Friday, March 26

Slate has a nice article cutting through the OxyContin hysteria, a typical drug-war narrative based on hype, not facts.

Thursday, March 25

Following up on Jason's Tuesday post, which I read and liked. I just got the first issue in a gift subscription to Scientific American. And I have to say, it is a weird magazine. The fringes of current science are way out there! I, also, have some ideas on why smart people believe weird things.
1) The scientific explanations that "disprove" paranormal phenomena are based on the scientific method and its insistance on replicating events and isolating variables, while the nature of paranormal phenomena is grounded in circumstance, sycnchronicity, and the unique experiential moment. The "objective science" of debunking can't challenge the subjective and experiential nature of the phenomena; it lacks the emotional truth to shake someone's belief.
2) Science itself is, in fact, very weird. Very weird, very legitmate science includes:
nonlocality - things don't actually have to be near each other to interact (flash demo here);
string theory (a multi-demensional explanation for the nature matter);
and the whole commonly accepted idea that all the matter of the universe was compresses into once place billions of years ago and exploded from that one point and has been moving out from there ever since - you know, the big bang idea.
All of these ideas have logical and emperical facts backing them up and great scientific validity, but all are way out there from the ways we think about our world during everyday life.

Monday, March 22

Here's a funny site that reads a bit like a snapshot of what I am up to, these days, as I wait for one of those interviews to pay-off...
Wandering about sci.skeptic the other night, I came across what I thought was an interesting discussion about Occam's Razor. After digging down into the thread, things seemed to get a little ugly. Googling some of the more active participants revealed a nut-job Scientologist and her nemesis (my hero for the day). After that, stream-of-consciousness would allow my mind to go nowhere except the subject of Tom Cruise, who I believe is a happy card-carrying member of that cult. My mind continued to wander along the lines of "handsome actors, not too bright, religious freaks" and of course the path of least resistance led me to Mel Gibson, who I now personally believe is a pervert, or a sadist, but at the very least has some real problems. (And here's the smack-down.)

Friday, March 19

Funny Friday, but sadly, only funny beacuse it's true: "City council members in Port Orange passed a controversial law that bans outdoor smoking in front of children at public parks and recreation properties, according to Local 6 News."
Tip of the hat to Jacob Sullum who'd "like to direct Port Orange's leaders to (his) proposal for banning fat people from public parks--an idea that seems all the more appealing now that excess weight is expected to surpass smoking as a cause of death any day now."

And in other news, Mel "I am an idiot in the first degree" Gibson's new movie inspires love, er, fighting among lovers in Georgia.

Wednesday, March 17

Europeans are beginning to question America's motives more than ever. Or perhaps a more accurate way of putting it is they are seeing through to the truth.
David Blunkett, currently the Labour Home Secretary, "will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than £3000 for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn’t have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets."

Tuesday, March 16

Here is a recent article on Alternet reminding us of the value of the Genuine Progress Indicator.
Congressional investigators are scrutinizing television segments in which the Bush administration paid people to pose as journalists praising the benefits of the new Medicare law, intended to help elderly Americans with the costs of their prescription medicines.
State court to DEA agent - return that man's pot! A court stands up for states' and individuals' rights against the federal government.

Monday, March 15

Thursday, March 11

I've been off-line a lot lately.
I don't like being off-line that much, though I have been reading more books in this time.
I don't like the president's attitude on bio-ethics and politics.
I don't like Disney that much, and I don't like the fact that they get so much government welfare, neither.
I don't like the brewing culture war and the government getting all prissy and indignant.
I do like having HBO in my new apt., though (for this!)
I may have exceeded your daily allowed intake of crankiness. Sorry.

Sunday, March 7

Artist Marianna Fekete labors within the limits of her medium in an attempt to express three-dimensional form, constrained to a two-dimensional plane, inspired by the structure of music.

Saturday, March 6

... And welcome back, John!
I dunno. Seems to me that the Republican National Committee will use whatever it takes to keep their Prez in favorable light. First Moveon.org was declined Superbowl commercial time, and now this.
How's that old song go? I haven't got time for the pain...
Well, the Feds say you better make time, 'cause you won't get the help you need. Yup, this is compassionate conservatism.

Monday, March 1

Ecopaint soaks up noxious gases from vehicle exhaust--it will go on sale in Europe this month. Clever, useful and the effort should be applauded, but unfortunately it's another "band-aid" solution.