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Monthly Archive: November 2012

Nov 30 2012

Frank Oz on The Colbert Report

The creator of such iconic muppet characters as Grover, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ms. Piggy, and Animal (before handing them off to other people to devote more time to film directing) appeared to discuss the release of the director’s cut of his hit film Little Shop of Horrors.

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Nov 30 2012

Bradley Manning talks about his treatment

At his hearing, the alleged Wikileaks leaker describes his harsh treatment while being detained and how he tried to keep himself sane. The more he protested the harsh conditions under which he was being held, the more that was taken as evidence that he was a suicide risk, leading to yet more tightening of the …

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Nov 30 2012

Palestine admitted to the United Nations as an observer state

UN palestine vote

Yesterday saw a significant step forward for the Palestinians. The United Nations General Assembly voted to admit Palestine to ‘non-member observer State’ status, a step up from its previous status as an observer ‘entity’. The vote breakdown was overwhelmingly in favor with 138 voting yes, just 9 against, 41 abstentions and 5 countries not taking …

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Nov 30 2012

Faster-than-light travel using spacetime distortions

The speed of light is the biggest barrier to the dream of intergalactic travel and the chance that we might ever encounter extraterrestrial intelligent beings. Faster than light travel has been the Holy Grail of scientists and science fiction writers and indeed of anyone who dreams of visiting distant stars and galaxies. After the recent …

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Nov 29 2012

Oh Lord, ooh you are so big

The chapel scene from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. (Thanks to Mark T.)

Nov 29 2012

The evolutionary mystery of homosexuality

The theory of evolution by natural selection says that changes come about incrementally, as a result of the long-term consequences of small selection advantages for favorable traits. The selection advantage is measured by differential rates in the production of offspring. If organisms with a new and favorable trait produce 101 offspring for every 100 produced …

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Nov 29 2012

Can machines be programmed to make moral judgments?

Gary Marcus predicts that in a few decades, we may all not only have the option of traveling in driverless cars, we may even be obligated to do so. Within two or three decades the difference between automated driving and human driving will be so great you may not be legally allowed to drive your …

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Nov 29 2012

Can Republicans avoid the whirlwind?

Following their election defeat, there has been deep gloom in conservative circles with some suggesting that “America is doomed beyond all hopes of redemption”. This has led to soul searching within the Republican party as to whether it has become “too old, too white, too male”.

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Nov 28 2012

Perception and reality

The program Science Friday looks at what happens when we are placed in a situation where reality is at odds with what we see. Even when we know exactly what is causing the discrepancy, a sense of disturbing disorientation sets in.

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Nov 28 2012

Pat Robertson, friend of science?

There has been some excitement because Pat Robertson, of all people, recently told a viewer of his TV show that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years, and that Christians should stop trying to pretend that it is and that everything happened within that time. He says that if parents try to fight ‘revealed’ …

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