Lots of stuff has built up in my files over the last month, and I finally have a chance to blog it all.
As always, let me know what you think....
The Intel Dump:
Is everyone's favourite fascist barbie Ann Coulter going to prison?!?! Probably too good to be true.
More evidence that porn might be good for you (or just for society as a whole) as it seems that when internet porn arrives in a community, reports of rape go down.
Science progresses ever further, as transuranic element 118 has been created. But are we nearing the limit for adding new elements to the periodic table?
(tip of the hat to AJ who alerted me to the discovery)
Michael Ignatieff gets a well deserved thrashing from Andrew Coyne for his unforgivably naive ressurection of the 'Canada is my country, Quebec is my nation' nonsense. Even more than his abhorrent support for the Iraq war long past the point were any such support was even theoretically sensible, Ignatieff's Quebec talk has me looking longingly at Stephane Dion to upset him for leader of the Liberals. The LAST thing our country needs is for Seperation Zombie to walk to the Earth again.
Apparently the real weakness of vampires isn't garlic, silver, or guys named Van Helsing. No, it seems thing most lethal to vampires are math geeks. Kill joys with pocket protectors all of them.
The Guardian's AC Grayling demands that religions get no special treatment.
"...to believe something in the face of evidence and against reason - to believe something by faith - is ignoble, irresponsible and ignorant, and merits the opposite of respect. It is time to say so."
The rest of his argument is definitely worth reading, if a tad splenetic - fortunately I find spleneticisim in the face of religion to be no vice.
The Guiding Light will be adding a SUPERHERO to its cast of characters in an effort to attract younger male viewers.
Proof positive we live in the end times.
Here's something my Dad and I are in total agreement about - Maria Sharapova. Yummy
My old stomping grounds at the U of C produced the following strategic studies paper on Canada's military. Some excellent stuff (and some infuriating stuff) if you can get through it all. Fellow poli-sci fans can geek away...
All the economics that you need in one lesson
"Economics as taught in our colleges and universities and propounded by our pundits and politicians is a good example of a tyranny of "unexamined opinions and inherited prejudices."Indeed.
One of my favourite awards is the 'Ignoble' handed out for 'improbable research' - Here are the winners for 2006. My favourite is this one;
LITERATURE: Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."
No bonus points for guessing why.
William Saletan (the science writer at Slate) has this excellent analysis of how the pro-life movement might come to embrace contraception as a means of reducing abortions.
"In short, the good news is that we no longer have to fight about abortion. The bad news is that we're now fighting about contraception. The old question was abortion as birth control. The new question is abortion or birth control. To lower the abortion rate, we need more contraception. And that means confronting politicians who stand in the way."
For an uglier side of Saletan, you might check this article out where he hyperventilates about the successful first penis transplant.
A 13% teen pregnancy rate at an Ohio high-school prompts the school to rethink it's abstinence only policy. Better late then never.
Anthropologists have found another skeleton of the infamous 'Lucy'. No word on whether this one is to be named 'Charlie', but we can assume he's been waiting a very long time to kick the damn ball.
This site is fantastic - my own results are below:
For those of you (like me) who simply can't get enough Battlestar Galactica, I give you this excellent blog.
In England, the Archbishop of York has sided with the Muslim extremists against the evil of secularism. It seems that any invisible super being, even that of someone trying to kill you so he can bag his 72 virgins, is still better than none at all for some people.
Pinhead Tom Nichols asks the question that has clearly been troubling him for some time.
"I don’t know quite how to ask this question, but I suspect that a lot of Americans are about to, so I’ll put it as directly as I can: Are Canadians stupid?"
The answer is (of course) 'no', but the people writing for the National Review haven't been known for their blazing intellects since the days William Buckley used to edit the rag himself. What is genuinely hysterical about this is not the article itself (which is basically just a whine that Canadians didn't leap into the cesspool of Iraq the moment Bush said 'Jump'), but the fact that Buckley himself has come out as critical of the Bush administration, it's war and how it is being waged. Perhaps Mr Nichols should, you know, read what the guy who owns the magazine thinks...just a thought.
It's sad really. The NR used to be a place of quality writing from conservatives and libertarians. Now, it's been reduced to a partisan rag devoid of talent.
Firing Line, where have you gone?
Don't get me wrong, I'm no sycophant of Buckley's - he is an evil toad, but at least he was a compelling and intelligent evil toad.
This makes me glad - it seems the Chinese are seeing a boom in home-grown science fiction!
Kasi Jackson has an interesting article in The Scientist about - female mad scientists in B movies, and their relation to nature.
"I explore the way that such films deal with our inclination to view science as masculine and nature as feminine. When men are doing the science, this isn't a contradiction; in these films, masculine, rational science dominates and controls irrational, feminine nature. Sometimes, the pattern is obvious, such as when a wild-haired, wild-eyed Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) from Young Frankenstein (1974) shouts that he will use science to "penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself."
But what happens when the mad scientist is a woman?"
To find out, you'll have to read the article. For me, I was less impressed with the article itself (which was pretty good) then that someone actually GOT PAID to write about it.
I. Am. Jealous.
As someone who stands between 6'2" and 6'3" in my stocking feet, I am always interested in finding out why being tall matters.
Turns out, it matters more than I thought. Suck it up shorties.
You ever wonder if people who donate organs, ever regret their decision?
"I feel helpless," she says. "Part of my body, my DNA, is stuck inside a person who's going to hell."
Yup, a wingnut wants to get the organ they donated back - seems the recipient wasn't Christian enough for her liking.
"Smith suffers nightmares of her former organ filtering "strange Asian teas, pig blood and witch doctor brews in Africa," she says. She wonders if the Lord really wanted her to donate the kidney, or if she acted on a "triple-espresso high" she had that morning. She is also concerned that when her body is resurrected, it might be incomplete."
I will have to check my bible, but I believe the Lord fully supports organ donations made under triple espresso highs.
My Gods are totally down with Juan Valdez.
Doing the math on fear, terrorism and car crashes.
"The bottom line is, terrorism doesn't kill many people. Even in Israel, you're four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified."
Worth noting that I located this link on William Gibson's blog (that is the WG of 'Neuromancer', not my mad-scientist Dr. buddy with the same name).
Dark matter, once a topic of speculation for why the universe is missing so much of the mass that it appears to have, seems to have found some evidence for its existence. They have pictures!
To get the picture they had to watch a galaxy as it shred itself to pieces. Some jobs are just way more fun than mine.
One of the more interesting advances in neuropsychology has to do with identifying the different modules that make up our unconcsious mental processing. Here's an article on the 'intentional module'.
American tax dollars at work in the war on terror - it's the National Counter Terrorism Centre for KIDS! Fun for the whole family, and wholesome too!
Whew! Ok, I admit there was lots more (including an especially big thing I was doing on the ME for my Mom), but I'm tired, hungry and in a Saskatchewan hotel room - so it's time for me to change at least one of those circumstances (I'm going to go eat).
More blogging when I get the chance.