Monday, June 19, 2006

Citizens for Science | Promoting Science Education

Citizens for Science | Promoting Science Education Blog Channel » Blog Archive » DEMOCRACY CHANNEL: Faceoff between Mike McCurry and Paul Misener Blog Channel » Blog Archive » DEMOCRACY CHANNEL: Faceoff between Mike McCurry and Paul Misener:

"This morning, Mike McCurry, co-Chair of the telecom-backed Hands off the Internet campaign debated Paul Misener, Vice President for Global Public Policy at on the issue of net neutrality and government regulation of internet service providers at George Washington University. Following the debate, the audience asked both speakers a number of probing questions"



National Center for Science Education

National Center for Science Education

Library of Congress Online Catalogs

Library of Congress Online Catalogs

Word Mutagenation! Zachriel's Word Mutation and Evolution Experiment

Word Mutagenation! Zachriel's Word Mutation and Evolution Experiment

A Creationist, Sean Pitman, had suggested an analogy between the evolution of genes and the evolution of words. His contention was that evolving words by simple mutation would be impossible for words more than a few letters in length. This is his basic claim:

"The problem here is that there simply is not enough time this side of zillions of years to get the limited number of phrases to "bump together" enough times to make anything beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity without the input of a higher intelligence or pre-established information system. It just won't happen. Try it and see." ...

This argument is representative of Creationist thinking, and improperly equates random chance with evolution through mutation and selection. This newsgroup post can be found here. ...

Using these simple mutational rules, I derived a big of doggerel in iambic verse, "Beware a war of words ere you err." You can read the entire poem, its derivation, and then click to the entire newsgroup exchange from here.

Of course, the Creationist then moved the goalposts. He claimed I had failed to account for snips, that is, recombinations of pieces between different words, that if I would count all the possible mutations plus all the possible recombinations, that the number would be so big that random chance would not be able to navigate through all the possibilities.

... But no matter. I accepted the challenge anyway. We know that a path exists between the single-letter word "O" and "Beware a war of words ere you err", so it is only a matter of determining how many mutations are required to discover that path. If it is "zillions", then we will cede the argument to our Creationist friend. But in fact, we will demonstrate that it is significantly less than "zillions", indeed, is less than "trillions and trillions".

The results are discussed later in this essay under the title "A Pond of Doggerel".

... In any case, the programs are quite interesting to watch, and clearly demonstrate that our Creationist friend is not only wrong, but completely, absolutely, utterly wrong.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Dry ice creates toughened glass

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Dry ice creates toughened glass:

"A form of solid carbon dioxide that could be used to make ultra-hard glass or coatings for microelectronic devices has been discovered.

The material, named amorphous carbonia, was created by an Italian led team.

The scientists told the journal Nature that the material was always thought to be possible but, until now, had never been created in the lab.

It was made by squeezing dry ice, a form of carbon dioxide used to create smoke in stage shows, at huge pressure.

Scientists are interested in the new material because of the potential applications. Also, they believe it could give them clues to the processes that happen in the centre of huge gas giant planets such as Jupiter."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

KCFS News and Resources - News and resources about science, science education, and related topics here in Kansas. » Sound files from KC Press forum

KCFS News and Resources - » Sound files from KC Press forum

These are links to sound files of the forum (May 4, 2006) sponsored by the Kansas City Press Club on the subject of Intelligent Design, Intelligent Media: Is Coveage Accurate? All files are mp3 files.

File 1 File 2 File 3 File 4 File 5 File 6 File 7 All files

Fossils Across Geological Time and Evolution

Fossils Across Geological Time and Evolution

The Virtual
Fossil Museum
Fossils Across Geological Time and Evolution

Virtual Fossil Museum Logo

Pharyngula: Polar lobes and trefoil embryos in the Precambrian

Nice Article

Polar lobes and trefoil embryos in the Precambrian

Category: DevelopmentEvolutionFossilsOrganismsScience
Posted on: June 16, 2006 1:37 PM, by PZ Myers


Smithsonian removes electric-car exhibit

Smithsonian removes electric-car exhibit

WASHINGTON -- Just weeks before the release of a movie about the death of the electric car from the 1990s, the Smithsonian Institution has removed its EV1 electric sedan from display.


The National Museum of American History removed the rare exhibit yesterday, just as interest in electric and hybrid vehicles is on the rise.

The upcoming film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" questions why General Motors created the battery-powered vehicles and then crushed the program a few years later. The film opens June 30th.

GM happens to be one of the Smithsonian's biggest contributors. But museum and GM officials say that had nothing to do with the removal of the EV1 from display.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cinevision 2006: 5000 x 2000 pixels create high-def for movie theaters | TG Daily

Cinevision 2006: 5000 x 2000 pixels create high-def for movie theaters | TG Daily:

"Three German companies yesterday demonstrated what could be considered the ultimate movie experience of the future: If you thought it just doesn't get better than a 1080p high-definition home theater, think again: Cinevision 2006 runs at a stunning 10 megapixel resolution and promises to improve to 16 megapixels down the road"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Digital Tabletop Videos

Digital Tabletop Videos:

"This video shows a brief video of multi user speech and gesture over Google Earth and Warcraft III."

'Re: Hifn policy on documentation' - MARC

'Re: Hifn policy on documentation' - MARC

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

Saturday, June 10, 2006

news @ - Fungus eats enduring plastic - Voracious microbe points way to recycling resins.

news @ - Fungus eats enduring plastic - Voracious microbe points way to recycling resins.:

"the resins are so tough that they cannot be melted and reused. About 2.2 million tonnes of phenolic resin are produced in the United States every year, around 10% of the country's total plastic production.

Some scrap phenolic resins are simply ground up and used in other plastics. Another experimental recycling method uses heat and chemical solvents, but this is expensive and produces dirty by-products.

Adam Gusse and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse wondered whether white-rot fungi might be able to attack the resins. These fungi are commonly seen on rotting tree stumps and manufacture an array of enzymes able to break down the tough lignin in wood. Lignin has a similar chemical structure to phenolic resins, because it is also made up of ring-like molecules strung together.

Friday, June 09, 2006

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight Home | Hollywood and the hackers

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight Home | Hollywood and the hackers:

"The biggest pirate movie site on the Internet was raided by police a few days ago. Within 48 hours it was up and running in a different country. It's just another week on the barricades of the information revolution."

Flash: VMWare eats Microsoft's lunch again, steals toys, cuts in line - Computerworld Blogs

Flash: VMWare eats Microsoft's lunch again, steals toys, cuts in line - Computerworld Blogs:

"It's always a hard thing for me not to naturally root for the smaller guy. These days, when it comes to VMWare, it's a little unclear who the small guy is, but the battle back and forth with Microsoft is starting to look like a bad day at recess with the big kid walking all over the little punk.

In a market that Microsoft is trying to invade by a continued replay of standard tactics (acquisition, development, forced entry by giving away product for free), VMWare continues to dominate. It's interesting to think about how it is succeeding.

One thing, is product depth and focus. Somehow, the EMC goliath managed to pickup VMWare but have enough wits to let them continue to do what they're good at.

But the other thing, is that VMWare has locked onto Microsoft's weak spot with the grip of a bulldog. VMWare is doing this by really giving us what we need from the MS Windows OS, that Microsoft has never been able to deliver. VMWare is actually delivering Microsoft's product in the way that Microsoft should be delivering it. And that makes some of us bigger VMWare supporters than we are Microsoft supporters - VMWare has been the first product in a long, long time that I'll pay the vendor's asking price without grumbling under my breath."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

IEEE Spectrum: Moore's Law Meets Its Match

IEEE Spectrum: Moore's Law Meets Its Match:

"But in many cases, those Moore's Law ICs deal with only 10 percent of the system. The other 90 percent is still there, showing up as an array of bulky discrete passive components—such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, antennas, filters, and switches—interconnected over a printed-circuit board or two. Real miniaturization requires something more, and we have it in the system-on-package (SOP) approach we're pursuing at the Microsystems Packaging Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta. SOP leapfrogs well beyond Moore's Law. It combines ICs with micrometer-scale thin-film versions of discrete components, and it embeds everything in a new type of package so small that eventually handhelds will become anythingfrom multi- to megafunction devices [see illustration, preceding page]. SOP products will be developed not just for wireless communications, computing, and entertainment. Outfitted with sensors, SOPs could be used to detect all manner of substances, toxic and benign, including chemicals in the environment, in food, and in the human body."



The worst bill you’ve never heard of

This will be a busy week in the House -- Congress goes into summer recess Friday, but not before considering the Section 115 Reform Act of 2006 (SIRA). Never heard of SIRA? That’s the way Big Copyright and their lackey’s want it, and it's bad news for you.

Simply put, SIRA fundamentally redefines copyright and fair use in the digital world. It would require all incidental copies of music to be licensed separately from the originating copy. Even copies of songs that are cached in your computer's memory or buffered over a network would need yet another license. Once again, Big Copyright is looking for a way to double-dip into your wallet, extracting payment for the same content at multiple levels.

Today, so-called "incidental" copies don't need to be licensed; they're made in the process of doing *other* things, like listening to your MP3 library or plugging into a Net radio station. If you paid for the MP3 and the radio station is up-to-date with its bookkeeping, nobody should have to pay again, right? Not if SIRA becomes law. Out of the blue, copyright holders would have created an entire new market to charge for -- and sue over. Good for them. Bad for us.

Don't let Big Copyright legalize double dipping. Fight SIRA today.

Roaming charges: Hot doggity -- it's HD radio!

Roaming charges: Hot doggity -- it's HD radio!:

"Most people realize that satellite radio is a consumer option these days, due to the massive marketing efforts of the two existing services. But far fewer people know that a digital alternative to satellite radio, HD (for high definition) radio, is also up and running in most major markets in the US. The reason HD hasn't taken off yet is simple: while terrestrial broadcasters have already installed all the hardware to transmit the HD signal, the receivers are just starting to show up."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NASA - Huge Storms Converge

NASA - Huge Storms Converge

June 5, 2006: The two biggest storms in the solar system are about to go bump in the night, in plain view of backyard telescopes.

Storm #1 is the Great Red Spot, twice as wide as Earth itself, with winds blowing 350 mph. The behemoth has been spinning around Jupiter for hundreds of years.

Storm #2 is Oval BA, also known as "Red Jr.," a youngster of a storm only six years old. Compared to the Great Red Spot, Red Jr. is half-sized, able to swallow Earth merely once, but it blows just as hard as its older cousin.

see caption

Monday, June 05, 2006

Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines

Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines:

"In the three years since Americans gained federal protection for their private medical information, the Bush administration has received thousands of complaints alleging violations but has not imposed a single civil fine and has prosecuted just two criminal cases.

Of the 19,420 grievances lodged so far, the most common allegations have been that personal medical details were wrongly revealed, information was poorly protected, more details were disclosed than necessary, proper authorization was not obtained or patients were frustrated getting their own records."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Darwin | American Museum of Natural History

Darwin | American Museum of Natural History

Cuffey 2 - Transitional Fossils

Cuffey 2 - Transitional Fossils:

"The real test for evolution rests in the fossil record (R. Cuffey, 1984, 1999; Glenister & Witzke, 1983). Because evolution is descent with modification, the rock record should contain fossils that illustrate how the morphology was modified. Moreover, these fossils should be found in a geochronologic succession. Such fossils that are morphologically and geochronologically intermediate between two taxa are termed transitional fossils (R. Cuffey, 1984, p. 256, 1999)."

Smooth Change in the Fossil Record

Smooth Change in the Fossil Record

There are several reasons why smooth gradation is an interesting topic. But first, let's see if it actually happens.

Address to Graduates of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

"This weeks Scientific American Podcast plays excerpts from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's commencement address at John Hopkins University (text and video can be found online). ...he makes a strong, pro-science speech. It is impressive how he very directly demonizes those that would politicize stem cell research, global warming, Terry Schaivo, and evolution." ...

CSE P 590TU: Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography, Winter 2006

CSE P 590TU: Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography, Winter 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Panda's Thumb

The Panda's Thumb:

"It can’t be said often enough that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." : Campaign gets tangled in website spoof : Campaign gets tangled in website spoof:

"Mr. Volpe's campaign had the site shut down without knowing, it seems, who put it up: 'Hi Everyone,' wrote Brenden Johnstone, who is with the Volpe campaign, in an e-mail to other leadership campaigns. 'There has been concern about how the issue of the Volpe donations was reflecting on the leadership race.

'My Office has had the website suspended through CIRA [Canadian Internet Registration Authority] and CDNS [Canadian Domain Name Services] and it will be down as soon as 6 p.m. I think the issue with the website has been dealt with. . . .'

At one point, the Michael Ignatieff campaign's Quebec youth director, Marc-André Gendron, was suspected because the website was similar to other political sites he had created. Mr. Gendron denied any involvement, pointing out that one of the testimonials was from two children named Chris and Toby Aggarwal. As it turns out, Sachin Aggarwal is the Ignatieff campaign's director of operations."

Phone-man's Home Phone Wiring Advice Page - DSL - Digital Subscriber Line

Phone-man's Home Phone Wiring Advice Page - DSL - Digital Subscriber Line

Friday, June 02, 2006 - broadband speed test and broadband community - broadband speed test and broadband community

Accurate upload and download connection speed testing, with the ability to track your connection history. Though bandwidth testing is's primary service we also offer many other internet related tools, such as traceroute, ping, whois, DNS query. We also offer many guides to help you get the most out of your computer and most importantly get the most out of your internet connection. We have a growing community along with an expansive community forum and industry news.

Slashdot | ISPs Offer Faster Speeds, Why Don't We Get Them?

This sounds like fun.

Slashdot | ISPs Offer Faster Speeds, Why Don't We Get Them?:
"If a LOT of people are VERY frustrated AND willing to spend hard cash to get this fixed once and for all, you might want to investigate the pros and cons of setting up a DSL cooperative. The teleco can't deny you equal access to the CO (that's law), but industrial-strength network equipment (DSL modems, high-end routers, T3 or T4 line) - that isn't cheap. And, yes, you probably would need to go to a T3 or T4 in order to make the whole thing fast enough to pay for itself. This is NOT a recommended option, without some serious funding behind it. However, if the funding is there, it is the one path you can take that (a) guarantees you the results you want, (b) guarantees the ISP has consequences it WILL notice, and (c) guarantees you the undivided attention of every disenchanted geek and abusive ISP on the planet - at least, for a week or two."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Trevor Carpenter A Calendar of Hampshire Birds.

Trevor Carpenter A Calendar of Hampshire Birds.

Wired 14.06: Don't Try This at Home

Wired 14.06: Don't Try This at Home:

"The CPSC’s war on illegal fireworks is one of several forces producing a chilling effect on amateur research in chemistry. National security issues and laws aimed at thwarting the production of crystal meth are threatening to put an end to home laboratories. In schools, rising liability concerns are making teachers wary of allowing students to perform their own experiments. Some educators even speculate that a lack of chem lab experience is contributing to the declining interest in science careers among young people.

United Nuclear got its computers back a few days after they were hauled away, and three years passed before Lazar and White heard from the authorities again. This spring, the couple was charged with violating the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and shipping restricted chemicals across state lines. If convicted, Lazar and White each face a maximum penalty of 270 days in prison and a $15,000 fine.

The lure of do-it-yourself chemistry has always been the most potent recruiting tool science has to offer. Many kids attracted by the promise of filling the garage with clouds of ammonium sulfide – the proverbial stink bomb – went on to brilliant careers in mathematics, biology, programming, and medicine.

Intel cofounder Gordon Moore set off his first boom in Silicon Valley two decades before pioneering the design of the integrated circuit. One afternoon in 1940, near the spot where Interstate 280 intersects Sand Hill Road today, the future father of the semiconductor industry knelt beside a cache of homemade dynamite and lit the fuse. He was 11 years old."

Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista

Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista:

"Significant negatives back in 2001 included product activation (which doesn't affect Microsoft volume licensing customers), changes to the network-configuration user interface and the way XP interacted with other versions of Windows on small networks."
...Well, Microsoft just upped the ante on internal conflict with the release of Vista Beta 2. It boils down to this: The software giant is favoring security and IT controls over end-user productivity. ...some of the people actually using the Beta 2 Vista software describe their experience as akin to that of a rat caught in a maze.

Edward A. Villarreal. Powered by Blogger.


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