April 26th, 2011
Another week to the end of the semester, to the time beyond the marathon and marathon training, and the priority of blogging will creep back up. I had a technical glitch and the last post was only 1/6 of what I’d actually written. Stupid technical glitch. Also the time and thinking that I often put into blogging has been going into several paying non-fiction gigs that I’ll announce as they’re published. I’ve also discovered that facebook, if you’ve got enough friends, is becoming like a personalized internet forum, for better or worse. I mostly skip forums like slashdot and fark these days because I have too strong a streak of “There’s someone wrong on the internet!” that I have trouble setting aside when I should, and really would prefer to blog.
I’ve got a long list of starlinks and will break them down, roughly, by subject. Some will overlap subjects, and I’ll put them where I think it makes most sense. But first, because it doesn’t make much sense: Do the Warrior Dash! I’m thinking about Denver in August…
Science Sociology & Education
A slashdot discussion of why science is a lousy career choice. You want to know how much I make, approximately? At least for a 9-month salary if I don’t have supplementary grant money? Check out this webpage about the salaries of professors in various places. Wyoming isn’t at the top, but I do fine given the local cost of living. A recent, related article about women in Australia ditching science careers because the jobs aren’t so great, especially for women — sounds like maternity leave and related issues are more negative than here (although not perfect here many places).
Well, engineers involved rather than scientists, but still… University suspends race car team after racy bikini photo. I think the Dean is an asshole and someone needs to Animal House him. I’ve suggested, mostly in jest, that the astronomers in the department do a racy photo shoot posing with our telescope for a calendar to raise money for the observatory. It’s only a problem if some conservative asshole makes it a problem.
Lectures with Lap Dancing. Why didn’t I think about this? Heavenly Bodies demo…high attendance… Oh, it was expensive and prof got suspended, that’s why.
David Brin has had a lot of great posts recently. Here’s one on Why Obstinate Humans Find it Hard to Believe in Science. I think Brin is right about a lot of things here and people have to recognize that science isn’t like any other system we’ve ever had, and that it works if you remove the emotion and bias.
The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru. Ugh. It really burns me when scientists go bad. The ones who fake data, whether for personal gain or bias, need to be at least metaphorically burned at the stake and called out for what they are: scum. Science as a system works really well, but every one of these yahoos is an arrow in the quiver of those who want to ignore science when it disagrees with their perspective. They have their counter example, who shouldn’t count, but has that PhD behind their name and can be hard to bring down. For the record, a lot of the rise in autism (which I see touted on frakking TV commercials asking for money to fight autism!) can be attributed to changes in diagnosis. Maybe not all of it, but vaccines are off the hook.
More attacks on science education, this time on evolution in Tennessee.
Politicians are lying about the views of some scientists to support their superstitions. Disgusting. Politicians seem to be lying more recently, or being caught more often anyway. When will it actually hurt them in elections? I’m waiting…
We’ll put this one here, for want of a better place. Don’t let ignorant people vote. I don’t think they should, but I don’t think they should be prevented from doing so either, except by social pressure (e.g., the way the N-word is forbidden now not by law but by convention).
I LOVE this: Isaiah Mustafa as Luke Cage, Powerman. “Look at me, look at him, look at me. I’m Powerman! He’s not.”
The final scene in Thor, following the credits. Looks the Cosmic Cube to me. Why can’t they put out a Marvel movie every month like a comic book? OK, I know, they would suck, but my childhood isn’t getting any closer. Review of Thor. They like it.
Oh, sexy superhero PJs for the would-be She-Hulks out there. Also of note: the Captain America Pimp Stein. Heh.
Distributed Solar vs the grid. Looking better for sure.
I really like this one: futuristic movie timeline. Yeah, way past 2001 now, but also some other future films, and sneaking up on others. The world doesn’t feel so changed to me, but when I think about it I know that it has, and blogging right now is very sf compared to 30 years ago.
David Brin on the difference between science fiction and fantasy. Old topic, new insights.
A short history of the female mad scientist. Female mad scientist…va va voom!
Better. X-rated Star Trek: The Next Generation. Actually looks really good. And promises that scene between Yar and Data we didn’t get to see!
Six fictitious drugs from fantasy and science fiction. One book not mentioned that I want to add is Wildlife by James Kelly.
85 Science Fiction authors protest BBC’s exclusion of genre fiction. Yeah, I’m on that list.
I’ll put this here rather than under science, since it’s opinion and probably of concern more to sf fans: Space Travel, not yours.
Stupid Charlie Sheen…now we have to pay attention to his warlock.
All your Star Trek belong to us. Netflix.
10 Sci Fi Films better than Serenity and Empire Strikes Back. Some of these for sure, some maybe. Not a bad list.
Hey, get pointed ears like an elf! For real. Bodmod anyone? Ouch.
Not into pain? Modify your My Little Pony instead. (Some awesome ones here!)
Late here, but here are a few links about the bone-headed and nasty NYT review of Game of Thrones on HBO. That prompted responses from others and even from George R. R. Martin himself. Speaking as a writer, I suggested several years ago that it was a bad idea to review stuff you didn’t like (my number one guideline). This is why. I’d say I was prophetic, but it’s not rocket science.
A Cracked version of Phil Plait’s Death from the Skies: 7 Horrible Ways the Universe can Kill us.
How about death from the ground? Updates on the Yellowstone supervolcano. How Wyoming can kill you. Heh.
Want to be smarter? I do, but I know it might just make life more painful, surrounded by the likes of Palin, Jon Kyle, Lindsey Lohan, etc.
Darpa explores the science of storytelling. Stories are a powerful way of communicating, perhaps the most powerful for humans. Let’s learn more.
Maybe the Universe got the Aliens. Maybe something else… It’s not actually a new explanation for the Fermi Paradox. Try Fred Saberhagen. Science Fiction was there first, science dudes.
Higgs “God Particle” detected? And for the record, I HATE the term “God particle.” Newton worked out the relationship between gravity and mass, so why not the “Newton particle” or “Sir Isaac?”
Dark Matter not detected? Not yet, anyway. I think observations of the Bullet Cluster are compelling that dark matter is real, but it remains elusive. I posted a primer on dark matter several years back if you’re interested.
Space art! Cool.
Subtle effect involving clouds and the wavelength of light on global warming. I am always amazed at the Warming Deniers and how simple and stupid their criticisms are compared to the issues real climatologists deal with. “Derp, part of Mars is warming too, so humans can’t have any effect on Earth warming, which it isn’t even doing now Rush told me, derp.”
Science comic of the week. (SMBC, embedded below). Why can’t I afford hedonism again? Oh yeah, I’m engaged…
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