Category Archive: Science

Mar 14 2014

Why the π?

Today is March 14, otherwise known as Pi Day by math and science nerds, although a case can be made for July 22 being Pi Day since 22/7 is a better approximation for π than 3.14.

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Mar 13 2014

This is pretty amazing

Those who have played or watched table tennis at a high level know that it requires great skill, speed, coordination, and excellent reflexes. In the video below, we see a robot named KUKA play against Timo Boll, a German champion of the game. I particularly liked the way it did the open-palm serve one-handed. (Via …

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Mar 11 2014

A 50-cent microscope to detect tropical parasites

Blood borne tropical diseases like malaria, African sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis, and Chagas seriously harm millions of people. Early detection would help in treating them but traditional microscopes are expensive and scarce and not easily stored and maintained in remote areas.

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Mar 08 2014

Why are some snakes so venomous?

I don’t like snakes. Sri Lanka, being a tropical country has a fair share of snakes that are both poisonous and non-poisonous and so I have encountered them, though not too many because I always lived in urban areas and snake sightings are rare, though not unheard of. But despite having encountered quite a few …

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Mar 05 2014

Reflections on the Carroll-Craig debate-3: The back-and-forth

To follow up my earlier posts on the debate (see here and here), after the two main talks, we had two further talks by each that allowed for some back and forth, beginning at around the 1:04 mark (with an intermission between 1:27 and 1:35) and where the speakers repeated and reinforced their arguments and …

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Mar 04 2014

Reflections on the Carroll-Craig debate-2: Carroll’s response

In his opening remarks that I discussed yesterday, William Lane Craig made the standard opening move within the college debate framework for those speaking first and arguing the affirmative by framing the question in the most minimal way, thus making it harder to counter. He said that all he was seeking to show was that …

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Mar 03 2014

Reflections on the Carroll-Craig debate-1: Craig’s case

I watched the debate Sean Carroll and William Lane Craig held on Friday, February 21, 2014 on the topic of god and cosmology. I thought it was a good one and I will spend a few posts exploring some of the issues for the benefit of those people without a physics background who may have …

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Feb 27 2014

Mysteries of Rapa Nui

Easter island statues

The remote rocky outpost in the Pacific Ocean known as Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is the source of several mysteries that puzzle people to this day. One is how what began as a lush place with dense tropical forests became almost completely denuded of all its trees, transforming it into a dusty wasteland that is …

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Feb 26 2014

Gibberish papers discovered and withdrawn

That journals can sometimes be fooled into publishing nonsense papers has been well established in some high-profile cases but these tended to be seen as isolated instances that were done deliberately, with the papers carefully constructed to prove a point.

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Feb 25 2014

Bacteria that turn water into ice

Via Maggie Koerth-Baker I learned something quite surprising, that there exists a type of bacteria called Pseudomonas syringae that causes disease in plants but can also help turn cold water rapidly into ice. And by rapidly, I mean really rapidly, in seconds. Watch what happens as the bacteria are inserted into a bottle of cold …

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