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Monthly Archive: November 2010

Nov 24 2010

Are the porno scanners safe?

The claims by the government that the scanners deliver harmless amounts of radiation are being challenged by some scientists.

Nov 24 2010

On free will-12: How about quick decisions?

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The 2008 research findings of Soon et. al., gave the surprising result that when we are allowed time to make decisions, our subconscious neural networks make the decisions up to ten seconds before we are consciously aware of it. Of course, there are many situations in which …

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Nov 23 2010

Gas Guzzling

For those too young to be aware of what this parody is based on, or for those who are nostalgic, here’s the original Greased Lightning from the film Grease (1978).

Nov 23 2010

Are we safer now?

Adam Savage (of the TV show Mythbusters) describes how the TSA put him through the porno scanner but later once on the plane he realized that he had in his jacket two twelve inch long steel razor blades that he had brought home from work and forgotten about. (via Balloon Juice.)

Nov 23 2010

Spam insults

Recently, I have been receiving highly critical spam comments. Here is one typical example: What a waste of time. You’re [sic] poor english [sic] made this article hard to read. Learn to write. I have to admit I am puzzled by the psychology of this. One form that spam comments take is to give an …

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Nov 23 2010

On free will-11: Recent fMRI studies of the brain

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In a recent paper (Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain, Chun Siong Soon, Marcel Brass, Hans-Jochen Heinze, & John-Dylan Haynes, Nature Neuroscience, vol. 11, no. 5, May 2008, 543-545), researchers used the more sophisticated modern technique of fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure …

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Nov 22 2010

Feeling lonely? The TSA wants to reach out and touch you

And if you think that it is an exaggeration, read this description by Ted Rall about what people are going through.

Nov 22 2010

Chalmers Johnson dead at age 79

One of the major thinkers on US foreign policy whose pre-9/11 book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire made the concept of ‘blowback’ a key element in understanding why the US is in such a predicament, died on Saturday. Steve Clemons reflects on his legacy. He says that Johnson started out as an …

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Nov 22 2010

On free will-10: Ethical and legal implications of free will as simply a veto power

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The idea suggested by Benjamin Libet that what we call free will is not the popularly assumed ability to decide all our seemingly deliberate (as opposed to instinctive) actions but consists of the more limited ability to either let the predetermined action be completed or to veto …

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Nov 21 2010

Torturing for Christ

Jerry Coyne has a post with photographs describing the devices used by the Catholic Church in Colombia to torture heretics into making confessions during the inquisition that lasted from 1610 to 1821. It is sickening what they did and the article is not for the squeamish. But of course, all this was done in the …

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