Super Starlinks

October 26th, 2011

With the convention over the weekend and wedding planning, some sleeping, I’m behind on these again.  Oh, and yesterday’s reading by Steven Drachman was pretty good!  I probably won’t get back to being fast and regular blogging until after the wedding, Windycon, and the NSF grant proposal deadline November 15 (and given one of the links I will wonder why I’m working so hard on it…).

Is my facebook page a liberal echochamber?  Probably.  I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot, and about the need to maintain objectivity in the light of the human proclivity toward bias, hyperbole, and self-righteous anger.  We hear anecdotes, but don’t examine data carefully.  The interet makes for a steady stream of anecdotes to cloud the mind.  It used to be primarily the right, but I see it more and more now on the left.  Or, it’s everywhere now and the internet is making it worse.

Superluminal (aka FTL) neutrinos NOT confirmed.

Technology copies more superpowers: radar to see through walls.

Amazing Stories will return!  Go Steve!

I want to link again to this Centuari Dreams post about the fraction of sun-like stars with planets in the habitable zone, commenting on the proposed fraction of 34%.  There’s a brand new result about the habitable zone around type M stars being dramatically bigger than thought, which are often not considered sun-like enough to be taken seriously, even though they’re very common in the Milky Way.  It’s going to take a while to get really reliable nunbers, but I suspect the message to take away is that there are a lot of Earth-like planets out there numbering in the tens of millions or hundreds of millions.  Earth-like meaning that there could be liquid water on the surface, not necessarily life.

BBC interviews Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, discoverer of neutron stars.  Her advisor got a Nobel prize for it, but she didn’t.  Sucks to be a grad student, and knowing the story shows how unfair that exclusion was.

NSF funding issues are going to hit astronomy very hard.  Ouch.  Possibility of closing Kitt Peak National Observatory mentioned.

Perry officials censored climate change out of environmental report.  They changed not just the language, but cut facts they didn’t like out of the report.  This, I believe, is criminal and evil.  Entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.  And when a skeptic of the studies goes and redoes the analysis, the physicist finds out that the climatologists can do data analysis just fine, but the denier will continue to deny anyway.  They way they go on about biased climatologists in it for the money, I can only assume Big Oil or Libertarians are paying them to deny loudly and publicly. What scientists say, what the public hears.  Too easily exploited by the deniers.  Here’s the original full article about explaining climate change better.  I wish this was the only problem.

And in other news, scientists occupying Wall Street, too.

Paul Allen: the singularity isn’t near.  Ray Kurzweil responds.

Want facts about marijuana and if it should be reclassified for medical use?  Sorry, Catch-22.  Let us do the science!  Let’s base policy on facts, not bias and special interests, dudes!

What happened to downtime?  Wish like I knew…

Sam Harris on the future of the book.  Not sure if I agree fully, but interesting.

Moon packing titanium.  I just got a rifle, not made from titanium.

Cool idea here, about getting the world together with a shared cosmology.  With the science deniers out there working so hard, not in my lifetime I fear.  And don’t forget the problems some religions have with science (funny cartoon, click!).

Ten superhero movies that thankfully were not made.  I agree with most of these.

I want to buy Lord British’s castle!  I don’t have the money and don’t live in the right place anymore.

Another “war on Halloween” blog post.  And unfortunately it isn’t just the religious right that is at war with Halloween, it’s the politically correct left, too, outlawing scary costumes in favor of caring ones only at school.  Boo!  Let’s go make a bleeding hand of glory to give them the finger!

How zombies and superheroes captured highbrow fiction.  Not quite, I think.

Genetically modified foods and peer review.

Camera traps sufficient to prove the existence of cryptids?  I wish, but I doubt it.


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