Archive for November, 2008

Photographing your children during the holidays

November 30, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More
Photographing your children during the holidays

When you take a posed holiday photo of your children, strive to present your children in a unique light.   The photo of my children (below) turned out especially well.  I used a Canon SD1100SI.   Make sure you get natural expressions by being a bit unpredictable.  Choose a suitable background for the photo. And don’t […]

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Science is totally awesome

November 30, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More
Science is totally awesome

…especially when described in Ebonmuse’s inimitable, emotive style in “The Age Of Wonder”: Consider what we witness when we peer into the cosmos with our telescopic eyes. We see light born billions of years ago in the crucible of dying stars, shining out across the cosmos and becoming ever more diffused, until at last our […]

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What if there were far too many people, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

November 30, 2008 | By | 73 Replies More
What if there were far too many people, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

What if there were far too many people living on planet Earth, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

According to Global Population Speak Out, that is exactly our situation.

Consider that we repeatedly see news reports about scarce and dwindling resources (e.g., water, food, fish, fuel, topsoil), but these news reports rarely consider the exploding population on Earth as a major contributor to these problems. This refusal to consider the carrying capacity of Earth is truly staggering. As a thought experiment, consider how our “environmental” issues would be altered if each country had 25% fewer people than it currently does. Or 50%. Instead, we the human population of earth is at 6.5 billion, headed toward at least 9 billion by 2050.

When it comes to discussing sex, reproduction and birth control, we freeze up, even when out-of-control population growth threatens our way of life.

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What Should Be Taught in Biology Class?

November 30, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More
What Should Be Taught in Biology Class?

I spend waste hours each week reading arguments between those who think that science education should be strictly based on science, versus those who think that alternate views (usually Biblical) should be taught along side. This is a skit about a father outraged at the amoral and unlikely (scientific) theory taught to his son: The […]

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Shopper trampled in the name of Jesus

November 29, 2008 | By | 11 Replies More
Shopper trampled in the name of Jesus

Well, it’s “Black Friday” again.  It’s time to check out the news. In their attempts to buy trinkets to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Wal-Mart shoppers broke through the stores’s exterior doors and trampled a Wal-Mart employee, who died during the incident. Yes, there’s lots of irony (and sadness) to this incident.  It reminded me […]

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Metaphors at work: the connection between warm temperature and warm personality

November 28, 2008 | By | 5 Replies More
Metaphors at work: the connection between warm temperature and warm personality

I’ve previously posted on the work of Mark Johnson and George Lakoff, who have argued that human thought is often metaphorical.  Johnson and Lakoff have used numerous examples of our use of language to demonstrate that human cognition is often a metaphorical extension of sensorimotor experience. I’ve been collecting experimental demonstrations of these metaphorical extensions; […]

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Ten myths conservatives believe about progressives

November 28, 2008 | By | 25 Replies More
Ten myths conservatives believe about progressives

This list by Sara Robinson is especially well-conceived and written.   Based on my own personal experience, these are, indeed, “Ten Myths Conservatives Believe About Progressives.” Here are the myths Robinson tackles: 1. Liberals hate America. 2. Liberals want to leave us defenseless in the face of evildoers around the world. 3. Liberals hate the free […]

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How to plant a false memory

November 28, 2008 | By | 5 Replies More
How to plant a false memory

In this article, Elizabeth Loftus details how “many individuals can be led to construct complex, vivid and detailed false memories via a rather simple procedure.”   The effect is unnervingly powerful.

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The language of science is always so amazingly precise . . . except when it isn’t

November 28, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More
The language of science is always so amazingly precise . . . except when it isn’t

The language of science is always so amazingly precise . . . except when it isn’t. Consider, for example, the word “life.” Scientists have long struggled to determine exactly what qualifies as “life.” For instance, are viruses “alive?”

In the October 23, 2008 edition of Nature (available only to subscribers online), an article titled “Disputed Definitions” considers other often-used disputed terms. The article is divided into sections written by specialists from the relevant disciplines. The subtitle of the article is “Nature goes in search of the terms that get scientists most worked up.” Consider how often you encounter the following disputed terms.

Consider “paradigm shift,” made popular by Thomas Kuhn in his often-cited 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn argued against the then-popular view that science marched incrementally toward the truth. Sometimes, “normal science” doesn’t explain all of the phenomenon, straining a prevailing scientific theory. If the strain of accommodating evidence is great enough “eventually some new science comes along and overturns the previous consensus. Voila, a ‘paradigm shift.’” The often-used term “paradigm shift” is used in at least two ways, however. In its broad sense it encompasses the “entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques and so on shared by the members of a given community.” In the narrow sense, it refers to “concrete puzzle-solutions.”

Another often-debated (and currently fashionable) term is “epigenetic.”

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