Archive for February 19th, 2011

You can go home again

| February 19, 2011 | Reply
You can go home again

Cool idea: Re-creating photographic poses from many years ago.

This is what photographer Irina Werning has to say:

I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today… A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.

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People and their amazing crazy stunts

| February 19, 2011 | Reply
People and their amazing crazy stunts

You’ve probably seen collections of stunts before, but this has to be one of the most impressive.

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Republicans Poised to Reap Huge Gains Because of Illegal Aliens Counted in the 2010 Census

| February 19, 2011 | Reply
Republicans Poised to Reap Huge Gains Because of Illegal Aliens Counted in the 2010 Census

In one of the most ironic twists of the political fates of the Century, the Republican Party stands to gain additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives because the law apparently requires the Census Bureau to count illegal aliens. Those numbers are to be included in the final count which determines the allocation of the nation’s 435 US House of Representatives seats in the U.S. Congress, the allocation of Electors to the Electoral College and the allocation of federal tax dollars to the various states.

The 435 U.S. House of Representatives districts will all be re-drawn in the next year or so as a result of the 2010 census results. Texas and Florida will gain four new seats, Arizona two. New York and Pennsylvania will be the big losers. Missouri will lose one seat. The new lines and districts will remain in place until the next decennial census in 2020.

The recently completed Census data includes the numbers of illegal aliens in US, estimated at 10.8 million, down by over a million since the Bush administration left office. The average population of US House districts is around 700,000. You are invited to do the math if you have any doubts.

States with largest numbers of illegal aliens have shown the largest growth in population and will get larger numbers of US House seats, including Texas, Arizona and Florida.
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The evolution of the mechanism for evolution.

| February 19, 2011 | 3 Replies
The evolution of the mechanism for evolution.

I must confess that I have something in common with Creationists: I find it difficult to understand how the earliest and simplest life forms came to exist. Unlike the creationists, however, I am not willing to suggest that the earliest life forms were created as-is by some sort of disembodied sentient Supreme Being. I can’t fathom how such a Being could get anything at all done, given that “he” is alleged to be disembodied; for instance, some sort of physical neural network is a prerequisite for cognition. Further, those who posit that life was created as-is by a supernatural Creator need to explain how that Creator got here in the first place; their creation of a Creator constitute an eternal regress. Who created “God,” and God’s God, etc.

Thus, I don’t believe in a ghostly Creator, but where does this leave me?  How did the earliest life forms emerge from non-life?  Though firm answers have not yet been derived from rigorous scientific experimentation, I am intrigued by the ideas put forth by Stuart Kauffman in his 1995 book, At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self Organization and Complexity.

Early in his book, Kaufman points out that the simplest free living cells (called “pleuromona”) are highly simplified types of bacteria. They have a cell membrane, genes, RNA, protein synthesizing machinery and all the other necessary gear to constitute a form of life. Here’s the problem:

[more . . .]

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