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Fraser Cain

Woodpecker died doing what he loved... pecking wood

I noticed this strange growth on the side of my big maple tree. Turns out, it's a dead woodpecker. I'm not sure if you can see, but he's literally hanging on by a single claw.

How this guy died? I have no idea, but it must have been pretty quiet, for him to still be hanging on the tree.
Fraser Cain Fraser Cain

Geek Question of the Day: Since today is the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader I figured it only fitting to ask you guys; What are your favorite stories and/or characters from the Batman franchise and why? Any incarnation is fair game... Tune in here tomorrow, same geek time, same geek channel! =) #gqotd

Image source: http://bit.ly/WEnHRx .

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Charlie Hoover Charlie Hoover

A stunning pile of naive, superficial, deeply luddite tripe about new technology.

"The geeks, with their ready willingness to abandon social norms, are pulling us toward a utopia nobody wants."

Nobody except us geeks.  And since no one else seems to give a fuck, we win by default.  Deal with it.

#technology  
Filippo Salustri Filippo Salustri

A solar storm -- or Coronal Mass Ejection -- barely missed the Earth in 2012.  “If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker, about the biggest storm in at least 120 years.  Looking around and taking prudent precautions in a dangerous universe is what both science fiction and sanity are for. Ostriches who stick their heads in the ground will lose everything.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/07/23/how-a-solar-storm-nearly-destroyed-life-as-we-know-it-two-years-ago/
David Brin David Brin

Beautiful poison

Cinnabar is a mineral made of mercury - the silver balls - and sulfur - the yellow ones.  It's fascinated people for thousands of years.  When you grind it up, you get vermilion: a brilliant red pigment.

Vermillion was used in murals in Çatalhöyük, one of the world's oldest cities, in Turkey, back around 7000 BC.   It's been used in the art and lacquerware of China since the Han Dynasty!  You'll also find it in the Tomb of the Red Queen built by the Mayans around 650 AD.

It was precious in Rome, used for art and decoration.  Since mercury is poisonous, a term in working in the cinnabar mines was a virtual death sentence.  Pliny the Elder wrote:

Nothing is more carefully guarded. It is forbidden to break up or refine the cinnabar on the spot. They send it to Rome in its natural condition, under seal, to the extent of some ten thousand pounds a year. The sales price is fixed by law to keep it from becoming impossibly expensive, and the price fixed is seventy sesterces a pound.

The Chinese were probably the first to make a synthetic vermilion, back in the 4th century BC. A Greek alchemist named Zosimus of Panopolis mentioned the process around the 3rd century AD. In the early ninth century the alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan described it in a book - and it then spread to Europe.

The process is pretty simple.   You mix mercury and sulfur together, forming a black compound called Aethiopes mineralis. You heat it in a flask. The compound vaporizes, and recondenses on the top of the flask. Then you break the flask, take out the vermilion, and grind it.  At first the stuff is almost black, but the more you grind it, the redder it gets.

Puzzle 1: Where did they get the mercury in the first place, if not from cinnabar? 

Puzzle 2: If they had cinnabar, why not just grind that to make vermillion?

Puzzle 3: Why does the stuff start out black?

Here's one possible answer to Puzzle 3.  Cinnabar contains one crystal form of mercury sulfide, the so-called alpha form, shown here.  It's a hexagonal crystal, and it's red.  But there's also another form, the beta form, which is black.  This is sometimes called metacinnabar - a cool word if I ever saw one.

In Taoist alchemy in China, cinnabar and gold were used in various potions that were supposed to give long life.  Cinnabar was considered to have a lot of yang and gold a lot of yin.  According to their theories, gold naturally transmutes into cinnabar over time, much as yin becomes yang (and vice versa). The evidence?   Deposits of cinnabar are sometimes found beneath veins of gold. 

Unfortunately, some people got mercury poisoning thanks to these potions! 

Isaac Newton also spent a lot of his later life doing alchemy.  This is not as dumb as it sounds, because at that time alchemy included what we now call 'chemistry', along with more mystical things.  Some hairs from Newton's body have been found to contain 4 times as much lead, arsenic and antimony as normal - and 15 times as much mercury!  This might explain Newton's tremors, severe insomnia, and paranoia.

I love the look of this crystal!  The picture, made by Ben Mills, is on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_sulfide

Some of my text is quoted or paraphrased from these articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnabar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermilion

For the use of cinnabar in Taoist alchemy, see:

http://tinyurl.com/taoist-cinnabar

#chemistry  
John Baez John Baez

Snow White, Rose Red

Beyond Neptune, and just slightly closer to the Sun than Eris, is a solar system body designated as 2007 OR10. With a diameter of about 1200 km, it is the largest solar system body without an official name, but it has been given the nickname Snow White.

Snow White is one of the reddest objects in the solar system, likely due to methane frost. Spectral analysis of the body shows the presence of both methane and water ice. The presence of water ice is possibly evidence of ice volcanic activity. Beyond that we don’t know much about the distant world. Even its size is only an estimate given its distance and apparent brightness.

Image: Artistic impression. NASA
Brian Koberlein Brian Koberlein

Jenny Winder -
+70 - 18 shares - 6 comments


Jenny Winder Jenny Winder

Geekscape of the Day: The Forest Of Keilah
Artist:    Source: http://bit.ly/1gxVVZw .

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#gsotd #fantasy   #forest   #scifi     #alien      #jungle  
Charlie Hoover Charlie Hoover

Excuse the frown.... bottom right probably the winner.
mary Zeman mary Zeman

20 minutes of fireflies at Homer Lake, Illinois.
Alex Wild Alex Wild

The The Impotence of Proofreading, "because you are the liverwurst spoiler in the whale wide word." by TAYLOR MALI: http://youtu.be/OonDPGwAyfQ 
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

Carl Sagan called it the Pale Blue Dot, but it's so much more than that.
Brian Koberlein Brian Koberlein

I've been warning about this for a long time

The Washington Post has an article about NASA's analysis of the solar event of July, 2012. Now that we've had time to completely evaluate all the data, it turns out that we were EXTREMELY lucky. The event was likely larger than the Carrington event of 1859. NASA produced a short video about the event and the Space Weather Workshop conference that was held in April where the giant set of CMEs were a hot topic. According to a quote attributed to NASA.

"Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket.  Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps."
. . .
"According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair."

As a disclaimer, I was involved in the analysis of the threat posed by a solar induced EMP for the 2008 Congressional EMP report, which originally quantified the danger to global electrical grids. Our country is particularly vulnerable regarding those multi-ton transformers. In 2008 when the report was produced, we had only two backup units in the entire country. We have vastly more than that deployed, and it takes a couple of years to manufacture each one. The situation has not changed since then. In the interim, I've been involved in evaluating the threat to our space-based assets and the telecommunication grids, which is even greater than the potential damage to electrical grids.

As a second disclaimer, a giant solar storm and the ensuing solar-induced EMP is the subject of my series of novels. I first became involved in this issue in 2006. After the 2008 EMP report, my first-hand knowledge of the dangers posed by enormous solar storms was used as the basis behind the story. The latest book has several chapters describing the specific effects one of these monster storms could cause to our electrical grids and telecommunication infrastructure including our space based assets.

As I have been saying since 2008, we've been lucky... so far.

But I personally don't like counting on luck to protect us.

NASA article: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/

Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/07/23/how-a-solar-storm-nearly-destroyed-life-as-we-know-it-two-years-ago/?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf

amazon.com/author/lucianrandolph
Lucian Randolph Lucian Randolph

So I want to plus that selfie of yours, but then I'm thinking... but didn't I plus the last selfie she posted? I don't want her to think that I only plus her selfies and never any of her other stuff. Do I even plus her other stuff? I don't want to come across as a creeper. I'm totally a creeper, aren't I?
Chris Mallory Chris Mallory

Matt Uebel -
+22 - 4 shares - 11 comments


Matt Uebel Matt Uebel

"Germany is the global leader in energy efficiency, and the U.S., with its ingrained car culture, is among the least energy efficient of the world’s largest economies."


Given how many aspects of energy efficiency are unsatisfactory in Germany, Germany's rating was surprising to me - and it hints how dysmal the situation elsewhere must be.
Jürgen Hubert Jürgen Hubert

Is Sexual Harassment Natural? Busting the biological imperative myth. "Sexual violence is the fault of the perpetrators, not their genes."  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/busting-myths-about-human-nature/201407/is-sexual-harassment-natural
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

Parenting Today...So Far...

HULK BABY SCOFF AT SAFETY STRAP ON CHANGE TABLE!  STRAP NO HOLD HULK BABY!  HULK BABY SIT UP ANYWAY AND BEND CHANGE PAD AROUND BACK!  HULK BABY BEND WORLD TO HULK BABY'S WILL!

...

Me: Peo!  You need to get this stuff packed!

Peo [leaping off of her bed onto the floor and landing on her chest]: Ahhhh!  You startled me!

Me: I've been standing here for five minutes saying this stuff!  How is it possibly startling at this point?

Peo: Um...

Me: PICK THINGS UP AND PUT THEM IN BOXES NOW.


...

Meanwhile, in the time I was upstairs educating Peo on basic sorting because apparently the gifted is gone today, Robin got a box of tissues and ate/shredded the last three in the box.  Smurfy blue partially-chewed soppy messes everywhere, including in her face.


...


Now I have to call the pediatrician and argue to have Robin's 15-month appointment a few weeks early so she can get her booster shots because the vaccine schedule in the UK is apparently different enough that she won't be able to get those same boosters there, and we won't be back until she's over two years old.

...

Oh and did I mention I AM TRYING TO PACK ALL OF MY CAKE STUFF AND THE ENTIRE KITCHEN AT THE SAME TIME AS ALL OF THIS?!



Image source: http://www.amazon.com/Darth-Vader-Son-Jeffrey-Brown/dp/145210655X
Kimberly Chapman Kimberly Chapman

Dumb optical question.  So, I didn't yet buy the glasses from ForEyes.  there is a hiccup with the vision coverage (husband screwed something up).
IF I find the frame I want online and buy it, do I just take it to ForEyes and demand lenses?
or am I supposed to search Zenni etc to see if they have the style, then give them my prescription?
It will take HR forever to correct the mistake, and I don't want to spend zillions if I don't have to.
mary Zeman mary Zeman

sunglasses winner.....
allthough, I was amused to see that the RayBans I wore back in 1990 are back in style, and I still have my old frames.... might just use those. 
mary Zeman mary Zeman

I'm in the Connectome! Neurodome released the Connectome Constellation of Kickstarter backers, and there's my name, near the middle. :)
Andrea Kuszewski Andrea Kuszewski

Thanks to NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body. http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/spitzer/kepler/precise-measurement-alien-world-20140723/#.U9EOlNR_s8o
Catherine Laplace-Builhe Catherine Laplace-Builhe

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

"Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

The U.S. imports organic soybeans from China, spices from India, and dried fruits from Turkey. "It just screams to my perhaps prejudiced, cynical, journalist's mind: Is there anything wrong with this?" Laufer says. "This needs some checking."

http://ow.ly/zwyDB
KQED SCIENCE KQED SCIENCE

Sickening call from Mike Adams, nautral-health purveyor, for journalists doing level-headed reporting on GMOs to be hunted down like Nazi collaborators (along with industry officials and scientists). http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/07/24/mike-adams-elevates-ugly-anti-gmo-campaign/#.U9EmCo1dU_t
Andrew Revkin Andrew Revkin

Betsy McCall -
+6 - 2 shares - 10 comments


Betsy McCall Betsy McCall

Researchers discover that brown fat protects against diabetes and obesity in humans

"In this study we show that, when activated via mild cold exposure, brown adipose tissue can increase energy expenditure and burn calories. This is good news for overweight and obese people," stated Sidossis. "Of even greater clinical significance may be the finding that brown fat can help the body regulate blood sugar more effectively. This is great news for people with insulin resistance and diabetes and suggests that brown fat may prove to be an important anti-diabetic tissue."

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have shown for the first time that people with higher levels of brown fat, or brown adipose tissue, in their bodies have better blood sugar control, higher insulin sensitivity and a better metabolism for burning fat stores.

"We showed that exposure to mild cold raised whole body energy expenditure, increased glucose removal from the circulation and improved insulin sensitivity in men who have significant amounts of brown adipose tissue depots," stated UTMB's Labros Sidossis, professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine. "These results support the notion that brown adipose tissue may function as an anti-obesity and anti-diabetic tissue in humans."
Ward Plunet Ward Plunet

"The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept."

While I would not call the present-day USA a fascist dictatorship, it is highly disturbing to watch how the US government is steadily acquiring all the tools needed for one.

I mean, being declared a "suspected terrorist" because some government flunky has "reasonable suspicion"? And the end result is that you will never fly with a plane starting or landing in the USA again? What the HELL, America?
Jürgen Hubert Jürgen Hubert

There is a lot of truth behind this sentiment.
Daniel Lemire Daniel Lemire

Awesome engagement ring idea. I know someone who would flip for this...and I'm going to ping you privately on this post.

 >.>  
<.<

Source: https://www.etsy.com/listing/124013592/for-the-girl-who-waited-tardis-wedding
Kimberly Chapman Kimberly Chapman

The Brocolli Frog
The Broccolli frog
Today I found a frog in my broccolli.  I kid you not. 
I had decided on a broccolli pasta for dinner.
I took the plastic packet of Broccolli out of the fridge, where it had been since I bought it at our local supermarket on Wednesday, and got ready to cut it into pieces.  Fortunately, when I picked up a large bunch, something caught my eye.
There tucked up in amongst the fronds was a little grey/brown frog. Very much alive! 
How could he/she possibly have survived?  How long has he been packaged and refrigerated?
Presumably he was harvested along with the head of broccolli and thrown into a basket.  Transported to the packing factory by tractor, I presume.  Washed, then lifted onto a conveyer belt perhaps, placed on a styrofoam plate and then wrapped in clear plastic. Then refrigerated.    
Stored in a cardboard box and sent off for distribution to the wholesaler. Refrigerated constantly, he must have been trucked to the supermarket, and merchandised out on to the cold shelf.
Then along comes me – the customer.  I bring him home and put him in the fridge for two days.  Yet today I find him alive.
Still marvelling at this little creature’s amazing ability to survive, I take a couple of photos and then release him into my garden (together with some small meal worms, in case he is hungry.
What an adventure for a tiny frog.
Jim Carver Jim Carver

You think the Queen knew?  
Lucian Randolph Lucian Randolph

mary Zeman -
+20 - 5 shares - 2 comments


mary Zeman mary Zeman

Invertebrate population has declined by 45% in a 35 year span, according to a new study.  This could have drastic and far reaching ramifications on the entire Terrestrial ecosystem

"Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. This decline matters because of the enormous benefits invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans, slugs and worms bring to our day-to-day lives, including pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-invertebrate-halve-human-population.html#jCp

Image credits: Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Ciro Villa Ciro Villa

"Readers, I’m talking to you:  despite what you might think, the media world that informs you – bloated as it is – is not healthy. Few bloggers have any notion of journalism ethics, and almost nothing you read took more than a day to report and write. You are thus less informed than you think you are."
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind." - Kurt Vonnegut
Wolfgang Alexander Moens Wolfgang Alexander Moens

Is winning all that counts? Are you absolutely sure about that?

Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai - bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
"But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."

He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it's a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy ...

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Spanish+runner+Iv%C3%A1n+Fern%C3%A1ndez+Anaya+helps+opponent+Abel+Mutai+cross+country+race/7839439/story.html
Praveen Kulkarni Praveen Kulkarni

I'm tired of batteries floating around in my camera bag. So I made two battery containers out of empty mint boxes. One for the charged ones, and one for discharged ones. Colour coded. Small enough to carry in my purse, but big enough not to get lost in the depth of my bag. They have a soft felt interior, and a soft bumper where the connectors sit. I will print a proper permanent label so it doesn't say "Mints" on them. Something funky. Not sure what yet.

I have a whole bunch of those little boxes. Maybe I'll throw them on Etsy, what do you think? Is there a market for them?

Now all I have to do is trying to get the glue off my fingers...
mary Zeman mary Zeman

Betsy McCall -
+18 - 6 shares - 1 comments


Betsy McCall Betsy McCall

"Random boarding is a scientific method (pdf) invented in 2008 by a frustrated Illinois-based astrophysicist named Jason Steffen who, after waiting too long in a boarding line, vowed to find a faster way to herd people onto a plane." http://qz.com/239424/why-boarding-an-airplane-feels-unfair-and-chaotic/
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

"America's prisons are broken. Just ask John Oliver and several puppets."
Wolfgang Alexander Moens Wolfgang Alexander Moens

Drought Becomes Top Environmental Priority for Californians

"Drought has moved to the top of the list in the latest survey of Californians’ environmental worries.

In a statewide poll conducted during the second week of July, more than a third of respondents (35 percent) cited water supply and drought as “the most important environmental issue facing California today.” That more than doubled the second most popular response, which was air pollution."

http://ow.ly/zxPEZ
KQED SCIENCE KQED SCIENCE

Today's adventure- visit to the ophthalmologist for the eye exam.  The nice man will tell me I need bifocals.  (sigh)  I'm pretty sure my prescription has changed all around. So, I also get the task of getting new frames (current frames too small for bifocals, I think.)
I love how you are supposed to pick out frames, by trying them on, which means taking off your glasses! so I can't really SEE how they look!!!!!  :(
I also need a better pair of sunglasses- the ones I have aren't that good in the bright sun when I'm out with K on her golf adventures.  need polarized lenses or something.
my mother's comment? "I can't believe my daughter is so old to need bifocals!!!"  LOL thanks mom!
mary Zeman mary Zeman

Canadian researcher, Michiel van de Panne, unveils his digital dog. It is a little sad when they knock him over (3:40), and when the poor thing misses a jump and hits his head (4:23).... but he is super cute when he sits and looks over at you (4:40)
Allison Sekuler Allison Sekuler

Oui oui! Pee pee!
Kimberly Chapman Kimberly Chapman

mary Zeman -
+19 - 4 comments


mary Zeman mary Zeman

Four weeks of increasingly challenging driving.
Emily Lakdawalla Emily Lakdawalla

GOG just released the first fifty Linux titles from their catalog. None that I really recognize from my youth so far, but MouseCraft and Darklands both look promising.

More at OMG! Ubuntu: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/07/50-classic-pc-games-now-available-linux-gog
Jan Moren Jan Moren

Selfie? Did somebody say selfie? I hate selfies. Allow me to tell you how much I hate selfies. Did I mention yet that I hate selfies?
Chris Mallory Chris Mallory

Creating a Fake Person Shows How Digital Anonymity Is Nearly Impossible

It’s not an exaggeration to say everything you do online is being followed. And the more precisely a company can tailor your online experience, the more money it can make from advertisers. As a result, the Internet you see is different from the Internet anyone else might see. It’s seamlessly assembled each millisecond, designed specifically to influence you. I began to wonder what it would be like to evade this constant digital surveillance — to disappear online.
Ward Plunet Ward Plunet

Spinach could lead to alternative energy more powerful than Popeye

Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel. Purdue University physicists are part of an international group using spinach to study the proteins involved in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun's energy into carbohydrates used to power cellular processes.
Ward Plunet Ward Plunet

By changing the climate of the Earth, we're running a big evolutionary experiment. Some new research shows how tricky it is to predict the result. I have the details in my new column for the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/science/study-gives-hope-of-adaptation-to-climate-change.html
Carl Zimmer Carl Zimmer

Scientists say we use only 8.2% of our genome. Imagine what we could do if we used it all! #lucymovie   #lucy  
Alan Boyle Alan Boyle

While this is from 2012, it's still valid.
Ignoring trolls is not a good practice.

Not to mention that there's recent research (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914000324) suggesting a connection between trollism and psychopathy.
Filippo Salustri Filippo Salustri

Woodpecker died doing what he loved... pecking wood

I noticed this strange growth on the side of my big maple tree. Turns out, it's a dead woodpecker. I'm not sure if you can see, but he's literally hanging on by a single claw.

How this guy died? I have no idea, but it must have been pretty quiet, for him to still be hanging on the tree.
Lucian Randolph Lucian Randolph

Welcome to our new CDLab Google+ page! We'll add content and posts as time allows, but for now you can learn more by visiting:
http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/~deak/cdlab/
Chris Robinson Chris Robinson

This is very strange. I kind of like it. 
Bug Gwen Bug Gwen

How to Argue Effectively

Although I have always disagreed with Dennett's views on consciousness (wrote a graduate paper once critiquing his view and titled it "Consciousness UN-Explained"), he is still an exceptional philosopher and is bang-on with these simple suggestions for critical commentary - especially for online commenting.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1: You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.

2: You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3: You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

4: Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

#criticalthinking #danieldennett #philosophy  
Lucian Randolph Lucian Randolph

Every Year 250,000 Horseshoe Crabs 'Donate' Their Blue Blood to Save Humans

"Horseshoe crabs' baby blue blood is used to test for bacterial contamination. However, we have to catch 250,000 crabs each year and drain their blood to do it."

http://ow.ly/zxRy5
KQED SCIENCE KQED SCIENCE

I've found this to be a particularly usable latin-english #dictionary.
You know, for the next time you need to talk to an ancient Roman or something.
Filippo Salustri Filippo Salustri

Dogs Feel Jealousy, Raising Questions About Its Evolutionary Origin

"Dog owners may actually be right when it comes to jealousy. That's because young infants and toddlers, with their immature, developing brains, appear capable of at least simple forms of the emotion. Indeed, it was after reading a small but growing literature on jealousy in babies that Christine R. Harris and Caroline Prouvost of the University of California, San Diego, decided to adapt the experiment for pet dogs."

http://ow.ly/zwyMT
KQED SCIENCE KQED SCIENCE

Disability Case Processing System.
mary Zeman mary Zeman

"The interactive swing set titled simply, The Swings, is comprised of illuminated panels that also trigger audible tones that harmonize as people swing. As more and more people join in the act of swinging turns into randomly improvised melody and light show."
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

My amazingly awesome high school buddy Matt Conant made the ultimate deconstruction of the 'Fake Geek Girl'. Watch and share, fellow nerds. This is great stuff!!
Scott Barry Kaufman Scott Barry Kaufman

I wish I could say I was surprised, I really do.
Jürgen Hubert Jürgen Hubert

Feds Propose New Safety Rules for Oil Trains

"The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing regulations that would make trains carrying oil safer. There have been several fiery oil train derailments in other parts of the country in the past year, and last July, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation exploded in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

The new rules include lower speed limits, better brakes and safer rail cars."
KQED SCIENCE KQED SCIENCE

Dogs experience jealousy.
Anyone who has had a good, long relationship with a dog already knows this, but it's nice to see it confirmed by #science  and used as part of the process of understanding how we evolved.

#evolution   #psychology  
mary Zeman mary Zeman

Great APOD! ALMA Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140724.html
Jenny Winder Jenny Winder

Yep - this always happens!
Mike Bergin Mike Bergin

It's official. I hate to part with him, but SLJ will have a new home. \m/
Matt Uebel Matt Uebel

Those "Jurassic Park" filmmakers better add more plumage to their CGI dinosaurs... 
Alan Boyle Alan Boyle

Dogs experience jealousy.
Anyone who has had a good, long relationship with a dog already knows this, but it's nice to see it confirmed by #science  and used as part of the process of understanding how we evolved.

#evolution   #psychology  
Filippo Salustri Filippo Salustri

July 24, 1969 - Apollo 11 Returns home
previous day -https://plus.google.com/116992234810067730471/posts/3aPB6Xt278N
‘God bless you,’ Apollo 11 tells waiting world

HOUSTON - The voyage was “made possible by the blood, sweat and tears of a number of people,” Mike Collins, Command Module pilot, told a world watching by television. “All you see is the three of us...below are thousands and thousands of people.”

Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin, normally a matter-of-fact and unemotional man, used a verse from the Psalms to reflect his feelings:

“When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which through hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, the last to speak, told the world:
“The responsibililty for this flight lies first with history and the giants of science who preceed this...next to the American people...and their desire...to four administrations...to the agency and industry team...

“Our special thanks go to all those Americans who built those spacecraft, did the construction, the design, the tests, and put their hearts and all their abilities into those tasks.

“To those poeple we give a special ‘thank you.’ To all the others who are watching tonight, God bless you.”
The astronauts ended their brief televised message to earth with a picture of it growing blue in the distance out the window. As the telecast began, Armstrong explained, “It seems appropriate to us now to share some of the reflections of the crew.”

Delighted laughter from the spacecraft Wednesday greeted the report that a baby had been named “Module” in their honor. A weather report, telling of rain in Houston after a long drought, was read to them. “I think my yard could use some water,” said Armstrong. “I wish you’d find out the last time my yard was cut,” Aldrin requested.
“How are the chinch bugs ‘getting along?’” Collins interjected.

Communicator astronauts Owen Garriott checked quickly with the families and told Aldrin:
“The grass will be close to your knees by the time you get out of quarantine,” Garriott told Aldrin.

“We have no report from the chinch bugs,” he told Collins.
“Well, they’re just sort of taciturn little fellows,” Collins reported. “They don’t say much. They just sit there and chomp away.”



At 12:21 p.m. the astronauts abandon the “engine room” of their spaceship - the service module which also provided electrical power, oxygen and fuel. Then Collins swings the blunt end of the cone-shaped module toward the atmosphere so that its heat shield can take the shock and heat of re-entry, which comes 14 minutes later.

12:35 pm Entry began as the heat shield took the brunt of the entry heating.

12:44 Drogue Chute deploy

12:39 Recovery aircraft have visual contact with the descending Command Module

12:46 VHF and radar contact established with recovery ships

12:50 Splashdown, apex -down Mission Elapsed Time 8 Days, 3 Hours 18 Minutes after traveling 952,700 miles

12:58 Command module righted (apex up)

1:04 Recovery team installs the floatation collar

Recovery team installs floatation collar post splashdown.
1:21 crew hatch is opened for egress

1:53 Crew arrives on recovery ship(USS Hornet) and enter mobile quaratine (they will stay in quaratine until August 3rd)

3:50 Command Module lifted from the water

Command Module being brought aboard the USS Hornet.
3:58 Command Module secured in quaratine facility

Over the next couple of hours the samples are removed from the vehicle


With the world’s praise flooding into the shiny metal trailer which unheroically confines them, the Apollo 11 astronauts sailed slowly homeward on the final leg of their fantastic journey to the moon.

“As a result of what you’ve done,” President Nixon told them aboard the USS Hornet after a precise splashdown, “the world has never been closer...we can reach for the stars.”
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Ed Aldrin listened to the President from inside the quaratine trailer in which they will spend the next two days making their way back to Houston by sea and air.

President greets the crew in quarantine.
The welcome from the first landing on the moon was a strange mixture of medical necessity and emotional outpouring. The first order of business for the astronauts after landing was to don biologically safe garments and to be sprayed with a yellow disinfectant to guard against any possible moon germs.

But it was President Nixon’s official welcome on the hangar deck of the Hornet, talking through a plate glass window to the astronauts, which emotionally capped an already emotional week.

“I think I’m the luckiest man in the world,” he told the spacemen, for having “the privilege for speaking for so many people in welcoming you back to earth.”

The President was bubbling with enthusiasm when he revealed to the spacemen plans for a state dinner Aug. 13 in Los Angeles with the governors of all the states, the Congress and representatives from foreign nations, and joked that he “made a date” with the astronauts wives for the dinner.

Would the astronauts attend, the President asked?
“We’ll do anything you say Mr. President,” Armstrong replied.
Nixon’s enthusiasm burst out as he bent over for a better look at the astronauts inside their trailer.

“Gee,” the President almost shouted, “You look great!”
“I was thinking as you came down and we knew it was a success, this is the greatest week in the history of the world since creation...”

Mission Control celebrates the completion of Apollo 11 mission.
#apollo11  
Michael Interbartolo Michael Interbartolo

Shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on 14 July images. More details about the latest image release in the #Rosetta blog: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/07/24/hints-of-features/

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA


#Rosettaarewethereyet #67P #comet  
Ciro Villa Ciro Villa

Possibly the biggest and most beautiful bougainvillea in the world!
Gail Barnes Gail Barnes

Parallel Tyrannosaur footprints unearthed in Canada suggest the fearsome predators were pack animals that may have hunted in groups to increase their odds of survival.
rasha kamel rasha kamel

When science communication and reporting becomes a mess - a contemporary case (though not a new one of this type)

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-marine-biologist-lionfish-sixth-grader.html
mary Zeman mary Zeman

A terror of tyrannosaurs—three sets of trackways show that these predators hunted in packs. 

Trackways—sets of fossil footprints—are preserved snapshots of a living animal in action, offering important clues about how dinosaurs may have moved and behaved.

HT +John Hutchinson
Mindy Weisberger Mindy Weisberger

How honey bees stay cool

Honey bees, especially the young, are highly sensitive to temperature and to protect developing bees, adults work together to maintain temperatures within a narrow range. Recently published research led by Philip T. Starks, a biologist at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences, is the first to show that worker bees dissipate excess heat within a hive in process similar to how humans and other mammals cool themselves through their blood vessels and skin. "This study shows how workers effectively dissipate the heat absorbed via heat-shielding, a mechanism used to thwart localized heat stressors," says Starks.
Ward Plunet Ward Plunet

Shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on 14 July images. More details about the latest image release in the #Rosetta blog: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/07/24/hints-of-features/

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA


#Rosettaarewethereyet #67P #comet  
Cristian Lorenzutti Cristian Lorenzutti

When science communication and reporting becomes a mess - a contemporary case (though not a new one of this type)

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-marine-biologist-lionfish-sixth-grader.html
Ciro Villa Ciro Villa

We're looking for a special kind of alien: intelligent, but environmentally clueless. Kinda like us:
Alan Boyle Alan Boyle

Meet the new recipient of the AIP Gemant Award, my own Sean Carroll.

“Science isn't a separate kind of human endeavor, utterly different from other things that we do,” said Carroll. “It's part of what makes us human, a natural outcome of our intrinsic curiosity and urge to better understand the world.” http://www.aip.org/news/2014/outspoken-caltech-scientist-wins-2014-gemant-award
Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette

Economists rate #climatechange  below other pressing problems.

They suggest focusing on "malnutrition interventions, malaria treatment, childhood immunization, deworming of schoolchildren, tuberculosis treatment, research and development to increase crop yields, early-warning systems for natural disasters, hepatitis B immunization, and low-cost drugs for acute heart attack" as well as others.

The problem I see here is that they're not necessarily the best "leverage points" against which to push to get the global human/earth system moving towards a better state.

If you look at Donella Meadows prioritized list of leverage points (http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system/ - which, BTW, I think is brilliant), you'll see that all the suggestions of the economists are relatively weak leverage points.

If we want to really make things better for everyone, we need to start looking deeper.

#successfulsociety   #systems  
Filippo Salustri Filippo Salustri

My latest at +BBC Future is on whether animals truly create art.
Jason Goldman Jason Goldman

Sickening call from Mike Adams, nautral-health purveyor, for journalists doing level-headed reporting on GMOs to be hunted down like Nazi collaborators (along with industry officials and scientists). http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2014/07/24/mike-adams-elevates-ugly-anti-gmo-campaign/#.U9EmCo1dU_t
Andrew Revkin Andrew Revkin

Note to self and fellow Boomers! Time to #RockYourAge  
Gail Barnes Gail Barnes

The 3,300-year-old carving once held the face of the god Amun, but pharaoh Akhenaten, who may have been King Tut's dad, had it and the associated hieroglyphs hacked out during a religious revolution.
rasha kamel rasha kamel

"It is a story of three scientists: a modelling specialist, an expert in a tiny mineral known as "zircon", and a volcanologist. Following a casual conversation, the researchers stumbled upon an idea, and eventually a new method to estimate the volume and flow of magma required for the construction of magma chambers was shaped. The technique they developed makes it possible to refine predictions of future volcanic eruptions as well as identifying areas of the planet that are rich in magma-related natural resources".
rasha kamel rasha kamel

"Medical toxicologists are reporting an increase in patients seen with brown recluse spider bites this summer. There are two components to spider bites -- the cutaneous lesion and, more rarely, the systemic symptoms that can occur following the bite".
rasha kamel rasha kamel

The dawn of Quantum Biology: Nature knows a few tricks that physicists don’t.
Very neat read.

"On the face of it, quantum effects and living organisms seem to occupy utterly different realms. The former are usually observed only on the nanometre scale, surrounded by hard vacuum, ultra-low temperatures and a tightly controlled laboratory environment. The latter inhabit a macroscopic world that is warm, messy and anything but controlled. A quantum phenomenon such as ‘coherence’, in which the wave patterns of every part of a system stay in step, wouldn't last a microsecond in the tumultuous realm of the cell. Or so everyone thought. But discoveries in recent years suggest that"
Read on: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110615/pdf/474272a.pdf

#quantummechanics   #quantumbiology #quantumcomputing    #greatread  
mary Zeman mary Zeman

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