Links for 2010-06-05

  • "For the ninth year, International Policy Network (IPN) is accepting submissions for its annual Bastiat Prize for Journalism. The Prize is open to writers anywhere in the world whose published articles eloquently and wittily explain, promote and defend the principles and institutions of the free society.

    Submissions must be received on or before 30 June 2010.

    In addition to the Bastiat Prize for Journalism (First - $10,000; Second - $4,000; Third - $1,000), we are again awarding the Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism (first prize only, $3,000). Entrants are allowed to compete in just one (not both) of the competitions."

  • "Yet when asked, 9 out of 10 Ph.D.s admitted that if they had to start their careers all over again, they would still get a Ph.D., with or without a tenure-track job at the end of the process. I repeat: in full awareness of the anguish and poverty ahead, they would choose to do it again.

    Would you, dear and candid reader? Would I?

    Reading the responses actually took me by surprise. I expected to find more bitterness from my fellow under- or unemployed Ph.D.s. Instead of the hurt, angry feelings of a scorned lover, I discovered acceptance and fortitude in the face of a love largely unrequited. Simply put, this was love for love's sake (with the added bonus of books)."

  • "That's the question posed in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Ricky Bobby wants to go fast and thinks that driving NASCAR fits the bill. Now that is a comedy for the general public, and to the general public, NASCAR is fast. For scientists, and science fiction fans, however, that's a ridiculous position.

    So, what is fast, then? And how fast can we go?"

  • "A pair of papers just out show a mysterious absence of acetylene on Saturn's moon Titan.
    Combined with a net flux of molecular hydrogen to the surface, this provides a tantalizing hint that there might be biochemistry taking place, with methane as the working fluid and hydrogen and acetylene as the primary energy source in a reductive metabolism."
  • "Maybe World Science Festival will have a panel on whether science is compatible with religion next year. And an Affirmative Atheist or two should be on that panel if they do. But this year, they're having a different conversation, and it's a fine conversation to have. Lots of scientists are religious. At least a third of working scientists are theists, half partake of religious ceremonies, and even some atheist scientists feel that spirituality is important to their lives. A general audience is interested in finding out how scientists who navigate those waters do so. This panel is for that audience, and it isn't clear what an Affirmative Atheist would add to that discussion."

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