Pure Pedantry

Archives for September, 2007

I don’t catch the Onion much anymore, but this is just priceless: Top physicists from several major American universities appeared before a Congressional committee Monday to request $50 billion for a science thing that would further U.S. advancement science-wise and broaden human knowing. The scientists spoke for approximately three hours about the complicated science machine,…

Bounded awareness: Socrates 2.0

Socrates gave us the foundation of modern philosophy when he claimed that his only wisdom was in knowing his own ignorance. By implication, of course, everyone else was even stupider than he and just didn’t know it, believing they were thinking/acting with all the information available and all the mental faculties necessary to put that…

Bohr and Complimentarity in Biology

The Scientist has a wonderful article about complimentarity in biology. Complimentarity is the application of two or more different theoretical approaches to a single problem: “Light and Life” is perhaps best known for its focus on Bohr’s concept of complementarity. According to this concept, some natural phenomena can only be completely understood by combining two…

Now that’s funny

Here’s a quote of the day for you by Katie Glasrud, writing at Pharyngula: That fumble in the fourth quarter? You just dropped it didn’t you. It looks like you’ve had a lot of testosterone-dropping moments this season, and I have to warn you: If you continue on this painful trajectory, you could wake up…

Castro’s Cuba has seen a precipitous drop in obesity rates and in the deaths associated with cardiovascular risk: Cuba’s economic crisis of 1989-2000 resulted in reduced energy intake, increased physical activity, and sustained population-wide weight loss. The authors evaluated the possible association of these factors with mortality trends. Data on per capita daily energy intake,…

Elsewhere on the Interweb (9/24/07)

Encephalon 32 is up at Living the Scientific Life. The Chernobyl reactor will be encased in a huge steel arch. This business sounds suspiciously similar to the Simpsons movie.

The US government spends millions domestically and billions internationally on abstinence-only education with the intent of lowering the transmission of STIs such as HIV and limiting unwanted pregnancies. Yet abstinence-only education is demonstrably ineffective. The alternative called abstinence-plus education clearly does not make the situation worse — as some critics have argued — but it…

I might have a career in video games

Video games of late have gotten crazy complicated. Making life-like characters and realistic worlds is an incredible computational challenge. Popular Science lists the 10 Biggest Challenges in video game production, and number 4 struck my eye: 4. Artificial Intelligence Like teaching 1,000 kids to think for themselves overnight Problem: Once upon a time, the bad…

Cool Pictures of the Presynapse

Synaptic transmission is incredibly fast. For example at the neuromuscular junction, the minimum time between the appearance of the electrical activity in the axon terminal and the appearance of electrical activity in the muscle as little as .4-.5 ms. How is this managed? One of the ways is that the vesicles that contain neurotransmitters are…

No more ties for British doctors

This is the smartest thing anyone has ever done: Hospital dress codes typically urge doctors to look professional, which, for male practitioners, has usually meant wearing a tie. But as concern over hospital-borne infections has intensified, doctors are taking a closer look at their clothing. “Ties are rarely laundered but worn daily,” the Department of…