random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  My lifelong love affair with books and reading continues unaffected by automation, computers, and all other forms of the twentieth-century gadgetry.

tagged: books, automation
  —Robert Downs, 1903- , Books in My Life.

Archive for the 'science' Category

stem cell research standing

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

The judge also finds that the two adult stem cell researchers who brought the case would suffer imminent and irreparable harm without the injunction because they would have to compete with embryonic stem cell researchers for research funds. That is absurd. Adult stem cell research is funded far more generously than work with embryonic stem […]

and, this week in the destruction of our children’s future world

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The Petermann ice shelf in Greenland (the northern-most glacier in the world) has lost a quarter of its mass, calving a 100 square mile iceberg now known as the “Petermann Ice Island (2010)”. Note that there is a “2010″ designation to distinguish this one from a smaller iceberg calved in 2008. Ed Markey had a […]

Gulf Oil Spill math

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

One of the best articles I’ve read on the math used to estimate Gulf Oil Spill quantities: Jenn Kepka’s “Putting the Gulf oil spill in perspective”, Salon.com, 5/28.

following in daddy’s footsteps

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

A health blog (why a health blog?) at the NYT covered research showing that as the 20th century progressed, more and more women followed in their father’s footsteps, career-speaking. Men have for a long time followed in their fathers’ footsteps at a rate of about 30%; women born in the 1910s followed in their father’s […]

marital happiness, kids, and, umm, housework

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

The New York Times covers research showing that marital happiness increases when the kids leave home. Contrary to popular opinion, which has suggested that parents — particularly moms — suffer depression from “empty nest syndrome”, research published in November in Psychological Science found that “marital satisfaction actually improves” when the kids leave home. But if […]

the giant hologram theory of the universe

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Yes, yes, the Inauguration is a big deal. And I am soooo glad that our long national nightmare is finally over. But. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our politics, fellow Horatios. Recent physics results help stitch together a number of findings, unexplained phenomena, and the usual bizarre […]

bad ideas like bad pennies keep turning up

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

A Louisiana state Representative is considering a plan to pay poor women to have their tubes tied, to stave off additional reproduction by undesirables. One wonders just how bad history classes have to be in Louisiana for John LaBruzzo to have actually failed to learn about the many, many times governments have tried programs like […]

Tech Coed

Friday, June 6th, 2008

My father-in-law (in Massachusetts) was in town for his fiftieth MIT reunion — class of 1958! He took my partner and me to a couple of events, and we noticed among the red-jacketed men a few red-jacketed women. By various accounts, there were nine to fifteen women (out of a thousand students) in the Class […]

women have human genomes too, it turns out

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Wow, after four men, a female human being’s genome finally got sequenced. Go Dutch. Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 27—Geneticists at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) have announced the first complete sequencing of a woman’s genome. The announcement was made at Bessensap, an annual meeting bringing together scientists and the press in the Netherlands. The DNA of […]

borg monkey

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Our cyberpunk future approaches: monkeys with brain implants can control robotic devices.

apparently i’m married to pharyngula

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Yesterday I excitedly pointed to this io9 blog entry about vat-grown meat: “You see!” I told my partner. “You see! I was right. We are going to have vat-grown meat, in our lifetime !!!” The “I was right” or “you were right” is the gold ring of our relationship. The ch-ching it makes when one […]

Copyright claims against Expelled

Friday, April 11th, 2008

4/11: I had previously (3/27) drafted a brief commentary on Expelled‘s use of copyrighted material. Then, I unposted it while I checked on something, to try to make it more complete. I hadn’t gotten back to it, when the other shoe dropped: One of the copyright holders’ whose material was used in Expelled wrote a […]

NIH open access policy now in effect

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Starting yesterday, NIH’s new open access policy is in effect, mandating deposit of NIH-funded research (no, really, this time they mean it). See A Blog around the Clock for more info, including relevant links to info about the comments — open till May 1.

adultery and the “alpha male”

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Natalie Angier began an article on sexual monogamy in the natural world by reference to the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. The entire article is a rebuke to the evolutionary psych hogwash that has been bandied about the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal, although I particularly enjoyed the first sentence of the second paragraph: You can accuse […]

geyser of icy particles

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

I just love the imagery in these descriptions of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, in Friday’s NYT 3/13: Cassini Gets a Cool Shower From an Ice-Spewing Moon Then again, no other 310-mile-wide ice-ball moon in the solar system has a geyser of icy particles shooting out of its south pole. Geysers of ice. Truly, this world is […]

but what are the baby-engineering applications?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

the awesome new blog from annalee & charlie (and others) io9 profiled research today on growing extra fingers. think of the piano competition bump on the resume that aggressive yuppie parents can give their six-fingered offspring!

telescoping action at the San Diego Zoo

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

This is one of my favorite sets of photos from Michele’s Variationen von poker set. and my visit to the San Diego Zoo in January, 2008. (Feel free to engage me in a conversation about the ethics of zoos.) If I had more of these I’d make an awesome flip-book. Okay, call me puerile. The […]

seed vault now open

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The seed vault I wrote about last year has opened, ahead of schedule. (NYT 2/26) Bent Skovmand would be proud.

on the sexiness of testosterone and unquestioned assumptions

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Last weekend I was listening to a program on “Testosterone” on “This American Life” (archive) and, predictably, my interest in the topic was equaled or surpassed by my exasperation and annoyance at its handling. “This American Life” is a one-hour show, that aims to do something rather cool: Shed some light on a topic by […]

tonight only — utterly total eclipse of the absolutely full moon

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Well, not only tonight, but only tonight for the last several and next few years. An amazing lunar eclipse will be highly visible in North America tonight (Wed., Feb. 20) — 10-11pm Eastern time, a total eclipse of the full moon. Sky and Telescope describes it as “America’s best lunar eclipse in years”. In addition […]


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