Monday Starlinks

April 4th, 2011

I didn’t quite get caught up over the weekend (Ann and had to spend some quality time together before she continued her speaking tour, after all).

A Mind-Meld from SFsignal asking, how important is it for the science to be plausible in science fiction.  I’d say it’s essential, or it isn’t science fiction, it’s fantasy.  Some worthwhile contributions and comments there, so check it out.

Phil Plait on the real chances of an asteroid wiping us out (and how events would occur hopefully leading to the prevention of that happening).

An anti-college backlash? Interesting reading for a professor like myself.  Maybe you, too.  And another article about college: students should check their sense of entitlement at the door.  Both basically are arguing that there are people in college today that are different from the past, and come in with different expectations, for better or worse, and maybe not everyone is ready for it.

Watch Isaac Asimov’s unaired science show (thanks io9!).

Also from them, some space porn, courtesy of the Cassini mission to Saturn.  Safe for work, especially if you’re an astronomer.

Star Trek and Sociology.  This guy is a Trekkie I think.  Or Trekker?

Astronom O’s!  Can Carl Sagan approve of this?  Ingredients: Star stuff.

First image of Mercury from orbit.  (Other photos are from Earth-based telescopes or fly-bys.)  Still looks pretty much like the moon to me.

Another radiation infographic.

In Defense of Sucker Punch.  Another article taking the heat off of Snyder.

A lot of my fantasy-writing friends have been discussing maps in fantasy books.  In honor of that, the map for Twin Peaks, one of my favorite tv shows of all time.

If you like dinosaurs, you should love this awesome April Fool’s post over at scienceblogs.  Really well done.

American Gods coming to the silver screen?

Science fiction writer Ken McLeod on his path from Creationism to science. Interesting read and in line with earlier posts of mine about science denial.  Here’s a case of someone who got better, a lot better, to learn from.

OK, probably everyone saw this already, but how NOT to respond to a bad review (see the author’s replies in the comments).  I understand there are already mugs you can buy.

Futurism: the year 2000 as seen in 1910.  I want bat wings like those firemen!

China to overtake US in science in two years.  Well, sort of… Publications are way up, but this is partially artificial, and the quality doesn’t yet match the quantity.  There are some great Chinese scientists (I know, I work with some), but they’re all under pressure to make every single one of their master’s students publish at least one paper.  This will produce some results, but will not guarantee quality work.

A few more links regarding recent findings, political more than scientific, regarding global warming.  Love this quote: “The new Republican majority has a lot of leeway to rewrite laws,” he [Henry Waxman] said, “but they don’t have the ability to rewrite the laws of nature.”  Paul Krugman just recently wrote about the recent hearings concerning global warming, in particular about a skeptical scientist who did his own independent project and…agreed with everyone else that the effect is real.  Now the deniers have ostracized him.  These people are idiots and evil and shouldn’t be elected into office, yet they are…why?!  And here’s a recent editorial calling on science (and scientists) to set the record about global warming straight. They try, and hit obstacles right and left, and their grants don’t pay for it.  I think it’s incredible to blame scientists here, although exhortations to do more are well intentioned, I understand, even if useless without some infrastructure changes in how science is done and reported.

Scott Adams seems to have managed to offend both feminists and men’s rights activists simultaneously and intentionally.  I was impressed.

Less impressed with more Wonder Woman photos.

There’s been a lot of stories recently about the “related” issues of radical Islam, Christican fundamentalism, and secularism.  Some of these came to a head recently in the story of Terry Jones, the Koran-burning fundamentalist, and how his actions incited some Muslims in Afghanistan to blow up some people.  I think Jones is an asshat, not deserving of much attention or respect, but I’m a believer in the freedom of speech and think he’s free of blame for anything, other than being an asshat.  I’m shocked at the spineless people who think he’s effectively guilty of murder.  The easily offended radical muslims are the ones guilty of murder, no one else!  They need to be treated as responsible thinking creatures who must tolerate criticism, or must be put down like rabid dogs.  Any other reaction is akin to paying off blackmailers (which is a bad longterm strategy), and blaming vicitms for their own rapes if they were dressed too provocatively.  Anyway, I wanted to provide some interesting blog posts about this.  Hoffman blaming Jones (and comparing him to atheist PZ Meyers), with reactions from PZ Meyers and Jerry Coyne.  See also PZ Meyers’s first post about the story.

And in related news, why Mike Huckabee and his pandering ilk must be educated or riduculed.  I think those ticked-off Muslims do have a biblical worldview.

Another stupid and offensive quote, this one from Hugo Chavez about how capitalism may have ended life on Mars.  WTF?  There are rhetorical devices, and if this is one of them, let’s call it a Quaylism.

There was some research done suggesting the extinction of religion.  The BBC reported on it.  PZ Meyers responded.

Sci-Fi infographic: height chart. Cute.

Interview with AC Gralying about The Good Book: A Humanist Bible.

For the super comic-book geek, like myself, infographical family trees for: X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Avengers.  I’m sad to say I can only decipher about 90% of each, and wondered for way too many seconds “where is the Invisble Woman?.”

My favorite commercial right now, which involves a lot of science fiction:



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