Adam Fields (weblog) » Science / “Science” http://www.aquick.org/blog entertaining hundreds of millions of eyeball atoms every day Mon, 08 Apr 2013 17:49:20 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 The Tragedy of the Selfish, again and again. http://www.aquick.org/blog/2012/07/24/the-tragedy-of-the-selfish-again-and-again/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2012/07/24/the-tragedy-of-the-selfish-again-and-again/#comments Wed, 25 Jul 2012 03:15:09 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/?p=1390 I kept seeing this pattern emerge, and couldn’t find a good name for it (originally in reference to failures of the free market), so I came up with one. Simply put, The Tragedy of the Selfish is the situation that exists when an individual makes what is logically the best decision to maximize their own position, but the sum effect of everybody making their best decisions is that everybody ends up worse off rather than better.

You buy an SUV, then other people do, because they want to be safer too. Except that if enough people make that same decision, you’ve overall raised the chances that if you’re hit by a car, it’ll be an SUV, which will do much more damage than a smaller car. Everyone is better off if everyone else backs off and drives smaller cars.

You buy a gun because other people have guns. Then other people do, because they want to be safer too. Then… you see where I’m going with this. Perhaps you’ve made yourself safer in some limited way, but you’ve decreased the overall safety of the system.

This is not safety, it’s mutually assured destruction.

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Sugar may be toxic, but that NYT article doesn’t demonstrate it. http://www.aquick.org/blog/2011/04/20/sugar-may-be-toxic-but-that-nyt-article-doesnt-demonstrate-it/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2011/04/20/sugar-may-be-toxic-but-that-nyt-article-doesnt-demonstrate-it/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:29:23 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/?p=1361 The NYT magazine ran this article on how sucrose is probably a poison that causes cancer and a whole raft of other ailments.

Unfortunately, the article is so poorly written and presents so little actual evidence that I’m shocked at the number of otherwise rational people who are simply taking it at face value. John Gruber, whose analysis I usually respect, writes “It’s not often that a magazine article inspires me to change my life. This is one.“.

Here are a few specific comments:

  • The article still perpetuates the assumption that high fructose corn syrup is identical to sucrose because they’re both made up of fructose and glucose. Setting aside the obvious difference that a 50% split between fructose and glucose is not the same as 45% glucose and 55% fructose (oh, but right – it’s “nearly” the same), sucrose is a disaccharide and HFCS is a mixture. Sucrose does easily break into glucose and fructose in the presence of sucrase, but the fact that there’s an enzymatic reaction there means that the rate at which it happens can be regulated. Sucrose and HFCS are different things, in much the same way that a cup of water is different from a balloon filled with hydrogen and oxygen, or a pile of bricks is different from a house. Every subsequent opinion in the piece that sugar is bad is doubly applicable to HFCS.
  • The article doesn’t actually cite any concrete evidence to support its hypothesis that sugar is toxic. It doesn’t even cite any sketchy evidence to support its hypothesis. Meanwhile, here’s a bit of recent research that suggests the opposite: “Female mice [getting 25% of their calories from sugars] that had been reared on the unbound simple sugars [(fructose and glucose mixture)] experienced high rates of mortality, beginning 50 to 80 days after entering the enclosure. Their death rate was about triple that of sucrose-treated females”.
  • Lustig’s Youtube presentation on which the article is based is fairly interesting. As far as I can tell, all it does it make the case that fructose is a poison in large quantities, that excessive amounts of sugar are worse for you than excessive amounts of fat, and that juice, soda, and “low-fat” processed crap that substitutes sugar (but primarily in the form of HFCS) for fat are responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Most of which is completely reasonable, although I think he ignores the sucrase regulation pathway, which is probably the most critical factor. But nowhere does he say that the body can’t metabolize _any_ sugar safely, which is the main thrust of the NYT piece, based on exactly, as far as I can tell, zero evidence. Lustig’s conclusion is exactly what it’s stated as at the beginning of the article: “our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them”. It’s a long leap from there to the position that any sugar consumption is bad, which his argument doesn’t actually imply. Drinking a few cups of water a day is good for you. Drinking a few gallons is probably not so good.
  • Here’s an example of the kind of “argument” in the article: ”In animals, or at least in laboratory rats and mice, it’s clear that if the fructose hits the liver in sufficient quantity and with sufficient speed, the liver will convert much of it to fat. This apparently induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals. It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers.” Of course, it completely ignores that the fructose does not hit the liver in sufficient quantity and with sufficient speed under normal circumstances, and it even flat out includes the counter-hypothesis that the liver is perfectly capable of metabolizing sugar up to a certain point with no detrimental effects.

Excess sugar is clearly bad. I accept that it’s probably even worse than excess fat. I don’t see even a small shred of evidence to accept the logical leap presented in this article that eating a cookie will increase your cancer risk in any meaningful way. Absolutely, we need to study this more. Concluding that sugar is toxic in normal quantities based on the available evidence is ridiculous. Despite the indecision in the article, it’s not hard to define “normal quantities”. I’m the first to agree that the current “sugar in everything” trend in packaged food is bad, and it’s important to check the nutritional labels. HFCS has no business being in bread. The brands you grew up with are not indicators of quality. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if your food has a nutritional label at all, you’re already at a disadvantage.

Eat more whole foods. Stop taking your calories in liquid form. Cooking at home is different. Change your food chain.

 

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Possibly the perfect omelet pan http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/11/11/possibly-the-perfect-omelet-pan/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/11/11/possibly-the-perfect-omelet-pan/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 02:13:21 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/?p=1265 I’ve long been looking for a good replacement for teflon for making classical french omelets, and I’d pretty much given in to the idea that it needed to be teflon or nothing. Cast iron (enameled or not) gets a nice big hotspot in the middle from the gas flame, and anodized aluminum isn’t non-stick enough. Even teflon is substandard for that, because to do it right, you need to use high heat and a metal fork.

Enter this new item in Cuisinart’s “Green Gourmet” line, a ceramic alternative to teflon for non-stick pans, which is made with no PFOA or PFTE. It’s not too expensive, and has anodized aluminum on the bottom for good heat distribution. I did a Pepin-style omelet with a little butter and a metal fork in it this evening. It has nary a scratch and the omelet came together perfectly. The surface of the pan feels very slick and hard, and the handle is comfortable. Major bonus points for this phrase in the instructions: “Never use Cuisinart Green Gourmet cookware on high heat or food will burn”.

http://astore.amazon.com/buyadam-20/detail/B001KVZA5I

Credit to the estimable Mr. McGee for a) scientifically confirming my assertion that cast iron has terrible distribution properties and b) mentioning some new non-stick coatings I hadn’t heard of (but not the one above, which may or may not be Thermolon, but which seems to be higher quality than the one he covered).

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08curi.html

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Shifting the Debate http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/10/24/shifting-the-debate/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/10/24/shifting-the-debate/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:37:08 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/?p=1255 My company (Morningside Analytics) has just launched our Political Video Barometer, which tracks the movement of YouTube videos through conservative and liberal blogs:

http://www.shiftingthedebate.com/shifting/videobarometer.html

The Barometer is updated 4 times a day and allows you to see which new videos are starting to break through within either the conservative or liberal blogs and which ones are breaking through to non-political audiences. We identify influential blogs through a unique cutting edge clustering approach – the underlying technology was also used earlier this year to produce this detailed report on Iran’s blogosphere for the Berkman Center at Harvard.

We are also running a blog at http://www.shiftingthedebate.com which will examine interesting findings from the barometer.

It’s always fun to launch a new product. We worked very hard on this, and I’m proud of it.

Enjoy!

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Cool photo roundup http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/08/04/cool-photo-roundup/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/08/04/cool-photo-roundup/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2008 16:39:07 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/?p=1229 Nasa:

http://www.nasaimages.org/index.html

Museum of Natural History:

http://images.library.amnh.org/photos/index.html

400+ forms used by the NSA:

http://www.thememoryhole.org/2008/07/over-400-nsa-forms/

London Bananas:

http://www.londonbananas.com/

How to make an inkjet print that will last 10000 years:

http://blog.longnow.org/2008/07/24/edward-burtynsky-the-10000-year-gallery/

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PS3s used for science http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/03/13/ps3s-used-for-science/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/03/13/ps3s-used-for-science/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2008 21:37:06 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2008/03/13/ps3s-used-for-science/ It’s just extraordinary to me what a boon the PS3 is to the scientific community.

“Overall, a single PS3 performs better than the highest-end desktops available and compares to as many as 25 nodes of an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. And there is still tremendous scope left for extracting more performance through further optimization. More on that soon.”

http://gravity.phy.umassd.edu/ps3.html

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Open letter to Apple asking for help improving medical design http://www.aquick.org/blog/2007/04/13/open-letter-to-apple-asking-for-help-improving-medical-design/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2007/04/13/open-letter-to-apple-asking-for-help-improving-medical-design/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2007 20:22:02 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2007/04/13/open-letter-to-apple-asking-for-help-improving-medical-design/ http://www.diabetesmine.com/2007/04/an_open_letter_.html

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Software radio is here, and it’s open source http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/06/05/software-radio-is-here-and-its-open-source/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/06/05/software-radio-is-here-and-its-open-source/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2006 19:15:04 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/06/05/software-radio-is-here-and-its-open-source/ I’ve been talking about software radio for a while, and wondering when it would become cheap. Basically, all wireless devices are just radios of different kinds, and there’s no theoretical reason why one device couldn’t talk to them all. Except that it was prohibitively expensive, but apparently it’s not anymore.

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/1,70933-0.html

This is very very cool.

The software’s open source, and the hardware is cheap:

http://www.ettus.com/

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Autonomous robot does heart surgery! http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/20/autonomous-robot-does-heart-surgery/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/20/autonomous-robot-does-heart-surgery/#comments Sat, 20 May 2006 14:28:05 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/20/autonomous-robot-does-heart-surgery/ Wow, the future is now!

The Italian expert has used the robot surgeon for at least 40 previous operations, some of which have been described in detail in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The novelty of this latest experience is that the robot was able to conduct the entire procedure by itself. In the past it needed specific orders from its operator along the way.

http://ansa.it/main/notizie/awnplus/english/news/2006-05-18_1186367.html

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Au-16 is a golden buckyball-like cage http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/17/au-16-is-a-golden-buckyball-like-cage/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/17/au-16-is-a-golden-buckyball-like-cage/#comments Wed, 17 May 2006 15:46:35 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/17/au-16-is-a-golden-buckyball-like-cage/ Wow. That’s pretty.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-05/dnnl-bmr051206.php

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Towards the zero-energy home http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/16/towards-the-zero-energy-home/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/16/towards-the-zero-energy-home/#comments Tue, 16 May 2006 15:30:01 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/16/towards-the-zero-energy-home/ A developer in Oklahoma has built a zero-energy home prototype for $200k. It’s a combination of energy efficiency, and photovoltaic and geothermal power production, mostly built with readily available off-the-shelf components. That’s fantastic.

“Ideal Homes built the first zero energy home in the country priced under $200,000. The modest one-story, three-bedroom, two bathroom home produces as much energy as it consumes in a year, achieving net zero energy consumption.”

http://www.housingzone.com/article/CA6332828.html

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Tamiflu goes open source http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/11/tamiflu-goes-open-source/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/11/tamiflu-goes-open-source/#comments Fri, 12 May 2006 01:49:38 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/05/11/tamiflu-goes-open-source/ http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/05/how_to_make_tamiflu.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

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Thoughts on questions every high school student should be able to answer http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/25/thoughts-on-questions-every-high-school-student-should-be-able-to-answer/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/25/thoughts-on-questions-every-high-school-student-should-be-able-to-answer/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2006 21:29:37 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/25/thoughts-on-questions-every-high-school-student-should-be-able-to-answer/ The Star Tribune wrote a fluff piece asking scientists to come up with their (seemingly) most disappointing question that every high schooler should be able to answer. (via Kottke)

http://www.startribune.com/389/story/369290.html

MJD (hey, man – what happened to Advocacy?) rightly savages the list:

http://www.plover.com/blog/physics/questions.html

The analysis is mostly very strong. My only complaint is that he failed to note that evolution doesn’t actually “choose” anything, and saying that it does is just typical “owning the terminology” ID doublespeak.

And what is up with that last paragraph in the article about family life interfering with remembering things you learned in high school?

My choice for this question would probably have been “What is the scientific method?”.

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An Inconvenient Truth http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/22/an-inconvenient-truth/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/22/an-inconvenient-truth/#comments Sat, 22 Apr 2006 17:09:27 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/22/an-inconvenient-truth/ Al Gore has made a movie about global warming, in case you needed some more convincing.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount_classics/aninconvenienttruth/trailer/

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An important first step towards unmanufacturing http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/07/an-important-first-step-towards-unmanufacturing/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/07/an-important-first-step-towards-unmanufacturing/#comments Fri, 07 Apr 2006 16:08:39 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/04/07/an-important-first-step-towards-unmanufacturing/ Nokia phones are going to use a heat disassembly process that allows them to be broken down into their constituent materials, which can then be separately recycled. It’s not quite unmanufacturing, but it’s the first thing I’ve heard about a step in the right direction.

http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,6771,27610,00.html

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Pigeon smog blog http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/03/pigeon-smog-blog/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/03/pigeon-smog-blog/#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2006 18:42:17 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/03/pigeon-smog-blog/ Scientists at UC Irvine are planning to equip pigeons with small bird-sized backpacks containing pollution detectors, GPS, and wireless data access, so they can post realtime smog data to a blog.

The mind boggles.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18925376.000&feedId=online-news_rss20

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Watercone http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/02/watercone/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/02/watercone/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2006 23:35:39 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/02/02/watercone/ This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s a low-cost portable still for purifying water with a pretty ingenious design.

http://www.watercone.com/product.html

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They’ve finally figured out how bees fly http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/01/15/theyve-finally-figured-out-how-bees-fly/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/01/15/theyve-finally-figured-out-how-bees-fly/#comments Sun, 15 Jan 2006 17:31:20 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2006/01/15/theyve-finally-figured-out-how-bees-fly/ http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2148481/bees-fly-official

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Stanford scientists directly monitor RNA polymerase (which is way cooler than it sounds) http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/22/stanford-scientists-directly-monitor-rna-polymerase-which-is-way-cooler-than-it-sounds/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/22/stanford-scientists-directly-monitor-rna-polymerase-which-is-way-cooler-than-it-sounds/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2005 02:59:07 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/22/stanford-scientists-directly-monitor-rna-polymerase-which-is-way-cooler-than-it-sounds/ They’ve perfected a technique to allow, for the first time, protein activity to be directly monitored. They’ve focused on RNA polymerase, and have proposed a mechanical action theory about how RNAP moves up the DNA chain.

The technique is directly applicable to a whole host of other biochemical processes.

That’s just incredibly cool.

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/2005/pr-dna-110905.html

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USPTO apparently grants patent for warp drive http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/16/uspto-apparently-grants-patent-for-warp-drive/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/16/uspto-apparently-grants-patent-for-warp-drive/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2005 17:38:18 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/16/uspto-apparently-grants-patent-for-warp-drive/ I don’t remember who originally sent this to me, but I got it a few times. This is apparently a patent for a warp drive.

” A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle’s propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.”

They’re off their rocker.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,960,975.WKU.&OS=PN/6,960,975&RS=PN/6,960,975

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MIT students study tinfoil hats http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/11/mit-students-study-tinfoil-hats/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/11/mit-students-study-tinfoil-hats/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2005 19:51:47 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/11/mit-students-study-tinfoil-hats/ Conclusion: tinfoil hat makes it easier for the gummint to read your brain. It’s a conspiracy!

http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/

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Preaching to the Esquire http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/10/preaching-to-the-esquire/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/10/preaching-to-the-esquire/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2005 17:01:54 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/11/10/preaching-to-the-esquire/ Long article copied shamelessly from Esquire about”Idiot America”.

“Idiot America is a collaborative effort, the result of millions of decisions made and not made. It’s the development of a collective Gut at the expense of a collective mind. It’s what results when politicians make ridiculous statements and not merely do we abandon the right to punish them for it at the polls, but we also become too timid to punish them with ridicule on a daily basis, because the polls say they’re popular anyway. It’s what results when leaders are not held to account for mistakes that end up killing people.”

Via Novitz:

http://templeofpolemic.proboards42.com/index.cgi?board=theo&action=print&thread=1130126466

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Ribosome simulated http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/25/ribosome-simulated/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/25/ribosome-simulated/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2005 13:26:59 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/25/ribosome-simulated/ This is incredibly cool. A complete working ribosome has been described in a computer simulation.

Via Perry:

http://www.lanl.gov/news/index.php?fuseaction=home.story&story_id=7372

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James Doohan’s ashes to be flown into space http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/17/james-doohans-ashes-to-be-flown-into-space/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/17/james-doohans-ashes-to-be-flown-into-space/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2005 15:10:17 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/17/james-doohans-ashes-to-be-flown-into-space/ Scotty’s getting his final wish. A CD with messages from fans will join him. Add yours here:

http://www.nameastarspacelaunch.com/doohan_message.asp

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Something bugging you? http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/14/something-bugging-you/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/14/something-bugging-you/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2005 19:50:02 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/14/something-bugging-you/ Got a bug, and don’t know what it is?

Ask What’s That Bug:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/

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Cool Guinness ad http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/11/cool-guinness-ad/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/11/cool-guinness-ad/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2005 22:23:29 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/10/11/cool-guinness-ad/ http://www.framestore-cfc.com/press/05pr/051003noitulove/amv_gune339_050_qt.mov

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Temperature-sensitive wall paint http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/27/temperature-sensitive-wall-paint/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/27/temperature-sensitive-wall-paint/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2005 21:34:26 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/27/temperature-sensitive-wall-paint/ That’s cool. It’s wall paint that changes color with temperature fluctuations.

http://www.mavromatic.com/archives/000496

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More on oil shale extraction http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/13/more-on-oil-shale-extraction/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/13/more-on-oil-shale-extraction/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2005 13:35:26 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/13/more-on-oil-shale-extraction/ Obviously, this won’t be an alternative to oil field extraction, and I believe we should move to alternative energy sources as quickly as possible. But infrastructure shifts like that take time, and this may provide a needed buffer to ease the transition.

Some counter comments on the original article are here:

http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200509/msg00203.html

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In Situ Conversion is oil extraction from rock http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/12/in-situ-conversion-is-oil-extraction-from-rock/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/12/in-situ-conversion-is-oil-extraction-from-rock/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2005 03:41:05 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/12/in-situ-conversion-is-oil-extraction-from-rock/ Um. Holy shit.

Shell has come up with a way to extract oil from oil-bearing rock instead of oil fields.

Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.

Please note, you don’t have to go looking for oil fields when you’re brewing your own.

On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. “Product” – about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude – began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.

While we were trying to do the math, O’Connor told us the answers. Upwards of a million barrels an acre, a billion barrels a square mile. And the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles – the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world.

And it gets much better than that. Go read the whole article.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_4051709,00.html

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Flying Spaghetti Monster: The Game http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/08/flying-spaghetti-monster-the-game/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/08/flying-spaghetti-monster-the-game/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2005 16:39:31 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/08/flying-spaghetti-monster-the-game/ http://www.venganza.org/games/index_large.htm

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Self-healing Mice http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/self-healing-mice/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/self-healing-mice/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2005 15:26:23 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/self-healing-mice/

“We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow,” she said.

Via my friend jdb:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,16417002%255E30417,00.html

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Blistering observation of the non-science of Intelligent Design http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/blistering-observation-of-the-non-science-of-intelligent-design/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/blistering-observation-of-the-non-science-of-intelligent-design/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2005 15:06:27 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/09/01/blistering-observation-of-the-non-science-of-intelligent-design/ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/28/opinion/28dennett.html?ex=1282881600&en=5e66afa05b9ed96b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

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Intelligent Falling http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/18/intelligent-falling/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/18/intelligent-falling/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2005 16:48:53 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/18/intelligent-falling/ The Onion weighs in:

“Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, ‘God’ if you will, is pushing them down,” said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?issue=4133&n=2

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David Galbraith’s new theory of unintelligent design http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/11/david-galbraiths-new-theory-of-unintelligent-design/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/11/david-galbraiths-new-theory-of-unintelligent-design/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2005 17:06:45 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/11/david-galbraiths-new-theory-of-unintelligent-design/ “I have a new theory – Unintelligent Design, which is the same as Intelligent Design, except that the creator is either a moron or Satan.”

http://www.davidgalbraith.org/archives/000912.html

Heh.

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What does an ID textbook look like? http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/07/what-does-an-id-textbook-look-like-2/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/07/what-does-an-id-textbook-look-like-2/#comments Sun, 07 Aug 2005 16:09:02 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/07/what-does-an-id-textbook-look-like-2/ Here’s what I don’t get. What would it even mean to teach intelligent design in schools?

Chapter 1: Some things are too complicated to have arisen by evolution, specifically people.
Chapter 2: …..?
(Chapter 3: Profit?)

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing to it. It’s the opposite of science.

“I don’t understand this, so there must be no possible answer”.

It says not just that we don’t know, but that we can’t know, so there’s really no point in trying to figure it out.

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Scientists named Steve for evolution http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/05/scientists-named-steve-for-evolution/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/05/scientists-named-steve-for-evolution/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2005 14:17:33 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/05/scientists-named-steve-for-evolution/ Project Steve is a collection of scientists named Steve who support evolution, to demonstrate the stupitidy of compiling lists of scientists who don’t. 580 so far!

http://www.ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=18

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Bush endorses Intelligent Design http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/02/bush-endorses-intelligent-design/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/02/bush-endorses-intelligent-design/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2005 02:05:38 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/02/bush-endorses-intelligent-design/ Bush thinks intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in schools -

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/news/editorial/12278405.htm

“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” Bush said. ” You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

That is, of course, the usual dodging of the real point. ID is not a theory, it is a vague notion. It is the embodiment of saying “we can’t know, so we’re free to imagine whatever we want”. It is as testable as the flying spaghetti monster “idea”. ID is useless as a scientific concept, because it closes off further investigation.

(I might accept ID as a valid theory if it was accompanied by some attempt to identify, and possibly vanquish, said creator.)

All ideas are not equal. ID should not be taught in schools any more than the “idea” that black people are inferior because they have smaller brains should be.

“Because I say so” is not a valid logical argument.

Why haven’t we put this idiocy to rest yet?

[Update: here's some good dissection of this point.]

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Planet ten found. Again. http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/01/planet-ten-found-again/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/01/planet-ten-found-again/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2005 23:39:40 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/08/01/planet-ten-found-again/ I stopped watching the X-Files after the third or fourth time they found aliens without remembering the previous times.

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=3401

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Reading and Blogging Britannica http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/07/29/reading-and-blogging-britannica/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/07/29/reading-and-blogging-britannica/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2005 12:52:37 +0000 adam http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/07/29/reading-and-blogging-britannica/ A UC Berkeley student is reading the entire Encylopedia Britannica, and blogging the good bits. It’s healthy to have a hobby.

http://readingtheeb.blogspot.com/

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Environmental impact of mass buckyballs is unknown http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/28/environmental-impact-of-mass-buckyballs-is-unknown/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/28/environmental-impact-of-mass-buckyballs-is-unknown/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2005 15:29:15 +0000 adam /?p=837 Apparently, it’s just been discovered that buckyballs are water-soluble and antibacterial.

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nanotech-05zzl.html

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DNA tagging of criminals on the spot http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/22/dna-tagging-of-criminals-on-the-spot/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/22/dna-tagging-of-criminals-on-the-spot/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2005 23:14:53 +0000 adam /?p=826 I can’t wait for the nanobots to start fighting over molecule level tagging. Presumably, the coding of the DNA strands is protected by all sorts of interesting copyright law, too.

Bruce Schenier points out this new technology:

The system, called Sentry, works by fitting a box containing a powder spray above a doorway which, once primed, goes into alert mode if the door is opened.

It then sprays the powder when there is movement in the doorway again.

The aim is to catch a burglar in the act as stolen items are being removed.

The intruder is covered in the bright red powder, which glows under ultraviolet (UV) light and can only be removed with heavy scrubbing.

However, the harmless synthetic DNA contained in the powder sinks into the skin and takes several days, depending on the person’s metabolism, to work its way out.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/06/dna_identificat.html

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Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Earth http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/22/flying-spaghetti-monster-created-the-earth/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/22/flying-spaghetti-monster-created-the-earth/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2005 19:29:51 +0000 adam /?p=825 “Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.”

http://www.venganza.org/

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Rare Tom Lehrer video http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/15/rare-tom-lehrer-video/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/15/rare-tom-lehrer-video/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2005 03:06:05 +0000 adam /?p=816 I love Tom Lehrer!

http://www.archive.org/details/lehrer

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Orgy porn is good for (producing) children http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/09/orgy-porn-is-good-for-producing-children/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/09/orgy-porn-is-good-for-producing-children/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2005 21:31:15 +0000 adam /?p=800 “Men who view pornographic images of two men and a woman produce better-quality sperm than men viewing pornographic images of just women, an Australian study reveals.

The finding suggests that humans may be capable of subconsciously increasing semen quality when faced with the possibility that their sperm will have to outrun those of other men in a womans reproductive tract.”

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7487&feedId=online-news_rss20

This does not, however, explain hot girl-on-girl action.

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Bacterial control without antibiotics http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/07/bacterial-control-without-antibiotics/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/06/07/bacterial-control-without-antibiotics/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2005 14:09:41 +0000 adam /?p=792 Seems like pretty big news.

‘Only recently has it been discovered that the bacteria assembled in biofilms have a network of communication between them called “quorum sensing,” which controls their collective activity (or lack thereof). These sensing signals control the physiology and pathogenicity of the bacteria in the biofilms. A boron-based molecule that is produced by these bacteria, called auto inducer-2, controls the signals in this quorum sensing process.’

http://www.medgadget.com/archives/2005/06/a_novel_way_to.html

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Heroin addiction gene identified and blocked in rats http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/31/heroin-addiction-gene-identified-and-blocked-in-rats/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/31/heroin-addiction-gene-identified-and-blocked-in-rats/#comments Tue, 31 May 2005 15:36:50 +0000 adam /?p=774 “Scientists have not only identified a critical gene involved in heroin addiction relapse, but they have also successfully blocked it, eliminating cravings for the drug.”

That’s huge.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7445

It sounds like it doesn’t block the effects of the drug, only the cravings. I wonder if that means that more people will be inclined to try heroin. Of course, that’s not a good reason not to do it.

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Plotting story vs. interactivity in Prince of Persia http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/31/plotting-story-vs-interactivity-in-prince-of-persia/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/31/plotting-story-vs-interactivity-in-prince-of-persia/#comments Tue, 31 May 2005 13:35:12 +0000 adam /?p=773 Interesting article about how as the plot progresses in the first Prince of Persia game (Sands of Time), and your involvement in the story grows, the amount of control you have over the game events also increases (and then ebbs and flows with the story arcs). I liked a lot of things about both this game and the sequel, and I’m very much looking forward to the third. These games are emblematic of a new kind of platforming that’s very immersive, well-designed, easy to navigate, and just a ton of fun all around.

Many spoilers for the game if you haven’t played it:

http://waxebb.com/writings/plotting.html

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As if that’s important. http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/24/as-if-thats-important/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/24/as-if-thats-important/#comments Wed, 25 May 2005 00:55:34 +0000 adam /?p=761 “Researchers Pinpoint Brain’s Sarcasm Sensor”

http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2005/05/23/hscout525874.html

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Super water kills microbes, harmless to humans http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/16/super-water-kills-microbes-harmless-to-humans/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/16/super-water-kills-microbes-harmless-to-humans/#comments Mon, 16 May 2005 20:30:31 +0000 adam /?p=738 “The solution looks, smells and tastes like water, but carries an ion imbalance that makes short work of bacteria, viruses and even hard-to-kill spores.”

http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,67472,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

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Blood spinning http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/16/blood-spinning/ http://www.aquick.org/blog/2005/05/16/blood-spinning/#comments Mon, 16 May 2005 12:35:37 +0000 adam /?p=737 Apparently, there’s a way to centrifuge your own blood to concentrate its mystical healing powers, and this is illegal according to some sports.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7375&feedId=online-news_rss20

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