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Current Topic: Science

Dance Dance DNA Revolution on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Topic: Science 10:27 am EST, Jan 31, 2006

This is the awesomest thing ever.

At the scripps aquarium near San Diego, they devote half the space to teaching kids about science. In a wing devoted to explaining gene expression they had some stuff about DNA and the coolest thing was this video game that taught you about building blocks of life, then proceeded to a real DDR game where you have to step to the DNA parts being shown on screen.

The best part was when one of the 20 amino acids were built, it would say the name. So you'd see A T T G C and so on... and then it would shout "Cysteine!"

That pretty much sums it up for me, too.

Dance Dance DNA Revolution on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Thoughts on Nano-Technology, dooms-day, and chicken little...
Topic: Science 8:34 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

This post was originally intended as a reply to a thread on memestreams about Bill Joy, and in the process of writing it sort of became its own topic of discussion.

I just got finished reading a few articles from Bill Joy including, "why the future doesn't need us" (search memestreams for those threads)...On some key points I agree with Mr. Joy. I agree that we are on the cusp of a potentially catastrophic era in human history. I agree that ethics is not always enough of a guiding principle in the scientific research. And I agree that in the short term limits on the spread of knowledge may be needed to avoid disaster, but I would stress that this can only be a short term solution to the problems ahead; reliance on secrecy as long term defense will be disastrous.

Joy makes a statement that we have not yet reached the point of no return in nano-technology research. This is the primary point at which I disagree with him. I feel that we passed the point of no return in 1959 when Feynman wrote his now famous “There's plenty of room at the bottom.” The idea was first conceived, and the meme began to spread. It is now to the point where it has taken hold and we can not waste valuable time arguing about whether or not we should continue with our research. I believe the research will continue with or without those of us that feel that ethics must be of supreme consideration in the development of potentially dangerous technologies.

I very much like his idea of a hippocratic oath for technologist, engineers, and scientists; though I don't believe this goes far enough.

If people believe, as I do, that nano-technology is in our future, then we must prepare for its consequences. As I have expressed on a number of occasions, only those in control of the technology can shape its future.

In the 1940's when the United States was the only nuclear power, did policy makers believe simple containment of knowledge for the creation of nuclear weapons would stop nuclear proliferation? If policy makers believed this was an absolute solution then history has clearly shown them wrong.

Restricting the spread of knowledge does not stop others from developing that knowledge independently; this is what policy makers must come to understand.

All that is needed to insure the eventual acquisition of a given knowledge is the continued belief in its utility.

Re-read that last sentence as it is the central point that I am trying to make. The spreading of a meme of this sort is all that is needed to inspire others to attain the knowledge for themselves. Thus other safeguards must be in place to insure the safe and ethical use of this knowledge.

Something needs to be said for keeping such knowledge secret. It does work to slow the spread of knowledge but ultimately can not stop it. That is to say, while there is a continued belief in the utility of such knowledge it will eventually be attained by... [ Read More (0.8k in body) ]

Thoughts on Nano-Technology, dooms-day, and chicken little...

Lost Mediterranean island deemed wild paradise
Topic: Science 3:28 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2003

] During 50 years of communist rule in former Yugoslavia,
] the Croatian island of Vis remained an inaccessible naval
] base lost in the middle of the Adriatic.
] The islanders eked a living from fishing and services for
] the Yugoslav military. Tourism, which in today's Croatia
] generates some $4.0 billion in revenues a year, came much
] later to the island than it did elsewhere on the Adriatic
] coast.
] There are no big socialist-style hotels here, some 12
] years after Croatia left Socialist Yugoslavia and fought
] an independence war with its ethnic Serb minority and the
] Yugoslav army.
] The place looks more like an early 20th century
] fishermen's settlement and, with some luck, it may stay
] that way.
] The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has designated Vis as one
] of the 10 last paradises on the Mediterranean and is
] taking steps to preserve its pristine beauty and
] wildlife, while giving locals a chance to make some money
] in the process.

Lost Mediterranean island deemed wild paradise

New Zealand News - World - Extreme weather evidence of global warming
Topic: Science 3:29 pm EDT, Jul  9, 2003

] LONDON - In an astonishing announcement on global warming
] and extreme weather, the World Meteorological
] Organisation has signalled that the world's weather is
] going haywire.
] In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces
] detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the
] year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and
] climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks,
] from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month
] for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to
] climate change.
] The unprecedented warning takes its force and
] significance from the fact that it is coming from an
] impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to
] hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to
] claim that the direst warnings of climate change are
] being borne out).

Nope, no global warming, nothing to see here...

New Zealand News - World - Extreme weather evidence of global warming

Bush Unveils New Economic Booster
Topic: Science 1:54 pm EST, Jan 28, 2003

Global warming is leading to the shrinkage of polar ice caps, so you may as well give Bush and Cheney some credit for this one!

Bush Unveils New Economic Booster

Girl finds two-headed toad in Hopkinton
Topic: Science 5:13 pm EST, Jan 27, 2003

] Take a quick look at the pair of toads 4-year-old Casey
] Dicken found in her grandparents' pool yesterday, and
] they look relatively normal.
] They may even look like they're doing something a
] 4-year-old shouldn't see and probably wouldn't
] understand.
] But look closer, and there's something different about
] the two toads.
] They are one. They're connected. The two amphibians are
] conjoined, un-identical twins.

Girl finds two-headed toad in Hopkinton

How mushrooms will save the world
Topic: Science 10:33 am EST, Nov 25, 2002

Fungal decomposition is the job of the mycelium, a vast network of underground cells that permeate the soil. (The mushroom itself is the fruit of the mycelium.) Now recognized as the largest biological entities on the planet, with some individual mycelial mats covering more than 20,000 acres, these fungal masses secrete extra cellular enzymes and acids that break down lignin and cellulose, the two main building blocks of plant fiber, which are formed of long chains of carbon and hydrogen.

You know, I don't have a clue what all that stuff means, but I figure it might make nanochick give me some bio-lovin'. Actually, an interesting read about how mushrooms have the ability to break down toxins and could be a pre-emptive strike on areas with large amounts of disease.

How mushrooms will save the world

Silicon hogs
Topic: Science 3:33 pm EST, Nov 13, 2002

The technology industry has been heralded as a clean alternative to smoke-belching industrial factories of yore, but in recent years, its squeaky-clean image has eroded with news reports about high cancer rates among clean-room workers, and old CPUs and monitors piling up in landfills.

Interesting read, especially since I was an uninformed consumer of what has certainly been called "clean technology."

Silicon hogs

Lemon Juice a Contraceptive
Topic: Science 10:07 am EDT, Oct 10, 2002

Talk about being a sour puss...

Lemon Juice a Contraceptive

Speed of Light Broken for About $500 in Murfreesboro
Topic: Science 10:33 am EDT, Sep 17, 2002

Now physicists at Middle Tennessee State University have broken that speed limit over distances of nearly 120 metres, using off-the-shelf equipment costing just $500.

Alright, go MTSU!

Speed of Light Broken for About $500 in Murfreesboro

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