science

Today's Republican Party is the #ActiveShooter of American politics

Crossposted to Medium and Daily Kos.

Now, more than ever before, today’s Republican Party represents the #ActiveShooter in American politics.

#HealthCare #CHIP #PuertoRico #SandyHook #ClimateChange #LasVegas #RenewableEnergy #FuckTheGOP #Education #Science

The War on Science

You may have heard rightwing pundits such as columnist David Limbaugh, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox News tell you (with no real evidence, but with lots of emotional rhetoric) about the war that’s being waged against Christianity.

The Christians are absolutley safe. The Justice Department isn’t going to investigate the claims made by priests during sermons. The FCC isn’t going to regulate church sermons and force priests to be truthful and accurate. The United States Congress isn’t going to order the U.S. Treasury to take the words “In God We Trust” off of our money, and religious programming such as “The 700 Club” will not be taken off American television. Christians make up more than 75 percent of the U.S. population and they run all three branches of the U.S. government. They also control the American mainstream media and comprise most of the U.S. armed forces and law enforcement agencies. With such power and wealth and influence at their command, who in America could possibly wage war against them?

However, while many of you are focused on the fabricated “war on Christianity”, there is a very REAL war going on against science and scientists in America. Unlike David Limbaugh, Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox news, I will sumbit real evidence that this war is being waged.

Can you dig it?

Now what could this mean? TV crew stopped from taking samples from polluted Florida beach. Pat Gonzales, US Fish and Wildlife (to WEAR ABC 3 reporter taking a sample from polluted beach): "You can not come out here and do your own investigation if you're looking for oil product." WEAR ABC 3

Is the government protecting the sovereign state of BP? Is a pattern emerging?

It seems so. In addition to chasing off WEAR-ABC off the beach, federal officials discouraged scientists from taking samples in the Gulf, other federal officials confiscated samples gathered by scientists at LSU, and state officials refused to test fish for pollution claiming they'd seen no oil in the area in question. Who benefits?

A New Perspective On The Fermi Paradox

 

Ever heard of the Fermi Paradox? Essentially, it's this:

If there are intelligent civilisations elsewhere in the Universe with technologies that far surpass our own, why do we see no sign of them?

The article The Fermi Paradox, Phase Changes and Intergalactic Colonisation, posted June 26 online at the Technology Review, two gentlement from the National Technical University of Ukraine have come up with a new take that's yielding some interesting insights:

Their approach is to imagine that civilisations form at a certain rate, grow to fill a certain volume of space and then collapse and die. They even go as far as to suggest that civilisations have a characteristic life time, which limits how big they can become.

In certain circumstances, however, when civilisations are close enough together in time and space, they can come into contact and when this happens the cross-fertilisation of ideas and cultures allows them both to flourish in a way that increases their combined lifespan.

What's this mean? Well,

The result gives a new insight into the Fermi Paradox. Bezsudnov and Snarskii say that for certain values of these parameters, the universe undergoes a phase change from one in which civilisations tend not to meet and spread into one in which the entire universe tends to become civilised as different groups meet and spread.

Fascinating.

Of course, this doesn't resolve the question definitively, but certainly provides some interesting additional sparks that could catch and burn brightly in a fertile imagination.

What do ~you~ think -- is there any intelligent life in the universe? (Outside of Earth, that is -- effectively avoiding whether or not you'd qualify humanity itself as "intelligent.")

 

Glowing Scientific Reports on Fruit Fly Sperm Spat

Glowing Sperm Pictures, Images and PhotosFrom the BBC we get news that scientists have managed to observe fruit fly sperm that they have made glow either red or green and watched them duke it out in the sexual selection process. They believe this breakthrough may help advance theories on evolution and could provide solutions to human infertility:

In nature, monogamy is often the exception, promiscuity usually the rule, the BBC's Matt McGrath reports.

But whenever a female of any species mates with more than one male there is a battle between the sperm of the potential fathers as they attempt to fertilise the eggs.

Scientists regard this type of sexual selection as a very important force for evolutionary change.

...snip...

Prof Scott Pitnick says it was a jaw-dropping moment when he saw the multicoloured sperm through the microscope for the first time.

"It turns out that they [the sperm] are constantly on the move within the female's specialised sperm-storage organs and exhibit surprisingly complex behaviour," Prof Pitnick said.

Below the fold are some other stories on this breakthrough and other related fields of study as recommended by the BBC.

JOBS: Research and Science

A little back round. There once was a Huge Linen Factory, called Cannon than Pillow Tex {sp?}, than something else after I moved here of which the name eludes me. Well they closed it down a few years ago with thousands of job loses not only within but the supporting small companies. It was one of the biggest, if not thee biggest, collective job loss numbers in North Carolina.

How Are Your Genes Doing

I'd like to recommend an article that appeared in this past Tuesday's Science Times. Carl Zimmer has written a four page review of new advances in genetics research, Now - The Rest of the Genome, in which he discusses the flexibility which which genes express themselves depending upon circumstances within a given cell or cells. Particular genes apparently are not programmed to produce a specific protein.

Climate of Change Over Changing Climate: Ethics and Complacency


Last Friday, on a whim, I created an open thread called Winds of Change, Comfortably Numb. Like the song from the video, the winds of change are blowing -- quite literally, too: the climate is changing, in social & political ways as well as ecological terms.1

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The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

_____

New studies were published over the weekend that serve to reinforce some previous data about the issue of global climate change. In his piece Warming and Storms, Uncertainty and Ethics, Andrew C. Revkin writes about how those studies may impact our approach to human-induced global warming:

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Over the weekend, a pair of very different climate studies — one physical, one social — illustrated two uncomfortable, and related, realities confronting society as it grapples with possible responses to human-driven global warming.
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Revkin is right: both studies, particularly when combined, leave us with some disturbing things to mull over.

Secular Saviors: Science Steps Up


So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.1

It is a tale at least as old as the New Testament within the Christian faiths -- the restoral of speech to those who could no longer talk, the return of sight to those who had gone blind, the repair of limbs for those who have been maimed, the recovery of mobility for the lame, the healing of disease for the afflicted, the casting out of demons for the possessed and insane, and ultimately the resurrection of the dead.

All accomplished with but a simple touch, a gesture, a sign or a spoken word.

That is the essence of the miraculous within the realm of legends, lore, philosophy, religion and mythology. Tomes as diverse as the Bible2 and tales from folklore and fantasy dealing with stories of creation, magic, the battle between good and evil and the end of the world abound, but the boundaries dividing the worlds of reality and fantasy, myth and legend, faith and fact are blurring now.

Once the sole provenance of magick and fantasy, the pursuit of miracles and our meager attempts to understand life, the universe and everything has jumped the rails: it is no longer constrained to a world where myth and fantasy play a significant role. Such answers are no longer found only in folklore and religion. Now, the search of these answers is also the baileywick of science.

Of Transgenic Mice and Men: The Rats of NIMH Meet Universal Soldier

When I was in grade school, one of the many reading assignments given to students included a book titled Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.1

The novel relates the plight of a widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, whose family must travel every year to a summer home to avoid being mowed by the farmer who owns the land she and her family live on. When Mrs. Frisby's son, Timothy, becomes ill, Mrs. Frisby must venture for help. [...snip...] ...from a nest of rats which lives nearby under a rose bush.

She discovers that the nest is a community of long-lived, super-intelligent rats, [...snip...]

The rats had been captured and experimented upon by people from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Part of the series of experiments at NIMH involved an acceleration of their intelligence. They were able to learn to read, write, and operate complicated machines. Their new intelligence was much more developed than their captors realised, because they were able to escape from the NIMH laboratories and migrate to their present location. She learns, too, that her husband had been part of a group of mice who had been at NIMH with the rats...

[Emphasis mine.]

It was an interesting book, and the tale has been popularized through reprintings and made into a movie. Although the technology for breeding "super-" anything has been dreamt of for years,2 but it wasn't one I gave much additional thought to until I ran across a curious article just the other day...

Pets and Personalities -- Science now thinks "maybe"...

A story in ABC News from early June of 2007 appears to indicate that science is now -- finally -- taking a look at the possibility that animals can have personalities. The article Do Pets Really Have Personality? didn't suggest anything that would come as a surprise to pet owners, of course. Regardless of pet size, shape, make or model, humans have been attributing them with personalities for years.

Of course, humans who don't own pets usually thought pet owners were crazy.

(Smoky doesn't look too impressed by the news, either.)

That stubborn, stupid 30%...it's genetic.

Well well well...science marches on, and we now find some answers to one of the most puzzling questions that has haunted us over these past seven years.

Remember how, no matter what facts come to light and no matter how often George W. Bush and friends are caught lying or committing other crimes, they are invariably, inexplicably supported by 25-30% of Americans? We now have an apparent explanation for this.