And I thought I had it bad: The lure of virtual currency

Chinese prisoners were forced into 'gold farming' – building up credits on online games such as World of Warcraft.

I’ve been bummed that I have to work with a painful autoimmune-vision condition, one that would resolve much faster if I didn’t have to stare at teeny-tiny text in fine detail all day. Woe is me! Then I see this piece below, which helps put things in perspective:  [Read more...]

They don’t call it “eye” ritis for nothing

Actually the medical term is Iritis, as in inflammation of the iris, and mine’s caused by an autoimmune disorder called Anklyosing spondylitis. It’s like a super arthritis which attacks soft tissue on top of the usual aches and pains in the joints. AS is genetic, there is one main marker (HLA-B24) and one or two others have been found in the last few years. Some researchers think the genes for autoimmune disorders like AS may have been greatly favored at various points in human history, when any resistance to epidemic disease gave an individual a leg up. If not for modern medicine, my case would have at least blinded me by now and have me halfway to crippled. But from an evolutionary viewpoint, it’s better to survive long enough to sire offspring and go blind in your 30s, than to die as a child from TB or the Black Death. [Read more...]

Mitt Romney’s science lies are just one small piece of a very big picture

Romney’s science flip-flops are well known, but this week Rachel Maddow rightly calls Sketchy out as the stone-cold liar he is, and it’s a thing of beauty to behold. If you’re pressed for time, just skip to the 6:25 mark and enjoy. On a related note, why in this media-saturated info-rich modern-day enviroment do we have to depend on a handful of shows, two of them on the Comedy Channel fer crisakes, to get accurate news? I have part of the answer, but often struggle with reducing the totality to a single manageable post, and any contributions or links on that would be appreciated.

Spring heat wave settles in on US and Canada

A huge, lingering ridge of high pressure over the eastern half of the United States brought summer-like temperatures to North America in March 2012. Image courtesy NASA/EO.

A spring heat wave shattered records across the US and Canada this month and some researchers worry it could be a symptom of sizzling summers and active hurricane seasons for the next few years. And that could be just the tip of the vanishing iceberg: [Read more...]

Nomad planets could be traveling at near warp speeds

Artist's conception of a Jupiter-size rogue planet with the edge on disk of a spiral galaxy in the background. Image via the Wiki

Call it planet Crank. A study slated to be published in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society finds that not only are nomad planets possible, under ideal conditions some of them could be ejected from the heart of large galaxies at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light: [Read more...]

Vatican at the center of a money laundering investigation

The details are murky — that’s always how it is with these clowns — but apparently a lot of money was being moved in and out of a Vatican account managed by JP Morgan and various European money centers, most of them in Germany. The pattern of brisk credits and transfers is reportedly similar to those that often draw the attention of money laundering investigators. The process is known affectionately by accountants as sweeping: [Read more...]

What do you get when you mix politics and religion?

So goes the old saying, punch line shortly. For now let’s note in recent history, mixing politics and religion has given us everything from the Holocaust to forced state sanctioned rape by high-tech dildos to the 9-11 terror attacks (Hey, those hijackers weren’t atheists). A new poll indicates we can add another item to the growing list: increasing nervousness among the electorate: [Read more...]