Science Archive

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Click for full-size image.

See also: the Zombie Survival Guide.

There's no such thing as being too prepared.

True! Science! Fact!

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If you look really very closely at the IPCC "hockey stick" graph of global warming, you can see the bones of Piltdown Man.

True!

Science!

Fact!

The Science is Settled

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"Experts" and the press always get science right, don't they?

Apologies

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It's been brought to my attention that my referring to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs as "no more or less intelligent than a retarded howler monkey" might be considered to be offensive.

He is, in fact, no more or less intelligent than a retarded baboon.

I apologize for the error.

For the record...

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is no more or less intelligent than a retarded howler monkey.

On that, the science is settled.

Unnatural Selection

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I hear, lately, of people saying they will refuse to get immunized for H1N1 when the vaccine soon becomes available, either out of some sort of concern about the safety of the vaccine or — get this — because vaccinations are some sort of Government Plot™.

Allow me to opine: those people are idiots.

Even if there was a problem with vaccines causing unrelated illnesses — a point I am not willing to concede without a minimum of a metric tonne of evidence; the plural of "anecdote" is not "data" — you have to consider the odds.

Now, I know math is a weak point in the education of a great many people... perhaps 98% of them. But let me sum it up this way: a million-to-one chance of getting sick from a vaccine is approximately 10,000 times better than a 1% death rate from the H1N1 virus. If the H1N1 mortality rate is only 0.05%, the odds then are still 500 times better.

I am not a betting man, but I know which way I'll bet on this one.


A thought-provoking read that covers (among many other things) the subjects of viruses and vaccines is John Ringo's The Last Centurion. Being written from the point of view of a soldier, it is, shall we say, rather coarse... but it's an astonishingly good read.

Let's go!

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40 years....

I was a seven year old kid when Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the Moon, while Collins orbited above them. It was a time that, though the details may be fuzzy to me, I will never forget.

July 20, 1969 was a Sunday, and Moon landing or no, the Emerson family was off to church — first in the morning, but then there was also the evening service that we went to. I remember almost nothing about that day's religious observances, as such.

What sticks in my mind is the memory I have of standing around with my Dad and some other men outside the church as they finished their smokes (yes, cigarettes were legal then) before going in. Some of those men were the men that had defeated Hitler and Tojo in the fields and on the beaches and in the air and on the oceans of the world, and they then were the age I am now.

And all of them were looking up at the moon that night with wonder and awe... as was I.

I remember asking, with a seven year old boy's curiosity, if it was possible to see the spacecraft from here on Earth, and I remember the chuckled replies. We soon went in for the evening church service, and afterwards went home. We spent the remainder of the night in front of the TV.

All the turmoil of those years — assassinations, war, protest, rock and roll — none of it has meant as much to me as that one night.

It's been 40 years, and we've done... what? The entire Apollo program consumed less computing power than currently sits on my desktop, and the best we can do is an low Earth orbit space station?

It's long past time that Man become truly space-faring... and for the good of Man, for the good of the future of all of us, it had better be free men and women leading the way. And that means Americans should be out there among the the planets.

Let's get to it.

Medical experimentation

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I've been participating in an experiment. No, not participating. "Conducting" is the word I want.

Two weeks ago, I acquired a large bag of apples, and began consuming them at the rate of one per day. And so far, not a single doctor has approached me. Not a one.

I think we can say with confidence that an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.

Hurrah for Science.

I'm out of apples. I'd better get some before the day is out.

Paradox

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Instapundit Glenn Reynolds asks an interesting question, presenting one possible answer to Fermi's Paradox.

As much as the sci-fi nerd in me would like to think that it's possible there is life out in the universe, the pessimist in me suspects that maybe we're better off being alone.

Return to Space

Today might be a good day to remember the courage it takes to board a spacecraft... any spacecraft.

If you've never read Bill Whittle's eulogy for the Columbia astronauts, read Courage. If you have read it, do so again.

It may just be the single finest piece of writing ever published on the web.

Fireworks for the Fourth

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The impact portion of NASA's Deep Impact cometary probe mission appears to be a complete success:

impact.jpg

"See what free men can do!" — Burt Rutan

Lots more at Speed of Thought.

Profound Wallop

Sending a mission to examine — and punch a hole through — a comet: pretty dang cool.

Naming it after the chick-flick version of the Bruce Willis vehicle Armageddon: not quite so cool.

The real Sky Captains:

Lunacy

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Bad science doesn't stand a chance when it meets a guy named "Beaker."

Anniversary

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I'm just old enough to remember it well. 35 years ago today, the pinnacle of scientific achievement was reached.

Footprint

We haven't been back to the Moon since 1972. It's long past time we go again — to stay.

Quote of the Day

Congratulations to the folks at Scaled Composites and all involved with today's successful flight of a man into space.

Wretchard of Belmont Club:

The stars were never made for those who refuse to look up; nor are they vouchsafed to those enslaved by ancient hatreds.
Perhaps that is why Americans are leading the way into space. This is what free men can do.

Wireless Printing

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Glenn Reynolds asks:

SO DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCE with this wireless printer from HP? I'd like to set up wireless printing, but from what I've heard it's not really ready for primetime, and the reviews on this thing's Amazon page are, um, mixed.

What I'd like is a printer that will simply print from any wi-fi computer in range without any networking setup at all. I don't think that such a beast exists. Am I wrong?

Having spent the bulk of the last 4 years working on wireless networking, maybe I can provide something like an answer.

Quote of the Day

With regard to computers:

Interfaces are ok for newcomers, but people who actually know what they're doing use a magnetised needle and a steady hand.
Mike MacCana, on the linux-elitists mailing list

Another Giant Leap

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The Martian missile launchers must have been on the fritz tonight:

NASA Rover Lands on Mars, Signals Earth

I just finished watching the NASA/JPL press conference a little while ago. The mood of exuberance was palpable.

Good job so far, lads.

Ghoulishness Slightly Averted

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Well, this is a relief:

Edinburgh bans dead skinless child show from festival
Whether the dead skinless adults will be displayed, or not, remains to be seen.

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