Fox’s news anchors and commentators distort Mr. Obama’s policies and advance a conservative agenda. He reminds some viewers of the left-wing group Media Matters but much funnier.

“Stewart does a great job of using comedy to expose the tragedy that is Fox News, and he also underscores the seriousness of it,” said Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters.

Also, check out this slideshow of a weekend in Kyoto.

Scott and I are roughly planning trying to go back for the Cherry Blossom Festival next year, which would be awesome. Here's hoping!

Sigh. I think I have two problems. One is my obsession with the iPad, the other is I've almost finished my cup and I have nothing to show for it but this post:

Help me, Obi-wan, I need a kick!

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What do their scientific researchers do when their government tells them they need to express scientific views on climatology as "personal opinions"?

They make a...very entertaining music video.

Somehow I just can't see NSF doing this. *Sigh.*
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In New Guinea.

Bosavi Woolly Rat
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Glad your testing went well. I hope the stupid media will stop talking about black holes now. If the galaxies colliding the other week couldn't do it, you probably can't. Good luck!
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You decide:

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Tonight's topic was genetic modification, which an illogically large part of the audience seemed freaked out about. I spoke up once in reference to the bee die-off last year, as that wasn't GMO-related but just a plain ol' virus, and how actually bees resistant to the virus are being bred with other bees to keep the populations happy. At the rehash afterwards with friends, one of them wanted to know why I didn't speak up and argue more so there's a more even discussion going on. (I think now: Well why didn't you talk at all, buddy?) Oh well. Fun though.


Still playing with the Kindle. More later.
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Because the Washington Post is worrying about nerds, or more specifically, why Americans don't respect math and science.

The nerd stereotype is a peculiarly American prejudice, which Anderegg (with substantial help from historian Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life") traces back to our nascent literary days. Indeed, he places the blame for American nerd aversion squarely on the shoulders of Washington Irving and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, in the seminal 1837 speech titled "The American Scholar," gave "voice in the loftiest academic diction to a repeated theme in American history: that Americans are, first and foremost, men of action, not men of reflection." Irving had already put imaginary flesh on those bones, in the person of Ichabod Crane, the awkward scholarly schoolteacher scared out of town by his romantic rival, the pretend pumpkin-head Brom Bones, "a new American type: the anti-intellectual hero." Anderegg very seriously advises that "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" should not be taught until college for the damage it could cause to young psyches.

Okay that may be a bit much. Or it could just be that another element of anti-intellectualism that we reward books that are shoddily researched. *coff* Everything Bad is Good for You anyone?

Seriously, the real problem with anti-intellectualism in America is that we have to have fucking debates on teaching science. in. public. schools. Which means by the time kids get to college they are woefully unprepared in science and mathematics. And then we wonder why our kids' scores are shit next to those of other countries.

If the little fuckers are actually taught, then they will all be "nerds" and actually able to make a living wage, and then the Big Companies won't have to outsource cheap IT labor etc to India. And I bet they wouldn't like that. Pardon my cynicism.
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Want to make the PTB look out the fucking window and discuss climate change? Check out Science Debate 2008 which is dedicated to just that.
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Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech here.

Fuckin' A, Al.

And here is Doris Lessing's speech, which is ostensibly about the importance of education but really seems to be hand-wringing because poor people in Africa want to have books while spoiled little white Angles have books and want to play video games. And I feel like I should be touched but mostly I want to roll my eyes, because as usual the focus should not be on the medium but on whether either of these groups has the know-how to be sensible when they grow up?
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The universe as explained by math, via The Economist and Garrett Lisi:

The geometry he has been studying is that of a structure known to mathematicians as E8, which was first recognised in 1887 by Sophus Lie, a Norwegian mathematician. E8 is a monster. It has 248 dimensions and its structure took 120 years to solve. It was finally tamed earlier this year, when a group of mathematicians managed to construct a map that describes it completely.

I wish they had a picture though. Cos if there's a map, I want one.
caitri: (Default) looks like it could be Israeli acute paralysis.

If you haven't been following the story, this disease has killed approximately 50%-90% of honeybee hives in the US, leading to serious consequences for farmers as worker bees are depended on to pollinate crops.

It looks like there are some bees in Israel who are resistant to the virus who may be imported.


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