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Count that day lost

in which you do not learn at least one new thing.

Last Build Date: Mon, 06 Jun 2011 21:09:07 +0000


Some arguments with my old pastor

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 11:58:42 +0000

True to my last post, I’ve got a bit of something here from my 750words writing. This weekend my old church, where my family still attends, had a sermon on “The Atheist Christian” or something like that, and had a little handout from the pastor with his conclusions (more liberal than many theologies, but…). [...]

750 Words… more or less.

Tue, 31 May 2011 11:56:45 +0000

Over the last couple of months (today marks 61 consecutive days/exactly two months actually) I’ve been doing a bit of personal writing using the website . For me it’s a little bitter-sweet as Buster is doing with 750words what I’d always hoped to do with Wordtrip; get people writing. I would love to [...]

Nomar & Dumbo’s Feather

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:31:34 +0000

On diets, baseball, project management, and getting things done. There is a thing called a mind hack. If you are unaware, a mind hack is an ostensibly productive, or at least positive, use of the esoteric nature of our brain to trick ourselves into doing something we otherwise might not due to procrastination, priorities, or [...]

Skeptic Blog response

Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:28:17 +0000

(I’m posting here, because I can’t post on skepticblog from work thanks to our proxy… I’ll probably go post this there when I can) Brian Dunning has posted a piece on the Skeptic Blog about the Mythbusters. He disclaimers that he enjoys and appreciates the show for what it is, but also wishes it was a [...]

A Guest Post I wrote

Tue, 31 Aug 2010 12:40:13 +0000

@Lisa_Ray is doing a “Year Without Disney” with her family, and when I started rambling in her comments about appreciating Art as it is created, instead of buying the product as it is marketed, she amazingly asked me to do a guest post… and as I obviously NEED some motivation to write, I took her [...]

thought inoculation

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 00:43:12 +0000

I was pondering the subject of intellectual inoculation this morning. Primarily, which is the inoculation: To be able to read factual scientific evidence with piles of data behind it and still ignore it because it goes against your religious/political point of view? Or to be able to reject any mode of thinking that goes against [...]

Five Months without an update

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 02:53:31 +0000

I've tried to funnel my writing energies into fiction lately, and I've not really felt compelled to write the stuff I want to write here... those things will really need another person to bounce stuff off of.

Desire Utilitarianism

Sun, 28 Jun 2009 12:38:08 +0000

I've been reading about Desire Utilitarianism lately on the sites of Alonzo Fyfe (who has a blog as well as his main site) and Luke Muehlhauser .... Luke did an interview with Alonzo for his podcast and has some nice links on the subject, or you can just hit his FAQ on it.

Thoughts on Kindle

Sun, 08 Mar 2009 01:34:50 +0000

Now you've got a lot of DRM free versions of music (amazon's mp3 store for example) because the producers didn't like to be locked into Apple, and what I suspect will happen is something similar when the Kindle has shown enough publishers that people will pay for digital content the producers will then start unlocking it for other eBook readers. The Phone idea isn't unlikely per se, and the Kindle app for iPhone is a step in that direction (they're apparently going to be making for other devices as well), though I think the BIG dig against a blackberry/phone concept is that having read a few things on the iPhone and Blackbery, it's just not as comfortable to try and read any quantity of content on a small screen.

An Atheist’s possibilities?

Sun, 22 Feb 2009 01:29:29 +0000

The bottom line is that a story of Jesus resurrection is much more likely to be because there were believers who believed it (truth or not) and shared it with other people willing to believe without any real proof (this was a time of much belief in many things) than because somebody was actually raised from the dead.... What I can't do is look over at somebody and say "well THAT guy was raised from the dead so I've nothing to fear and I can jump off buildings for fun" because we don't have ANY evidence for somebody being raised from the dead in modern times, and in fact the only claim any really significant number of modern western civilization people give any credence to is for somebody 2000 years ago. If I find an eye-witness account that says "Jethro fed his sheep in the year 12BCE" I have no reason to believe it didn't happen because that is entirely consistent with what we expect people from that era to have done.

No CTDL isn’t dead

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:20:17 +0000

I’ve been re-assessing how I want to approach this blog. Expect more stuff here before long.

Expansive Ignorance

Tue, 11 Nov 2008 06:43:27 +0000

As I’ve been remiss in keeping CTDL updated for various reasons, I thought I’d point you to a blog which will stretch your mind far more than any of mine do. To demonstrate this I’ll quote a single sentence to request that you think on. In other words, science is a method that chiefly expands our [...]

CTDL 228: All they need now is colored syrup to make a slushy

Sat, 23 Aug 2008 03:57:59 +0000

I’m back from vacation and will put up a few more “dump” posts with all the links I’ve accumulated, and then something a little different. I’m going to ditch the numbering system, and probably change up things a bit more. Stay Tuned. This is an old story, but I’d love somebody out there to update with [...]

CTDL 227: Modified budgeting

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 01:10:01 +0000

CTDL may be on hiatus in a week or two while I’m on vacation, though I might back-log a bunch of posts for my 2 readers. I think I’ll be dropping the numbered system soon and re-designing the site. This is not very sciencey but educational, or at least thought provoking. I like the idea of [...]

CTDL 226: Spiders using UV to paint

Sun, 13 Jul 2008 03:29:42 +0000

Originally found on Boing Boing, this is an interesting evolutionary trait to use UV light to woo the prey into the webs. The crosses, zigzags, and spirals woven by some spiders have long puzzled web watchers. But those seemingly superfluous decorations may be traps that use light to lure prey, a new study of Australian spiders [...]

CTDL 225: Cholesterol Genes?

Sat, 12 Jul 2008 21:22:27 +0000

Nothing to add to this, except I hope I have these genes. A third of the population have genes that could help them in the fight against heart disease, say scientists. A study of 147,000 patients suggests that certain types of the CETP gene might increase the levels of so-called “good” cholesterol. UK and [...]

CTDL 224: The Perfect Gadgets

Sat, 12 Jul 2008 15:20:02 +0000

Boing Boing Gadgets has great run down of “perfect” gadgets, ones that can’t really be improved on in largely significant ways. As a Unix dork I only take marginal offense at the comment below about keyboard layouts. The Keyboard Forget about Dvorak for a moment: no one’s talking about keyboard layouts here. There’s a surprising number of [...]

CTDL 223: Buying a DSLR Lens

Wed, 09 Jul 2008 23:04:26 +0000

Macworld has a nice (not reliant on Mac) primer on buying DSLR lenses. If you purchased your digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) as part of a kit, you already have a basic lens that takes pretty good pictures. However, part of the attraction of this type of camera is that you can switch out lenses to get [...]

CTDL 222: Dear Diary; Mars isn’t terribly crowded

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 23:18:10 +0000

Interesting bit of diary from the latest Mars mission. If you’re into reading a robotic interplanetary lander’s diary Nasa’s Phoenix lander touched down on Mars at the end of May for a mission planned to last three months. The robotic lab is investigating the region’s climate and geology and could determine whether the planet was [...]

CTDL 221: Pile O Links V2.0 for today

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 19:49:14 +0000

Yet again I had a huge backlog of links even after the last post, so I’m putting together even more of them into a smorgasbord of interesting articles. Enjoy! “Her methods probably are finer, but our conclusions are very similar.” He also criticised the emphasis placed by the McGill University researcher on the “low” figure [...]

CTDL 220: Pile of Links again

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 12:46:58 +0000

Pile of excerpts and links from BBC articles I didn’t get around to making their own posts. Enjoy. In January, the Brazilian government announced that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon jungle had soared in the last half of 2007, just months after officials had celebrated three years of steep falls. It was an [...]

CTDL 219: Fallafel or insulin, you decide

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 04:42:16 +0000

Falafel wins every time. Interestingly enough this is largely the diet espoused by the Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy book which based most of its information on the harvard medical school nutritional findings. Note they talk about it as a Mediterranean diet, but it’s really just a healthy one. Sticking to a diet which includes fruit, [...]

CTDL 218: Cancer Cells and cloning

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 23:39:54 +0000

Good use of cloning here (no midichlorians were harmed I’m sure), hopefully this is a treatment that pans out. US researchers, reports the New England Journal of Medicine, took cancer-fighting immune cells, made five billion copies, then put them all back. [From BBC NEWS | Health | Clone cell cancer 'cure' hailed]

CTDL 217: Ocean Temps again

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 18:38:35 +0000

Quick follow up on CTDL 208 with a bit less information, from the BBC of course. Global temperatures did not dip sharply in the 1940s as the conventional graph shows, scientists believe. They say an abrupt dip of 0.3C in 1945 actually reflects a change in how temperatures were measured at sea. Until 1945, [...]

CTDL 216: Drugstore economics

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 16:36:08 +0000

Not JUST to prove I find other things besides the BBC Science section, but at least partly that, today we’ve got a nice little bit on saving some cash using the drugstore (CVS, Walgreens, et al) and their promotional discounts. The Drugstore Game involves combining manufacturer and store coupons, and taking advantage of a store’s best [...]

CTDL 215: Maybe all those sloth comparisons aren’t insults?

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 06:46:58 +0000

Rather than snoozing for more than 16 hours a day, as observed in captivity, sloths in the wild doze for less than 10 hours, research suggests. Scientists caught sloths living in the rainforest of Panama and fitted them with a device that monitors sleep. The findings, published in a Royal Society journal, may [...]

CTDL 214: Un-Farming in the UK

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 23:45:37 +0000

How should Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) respond to the “food crisis”? Our environment analyst Roger Harrabin examines how worries about food are stimulating a debate about the long-term future of the CAP. The Common Agricultural Policy – the vast system that costs Europe’s taxpayers more than £30bn pounds a year – will be [...]

CTDL 213: Tasmanian Park

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 13:43:41 +0000

Michael Crichton is rolling over in his grave… or not. A fragment of DNA from the Tasmanian tiger has been brought back to life. Australian scientists extracted genetic material from a 100-year-old museum specimen, and put it into a mouse embryo to study how it worked. It is the first time DNA of an [...]

CTDL 212: If only we could make fuel from Kudzu

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 23:41:22 +0000

Good advice here, don’t bring in some new species of crop just to deal with new energy needs. Nations should avoid planting biofuel crops that have a high risk of becoming invasive species, a report warns. A study by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) said only a few countries have systems in place to [...]

CTDL 211: Crazy sleep deprived parents!

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 15:39:15 +0000

Have you ever thought of your new-parent friends as being a bit off? Well apparently you were right. Scientists have shown relying on the sleep deprived-brain to perform well is potentially fraught with danger. They found that even after sleep deprivation, people have periods of near normal brain function in which they can finish tasks [...]

CTDL 210: Where are the whale spots then?

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 11:36:57 +0000

I’m not sure I had a perception that deep sea whales were slow. I think I only thought that about the baleen type whales. Super-fast pilot whales have been observed sprinting after prey, likely to include giant squid. The rapid pursuit has brought comparisons with the fleet-footed land predator, the cheetah. The cetaceans even [...]

CTDL 209: How much ocean-front real estate do we need?

Wed, 25 Jun 2008 11:34:43 +0000

I think this will bring back some very interesting and useful data. I just hope that whatever the data is it doesn’t get abused by politics. The Jason-2 satellite will become the primary means of measuring the shape of the world’s oceans, taking readings with an accuracy of better than 4cm. Its data will track [...]

CTDL 208: Buckets and Blogs on RealClimate

Sun, 22 Jun 2008 09:02:03 +0000

I’ve not completed any robust research on what the background of the RealClimate blog is, but this is an interesting (if a bit long for the layman) analysis of the recent info on oceanic temperature recording anomalies. an interesting paper (Thompson et al) was published in Nature, pointing to a clear artifact in the sea surface [...]

CTDL 207: Phoenix rising from the mud?

Sat, 21 Jun 2008 21:00:06 +0000

I know I’m behind on my Mars info (haven’t hit my news sites in a couple days), but this is interesting even if it’s a little old. Early efforts to grab samples for study in the onboard lab had been frustrated by the cloddy nature of the ground. But by shaking the scoop bucket on [...]

CTDL 206: These Oreos are to help my jetlag

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:17:43 +0000

Never mind that I’m not flying anywhere, the Oreos are resetting my body clock. Studies in mice have shown cAMP – a common signalling molecule – is involved in keeping the body clock “rhythms” going. The team hope to develop drugs that target cAMP to help shift workers, frequent flyers or those with sleep disorders [...]

CTDL 205: Nuclear revisited

Tue, 17 Jun 2008 15:13:47 +0000

It’s nice to see the UK putting nuclear power back on the table as an option. It may not be ideal, but it’s got potential to be a far cry better than the current alternatives. The UK government confirmed in January that it was in the country’s long-term interest that nuclear power should play a role [...]

CTDL 204: Le Space Camp?

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 15:10:55 +0000

Europe may get a manned spacecraft (carefully not called a space shuttle), which is nice. I think the cold war US leading the way was a good thing, but it’s also important to have other players in the game. I’m not sure we’ll see that sort of drive again anytime soon as it was such [...]

CTDL 203: The Mythical Man Moth

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:08:00 +0000

Oh look, another bad nerd pun as a post headline. I just found this interesting because we have a creature we’ve documented, but only seen 6 times in the last 150 years. If this was the coelacanth in the depths of the seas it would be one thing, but it’s a strange little non-descript moth. The [...]

CTDL 202: Our three weapons are Religion, Science, Einstein, and oh I’ll come in again.

Sat, 14 Jun 2008 15:01:20 +0000

At the risk of stirring a pot (or poking a dog with a stick), I’ve got three excerpts on where science and religion meet. The first is from the Archbishop of Westminster, who has some good advice to respect and treat with “deep esteem” atheists and agnostics. I think this advice should go for both sides. The [...]

CTDL 201: Vodka tonic with a stem cell chaser please

Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:32:41 +0000

Scientists have been looking at ways liver disease could be treated using embryonic stem cells, reducing the need for transplantation. The research is one of two projects at Edinburgh University receiving £3.6m from Scottish Enterprise and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The second project, which also involves embryonic stem cells, will look at [...]

CTDL 200: On the sacred and the study

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 14:12:00 +0000

“The religious impulse addresses something just as concrete as the pursuit of scientific or historical knowledge: it addresses the human need for the sacred.” — Chris Hedges in I Don’t Believe in Athiests. “His argument was not with God, but with those who believed that our understanding of the sacred had been completed.” — Ann Druyan [...]

CTDL 199: Fungi to the rescue

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 14:30:41 +0000

I’ve got visions of radioactive mushroom monsters roaming the countryside eating stray dogs… but aside from that it sounds like an interesting idea. Dundee University researchers have found evidence that fungi can “lock” depleted uranium into a mineral form. This would make it more difficult for the heavy metal – used in armour-piercing shells – [...]

CTDL 198: Iguana slaughter?

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 14:28:55 +0000

Yesterday I mentioned I’m fan of Big Cats, I’m also a fan of lizards, and Iguanas in particular. As a kid I had a few pet iguanas, and there’s a minimal chance that our next pet will be an iguana (we’ve already got two Euromastyx lizards, a doc, and a couple fire-belly toads). That said, [...]

CTDL 197: Baby Tigers

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 14:25:14 +0000

I’m a fan of big cats in general, and Tigers especially (so much so I won’t upgrade from OS X 10.4… sorry… nerd joke), so I’m glad to see some good news in regards to their chances in the wild. Fourteen tiger cubs have been spotted in a reserve in north-western India, [...]

CTDL 196: I guess the big question is “can we make this work for Africa?”

Sun, 08 Jun 2008 14:23:14 +0000

If the treatments can be developed to work in an African environment I think, based on my spotty knowledge of the situation, that this could make large inroads into helping the African AIDS epidemic. Appropriate treatment can all but eradicate the risk that a pregnant woman with HIV will pass the virus to her child, research [...]

CTDL 195: Sir Mix-A-Lot as Medical advisor

Sat, 07 Jun 2008 14:20:55 +0000

I’m not sure what the volume is around my organs, but I should be nigh immune to developing diabetes based on the size of my pants. Subcutaneous fat often collects on the buttocks and legs. Body fat found under the skin – and particularly on the buttocks – may help reduce the risk of developing type [...]

CTDL 194: The Da Vinci Platypus

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 14:18:20 +0000

If only I was well educated enough to understand the genetic code of the platypus I’m sure it would make for some very interesting reading. Scientists have deciphered the genetic blueprint of the duck-billed platypus, one of the oddest creatures on Earth. The animal comes from an early branch of the mammal family, and like [...]

CTDL 193: Atomic bomb results

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 02:15:49 +0000

The photos are not for the faint of heart, but are something everybody who votes should see. I don’t advocate peace at all cost (sometimes that cost is too high), but it’s always good to have some perspective into what the outcomes of a given action might be. The linked site has some very graphic [...]

CTDL 192: OLPC 2.0 (Kindle competition edition)

Sun, 01 Jun 2008 08:48:52 +0000

BBC has a picture of the proposed v2.0 of the OLPC/XO machine. I like the “book” design, and if it hits the $75 price point I’d be very tempted to participate in the get one give one. The revamped machine created by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project looks like an e-book and has had [...]

CTDL 191: Diabetes stories of the day

Sat, 31 May 2008 23:18:55 +0000

A) Anything that involves extra chocolate consumption sounds like good medicine to me. A cup of enriched cocoa may help improve the working of blood vessels in diabetic patients, research suggests. Doctors prescribed three mugs of specially formulated cocoa a day for a month, and found “severely impaired” arteries regained normal function. [From BBC NEWS | [...]

CTDL 190: The Asthma Gene

Sat, 31 May 2008 15:16:03 +0000

In the “not sure I assumed this was the case or not” category. I guess I didn’t think Asthma was entirely environmentally caused, ergo I would assume it’s genetic. First-born babies may be programmed in the womb to have a higher risk of asthma and allergy, research suggests. A University of South Carolina led team [...]

CTDL 189: Fit not bulky

Fri, 30 May 2008 16:49:49 +0000

Yes, I’ve missed a week of updates. Sorry. We get something a bit different today, a link to an article in the NY Times about keeping healthy when exercising without necessarily getting big and bulky. The New York Times’ Well section has reassuring news for anyone hitting the gym and not seeing results. Many researchers agree [...]

CTDL 188: Cancer shields

Thu, 22 May 2008 16:55:42 +0000

Cancer research is, for me, a fascinating look at us trying to solve a problem which is highly unlikely to ever be “solved”. Cancer is tied to the way biological systems work, and fighting it is, I think, somewhat like fighting our own biology. Of course fighting our own propensity for rage and fighting is [...]

CTDL 187: The cost of a dollar

Thu, 22 May 2008 04:57:27 +0000

We won’t mention how often I link to Chad’s blog on my personal site, but it has happened several times in the last couple months. And now I find that I agree with him on another subject (and one that “fits” CTDL). I’m also a big fan of the dollar coins over the dollar bills [...]

CTDL 186: Dementia prescription: Take advil, play basketball

Wed, 21 May 2008 18:36:49 +0000

Ibuprofen study I understand. The study linking having shorter arms and legs to dementia is a bit more… odd. Long-term use of ibuprofen may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a large US study reports. Data from almost 250,000 veterans showed those who used the painkiller for more than five years were more than [...]

CTDL 185: all think and no play…

Wed, 21 May 2008 12:31:58 +0000

Since you probably need a break from all the random thinky links as much as I do… how about some plans for a fun cardboard playhouse. Cardboard Playhouse Plans & Instructions Use these cardboard playhouse plans for a quick, eco-friendly and thrifty way to make your child their very own mini home! It is easiest to start with [...]

CTDL 184: And just when Jillian was going to save me from myself

Tue, 20 May 2008 18:56:58 +0000

Exercise? Nah! Eating right? Nah! I ‘m going to get some enzyme removal and metabolize away the honey buns! Australian scientists believe they may have discovered how to help people lose weight without cutting back on food. Researchers in Melbourne found that by manipulating fat cells in mice they were able to speed up metabolism. [...]

CTDL 183: Asthma and the City

Tue, 20 May 2008 12:33:51 +0000

This probably falls under the “obvious study conclusions” category. Plant trees in your urban area and they suck up pollution and lower asthma incidents. I’d be curious to see how much some indoor plants might help asthma inside the household. Children who live in tree-lined streets have lower rates of asthma, a New York-based study suggests. [...]

CTDL 182: Infrared Spider mating?

Tue, 20 May 2008 04:29:57 +0000

This is just spectacularly bizarre. I’m not sure which is stranger, the results, or that the study was done in the first place. I’m very curious about an evolutionary explanation of how this came about (how did UVB transmission evolve?) Spiders “talk” to potential mates using a type of light not visible to the human eye, [...]

CTDL 181: Doomed to big pants

Mon, 19 May 2008 21:32:17 +0000

I don’t think they speak much about how big the fat cells can get, but if I’m stuck with the same number of cells I had in adolescence then I’m probably doomed to my chubby 185lbs in 8th grade count over my 145lbs in 10th grade count. I’m just guessing of course. No amount of dieting [...]

CTDL 180: More than a mnemonic

Mon, 19 May 2008 10:29:47 +0000

I’m debating trying this bit of software, though at least the concept is interesting. I figure it’s probably better to remember a few of these things I share. The right time to practice is just at the moment you’re about to forget. Unfortunately, this moment is different for every person and each bit of information. Imagine [...]

CTDL 179: Look Buzz an Alien!

Mon, 19 May 2008 00:02:40 +0000

Interesting theology from the vatican. The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones. “How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?” Funes said. “Just as [...]

CTDL 178: Creature of Habit

Sun, 18 May 2008 13:23:59 +0000

I love the bold there. Make a new habit, learn an instrument, or just drive a new route to work. Become a creature of new and interesting habits. HABITS are a funny thing. We reach for them mindlessly, setting our brains on auto-pilot and relaxing into the unconscious comfort of familiar routine. “Not choice, but habit [...]

CTDL 177: Why hello there Miss Bee

Sun, 18 May 2008 04:15:21 +0000

Those saucy flowers. Flowers “wave” at insects to get their attention, scientists have discovered. The finding helps explain why many flowers waft in the breeze, and reveals a hitherto unknown trick used to attract pollinators. Scientists made the discovery while studying common wildflowers known as sea campion on the Welsh [...]

CTDL 176: Africa, Agriculture, and Oboes

Wed, 14 May 2008 21:12:07 +0000

Three Africa stories from the BBC today. First off we’ve got two different pieces on “green”ifying Africa (and African agriculture specifically). As much as we’d like to think shipping food to Africa is the solution, it’s at best a stop gap measure. What (I think) they really need is an agricultural (and medical) infrastructure that will [...]

CTDL 175: The Human Speechome Project

Wed, 14 May 2008 12:08:10 +0000

Yes it’s an apple shill article, but it’s also an INTERESTING one on how study of language development is being done. At a Glance MIT’s Deb Roy wants to understand how children learn language. Until now, scientists lacked the technology to implement the intense observation, data gathering, and analysis they need to properly investigate this [...]

CTDL 174: Make windows more productive

Wed, 14 May 2008 02:14:14 +0000

Buy a Mac! I kid, I kid… well somewhat. I’m a Linux and Mac geek but have worked with PCs for decades now (“work” being loosely defined as “used heavily at home, at work, and as the de facto PC support person in my circle of friends)”), so some keyboard shortcuts (and such) aren’t a [...]

CTDL 173: Kill impulse purchasing

Tue, 13 May 2008 23:11:19 +0000

I love this idea for curbing frivolous spending: The No Credit Needed financial blog suggests a “$100 rule,” in which any purchase price is divided by that amount and considered for that many days—a $300 PlayStation 3 gets re-considered for three days, a $1,400 MacBook is delayed for two weeks of researching, and so forth. [From Money: [...]

CTDL 172: Food vs Nutrition

Tue, 13 May 2008 09:27:18 +0000

Straight from Boing Boing and Google Talks. Pollan’s In Defense of Food is a fascinating treatise on eating and food, taking as its central tenet, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much,” and cutting through all the “nutritionism” science that proposes to feed us on individual molecules instead of whole food. Link [From Explaining food vs. nutrition: [...]

CTDL 171: Doc gives it up to give back

Sun, 11 May 2008 01:51:10 +0000

Artress found work with another clinic in Arusha, where he ended up in what amounted to a crash course in tropical diseases. On his first day, a patient with a neck abscess the size of a baseball came in. The resident doctor handed Artress a scalpel. “I am an anesthesiologist. I don’t do [...]

CTDL 170: Global plateauing

Fri, 09 May 2008 09:53:52 +0000

Looking forward, the model projects a weakening of the MOC and a resulting cooling of north Atlantic waters, which will act to keep temperatures in check around the world, much as the warming and cooling associated with El Nino and La Nina in the Pacific bring global consequences. “We have to take into account [...]

CTDL 169: DSLR Autofocus on TWIP

Wed, 07 May 2008 10:02:10 +0000

Bit of info on how auto-focus works in most DSLRs. I’ve got a balky 75mm-300mm zoom with auto-focus issues forcing me to “re-discover” manual focus (and not enjoying it as much now that I’m old and half blind), I doubt this will help with that lens’s problems, but it’s worth a shot. These systems rely heavily [...]

CTDL 168: Fishy diets

Wed, 07 May 2008 01:42:37 +0000

Sorry, that headline pun was worse than usual. Researchers from Glasgow University observed that fish given a “binge then diet” food regime had a reduced lifespan of up to 25%. Their study compared the growth rate, success of reproduction and lifespan of stickleback fish. [From BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West [...]

CTDL 167: Nuclear power pollution

Sat, 03 May 2008 15:32:00 +0000

The case for nuclear power as a low carbon energy source to replace fossil fuels has been challenged in a new report by Australian academics. It suggests greenhouse emissions from the mining of uranium – on which nuclear power relies – are on the rise. Availability of high-grade uranium ore is set to [...]

CTDL 166: “Beast”ly eyes

Sat, 03 May 2008 10:26:19 +0000

BBC has a fascinating little piece with some of the early discoveries from disecting the Colossal Squid that was found last year off New Zealand and has been frozen ever since. The huge eye of the world’s largest squid has been revealed by scientists dissecting a rare, intact half-tonne specimen in New Zealand. About 27cm [...]

CTDL 165: What’s new pussycat?

Fri, 02 May 2008 17:48:41 +0000

The Mara Conservancy says tourists have stayed away since the violence which followed last year’s disputed election. The group, which manages a 510 sq km area called the Mara Triangle, can no longer pay pastoralists compensation for cattle killed by lions or leopards. This could force local people to kill the cats in [...]

CTDL 164: Brain Age? Sudoku? Crossword?

Fri, 02 May 2008 11:48:11 +0000

Even the slower-witted among us can improve mental agility with a few daily brain teasers, a study suggests. For those who hate crosswords but still fancy shining at work – fear not. [From BBC NEWS | Health | Mental workout 'boosts the brain'] Apparently they’re all good, but the Brain Age style of software can help [...]

CTDL 163: Does your right to affordable ethanol trump somebody else’s right to food?

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 15:43:22 +0000

The flip side would probably be related to pollution, climate change, and death due to rising seas for people in low lying areas of the world. Led by secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, officials want to mitigate the impact of the steep rise in staple food prices and prevent food shortages worsening. The World Food Programme [...]

CTDL 162: because every meal can’t be chocolate or coffee

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 06:42:49 +0000

It’s nice to know I’m taking care of my skin when having a nice plate of pasta (when I don’t opt for the ever-healthy alfredo sauce). Pizza and spaghetti bolognese could become new tools in the fight against sunburn and wrinkles, a study suggests. A team found adding five tablespoons of tomato paste to the [...]

CTDL 161: Is there anything Chocolate and Coffee can’t do?

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 01:41:46 +0000

I think my mom may have been studying this informally for a while now. What I need now is a study to see what it helps to eat a couple chocolate bars a day in men in their mid-30s with no chronic illness save a sweet tooth. Scientists are to investigate whether eating chocolate can reduce [...]

CTDL 160: Morlock and Eloi? or Adam and Eve?

Tue, 29 Apr 2008 21:41:21 +0000

Maybe H.G. Wells did have a time machine, but got confused as to when he was. Ancient humans started down the path of evolving into two separate species before merging back into a single population, a genetic study suggests. The genetic split in Africa resulted in distinct populations that lived in isolation for as much [...]

CTDL 159: A Wikipedia on the ad breaks

Mon, 28 Apr 2008 15:57:33 +0000

The more I read about it, the more I think I’m destined to read Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. This little excerpt from a talk he gave on the subject is a great example of why. She heard this story and she shook her head and said, “Where do people find the time?” That was her [...]

CTDL 158: photo touch-up tips

Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:54:18 +0000

Trying to broaden CTDL into more than just “Charles’s interesting science stories”. I’m a photography nerd (well, I’m just a big nerd in general, but photography IS something I’ve got special interest in), and found these simple little photoshop techniques on Wired to be handy things to pass on. I’ll be firing up Pixelmator in [...]

CTDL 157: Duct tape is just the greatest.

Mon, 28 Apr 2008 05:45:12 +0000

I think this was on Boing Boing a couple days ago (I tend to leave some random links up in my browser and I don’t always remember where they came from). Great story of how Duct tape isn’t just useful for college kids making moonbuggies, but also for the real guys who were on the [...]

CTDL 156: Metaphysics, Mystics, and Science

Sun, 27 Apr 2008 01:09:26 +0000

Here’s a bit from Huffington Post on metaphysics and a scientific world view. reflect the challenge of describing ’spiritual’ ‘mystical’ or ‘metaphysical’ experiences in a language of science and reason. Secularists following a material reductionist model of science see mysticism as a manifestation of a physical brain state; spiritualists see mysticism as a relationship with God or [...]

CTDL 155: Ion engines are go.

Sat, 26 Apr 2008 22:15:38 +0000

A) I didn’t realize Ion engines were “common”ly being used in space missions (but apparently we’re using them for missions to the moon, comets, and soon mercury).B) I’ve often wondered about the “keep it in a clean room” and then “blast it into space” aspect of space agency work. This laboratory in a leafy part of [...]

CTDL 154: Good thing I don’t have a boring job

Sat, 26 Apr 2008 02:40:30 +0000

Or at least my job isn’t “critical.” (in the “crash the plane” sort of way… it’s pretty critical to paying my bills and I like to think it’s critical to my employer). Boring jobs turn our mind to autopilot, say scientists – and it means we can seriously mess up some simple tasks. Monotonous duties [...]

CTDL 153: To boldly go…

Sat, 26 Apr 2008 02:20:16 +0000

As if there was a chance I wouldn’t make that joke (the one in the headline, the one that isn’t funny). Hawking is calling for NASA to follow the Columbus spirit and spread disease and mayhem… err… explore and discover other options for when humanity messes up this planet. In a speech honouring Nasa’s 50th anniversary, [...]

CTDL 152: Candid monkey camera

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 15:53:13 +0000

Stick cameras in logs, take pictures of animals. Downer said he came up with the idea three years ago when his team started filming the tigers. He noticed how gently the forest elephants carried firewood to their camp and wondered if they’d be as delicate with a camera. “And they were,” he enthused. “Elephants do not see tigers [...]

CTDL 151: Rapid evolution. Godzilla next?

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 10:47:15 +0000

I’m not sure what this actually does for some of the evolutionary theories, but apparently these lizards were introduced to this environment just a few years ago (in the 70s), and they’ve already adapted numerous biological functions (bigger heads, intestinal doo-dads, etc). Researchers found that the lizards developed cecal valves—muscles between the large and small intestine—that [...]

CTDL 150: Melting the poles

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 03:47:53 +0000

This BBC article starts off with a study that shows problems with the cosmic rays as a cause for “global warming” hypothesis. But, it ends with this little bit: In periods of relatively intense particle activity, some areas of the Earth’s surface in both the Arctic and Antarctic are warmer while others become colder, showing differences [...]

CTDL 149: Old old trees.

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 21:48:52 +0000

Approximately doubling the age of Methuselah (the tree, not the biblical character), a tree in Sweeden is found to be almost 10K years old. Scientists had believed the world’s oldest trees were 4,000-year-old pine trees found in North America. The oldest, a bristlecone pine named Methuselah located in California’s White Mountains, is aged 4,768, according [...]

CTDL 148: A home-made biosphere

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 17:04:43 +0000

I’m hoping to do this with my kids this spring/summer. We started with a Table-Top Biosphere, or as MAKE called it, a “Tabletop Shrimp Support Module” or TSSM. The whole idea is to create an entirely self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem within a completely sealed jam jar. If you do it right, your freshwater shrimp “aquanaut” will be [...]

CTDL 147: Polution, the planet, and feeding the people

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 14:36:41 +0000

Pollution kills, this is not news (though auto pollution “kills” may be news). High levels of pollution may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of people in England from pneumonia in recent years, a study suggests. [From BBC NEWS | Health | Pneumonia 'linked' to pollution] China has already passed the US for pollution. Now this might [...]

CTDL 146: Yeah Space! (misc stories).

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 03:44:47 +0000

I think there’s a lot to be learned from Titan, and I’m glad to see Nasa extending the mission (though one could say they’re extending this mission because they can’t afford at this time to send a newer/better craft on a subsequent mission instead). The US space agency (Nasa) has extended the international Cassini-Huygens mission by [...]

CTDL 145: Slum diaries

Wed, 23 Apr 2008 11:09:45 +0000

I have nothing pithy to say about these diaries kept by medical staff in Sierra Leone’s slums. It just bears contemplating, and acting upon. It has been really busy as we have started the distribution of a corn-soya blend for malnourished children. So mothers have been bringing their children under the age of five for screening: we [...]

CTDL 144: Bunch of items

Tue, 22 Apr 2008 22:51:40 +0000

Whew, I feel pretty good about my large hippocampus now. Wait. I don’t know how big my hippocampus is. I wonder if there’s a spammer with a product that might help enlarge that… hmm… Having a large hippocampus – a part of the brain involved with memory – seems to provide protection against the symptoms of [...]

CTDL 143: She’s inside my MIND!!!

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 06:36:43 +0000

I probably found this via boing boing (I find a lot of links there, and this looks right up the boing boing alley), but only have the actual article in front of me. Fascinating look at technologies that give others a peek behind the curtain of our mind. We think of our brains as the ultimate [...]

CTDL 142: Count that day lucky

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 05:58:12 +0000

Boing Boing ran a link to the story on the mother (who happened to be a writer) who let her 9 year old son ride the subway on his own (who survived), and then wrote about it in the paper. This prompted a boing boing reader to find the link to this government data tracking [...]

CTDL 141: free air

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 04:33:22 +0000

It is these sort of things that will become more and more reality as energy demands increase, and as countries like China and India become more “modernized.” Clark, in his post today about heat pumps and hot water, wondered aloud about other energy-saving techniques: Why doesn’t my fridge connect to the outside world? In wintertime, there’s plenty [...]