Archives for June 9, 2010

Latest BP statement on Gulf Spill

Hat Tip: Julia

The Constitution of the United States makes no mention of God and only two references to religion. The first reference is in the body: Article VI “[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The second reference is the first line of the…

Are you ready for the Rapture?

Perched heavily on a white stone wall, a cast-iron stegosaurus watched expressionlessly as a backhoe tore up a patch of land that was supposed to have been left green. “We’ve been doing some more research in the last few months which has already indicated we have to add extra parking,” Mark Looy shouted over the…

Radiations and Extinctions

… biodiversity through the ages … There’s a story that scientists like to tell about the great evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane. Supposedly, Haldane once found himself in the company of a group of theologians. They asked him what one could conclude about the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation.…

The case for anonymity online

The founder of 4chan, a controversial, uncensored online imageboard, describes its subculture, some of the Internet “memes” it has launched, and the incident in which its users managed a very public, precision hack of a mainstream media website. The talk raises questions about the power — and price — of anonymity.

One of the great things about Coturnix is that he brings two context-broadening tools to the table in any discussion: Synchronic and diachronic. In a recent post (Am I a Science Journalist? he adds the diachronic. I had not previously realized or considered (or at lest, not thought it relevant) that early science journalists were…

A question about your squirrels

My friend Asha just gave a copy of Squirrel Wars: Backyard Wildlife Battles & How to Win Them to her mom for Father’s day. Which reminds me of this method of controlling squirrels in your back yard. Which, in turn, reminds me that I’ve been meaning to ask around about color morphs. Where I grew…

Counting Chinese Words

It has been said that “word frequency” is the most important variable in language research, despite the belief by many that it can’t be used as a variable because no one really knows what a word is. (see: Minifalsehood: We can’t tell what a word is!?!? and A run in my stocking …) A recent…

Or … What I had for breakfast. I just got the Caribou Coffee trivia question wrong. I got it so wrong that the Barista stared at me in disbelief for a moment, then blurted out the correct answer with audible snark and disappointment. If I told you what the question was (and that is not…

Cyberwar is a fiction, but tech cults are not. Sometimes these cults are inspired by elegant lines of code. Other times it’s dedication to an ideal. Some are looking to transform the way software is made. Others hope to transform humanity itself. And some just want to argue about it all — endlessly and at…