The Frontal Cortex

Archives for August, 2006

Klinkenborg on the Cosmos

Over at Times $elect, Verlyn Klinkenborg (the E.B. White of our time) has written an eloquent meditation on our changing scientific knowledge of the night sky. After reviewing some of the universe’s stranger facts – the age of light, the absence of time, the way galaxies “violently intersift” – he concludes with a lovely soliloquy…

ID and Dawkins

As PZ Myers has already pointed out, Francis Collins has been busy spreading the gospel. Myers has already dismantled Collins squishy theism better than I ever could, so I thought I would focus on one particular Collins’ claim in particular. It’s a theme that consistently gets rehashed in his interviews: Q: Why do you say…

Where does your gas come from?

Although it wasn’t supposed to be possible, Chicago Tribune reporter Paul Salopek managed to trace the gallons of gas he purchased from a local gas station back to its varied origins. He ended up traveling to the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Irag and Venezuela. Along the way we meet gas station managers in Illinois making…

Easterbrook on Global Warming

In the new Atlantic, the always optimistic Gregg Easterbrook has an interesting take on global warming: it’s not inevitable. His logic is historical. Given the ease with which we solved past air-pollution problems (CFC’s, acid rain, etc.), we can also figure out how to postpone our warming atmosphere. I’m not entirely convinced, but the article…

Joe Francis founded the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise. As this riveting article makes clear, he’s a total sleazebag. But I didn’t know he was also an evolutionary psychologist: “Sex sells everything,” Francis says. “It drives every buying decision . . . I hate to get too deep and philosophical here, but only the guys with…

Look Ma, No Interface!

In this TED talk, Jeff Han (a scientist at NYU) demonstrates a computer system that is driven purely by touch. No keyboard, no mouse clicks, just ten fingers and varying amounts of pressure. I want one. P.S. You should also check out the rest of the TED website. They’ve got videotaped talks by people like…

Exxon Attacks Gore on YouTube

According to news reports, a PR firm with close ties to oil companies has distributed a parody of “An Inconvenient Truth” on YouTube. In the corporate video, “Gore appears as a sinister figure who brainwashes penguins and bores movie audiences by blaming the Mideast crisis and starlet Lindsay Lohan’s shrinking waist size on global warming.”…

Factoid of the Day

From today’s WSJ: Studies of psychiatric drugs by researchers with a financial conflict of interest — receiving speaking fees, owning stock, or being employed by the manufacturer — are nearly five times as likely to find benefits in taking the drugs as studies by researchers who don’t receive money from the industry, according to a…

Apparently, the final straw was the recent heat wave. Robertson said on his television show this morning that the high temperatures stifling most of the country are “the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time.” While I’m glad Robertson has belatedly seen the light, I must object to his notions…

Environmentalism Run Amok

In the search for renewable energy, environmentalists are sometimes the bad guys. And no, I’m not talking about nuclear energy (although I’m in favor of building new nuclear plants). I’m talking about the new attempt to squeeze electricity from the perpetual swells of the ocean. In a rational world, environmentalists would champion such an energy…