Elsewhere on the Interweb (1/21/08)

xkcd is not only awesome, but also wise. Exhibit A:


Quantum Pontiff has an awesome post explaining a concept from quantum theory called contextuality using a surprisingly easy to understand example of Santa and his elves.

These guys use an industrial robotic arm to hurl fireballs. Sweet. (Hat-tip: Slashdot)

Alex Tabarrok argues in Forbes for the benefits of expanding markets in other countries:

Like pharmaceuticals, new computer chips, software and chemicals also require large research and development (R&D) expenditures. As India, China and other countries become wealthier, companies will increase their worldwide R&D investments. Most importantly, as markets expand, companies and countries will put to work the greatest asset of all for the betterment of mankind: brain power.

Amazingly, there are only about 6 million scientists and engineers in the entire world, nearly a quarter of whom are in the U.S. Poverty means that millions of potentially world-class scientists today spend their lives trying to eke out a subsistence living, rather than leading mankind's charge into the future. But if the world as a whole were as wealthy as the U.S. and were devoting the same share of population to research and development, there would be more than five times as many scientists and engineers worldwide.

People used to think that more population was bad for growth. In this view, people are stomachs--they eat, leaving less for everyone else. But once we realize the importance of ideas in the economy, people become brains--they innovate, creating more for everyone else.

Neurophilosophy has a case that I seriously said "no friggin' way" when I read it: hip hop-induced epilepsy:

Gayle suspected that her attacks were being triggered by a song called Temperature, by Sean Paul, as she remembers that this artist's music had been playing on at least two occasions that she had suffered from seizures. The doctors were initially sceptical about her claims, until they themselves induced seizures by playing that particular song.

Read the whole thing.

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"Science - It works, bitches."