In Science News...

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 11:53 pm
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
Saber-toothed squirrel

and

Zombie worms?

Frankly, I think someone at Science Daily has been having a little too much fun writing the headlines.

Super!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 10:45 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Because I don't remember anyone else posting this link, and because it's the sort of thing many of you would have posted if you'd run across it:
The Social Networks of Superheroes.

Link via Chris Moriarty's blog. Following the links also brought me to this post about "eurekometrics", which will probably be of interest to those of you who think the word "eurekometrics" is nifty.

But going back to Chris Moriarty: Having loved her SF novels Spin State and Spin Control, I am looking forward to The Inquisitor's Apprentice, which book has already been reviewed by someone on LiveJournal.
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
New Scientist TV: No magnet required: How to build a compass out of Lego. Sadly, I do not own any of the relevant Technic parts.
hummingwolf: Gold starlike kaleidoscope images. (Gold stars)
Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak are this year's winners for the Nobel Prize in medicine for their research into telomeres (the tips of chromosomes) and telomerase (the enzyme that builds telomeres); discoveries which, in the words of the prize committee, "have added a new dimension to our understanding of the cell, shed light on disease mechanisms, and stimulated the development of potential new therapies."

This is the first time two women have won the prize in medicine in the same year. But what I'm wondering is, how many times has a winner of a Nobel prize quoted Monty Python?

Why do I do it?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 10:43 am
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I keep checking out new age fluff from the library and reading it? No, that's not the question. The question is: Why do I keep reading new age fluff by authors who try to support their mysticism with "science"? After all, it's not the metaphysics that bothers me; it's the physics. I'll be reading along happily, keeping my mind reasonably open in case the writer has something interesting or useful to say, when suddenly I'll be hit with a statement that "Quantum physics teaches us that nothing is random" and then I'll just sit there going "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" for five minutes before my brain is willing to move on. I'll think everything is fine after that, but then the author will say that people used to think that the Earth was the center of the galaxy, but now we all know that the Sun is the center of the galaxy. Or there will be a discussion of the structure of the cells of living beings, informing us that the living cell consists of a cell nucleus and atoms orbiting around the cell nucleus. And I stop to think about this for a moment, and then I wonder how many of the living cells of my brain will give up and commit suicide before I finish the chapter.

~~~~~

Today I woke up at four a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. Add this to the effects of my reading material and you'll realize how amazing it is that I can form coherent sentences at all. (Um... I am forming coherent sentences, aren't I? It is possible that I may not be the best judge.)

In other news, the radio part of my AM/FM/longwave/shortwave radio alarm clock has stopped working again. It was working fine from May 27 through yesterday evening, though, so I'm grateful for that much.

Link of the moment, via [livejournal.com profile] supergee: The negative power of positive thinking.

Hummingwolf Tonight

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 02:07 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (returned & reused)
Now wearing: Long, lightweight, pale turquoise-ish button-down nightgown and boring underwear.

Now hearing: Siouxsie & the Banshees. "The Killing Jar" has been running through my head for days, so I gave in to the inevitable and pulled out my copy of Peepshow.

Now smelling: Mostly my body odor, not entirely offensive.

Now tasting: Vomit, which does offend me. I was checking up on a housemate a while ago, making sure they were still here and hadn't left the house while the door was open (again). Was asked, "Are you all right?" and suddenly realized the answer was a big, fat NO. Well, that explains why it was so hard to get to sleep.

Now feeling: Sick, which must come as a surprise to anyone who read the preceding paragraph. No, I haven't been to Mexico recently--not since the 1970s.

Now annoyed by: The bathroom sink on this floor isn't draining. If I'm gonna be sick, I really don't want to worry about how far I'll have to walk to wash my hands afterwards.

Beverage of the moment: Plain water in carefully small sips, thanks. I wish it were cold.

Miles walked today... erm, yesterday: Just a little heart.

Last meal eaten: Multigrain toast with Monterey jack cheese, avocado & hummus, with dried cherries for dessert. There would have been something green and leafy as well, but I didn't go to the right store for that (was hoping to go today). I do hope that hummus isn't what's making me oogie tonight. It isn't the best hummus ever, but it is tasty.

Last TV show watched: Monday night's House, M.D.

Next TV show to be watched: Most of the big networks will be showing a presidential news conference tonight, but FOX will have its regularly-scheduled episode of Lie to Me. Are they fair and balanced? Of course not! But I'm more likely to watch Tim Roth tonight and read the important Obama bits some other time.

Suddenly I want: Dark chocolate. It's probably not a good idea to indulge right now, alas.

Last book finished: Octavia E. Butler, Wild Seed.

Now reading: Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.

News story of the moment: Forget the flu and read about glowing cloned dogs. Giving them all the same name doesn't seem fair somehow.

Oh, the story about medical conflicts of interest is probably important too, but it doesn't have any puppies.

Snail mail of the day: The Social Security Administration finally got around to informing me that I'd be getting my economic stimulus payment next month. I already knew that I should be getting it, but it's reassuring to know that they know it too.

Latest LJ interest: changing ‮directions, further evidence that I am easily amused.
hummingwolf: hummingwolf in front of brick wall with flower drawn on it (Wallflower)
Link via [livejournal.com profile] nancylebov and [livejournal.com profile] supergee: How the city hurts your brain... And what you can do about it. See also comments over on Whatever.

I love the tree outside my window. Even leafless, covered in the rags left by last spring's overabundance of tent caterpillars, it is soothing to look upon.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (8 months)
From this story, one of many stories about the sad hardware malfunction at the Large Hadron Collider which will put the LHC out of commission for at least two months: "Spokesman James Gillies has been unable to give much more detail regarding the nature of the malfunction, but stated that in order for repairs to be made the tunnel will have to be warmed up to around absolute zero."

Warmed up to absolute zero, eh? What was the temperature before this???

Well, since the piece goes on to say that "Once the repair is made, the tunnel will then have to be cooled back down to its original operating temperature of -271C," one presumes that the spokesman probably meant--and probably even said--that it would be warmed up to something sensible, like zero degrees Celsius*. Still, the idea of the tunnel needing to be warmed up to absolute zero is delightfully bizarre.



* A different article says "CERN spokesman James Gillies said that the damaged section must be warmed up to 273 degrees Celsius before the system can be repaired," which seems a bit excessive somehow.

In Totally Serious News

Thursday, May 29th, 2008 11:06 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts.

Two monkeys with tiny sensors in their brains have learned to control a mechanical arm with just their thoughts, using it to reach for and grab food and even to adjust for the size and stickiness of morsels when necessary, scientists reported on Wednesday.

The report, released online by the journal Nature, is the most striking demonstration to date of brain-machine interface technology. Scientists expect that technology will eventually allow people with spinal cord injuries and other paralyzing conditions to gain more control over their lives.


Link via slacktivist, who says, "Maybe not quite as exciting as this, but still that's a New York Times headline with A) monkeys, B) robots and C) mind powers. No zombies there, but you can't have everything."
hummingwolf: (My world is askew!)
Once again, technology is confusing me; and once again, it is certain that people are to blame. However, one has to wonder what, exactly, those people had in mind.

See, I can understand the motive behind most instances of web scraping: money. If you haven't got an original idea in your head, or if you haven't the inclination to put all your original ideas into practice, then it is so much easier to have some webcrawler go out and gather other people's content for you so you can put it up on your site, find out how many people click on links to your site when they do searches for something interesting, and collect the ad revenue. It is not a terribly ethical thing to do, but it certainly is understandable. What I don't get is the motivation for sites that collect the content and then change many of the words to something else so that it's barely recognizable as English--particularly when those sites do not appear to have any advertising on them.

Yesterday I found a prime example of what I'm talking about, and as a child of the '80s, I find it a most amusing one. Back in 2006, somebody posted a list of the songs on a compilation called Hit Mix 86 - continuous mix of 1986 hits. A cute little scraped blog posted a mutilated version of that entry a couple of days ago called "Fetch a blow Reembody 86- durational confound with regard to 1986 hits"--text-only Google cache here. In the new entry, "I" was replaced by oddities like "Psyche" or "Herself;" the band Sly Fox became "Slide Reynard," "Ready Sly dog," and "Privy Charmer;" and Paul Hardcastle's name became both "John Hardcastle" and "Clement of Alexandria Hardcastle."

As a longtime Nik Kershaw fan, I would love to hear him sing his hits "Wouldn’t Subliminal self Come True-spirited" and "Ruach Won’t Hampering the Glim Decline By use of Subliminal self" (formerly known as "Wouldn't It Be Good" and "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"). I was never a fan of Samantha Fox's song "Touch Me, (I want your body)," but hearing Samantha Wolf sing "Touch down You, (Ego neverness your corpulence)" would be a highlight of my life--particularly if she's doing a duet with her twin Samantha Sweet talker, known for her hit "Correspondence Other self (Himself Ullage Your Expansion)." Oh, and it's been a long time since I've heard Kate Howling wilderness singing "Steady Heavenward That Blister." Does anybody else have any opinions on other classic tunes in the mix?

~~~~~


Unrelatedly, [livejournal.com profile] rialian posted a link to The Nature Institute's site about Nontarget Effects of Genetic Manipulation. At least, I think that's unrelated. Now that I think about it some more, I wonder what would happen if the bot that made the mutant page above were involved in creating transgenic organisms.
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
Link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee: "Belief in Evolutionary Psychology May Be Hardwired, Study Says"

The appearance of this article has greatly increased writer Chris Clarke's chances of reproductive success. It's a thing of beauty, it is.

(no subject)

Friday, July 20th, 2007 10:43 am
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
In spite of the fact that I woke up early this morning (or perhaps because of that fact), I've been moving much too slowly to do the thing I wanted to do before going off to do that other thing I want to do. So instead, I'm reading stuff online and wondering when the tea will kick in.

One thing I ran across is an article challenging guidelines on teen depression. I can't actually tell you what the article says, though, because my attention has been eaten up by the fact that the UK really does have an organization with the acronym of NICE. "NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health." People who remember the C.S. Lewis book That Hideous Strength will understand my problem here.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] languagelog has a post with some fun fruit fly gene names.

Man with tiny brain lives entirely normal life. Insert your own commentary here.

Gosh, this is a surprise: "Body image was significantly more negative after viewing thin media images than after viewing images of either average size models, plus size models, or inanimate objects. ... Results support the sociocultural perspective that mass media promulgate a slender ideal that elicits body dissatisfaction."

"The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda." My main question is still why Hillary Rodham Clinton is the front-runner when nobody actually wants to vote for her. But anyway, "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hit back Friday at a Pentagon aide who charged that her questions about Iraq withdrawal planning have the effect of helping the enemy - calling the accusation a spurious dodge of a serious issue."

How much does this stuff matter in the grand scheme of things? Well, size isn't everything, but Universcale may still give you a sense of perspective.

Randomish Bits

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 09:44 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
From last week: Photo Gallery: Giant Prehistoric Penguins Found. Link via [livejournal.com profile] mysticpenguin, unsurprisingly.

~~~~~

Here's something you don't often hear me say in July: Yesterday was another in a string of beautiful days: not too hot, not too humid, sunshine during the day to bring clarity to a world of green, little fluffy clouds providing fuel for the fires of sunset.

~~~~~

Health note: Stuff, possibly slightly TMI )

~~~~~

Quote of the moment:

There is no arriving on the living path of Wisdom. There is only this step, and this step, and this step. There is no perfection on Wisdom's path, there is only perfecting. One step is not superior to another other, only more thoughtful, compassionate, just, and wise.

With every step there is something to do. Large or small, complex or simple, each moment offers you an opportunity to act. Do what you can with each opportunity. Give when giving is what is required. Take when taking is what is appropriate. There is no right action for every step, only a right action at every step. Even if your path takes you into the realms of falsehood and chaos, you can act for Wisdom and order. It matters less where you step than it does what you do when you get there.

--Rabbi Rami Shapiro commenting on Proverbs 3:27-31 in The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature

~~~~~

I have more to say. There is always more to say, but there aren't always words to say it with.

I can tell you that I want some Swiss cheese, but that fact really isn't very interesting at all.

(no subject)

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 10:16 am
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
I woke up at about 4:30 this morning feeling like someone had set large patches of my skin on fire. Since this was not conducive to sleep, I eventually got up and read for a while, then managed to sink into a light and troubled slumber for another hour or so. As a result of the pain and sleep-dep, I am likely to be cranky all day. You have been warned.

This article about Conservapedia might be interesting to those of you who haven't already read a zillion blog posts (probably mostly on liberal blogs and probably much more thorough than the Wired article) about the "much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American." I find the article interesting for a different reason, which is that it includes the line "Conservapedia was lampooned by conservative blogger Jon Swift for its brash denial of scientific facts in favor of biblical rhetoric."

People, when some blogger says
I am a reasonable conservative who likes to write about politics and culture. Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues.

it may not be wise to take them literally. Particularly when they call themselves by the name of a famous satirist. I'm just saying.

Also in the news: Vitamins could kill you. At least, based on results of some of the better studies, some vitamins could kill you, at least some of the time, maybe, if you take really high doses you don't need. People for whom "Too much of anything is too much" is a radically new idea too subtle to be believable may also be interested in the international movement to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Is there anything else in the news that might annoy me this morning? Oh right, there was the Jesus tomb story that hit over the weekend. Could we please stop leaving our science in the hands of movie directors? Surely someone out there must have a better grasp of history and archaeology than James Cameron?

Relevant Links

Thursday, February 1st, 2007 09:19 am
hummingwolf: (two)
Relevant to last night's conversation at Stitch & Bitch, anyway, and I see no reason why the rest of you wouldn't find these interesting:

An educational page on "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema". Source text from the American Anthropological Association may be found here in PDF format. Natural History Magazine also had an article on "The Mysterious Fall of the Nacirema", but I have not yet had the chance to read that one through.

What I vaguely remembered last night, and many people do not know, is that the oldest known mummified remains in the world are the Chinchorro mummies found in Chile and Peru. Wikipedia article here. "These Chinchorro mummies were significant to history because during the periods of these mummies, everyone who died was mummified, including children, new-borns and fetuses. This shows us that it was not reserved for those of high rank or high status. The mummification was not a sign of stratification." Archaeology Magazine had an article on "Making the Dead Beautiful: Mummies as Art", and there are plenty of other things you can find online if you do a search for Chinchorro mummies.

(no subject)

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007 02:54 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Scientists search for "forbidden sequences in the genome - ones so harmful that they are not compatible with life".
"It's like looking for a needle that's not actually in the haystack," says Greg Hampikian, professor of genetics at Boise State University in Idaho, who is leading the project. "There must be some DNA or protein sequences that are not compatible with life, perhaps because they bind some essential cellular component, for example, and have therefore been selected out of circulation. There may also be some that are lethal in some species, but not others. We're looking for those sequences."
...
Further down the line there is the possibility of constructing a "suicide gene" to code for deadly amino acid primes. It could be attached to genetically modified organisms and activated to destroy them at a later date if they turned out to be dangerous, Hampikian suggests.

In other news, "For the first time, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine what parts of the brain are active when people consider whether to purchase a product and to predict whether or not they ultimately choose to buy the product."

Anybody else imagining a future when people who have been identified as particularly resistant to sales pitches will be treated to gene therapy with a suicide gene? Have I just read too much dystopian fiction?

In other news (link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee),
NEW YORK - Sick subway passengers, most of them dieters who faint from dizziness, are among the top causes of train delays, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Your line for the suicide gene starts over there to the left. Take your diet books with you to read while you wait. Don't mind me, I'll just be sitting over here eating my limited-edition mint dark chocolate Kit-Kats (on sale for 75% off!).

In entirely unrelated news, and in spite of objections by people who believe for some reason that all American lawmakers should be sworn in on the Bible and that using any other holy book is un-Amurrican, Minnesota's Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will use the Koran when he takes his oath of office--Thomas Jefferson's Koran.

In the news (feeds)

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007 07:49 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Kaleidoscope (purple & white))
From Slate: The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006. Linked to by [livejournal.com profile] rssworldmag with the commentary: "The list ... seems to say Bush is the culprit and anathema to all Enlightenment's work (and the Reformation's). You make the call."

From [livejournal.com profile] scienceblog: 10 tips for spicing up your health in 2007. The fact that thyme seems to fight colds interests me, since I have gotten thyme cravings every single time I've had bronchitis.

Did you realize that the Mars rovers Spirit & Opportunity have been on the planet for three years? And according to this link from [livejournal.com profile] scienceblog, they keep getting smarter. Nifty!

Also in space news, [livejournal.com profile] space_com says This year, China is set to launch its first lunar orbiter, followed by the summer sendoff of a mega-powerful mooncraft from Japan. (By the way, this month the moon is called the Wolf Moon, so feel free to howl.)

From [livejournal.com profile] mind_hacks: a little bit on the cognitive neuroscience of music.

NewScientist.com's most popular news stories of 2006, The Weirdest Science Stories of 2006 , The Best Human Nature Stories of 2006, Top Health News of 2006.

I really want to do better at keeping up with the news in 2007.

In the news

Thursday, December 21st, 2006 02:57 pm
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
Via [livejournal.com profile] rsschristdot:
BOSTON (AP) -- The "crazy, crazy Jewish fun" of Kosherland looks a lot like the board game Candy Land, except gefilte fishing substitutes for visits to the Ice Cream Sea.

In Catholic-opoly, like Monopoly, the job is to bankrupt your opponents. The difference is it's done "in a nice, fun way."

And role-playing can get pretty realistic with the Biblical Action Figure of Job, which comes complete with boils.

Maybe it's just me, but some of the games described in the article do sound kinda fun.

In other news, "Lawmakers have drawn up a resolution naming Jesus Christ as the honorary king of Poland, but have failed to win support from the country’s powerful Roman Catholic church."

[livejournal.com profile] delish_fractal brings us Christmas Science, featuring useful links like the NORAD Santa tracking page and the science of Santa.

Something to do when you're bored at Christmas: Construct complex fractals out of light using a few shiny Christmas tree ornaments. Pretty!

Via [livejournal.com profile] rssworldmag: "A Commack School District bus driver says he nearly lost his job because he refused to take off his Santa Claus cap while driving his route... Mott said he was told that a parent of a child complained to the district about Mott's headgear, saying that the child doesn't believe in Santa Claus and was bothered by the hat."

Via almost everybody: The title of the next Harry Potter book has been revealed! It is behind the cut, for those who don't want to know. ) And ten zillion fans are already complaining about the title and wondering what impact it will have on the epic Snape slashfic they're in the midst of writing.

From [livejournal.com profile] bbc_scitech: "A Japanese man has survived for 24 days in cold weather and without food and water by falling into a state of "hibernation", his doctor has said." Another version of the story here.

Woman with two wombs gives birth to triplets. Or, depending on how you look at it, twins and a singleton all at the same time. This is what I'm wondering: What are that woman's menstrual periods like?

Also from the BBC: "Robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans, according to a study by the British government." I wonder what MegaHAL thinks of that idea?

From [livejournal.com profile] endicottstudio, we get Yuletide Goblins of Iceland. So cute!
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory's seasons page, Winter Solstice this year is at 22 minutes past midnight on December 22, in Universal Time--which puts it at 7:22 p.m. on December 21 here on the east coast of the USA. Have a good one, folks! May this be a wonderful Winter and/or Summer for us all!

While in the process of re-finding the seasons page, I discovered the nifty solar position calculator. I don't know if any of you have a practical use for it (I sure don't), but it's still a fun thing to play with.

And in this holiday season, [livejournal.com profile] nalidoll provides a valuable public service: The 2nd Annual BitchAway Cafe Holiday Edition. "This is a safe place to BitchAway about what is bothering you. Rant, rave, throw a fit... whatever. Let loose with what's eating at you. No worries about it cluttering up your journal, just come on in and leave it behind here..."

Just because

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 02:55 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Because advertisements keep showing "snowflakes" with seven or eight points on them, I feel the need to link to a Guide to Snowflakes. Also see the snow crystal primer and various other pages on the site if you like, but the first link is the one with all the pretty pictures.

Because I keep mentioning them to people who forget to download them: the [livejournal.com profile] nathanchase LJ has two mashups that some of you need to hear. (The posts are from way back in April 2005, but the links still seem to work.)

Because it amused me: spam subject line from yesterday: "you were taking, the amount of medicine you were using, and arabic"
I've never taken Arabic, though! Just Spanish and Greek. And I think most of the medicine I was taking when I was taking Greek was aspirin.

In the news

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006 05:57 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Because if I don't tell you this stuff, maybe nobody else will.

So, how come I haven't heard about this one from my flist yet? (Okay, technically I did, in the [livejournal.com profile] secrecy_news feed.) "In another sign of shifting ground in the post-election Congress, Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the "Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2006," which would reinstate federal court jurisdiction over Guantanamo detainees and other suspected enemy combatants."

It's fun to see "Is Anthropogenic Climate Change a Myth?" shortly followed by "Warming oceans produce less phytoplankton".

On a completely different note, I bring you "Pubic hair particles vs. systemic abstractors in generative art." Um, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] delish_fractal.

From [livejournal.com profile] livescience: 4,000-year-old mummified doctor unearthed. We're sorry, but Dr. Qar is still waiting to hear back from your insurance company.

Via [livejournal.com profile] new_scientist: Bats can navigate by sensing Earth's magnetic field. This super-sense gives them something in common with naked mole rats and Siberian hamsters. Anybody else want to see a team of crime-fighting superheroes who happen to be a bat, a naked mole rat, and a Siberian hamster? Somebody needs to write that script.

According to [livejournal.com profile] natlgeographic, brain-eating cannibal Neandertals looked different from non-cannibal Neandertals. The article suggests this had something to do with climate, but isn't it obvious that the one group looked different because they were zombies?

According to [livejournal.com profile] scienceblog, water has flowed on Mars within the last seven years. New Scientist version here. But has the Martian surface ever had zombies walking on it?

In Science News

Friday, November 24th, 2006 10:12 am
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
From various feeds:

Did an eco-disaster spawn complex life? Same topic: Greatest mass extinction gave oceans a face lift.

The genetic make-up of humans can vary more than previously thought.

Research article I am not nearly awake enough to do more than flick my eyes over: Algorithmic Self-Assembly of DNA Sierpinski Triangles.

Crustacean and her 425-million-year-old eggs. Pretty!

"It seems that for some people, love and intimacy might not just be undesirable but downright toxic" "His therapist apparently believed that no one could genuinely prefer solitude and that there must be a psychological block preventing this patient from seeking intimacy." Something tells me his problem wasn't intimacy, but the pressure to be someone he wasn't.

The search for truth serums. The fact that this mentions a physician called Dr. House amuses me so much. "Everybody lies."

Secrets of Hessian crucible makers--"A 500-year old mystery surrounding the centre-piece of the alchemists' lab kit has been solved by UCL (University College London) and Cardiff University archaeologists."

Patterns of visual math.

Icelandic volcano caused historic famine in Egypt. And today there's a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil....

"A lavishly illustrated "Atlas of Creation" is mysteriously turning up at schools and libraries in Turkey, proclaiming that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is the real root of terrorism." Did somebody say "Turkey"? I'm getting hungry again.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online. If the theory of evolution isn't scary enough for you, try:

Hauntworld--The Biggest Haunt Finder Network on the Internet. (Both of these sites recommended by Yahoo in the last week.)

But nothing in those haunts could possibly be as scary as Vegemite, which has been banned in the US. As [livejournal.com profile] supergee says, "When Vegemite is outlawed, only outlaws will have Vegemite. (At least it's not a weapon of mass destruction, like Sudafed.)"

I happened to copy an earlier article Supergee linked to this morning, so here's the text:
Eek! Scary Vegemite! )
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (8 months)
In one experiment, "researchers put different subjects in a positive or negative mood state and asked them to write down an argument in favour of a particular proposition.

"When their arguments were analysed for their quality and persuasiveness, subjects in a negative mood were shown to be far more effective in their critical thinking and communication skills."

So. Sad people are better at critical thinking than happy people.

More Americans are taking antidepressants than ever.

Many Americans are still planning to vote for George Bush.

Is there a connection?



No offense intended to anyone who plans to vote for Dubya. I'm sure some of you have excellent reasons for your views and your choice probably isn't entirely due to Prozac in your drinking water.

(no subject)

Thursday, August 19th, 2004 01:07 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
Quote of the moment: "My first lover was Kuanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. She faked her orgasms." Well, it is a reasonably attention-getting opening, don't you think?

While typing up a comment a few minutes ago, I was distracted by some small movement seen out of the corner of my eye. Another goldfinch, flying around in the dappled sunlight by the tree outside my window! This one had some gray coloration, so it must have been a female. Still a cheerful sight on a summer day.

In the news: Cell Phone Users are finding God. You know that God's love is unconditional when it extends to the people who wander around the grocery store arguing on the cell phone.

More fun news: Quantum teleportation across the Danube. Also, atoms spotted flying in formation. And look at the cute flying robot!

Um.

Monday, August 2nd, 2004 07:35 pm
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
"Eat your heart out, Dracula - scientists turn blood into biscuits and chocolate."

I'm guessing that the "chocolate" tastes about as much like chocolate as carob does--i.e. it's brown and it's sweet and the only people who think it tastes like chocolate are people who don't like dark chocolate. But it is interesting to see the lengths food scientists will go to in order to turn waste products into something people will buy.

Pardon me, I'm going to go eat a cantaloupe made up of recognizable cantaloupe parts now.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Top story: Human breasts grown on mice. The mind boggles (typo alert: this originally read "The mind bloggles").

I'd give you the rest of the day's headlines, but what could possibly top this story?

In the news.

Tuesday, July 29th, 2003 01:05 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
"WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is setting up a stock-market style system in which investors would bet on terror attacks, assassinations and other events in the Middle East. Defense officials hope to gain intelligence and useful predictions while investors who guessed right would win profits."

[livejournal.com profile] eilandesq's response:

*Office of the general in charge of the program--his secretary pokes his head in*

"General, I've got Joey Buttafuoco on Line One, Geraldo Rivera on Line Two, and Andrew Dice Clay on Line Three. They all think this idea is in really bad taste."

(May be an old joke, Scott, but it works for me.)

Eh, maybe the government types are trying to take our minds off the fact that the new electronic voting systems risk election fraud. Or maybe they don't want us discussing the constitutionality of the F word. (Thanks to Darth Spacey for that last one.)

In unrelated news (unrelated unless the F-word shows up in the poems somewhere), I rather like this:

"Vogons, fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will recall, wrote poetry so bad it could kill. Now an experiment to create poems on the web looks likely to automate the awfulness of Vogon verse.

"David Rea of Greenwich, Connecticut, has written a program that allows a poem to evolve, to see if people with diverse tastes in poetry can work together to create attractive verse."


That article tells you about the Darwinian Poetry website, which language geeks among you may find as nifty as I do.

And in less useful news, Kansas is flatter than a pancake. Maybe you'd need a map of the brain to figure out why these particular stories appeal to me now. Is anybody else as pleased as I am to learn about the possible ice towers on Mars?



(In personal news, I'm still sleep-deprived and barely coherent. I hope that isn't too obvious.)

(no subject)

Monday, March 24th, 2003 02:36 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Went for a short walk to the drug store. The weather is absolutely gorgeous: Temperature in the upper 60s (Fahrenheit), little fluffy clouds floating in a peaceful blue sky. The daffodils and forsythia are blooming, the birds are chirping, the trees are pollinating, the hummingwolf is sneezing. Ah, spring.

Question of the moment: When chocolate Easter eggs are on sale for 22 cents each, can I pretend that they've got fewer calories now too?

In the news (unrelated to war): Back Pain Linked to Brain Shrinkage. "The changes in people with chronic pain, Apkarian told Reuters Health in an interview, were particularly noticeable in parts of the gray matter that are known to be important in making 'emotional assessments,' including decision making and control of everyday social behavior." Ouch. In better news, they've now invented an enzyme-catalyzed bio-battery that runs on shots of vodka.

Morning Update

Monday, March 24th, 2003 11:38 am
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
Since the depression began to lift last week, my predominant emotion has been anger. Good. Much as I'd love to be happy, anger is a nice, energetic emotion much to be preferred over sitting around like a lump all day. If I can sleep enough and get myself sufficiently caffeinated to think clearly, I can work with this.

Reading about the war probably has a lot to do with the anger. Haven't been watching much of the TV coverage, just following links in [livejournal.com profile] theworld and other places to try to ensure that if I'm reading propaganda (and I am), at least it's propaganda from a variety of sources. Trying to keep track of other news stories as well, like the one about the artificial synapse.

This weekend's one accomplishment: I made a little animation in POV-Ray which [livejournal.com profile] penguinboi is now using as one of his many icons.
Bounce (c) Hummingwolf Isn't it cute? From certain angles you can tell that the penguin model is pretty crude, but the bouncy guy still has some charm. Anybody else want an icon featuring a chinstrap penguin? (I'd offer to make one for [livejournal.com profile] mysticpenguin, but she uses photos of real pengies... anybody else?) Now if only my computer would play nice with mice so I could make a hummingwolf model.

Had more to say but the brain is demanding more caffeine before I'm to be allowed to say it.

(no subject)

Thursday, January 16th, 2003 03:12 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
In its most basic form, optimism is the belief that the actions you take have effects on the world around you. This basic version of optimism is a prerequisite for directed action of any kind. We are born with it. But this optimism can be driven out in the laboratory through inducement of learned helplessness. Scientists can use electric shocks to teach lab rats that no matter what they do, they will be shocked. After a while, the rats get the message and cease to attempt to do anything at all.

Speaking of rats, one experiment late last year in a Japanese lab had infant rats decapitated and their heads transplanted onto adult rats' thighs. "A transplanted brain can develop as normal for at least three weeks, and the mouth of the head will move, as if it is trying to drink milk, the team reports." Nice picture, that, of the infant rat heads working and working for something they won't get.

I've been feeling awfully ratlike this week.

That said, I haven't completely learned the message of helplessness yet. I managed to make a phone call and get a deadline extended. Still don't know what I'm going to do, but have got a little more time in which to do it.

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