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Tag Archive: science

Apr 27 2013

Evolving pseudo-creatures in computer simulation to run a short course

I love the idea of simulating evolution through computer models. The purpose of such an exercise is not so much to prove that evolution happened, or to prove that complexity can evolve from simple rulesets (though that’s certainly important), but to show that randomness and flexibility in solving tasks can create novel approaches that are …

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Mar 18 2013

Saw nothing at all like this on my flight to Minneapolis

They didn’t seat me in row 666, there were no pamphlets on salvation, and the seats — cramped though they were — were a hell of a lot more comfortable than those pews look. And frankly, the pilot’s rapping wasn’t nearly good enough to cause the spontaneous generation of breakdancing angels. Via Everything Is Terrible, …

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Jan 09 2013

Staver/Barbar: California law turns sexual abuse victims into gays and transgender

The specific laws they’re talking about, that are preventing kids from receiving counselling? The “change therapy” laws of course, which forbid religious “therapists” from trying to un-gay-ify kids. Their reasoning is that children who are predated upon by pedophiles have no recourse but to go with any gay feelings they have thereafter. The premise that …

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Dec 29 2012

Baby turtle eats raspberry

I’m posting this to prove a point, on top of the obvious squee and funny factors. That point is, human beings can be complete monsters sometimes. Treating cute little turtles as sport, as though there was any contest between the turtle and an automobile. For shame. Look at that turtle, having trouble eating a raspberry! …

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Dec 19 2012

IQ test exposes the myth that is ‘g’

The idea that there’s a single scalar value that measures anything like “general intelligence” (“g”), commonly known as “IQ” or “intelligence quotient”, has been pretty much blown out of the water by this comprehensive study by the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute. Our attempt to answer [the question of how to quantify …

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Dec 08 2012

Animation student’s thesis: Pale Blue Dot

Adam Winnik produced this lovely animation for Carl Sagan’s poetic musings on our place in the cosmos, as his school thesis. From his video’s description: I’ve been enrolled in illustration at Sheridan College for the the last 4 years and this is my final thesis project. I have always thought of Carl Sagan’s writings as …

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Nov 21 2012

Tryptophan isn’t to blame for your food coma

Even at Thanksgiving, even as a child, I was always “that kid”, who couldn’t leave well enough alone when someone said something blatantly false, or worth questioning and examining further. My father kept admonishing me to be on my best behavior for company, which invariably meant not challenging unevidenced or ridiculous beliefs. This was one …

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Nov 17 2012

Sun vomits forth giant prominence

Think about the scale of this particular flare, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory yesterday. I know it’s hard to imagine, with it zoomed in like this, but this is absolutely immense. Eyeballing it against a “size of stars” image I have up on the wall, I’d say both ends of this flare …

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Nov 14 2012

More Republicans believe in demonic possession than global warming

Yeah. Alternet reports on a Public Policy Polling Hallowe’en poll (pdf) and cross-references this poll on global warming: A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change. I would …

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Oct 14 2012

Some pinkification I can live with… for now

An image of GoldieBlox, which consists of a picture book opened to a page with an illustrated blonde engineer lady saying "Ahem! Listen up!" and a set of pegs and spools arranged in a star pattern with a ribbon running between them to form a conveyor/pulley system operated by crank.

A while back, someone on Twitter pointed me to this GoldieBlox Kickstarter project, excited that finally, someone was doing something to get young girls interested in engineering. In amongst the glut of male-targeted building toys like K’nex and Erector Sets and LEGO, there’s hardly any such thing for girls. None of these toys are inherently …

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