19 March 2006

Semi-Random Spatterings of Scienceon Sunday

I haven't done this in a while, mostly because nothing's sufficiently caught my interest at a time when I had time to put it up in a timely manner, but here are some science-oriented links.

From Pharyngula, a plan for Cyborg Insects. It's worth skimming through the comments. I think the point is well-taken that, whether it works or not, the attempt will produce useful results. Though I'll be the first to admit that the idea is a bit far-fetched.

Also, from Good Math, Bad Math, an argument that Irreducible Complexity is unfalisifiable. It is quite elegant. In a nutshell, it is impossible in general to prove that any system is "minimal," because the ability to decide that something is "minimal" produces a contradiction. Much like Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. Good Math, Bad Math is a relatively new blog that I encountered via Pharyngula, and it is quite a refreshing addition. He's also got several discussions about bad probability arguments that are well worth reading.

A bit late, here's an awesome astronomy picture of the day, with cool (er, hot) science to go with it.

From UTI, an article discussing possible reasons we haven't had radio contact with any extra-solar intelligences yet. Pure speculation, but a lot of fun (check out the archives for some similar discussions a week or so ago).

Next, a discussion warmer sea temperatures and hurricanes. Whether you believe warmer temperatures are human-caused or not, it is no longer defensible to deny that the world is warming. (On the same site a while back, there was a discussion that, depending on the measure, it was impossible to say which of the previous ten years was the warmest on record, but the warmest year was ALWAYS within those ten) My take on this is that, maybe there's not enough data to conclude humans are responsible, but as we've found nothing else in the geologic record remotely like this and we have caused some MAJOR changes, it would be idiotic, irresponsible and insane not to consider that a likely possibility and take action accordingly. On a related note, CO2 levels continue to rise.

And from the external to the internal, sleep aid drugs may have some bizarre side effects. Choices make people less happy. And happiness makes ofr less accurate memories, while depression tends to induce more accurate ones. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, perhaps?

Anyway, that's enough for a while. Enjoy.

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