July 8th, 2013
Some personal things came up Sunday night and I got tired before blogging. Here’s the collection for last week, a day stale.
Top 10 Scientists Who Should Have Gotten the Nobel, but Didn’t. Agree with many of these.
Evidence for microbial life on Mars? I should say, more evidence.
Mysterious extragalactic radio sources. I like the sound of that. Something new to learn about!
Phil Plait critiques another bad Matt Ridley piece on Global Warming. Ridley, as you may recall, thinks people are biased, and therefore believe the science…somehow not realizing how actually reasonable that is in a world where science is seen to work. Ridley is trapped by his own bias and powers of rationalization as I’ve described in the past.
35 Science Misconceptions and Myths. Not a bad list, but 35 is far short of comprehensive.
Death of a space telescope. I have been involved with some projects using GALEX data. Sorry to see it go.
The science of buying happiness. Good article.
Dissing on “big science.” I agree with some of the sentiments in the article, but disagree with the fundamental premise. I think the best science is fractal — there are questions that require different amounts of people and investment to answer. They’re all potentially important to answer. Some require BIG SCIENCE while others don’t. Maybe we need different social mechanisms for recognizing this, and the contributions of individuals, but writing off big science doesn’t make sense.
A resource for full calibrated NASA data. Probably not for general audiences, but handy for me from time to time.
Robot spider in action (video!).
Quantitative reasoning applied to the limitations of lunar catapults as weapons against Earth-based targets. Some thoughtful comments pro/anti the original thesis as well.
Monsanto working to help save bees. Companies are complex and can’t be categorized as “evil” or anything so simple. They try to make money by providing goods and services that people want to buy. Usually better technology makes for a better world.
Why good deeds don’t go unpunished. I’ve been burned a few times for being too good, and seen it happen to others as well. So…be a little selfish today, ok?
Another reason to like Star Trek: promoting bestiality. By this Christian’s ridiculous standard, all of science fiction and fantasy should be avoided as a general rule.
A movement to boycott “Ender’s Game” due to Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay beliefs. I’ve written about this issue before. I’m not a fan of OSC’s beliefs, to put it mildly. He has a right to have them, and a right to work and make money, and I think we should engage his views, not just bully him for his intolerant beliefs. If it’s a great movie, I punish myself more than him…and the thousands of people who depend on this and other movies for their livelihood. We have to learn to live with people with different views, to compromise, to cajole and educate…not to just shun and shout at. OSC is a product of his upbringing and has swallowed the dogma of his faith — the way that many people do. You want to boycott something, how about any institutions that indoctrinate and teach hate? Personally I avoid the pro-boycott movements because they often strike me as too close to the flip side of the same thing they’re against. People’s views don’t evolve because of boycotts or vilification. They evolve with engagement and exposure. And luckily, the prevalence of OSC’s perspective is diminishing because he’s now living on the wrong side of history. The fact is, however, that no one agrees 100% with everyone else on this Earth, and if we start making up litmus tests for all our myriad beliefs, we’ll soon all be alone with nothing to watch, nothing to eat, nothing to wear, and no one to talk to.
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