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Lee Billings

Singularity Summit 2007

“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended.” – Vernor Vinge, 1993 Unless you’re an avid science fiction fan or futurist, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of “the Singularity“—broadly speaking, a hypothetical point in the future where technological development accelerates…

Despite this entry’s title, this isn’t an announcement of a new tour for Tutankhamen’s remains and relics through high-profile museums around the globe. For those of you astute enough to realize a streak of ribaldry runs through Seed’s editorial department, your initial lowbrow impression of this post was correct: The lost penis of King Tut…

Stop the Insanity!

So, yesterday, politics trumped science yet again. The FDA rejected medical marijuana, again. I’m sure the FDA’s decision to say so on April 20th is entirely coincidental. The Times has an excellent summary, and you can read the FDA’s original press release here. In essence, the FDA appears to be throwing a very clean baby…

Polar Bear Blues, Revisited

On the lighter side, not everyone is sad that polar bears might be going away. Seed actually located one of these individuals and asked what he thinks about drowning polar bears. His reaction is below the fold.

Tracking the Plight of the Walrus

As a followup to my post about abandoned walrus calves, here is a nifty plugin for Google Earth that allows anyone to track the movements of radio-tagged walruses in the Arctic. The page is in Danish, but I think ScienceBlogs readers are smart enough to figure out how to download and use this stuff. Many…

There’s been a lot of justified hullabaloo recently over the fate of Arctic polar bears. You see, they’re drowning in record numbers as their habitat, in an eyeblink, drastically changes from the ice floes they’ve known for thousands of years to open ocean. The only possible good news taken this terrible situation is that they…

Happy Bicycle Day!

At 4:20 in the afternoon, on April 19th, 1943, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann deliberately ingested 250 micrograms of LSD-25, a substance he had discovered during experiments with alkaloids of the fungus ergot. Despite the vanishingly small dosage, he soon found himself stricken with dizziness, euphoria, and an inescapable compulsion to laugh. Within the hour,…

Gather ’round, dear readers, and let me regale you with the sad saga of the late, great Linus Pauling. On second thought, calling it “sad” might be a bit excessive. Pauling was the only person to win two individual Nobels, after all (one for chemistry, one for peace). His great achievements are too numerous to…

While perusing press releases for this week’s online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, I came across one with some unintentionally humorous phrasing. The press release details how University of Washington/Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers using a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS) appear to have discovered that the…