Thursday, September 29, 2005

Imaginary numbers do exist

The mandelbrot set (which has appeared here before):

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

For those about to comment

I salute you.... and I also implore you to forgive me for adding the whole "word verification" thing to the comments.

I just got tired of deleting 'Make money now' or 'hair removal' comments.

More on intelligent design

Man, this evolution vs. intelligent design debate is off the hook.

I am following with intense interest and horror the trial (about to begin) in Dover, Pennsylvania between some parents and a school board over the teaching of the intelligent design theory in biology class.

Something new that I've learned is that the US supreme court ruled in 1987 that teaching creationism (adam and eve) in school is unconstitutional because it was deemed religious education.

Now, people are freaking that the intelligent designer theory is just creationism in different wrapping. As well they should - who is it that is pushing intelligent design? Christians.

Anyway, I fear and suspect that the school board will win the case and get to teach intelligent design as a contrasting theory. Why?

For starters, it is good pedagogy to expose kids to different ideas - gets them thinking critically, you know. Second, the judge overseeing the case was a Bush nominee. Third, by the strict wording, intelligent design is different from creationism (although it's still not science).

So I think intelligent design is coming to a biology class near you.

The saddest part of this story, though, is when the school board rep went to a firehall to pass out flyers criticizing intelligent design, and one of the firemen (who obviously doesn't believe in evolution) danced like a monkey to mock him.

Uh, what year is this? And how old are we?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mmmmmm, sacri-licious

If you like it when people use satire and irony to bust on christianity and christians, then this is the guy for you:

http://revsacrilege.blogspot.com/

Now I must go figure out what an imaginary number is.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A third party wades into the fray

In the recent flair up of creation vs evolution in US school boards, an unsuspecting third party has reared its ugly head. And it's ugly.

Since the late 1990s, US christians have been trying to get schools to either drop evolution from their curriculum or to teach evolution and creation simlutaneously.

But an alternative that a lot of christians are willing to settle for is what's known as "intelligent design." It's sort of like creation, but not so much Adam-and-Eve-seven-day creation, and more evolution-is-valid-but-god-had-planned-it this-way creation.

It's pretty nutso, in my opinion, because to debate evolution is good - science isn't science unless hypotheses are tested, theories challenged. Even a theory as near-concrete as evolution can be challenged.

Problem is, what these people are challenging evolution with isn't science. Folks, if you're going to throw down science, use some science to do it, not faith or religion!

A lot of the opponents of the intelligent design education reform state simply that, hey, sure, teach creation or intelligent design - in a religion class! Not in biology. Not in geology.

We're sort of insulated from it in Canada (thank god... oops... intelligent designer...), but this is huge in the States. Imagine, a generation of kids growing up not learning about evolution. That's really nutso.

Anyway, it's so big right now that the NY Times has a special section on the evolution debate.

...complete with a FAQ...

...and a great editorial.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cod ban destroyed by loophole

Timeline:

-1500 - John Cabot arrives in Canadian waters. He notices that there are so many cod that he could just about grab them out of the ocean with his hands.

-1500 - 1990 - Cod is fished like mad.

-1990-1995 - Cod stocks disappear. An international moratorium is placed on fishing cod. A bunch of Newfies are put out of work, which prompts the government to implement assistance "programs" like the seal hunt (which is later banned and then reinstituted).

-1995-2005 - people can't understand why cod stocks haven't rebounded. Seals are, among other factors, blamed.

-Today - WWF releases a report stating that rogue fishing groups are still catching cod by exploiting some loophole in international fishing laws. If the fishing doesn't stop, the cod is gone forever.

-Next spring - the seal hunt will begin again. 350,000 young seals will be murdered. Cod stocks will continue to fall. Newfies will continue to bitch.

Cod ban destroyed by loophole

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A little more mercury can't hurt

A (doomed-from-the-start) bid to impose stricter mercury-emission regulations on US power plants was defeated in the senate this week.

The proposal would have seen power plants be forced to upgrade their equipment to greener technology.

Now, however, they still have till 2018 to get their mercury under control.

The best part about the whole thing was this blatant wrongness or lying by a republican senator:

"I am extremely encouraged by the Senate's resolve to support a market-based approach to reducing mercury pollution and not to impede clean air progress by rolling back the existing regulation."

The regulation wouldn't have been rolled back, it would have been pushed forward. And the new regulation would not have impeded clean air progress. Huh?

The other best part was when they kept dumping mercury into our ecology.

I wouldn't really care, if it weren't for the fact that a clean planet affects everyone and US environmental policy can sometimes often adopted by other nations. So yeah, if it weren't for the unfortunate earth-raping, I wouldn't care.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/14/politics/14mercury.html

Saturday, September 10, 2005

`The way you avoid tragedy is by thinking tragically'

I've heard of this guy, this guy named Robert Kaplan, but I've never read anything from him.

But I have read a cool article about him, and his thoughts. He sounds like a very smart and interesting person, someone you would like to sit down and have dinner with ( if you like to have dinner with people).

And because I read it, you should read it, too.

Friday, September 02, 2005

vCJD

A new theory proposes that the original introduction of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE - Mad Cow Disease) suggests that it was due the feeding of human remains to cattle.

This supplants the old theory that sheep being fed to cattle caused BSE.

We now know that a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is what now affects humans, but it is possible that the original CJD was passed to cows from us, then passed back to us as a variant.

If you haven't figured it out by now, cows are herbivores. They shouldn't be eating humans, sheep, or other cows. And humans might just be herbivores - meaning that we shouldn't be eating humans, sheep, or cows.

This is what happens when we f*** with nature.

Globe article

CBC article