Friday, April 28, 2006

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Calvin College Censorship of Student Paper

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Calvin College Censorship of Student Paper

Calvin College Censorship of Student Paper

Posted on: April 28, 2006 11:33 AM, by Ed Brayton

A reader alerted me to a situation down at Calvin College, right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have many friends associated with Calvin, including the theistic evolutionist mentioned many times in the comments on a thread below, Howard Van Till (he's a retired physics professor from Calvin). Every year, the Calvin College student newspaper puts out a spoof issue and, apparently, this year the school censored it heavily. Since Calvin is a private school, such censorship is entirely legal. But the folks who put together the spoof issue decided to put their work up on a webpage and get around the school's censorship.

Oceanlink | marine sciences education and fun

Oceanlink | marine sciences education and fun:

"One of the uses that we came up with was using the slime as an egg substitute in baking, as the composition of the slime is mainly protein and water."

ABC News: Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Profitability

ABC News: Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Profitability:

"...But the most remarkable thing about Sinegal is his salary — $350,000 a year, a fraction of the millions most large corporate CEOs make.

'I figured that if I was making something like 12 times more than the typical person working on the floor, that that was a fair salary,' he said.

Of course, as a co-founder of the company, Sinegal owns a lot of Costco's stock — more than $150 million worth. He's rich, but only on paper.

Nell Minow, editor and founder of the Corporate Library ... said she was shocked to discover that Sinegal's employment contract is only a page long.

'Of the 2,000 companies in our database, he has the single shortest CEO employment contract. And the only one, which specifically says, he can be 'terminated for cause.'

Sinegal admits that 'paying high wages [to his employees] is contrary to conventional wisdom.'

Analysts seem to be the only critics of Costco and Sinegal. They think the company could make even more money if it paid its workers less — like Wal-Mart does.

Sinegal is unfazed by his critics. 'Wall Street is in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday,' he said. 'We're in the business of building an organization, an institution that we hope will be here 50 years from now. And paying good wages and keeping your people working with you is very good business.'"

SMARTHOME - X10, Remote Control, Home Automation, Wireless Security, Lighting Control

SMARTHOME - X10, Remote Control, Home Automation, Wireless Security, Lighting Control

Kapla World - Free Shipping - Kapla blocks - Award winning Kapla planks - All Kapla products

Kapla World - Free Shipping - Kapla blocks - Award winning Kapla planks - All Kapla products: "Kapla gently blends science and art, expanding both critical and creative thinking while children play."

Travel Waist Pack - Duluth Trading Company

Travel Waist Pack - Duluth Trading Company

Thieves can't steal this smart travel waist pack

Travel Waist Pack
Item 37009
Thick, reinforced belt loops mean this pack can not be torn off without your knowledge. Zipper pulls are recessed, out of the way of pilferers' fingers. Seven interior pockets include a large main pouch that is lined with soft fleece to "baby" your digital camera. Separate zip-front organizer holds a passport, ID, credit cards, currency, coins or snacks. Plus a front fleece-lined pocket for cell phone or glasses. Lightweight, water resistant 600-denier nylon is rugged enough for many global treks. Includes adjustable, removable nylon web waist strap. Cleans easily with a damp cloth. 6"W x 7"H x 2"D. Imported.



"Facts and Tips about ShapeLock

Reusable - Just reheat and remold, endlessly recycle-able.

Super Tough, Safe and Non-Toxic.

Machine-able - Easy to saw, drill, tap and mill.

Paintable - Readily accepts Acrylic hobby paints, dyes and pigments.

Excellent material for frames, brackets, forms, molds and custom parts.

How to Heat ShapeLock

With Hot Water - Place granules in a hot water bath of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, when the material turns clear remove it from the water bath with tongs, allow it cool for a minute or two and then squeeze out any excess water. A standard kitchen thermometer is useful for maintaining the correct temperature. Do NOT Overheat."

Cool Tool: Skillers Duckweave Pants

Cool Tool: Skillers Duckweave Pants

Skillers Duckweave Pants
Heavy work clothes
"These pants are made for working, and that's just what they'll do," it says in the catalog, and that is no shit. These pants are vastly sturdier, longer-lasting, more comfortable and beautiful than jeans. They have pockets below the knee that accommodate their custom-fitted light-weight kneeling pads. Those pads alone are worth the $60 price. I never realized how often around the house, tractor, and woods, I found myself holding my body at an uncomfortable, back-stressing angle until I had these pants that made kneeling easy and restful. They have pull-out pouches for nails or screws that are reverse slashed so you can get into them with either hand. In a marvelous example of intelligent design, these hang outside--unless, if they're not full, you want to tuck them inside the regular front pockets. An array of other pockets can hold everything from a cell phone to a wrench. They're the ultimate cargo pants.

skillers.web.jpgSkillers Duckweave Pants
Duluth Trading Co. Clarchives clarkhoward - Clarchives Prescription plans & costs Clarchives clarkhoward - Clarchives Prescription plans & costs:

"Feb 24, 2006 -- Medicare mess means more people get generics
The federal government’s new Medicare drug program has been a financial and administrative disaster. So news about prescription drugs has been negative. But there is a silver lining. As a result of the federal boondoggle, more consumers are learning about generic drugs. A recent study found that 90 percent of people switch to generic meds as soon as one is available. With any brand name drug prescribed for you, always ask your doctor if there is a generic equivalent. Also remember that doctors sometimes prescribe therapeutic drugs for a condition, and that can be successful too. The truth is that generics cost pharmacies 1/20th the cost of the brand name. But pharmacies sell them for much more, so they make a much huge profit on the generic drugs. Also important to mention is that Costco Wholesale uses very different pricing methods than most pharmacies. Any prescription, whether generic or brand name, is marked up from wholesale instead of marked down from retail. And, no prescription is marked up by more than14 percent. So, on brand names Costco will save you some, but on generics the savings is huge. Now, Costco is a membership club in most states, meaning you have to pay $45 a year to walk in the door. But, Costco cannot keep you out if you’re just getting a prescription."

The Pine Box: better casket value than Houston funeral homes

The Pine Box: better casket value than Houston funeral homes:

"The combined lawsuits accuse the world's largest funeral-service company, Houston-based Service Corp. International, of conspiring with competitors, independent funeral homes and the country's largest casket maker to fix prices and drive independent retailers such as Beresford out of business.

It alleges that the defendants have overcharged consumers by 'hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.'"

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Evidence mounts for sun's companion star

Evidence mounts for sun's companion star:

"Walter Cruttenden at BRI, Professor Richard Muller at UC Berkeley, Dr. Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana, amongst several others, have long speculated on the possibility that our sun might have an as yet undiscovered companion. Most of the evidence has been statistical rather than physical. The recent discovery of Sedna, a small planet like object first detected by Cal Tech astronomer Dr. Michael Brown, provides what could be indirect physical evidence of a solar companion. Matching the recent findings by Dr. Brown, showing that Sedna moves in a highly unusual elliptical orbit, Cruttenden has determined that Sedna moves in resonance with previously published orbital data for a hypothetical companion star."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cleversafe Open Source Community

Cleversafe Open Source Community

Canadian Music Creators Coalition: A New Voice

Canadian Music Creators Coalition: A New Voice

We are a growing coalition of Canadian music creators who share the common goal of having our voices heard about the laws and policies that affect our livelihoods. We are the people who actually create Canadian music. Without us, there would be no music for copyright laws to protect.

Until now, a group of multinational record labels has done most of the talking about what Canadian artists need out of copyright. Record companies and music publishers are not our enemies, but let’s be clear: lobbyists for major labels are looking out for their shareholders, and seldom speak for Canadian artists. Legislative proposals that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans or increase the labels’ control over the enjoyment of music are made not in our names, but on behalf of the labels’ foreign parent companies.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: ID Arguments from Creationist Sources

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: ID Arguments from Creationist Sources

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Evolutionary origin of the immune system: Annotated bibliography

Evolutionary origin of the immune system: Annotated bibliography:

"Contrary to the impression one might get from the ID literature, the transposon hypothesis was not idle speculation, it was not thought up yesterday over breakfast, it is not particularly vague, it is not untestable, and it is not scientifically useless. In contrast, by reading through the bibliography in chronological order, we can see that the transposon hypothesis was explicitly proposed and published in top journals, it was carefully and seriously discussed for decades in the professional literature, it has inspired a very productive research program (both experimental and comparative), it has been tested with diverse evidence by researchers working in many different labs, and it has been dramatically confirmed.

In short, it is a classic case of serious, advancing evolutionary science. Without ever getting mentioned in a newspaper article or cable news show, hundreds of PhD scientists have devoted their careers to working out how and why the immune system evolved. Any one of these researchers has quietly produced more research results than the entirety of the intelligent design movement with their collection of op-eds, webpages, in-house publications, books published by InterVarsity Press, one or two books by slightly more rigorous publishers but with dubious peer-review, and one or two review articles slipped into obscure journals."

DailyTech - Reprogrammable Coprocessors For Any Opteron Server

DailyTech - Reprogrammable Coprocessors For Any Opteron Server

DRC has announced its newest FPGA that drops into AMD's Socket 940

The Register has a fairly in depth look at one start-up's attempt to capitalize on AMD's HyperTransport interface -- a reprogrammable coprocessor that can drop into any Socket 940 socket. The company, DRC, built its programmable coprocessor on Xilinx Virtex4 field programmable gate array integrated circuits.

DailyTech - HyperTransport 3.0 Ratified Today

DailyTech - HyperTransport 3.0 Ratified Today

The most apparent change for HT 3.0 is the bump in the data rate clock. HyperTransport 2.0 had a maximum clock of 1.4GHz; HT 3.0 increases that to 2.6GHz. This brings the total bandwidth available up to 20.8GBps. Additionally, HT 3.0 adds hot-plugging so devices can be inserted and removed from the HT layer on the fly. Power management and AC interconnect mode also played a large part in the newest standard -- HT 3.0 will now transmit up to one meter at the maximum specified clock speed with no signal loss. Effectively, HyperTransport can be used to connect from one machine to another in the correct conditions. DailyTech previously spoke to PathScale, a company focused on making high-speed InfiniBand interconnects. According to PathScale, AMD's HyperTransport interconnect provides greater overall bandwidth and scalability over anything else currently available.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

American Scientist Online - Have We Solved Darwin's Dilemma?

American Scientist Online - Have We Solved Darwin's Dilemma?:

"The Modern Synthesis itself built on Darwin's two major realizations: first, that all living organisms are related to one another by common descent; second, that a primary explanation for the pattern of diversity of life—and especially for the obvious 'fit' of organisms to their environments—is the process that he called natural selection. It took about seven decades for biologists to add the next round of important building blocks to the Darwinian view of life. Modern Synthesists such as Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, George Gaylord Simpson and G. Ledyard Stebbins reconciled disparate fields of biology, from population genetics to paleontology, by expanding the array of evolutionary processes to include migration, mutations, assortative (nonrandom) mating and (random) genetic drift."

CODATA Value: Newtonian constant of gravitation

CODATA Value: Newtonian constant of gravitation

Newtonian constant of gravitation
 $ G $
Value 6.6742 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
Standard uncertainty 0.0010 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
Relative standard uncertainty 1.5 x 10-4
Concise form 6.6742(10) x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2

Click here for correlation coefficient of this constant with other constants
Source: 2002 CODATA
recommended values
Definition of
Correlation coefficient with
any other constant

Wired 14.04: Bringing Back the Brontosaurus

Wired 14.04: Bringing Back the Brontosaurus



taxon links [down<--]GnathostomataPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainextinct iconextinct iconextinct iconextinct icon]Terrestrial Vertebrates" title="Terrestrial Vertebrates">
Scientific Name Latimeria chalumnae
Location Vancouver Aquarium
Comments Preserved coelacanth
Acknowledgements The copyright owner has released this image under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Creative Commons license.
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Copyright © 2005 Yai&JR
Containing group: Gnathostomata

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

There is much debate on the interrelationships of sarcopterygian fishes (for an introduction to the literature see Nelson, 1994, and Carroll, 1988). Additional information on sarcopterygians including tetrapods is being assembled for the Tree of Life project by several contributors.

Information on the Internet

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution Check this out at Talk Origins.

One of the most celebrated examples of transitional fossils is our collection of fossil hominids (see Figure 1.4.4 below). Based upon the consensus of numerous phylogenetic analyses, Pan troglodytes (the chimpanzee) is the closest living relative of humans. Thus, we expect that organisms lived in the past which were intermediate in morphology between humans and chimpanzees. Over the past century, many spectacular paleontological finds have identified such transitional hominid fossils.

[Figure 1.4.4: Hominid skulls]

Figure 1.4.4. Fossil hominid skulls. (Images © 2000 Smithsonian Institution.) (larger 76K JPG version)

EO Newsroom: New Images - Goosenecks State Park, Utah

EO Newsroom: New Images - Goosenecks State Park, Utah

New Images

Goosenecks State Park, Utah

Goosenecks State Park, Utah Click here to view full image (1346 kb)

The sinuous black ribbon of the San Juan River cuts deep into the sandstone-pink landscape of southeastern Utah in this Ikonos image, taken on May 9, 2004. The image shows Goosenecks State Park, where the river is surrounded by canyon walls more than 1,000 feet high. Light gray, pink, and white striations (parallel lines) on the canyon walls mark where the river has eaten away at the ancient landscape to reveal 16 layers of geology, the oldest of which is well over 300 million years old.



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Austin Energy Excels as #1 Green Energy Electricity Utility in America

UPDATE: This is a list of the top ten green energy programs in the United States with the latest December 2005 figures and links to these electric utilities. One of the biggest differences we can make is to switch to "green energy" - energy generated from 100% renewable sources. Florida Power & Light is a new entry into the top ten at number four. The company recently announced the construction of the largest solar array in Florida on the site of a closed landfill in Sarasota. The 1,200 photovoltaic solar panels are each about 31 inches wide and 63 inches long. The facility is to be more than 28,000 square feet, or about half the size of a football field. "We sought a location that had a ground site large enough for 250 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels," said Jeff Bartel, FP&L VP of external affairs.

If you live in a part of the United States that is not served by an electric utility on this list please see this Map of Green Energy Providers by State.

Narus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Narus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Narus is a private company founded in 1997 by Ori Cohen, who had been in charge of technology development for VDONet, an early media streaming pioneer.

It is notable for being the creator of NarusInsight, a supercomputer system which is used by the NSA and other bodies to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of citizens' and corporations' internet communications in real-time, and whose installation in AT&T's San Francisco backbone gave rise to a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.

Ditto their other products.

And their Lawful Intercept Solution.

Previous NSA/domestic-spying Program-related posts include, but not limited to, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, particularly here, here, here, particularly here, emphatically here, here, here, here, here, particularly here, here, immensely emphatically here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here



TOM DELAY EFFED US, SO EFF 'EM BACK. Does everyone remember that federal election law -- say, who writes that, anyway? -- conveniently allows money raised for a re-election fund to be transferred to a legal defense fund? (Why, it's almost as if it were in the interest of representatives in Congress to make that easy and legal.)

Quoting a subscriber-only Roll Call piece:
A few lobbyists who helped raise money for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) — all of them outside the inner circle of the former Majority Leader — say they’d like the outgoing Congressman to offer them their money back.


His re-election kitty, probably worth upwards of $1 million, is widely expected to be shifted into a fund to pay his mounting legal bills. While these lobbyists didn’t mind cutting checks to the Majority Leader, or even a member of the Appropriations Committee, they aren’t so energized about spreading their generosity to DeLay’s legal team because, well, what’s in it for them?

The Raw Story | Ret. General hits three network morning shows calling for Rumsfeld's ouster

The Raw Story | Ret. General hits three network morning shows calling for Rumsfeld's ouster

Published: Friday April 14, 2006

Print This | Email This

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who led the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, appeared on the morning talk shows of all three major networks on Friday calling for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

Batiste told Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer that "leaders need to be held accountable."

"By that I mean, we went to war with a flawed plan," said Batiste. "We certainly had the troops necessary to win the fight to take down Saddam Hussein, but we in no way considered the hard work to win the peace. There was 10 years of good, deliberate war planning by U.S. Central Command that was essentially ignored."

On all three shows, Batiste said that, although a plethora of retired generals were now speaking out, it hadn't been a "coordinated effort" and that he hadn't even talked to the other ones.

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan:


Don't Wait, Calibrate
Learn to bend, Mr. Bush. You won't break.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

There have been, and apparently will be, personnel changes in the administration. The charmless and much-abused Scott McClellan is out; the focus of Karl Rove's portfolio has shifted back to hardball politics; Rob Portman to the Office of Management and Budget, etc. These shifts are not precisely cosmetic, but they do not signal Big Change. Whoever takes Mr. McClellan's place will put a new face on the news but will not change the news. Other things are needed for that."

...Bruce Bartlett has written of how, as a conservative economist, he was treated with courtesy by the Clinton White House, which occasionally sought out his views. But once he'd offered mild criticisms of the Bush White House he was shut out, and rudely, by Bush staffers. Why would they be like that? Because they believe that as a conservative, Mr. Bartlett owes his loyalty to the president. He thought his loyalty was to principles.

Saturday, April 22, 2006



"Get out the vote operations were critical to both sides, so when Democratic workers arrived at five key centers to find their phone lines jammed, they suspected dirty tricks.

They were right. The jamming was traced to an Idaho telemarketing firm. The fee for the jamming service, reportedly $15,600, was paid by the New Hampshire Republican Party through a Virginia consulting firm. Public records filed by the state GOP show three checks, each for $5,000, conveniently arriving to cover the charge just before the election. One was from Tom DeLay’s Americans for a Republican Majority; the others from Indian tribes that were clients of the now indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff."

Debian Administration :: Filesystems (ext3, reiser, xfs, jfs) comparison on Debian Etch

Debian Administration :: Filesystems (ext3, reiser, xfs, jfs) comparison on Debian Etch:

"There are a lot of Linux filesystems comparisons available but most of them are anecdotal, based on artificial tasks or completed under older kernels. This benchmark essay is based on 11 real-world tasks appropriate for a file server with older generation hardware (Pentium II/III, EIDE hard-drive)."

Surfin’ Safari

Surfin’ Safari:

"One area of Web design that is going to become more important in the coming years is high DPI. For those of us working on WebKit, this will also become an issue for WebKit applications and for Dashboard widgets.
What is DPI?

DPI stands for “dots per inch” and refers to the number of pixels of your display that can fit within an inch. For example a MacBook Pro has a 1440×900 resolution on a 15 inch screen. Screens exist for laptops, however, that have the same physical size (15 inches) but that cram many more pixels into the same amount of space. For example my Dell XPS laptop has a 1920×1200 resolution."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

DNA's Dark Side :: Astrobiology Magazine ::

DNA's Dark Side :: Astrobiology Magazine ::

DNA's Dark Side
Terrestrial Origins Summary (Apr 11, 2006): Chemists at Oregon State University have pioneered a controversial theory about how supposedly-stable DNA bases can be pushed into a "dark state" in which they are highly vulnerable to damage from ultraviolet radiation -- an idea that has challenged some of the most basic concepts of modern biochemistry.

based on an Oregon State University release

"But just since last summer this has been a key point of discussion at several conferences and caused quite an excitement, as people see the data," Kong said. "Among other things, it helps to explain how water, or something else serving the same role, could have helped lead to the evolution of life."

The core of the debate, Kong said, relates to the behavior of the nucleic acid bases -- adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine -- that as A-T and G-C base pairs form DNA and ultimately become the blueprint for all living things. One of the most basic premises of biochemistry is that these nucleic acid bases are very stable, as they would have to be to prevent rampant mutations and make an organized genetic structure possible.

But studies at OSU, which were done with highly sophisticated electron spectroscopy, showed that the alleged stability of the nucleic acid bases in DNA is largely a myth.

This graph shows how quickly ultraviolet (UV) energy deposited in the electrons of a nucleoside is converted to heat, which is then absorbed by water surrounding the nucleoside. Here, time is measured in femtoseconds, or quadrillions of a second. The diagram to the upper right of the image depicts a particular nucleoside -- adenosine. This molecule consists of a UV-absorbing base (shown in red) and a simple sugar (shown in gray) that binds it to the RNA backbone. This base is also found in DNA.
Credit: Ohio State University

"In their biological form, surrounded by other hydrogen-bonded bases, it's true that the nucleic acids which make up DNA are stable," Kong said. "But we found that living things, in their totality, provide an environment which creates that stability, through attachments within base pairs and/or with neighboring bases. These attachments allow damaging photonic energy to be released as heat. But a DNA base as an isolated molecule, just by itself, does not have that stability."

School Law

School Law:

"The real controversy

Although there is no genuine scientific controversy about evolution, I agree with Judge Jones that millions of people reject the theory of evolution for religious reasons. And therein lies the controversy: It is the conflict between people who accept evolution as a scientific theory for scientific reasons, and people who reject the scientific theory of evolution for religious reasons rather than scientific reasons."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nature's strongest glue could be used as a medical adhesive | Science Blog

Nature's strongest glue could be used as a medical adhesive | Science Blog

Hypothetically, C. crescentus's glue could be mass produced and used to coat surfaces for medical and engineering purposes.

"There are obvious applications since this adhesive works on wet surfaces," said IU Bloomington bacteriologist Yves Brun, who co-led the study with Brown University physicist Jay Tang. "One possibility would be as a biodegradable surgical adhesive."

C. crescentus affixes itself to rocks and the insides of water pipes via a long, slender stalk. At the end of the stalk is a holdfast dotted with polysaccharides (chains of sugar molecules). The scientists show in the PNAS paper that these sugars are the source of C. crescentus's tenacity. It is presumed these sugars are attached to holdfast proteins, but this has not yet been confirmed. One thing is certain -- the polysaccharides are sticky.

The Pearcey Report

The Pearcey Report

Depth of Time

Depth of Time

Grasping the Depth of Time as a First Step in Understanding Evolution

Published: August 23, 2005

Last month a team of paleontologists announced that it had found several fossilized dinosaur embryos that were 190 million years old - some 90 million years older than any dinosaur embryos found so far. Those kinds of numbers are always a little daunting. Ever since I was a boy in a public elementary school in Iowa, I've been learning to face the eons and eons that are embedded in the universe around us.

Eric R. Pianka

Eric R. Pianka

I am trying to find out if I can audit one of his courses.

Biology 304 Evaluations

Biology 304 Evaluations

Excerpts from Student Evaluations -- Fall 2004

This was the most fulfilling class I have had in UT yet. They should make it mandatory!

This has been my best biology professor during my time thus far. He really portays his love for the material, while really teaching with conviction.

I really enjoyed the Eco-Poetry and your perspective on ecology and biology in general. Every Biology and even non-Biology major should take this class.

Dr. Pianka -- Passionate, articulate, inspiring, and imaginative. Nice to take a course from such a prominent scientist and come away with better understanding.

I didn't ever want the last day of class to come. This course has been more valuable to my education and to my life in general than probably any other class at UT. The passion with which Pianka teaches is inspiring. As a keeper at the Austin Zoo/Animal Sanctuary, this course has given me a new outlook and greater respect towards the environment that I help to foster there. I never skipped class, knowing if I did I might miss something fascinating. Thank you, Dr. Pianka, for finally opening my eyes and mind to the world I live in.

Being of the same mindset as you, Dr. Pianka, I greatly appreciate your dedication to educating the university's undergrads about the plight of the earth and how wholly it is underscored by economic goals and successes. The only path to change is education.

have a much greater empathy for those non-human creatures who are suffering. Much of the info you taught is swept under the rug by politicians and corporations, and I am sad that it took an upper division college course to show me how important this is. I watch commercials with fear seeing all the new disposable products I will not buy. I am not writing this because I did well in this class (I HOPE to get a C!). I was truly touched by your dogma.

Dr. Pianka shows a passion for his work that rubs off on those he's teaching. I really enjoyed his class and it's had influence in my decision to pursue a career in ecology.

One of the most difficult courses I have taken, but also one of the most interesting. I disliked Dr. Pianka at first but he is a dang good teacher that believes in what he teaches. And that makes all the difference.

Amazing amount of knowledge and Passion to profess = Excellent Instructor

You have shown me new and interesting ideas. I wish more of my professors had the same passion you have. Thanks for the course.

This was an interesting course. I enjoyed listening to what you had to say about everything. Like the enthusiasm ... It helps and shows when you teach.

The Questionable Authority: The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise and Misrepresentation of Pianka.

The Questionable Authority: The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise and Misrepresentation of Pianka.

It's been several days since the attacks on University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka first began, and there's no end in sight. Yesterday, Texas governor Rick Perry's office compared Pianka to the Nazis, and today he is being required to talk to the FBI so that they can make sure that he's not a terrorist. Meanwhile, various portions of the right-wing community are continuing to rave against Pianka - the Uncommon Descent folks alone have no less than four posts up on the topic today.

Also today, the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise (the local paper that got the ball rolling on this whole affair) posted the transcript of another, more recent, speech by Pianka. This is interesting because the transcript is for the same speech discussed in the April 2nd Gazette-Enterprise article that was picked up by the Drudge report, sparking the national outcry.

Seed: Time to Give It Up

Seed: Time to Give It Up

New research chips away at the "irreducible complexity" argument behind intelligent design.

Lehigh biochemistry professor Michael Behe and his cronies in the intelligent design community have attempted to poke holes in evolutionary theory using an idea dubbed "irreducible complexity"—the notion that complex systems with interdependent parts could not have evolved through Darwinian trial and error and must be the work of a creator, since the absence of any single part makes the whole system void. However, a paper published in the April 7th issue of Science provides the first experimental proof that "irreducible complexity" is a misnomer, and that even the most complex systems come into being through Darwinian natural selection.

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted):

"A Malaysian man said he nearly fainted when he received a 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit ($218 trillion) phone bill and was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution, a newspaper, the New Straits Times, reported Monday.

Yes, you read that correctly; a $218 trillion phone bill."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Welcome! - SmoothWall

Welcome! - SmoothWall:

"SmoothWall Express is an open source firewall distribution based on the GNU/Linux operating system. Linux is the ideal choice for security systems; it is well proven, secure, highly configurable and freely††† available as open source code. SmoothWall includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system, so there is no separate OS to install. Designed for ease of use, SmoothWall is configured via a web-based GUI, and requires absolutely no knowledge of Linux to install or use.

Spam Daily News | EFF: AT&T forwards all Internet traffic into NSA

Spam Daily News | EFF: AT&T forwards all Internet traffic into NSA:

"'The evidence that we are filing supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment,' said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "

Open Letter to D-Link about their NTP vandalism

Open Letter to D-Link about their NTP vandalism: "The impact of of D-Link's abuse

Negotiations with the DIX management are ongoing, but the current theory is that I will have to close the server or pay a connection-fee of DKR 54.000,00 (approx USD 8,800) a year as long as the traffic is a significant fraction of total traffic to the server.

I owe $5000 to an external consultant who helped me track down where these packets came from.

I have already spent close to 120 non-billable hours (I'm an independent contractor) negotiating with D-Link's laywers and mitigating the effect of the packets on the services provided to the legitimate users of

Finally I have spent approx DKR 15.000,00 (USD 2,500) on lawyers fees trying to get D-Link to negotiate in good faith.

If I closed the server right now, wrote off all the time I have spent myself, then my expenses would amount to between DKR 45.000,00 and DKR 99.000,00 (USD 7,300 to 16,000) and several hundered administrators throughout Denmark would have to spend time reconfiguring their servers.

If on the other hand we assume I leave the service running and that the unauthorized packets from D-Link products continue for the next five years, the total cost for me will be around DKR 115.000,00 + 54.000,00 per year (approx USD 18,500 + USD 8,800 per year) or DKR 385.000,00 over the next five years (USD 62,000).

All of this is entirely due to D-Link's incompetent product design and I have no way to mitigate it."

Viruses "trained" to build tiny batteries - Yahoo! News

Viruses "trained" to build tiny batteries - Yahoo! News:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers trying to make tiny machines have turned to the power of nature, engineering a virus to attract metals and then using it to build minute wires for microscopic batteries.

The resulting nanowires can be used in minuscule lithium ion battery electrodes, which in turn would be used to power very small machines, the researchers report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The international team of researchers, led by a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used the M13 virus, a simple and easily manipulated virus.

'We use viruses to synthesise and assemble nanowires of cobalt oxide at room temperature,' the researchers wrote."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Building a Personal Digital Memory Palace? - 43 Folders Board

Building a Personal Digital Memory Palace? - 43 Folders Board

Microsoft: Don't sell PCs without operating systems - ZDNet UK News

Microsoft: Don't sell PCs without operating systems - ZDNet UK News:

"Naked PCs: Free software supporters are angry that Microsoft is putting pressure on PC vendors not to sell machines without an operating system installed"

ChaosOrder Physicists make baffling discovery

ChaosOrder Physicists make baffling discovery:

"While working on their model – a network of interconnected pendulums, or 'oscillators' – the researchers noticed that when driven by ordered forces the various pendulums behaved chaotically and swung out of sync like a group of intoxicated synchronized swimmers. This was unexpected – shouldn't synchronized forces yield synchronized pendulums?

But then came the real surprise: When they introduced disorder – forces were applied at random to each oscillator – the system became ordered and synchronized.

'The thing that is counterintuitive is that when you introduce disorder into the system – when the [forces on the pendulums] act at random – the chaos that was present before disappears and there is order,' said Sebastian F. Brandt, physics graduate student and lead author of the study which appeared in the January 2006 edition of Physical Review Letters.

Scientists Develop Switchable Focus Eyeglass Lenses

Scientists Develop Switchable Focus Eyeglass Lenses
Nasses Peyghambarian, UA professor of optical sciences, materials science and engineering, with prototype switchable focus eyeglasses. Industry will commercialize more fashionable specs.
Optical scientists have developed eyeglass lenses that switch focus in a blink of an eye.

Optical scientists at The University of Arizona have developed new switchable, flat, liquid crystal diffractive lenses that can adaptively change their focusing power. That's great news for those old enough to wear bifocals.

And it's great news for anyone with imperfect vision, for it opens the way for next-generation "smart" eyeglasses -- glasses with built-in automatic focus.

In the foreseeable future, for example, you won't change prescription eyeglasses -- your eye doctor will just tweak a new prescription into the specs you already own.

You could even program your glasses for better than 20-20 vision.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pharyngula: The swiftboating of Eric Pianka

Pharyngula: The swiftboating of Eric Pianka How did things get this bad?

Nick Matzke has a good post on Pianka at the Thumb, addressing the smear campaign against him*. He links to an interview with the good Dr—what he's saying is simple sense, common in the biological community, and he's not endorsing mass murder…
Get used to it. This is part of the right-wing strategy to attack the academy: when scientists honestly state bad news (and there is much bad news, and it's growing), they are going to be rabidly accused of all kinds of outrageous crimes. It's the new McCarthyism. The majority of us do not support short-sighted policy, we don't endorse jingoism, we are going to urge people to think before acting, we are going to predict the consequences of bad policy, and we are generally going to be critical of demagogues and fools…and that is being treated as a crime.

Edward A. Villarreal. Powered by Blogger.


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