God of the Gaps

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I’d go to this guy’s church every Sunday AND Friday nights.

I like how he speaks like a minister….how he was “called” to do what he does, how he “did not have a choice”….using the same language as people who claim to be called by God to religious service.

I have read articles that there is a ‘God gene’ sort of thing where parts of the brain in certain individuals get more activity, response (and reward?) with religious thought that is akin to the activity that occurs in the brain of a drug user.  Some people are simply wired to think and feel about God more than others.  So I think that part of the brain  in De Grasse Tyson would be shooting off fireworks when he thinks about science and the cosmos.  I hope someone DOES do that experiment on him.  I feel similar….an excitement or almost religious fervor where you want to share this amazing information with others.  I guess I am hardwired like my mother after all!

I’m sure Neil has his critics, but I do love what he does for bringing science to the public at large.  He does a good job at breaking down barriers and prejudices…stating how even the most brilliant minds in the world went to “Creative Design” when they ran out of explanations…, don’t call your mother an idiot when she does it.   : D


Written by alisap

July 11, 2010 at 9:36 am

Scientists please

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I just saw this guy on the Colbert Report and he was so fascinating.

Can everyone in the family promise to at least attempt to guide our kids towards science?  Theoretical Physicists are the coolest people at ANY gathering!!!

“We are so arrogant.  We are so conceited……we think they (aliens) are going to visit us.  I don’t think so.”
We are ants next to a super highway wishing the people building it would come and share their technology with us.  ha!!

Written by alisap

July 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm

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Is Peace Possible?

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“…we need not except that view [that peace is impossible, that mankind is doomed], our problems are man made, therefore they can be solved by man…no problem of human destiny, is beyond human beings…”

It occurred to me while listening to this that I have never heard a full speech by JFK.  Kennedy’s American University Commencement Address  was recommended to me by a friend and though I didn’t fully agree with everything, I found it powerful, moving, and as relevant as ever.

The following are some of the lines that jumped out at me:

“There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process — a way of solving problems.”

“Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it.”

it is also a warning, a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats…No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue.”

“we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combat ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle, with suspicion on one side breeding suspicion on the other, and new weapons begetting counter-weapons.”

“So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”

(This one I wish was true) “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression.”

Written by amynee

May 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

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ID Laws – Israel Teaches Arizona A Lesson

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Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank may soon be evicted or face criminal charges by Israeli authorities, the Israeli daily Haaretz has said.

An amendment to an Israeli military order on “preventing infiltration” could soon stipulate that residents of the West Bank without ID cards may now need one issued by the occupying authorities.

Anyone without such a document could either be expelled or jailed.

Haaretz said the new order would likely be used first against Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza ID cards and the foreign spouses of Palestinians living in the territory.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland explains.

Written by Aaron Nee

May 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Why does the white man have so much cargo?

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Jared Diamond began his quest to discover the roots of inequality when an acquaintance, native to Papua New Guinea, asked why the white men had so much more “cargo” than the people of Papua New Guinea.  The theories that arose out of his study were published in the book “Guns, Germs and Steel”.

National Geographic did a documentary series based on Jared Diamonds book, which explores Diamond’s conclusions on why some civilizations have historically enjoyed tremendous prosperity and development while others languished.  The three part series is an intriguing study of Diamonds exploration – well worth watching.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Noam Chomsky’s Day Off

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The Onion’s account of Noam’s attempt to take a day and just kick back.  Spoiler alert: he doesn’t have as much fun as Ferris.

Written by amynee

May 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

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Millers and Bakers Want in on Engineering New Wheat

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In the past, U.S. bakers and millers have been resistant to genetically modified wheat.  That resistance appears to be turning into support, but under the condition that the bakers and millers can be more involved in the seed designing process.

Genetically modified wheat is now seen by many as inevitable and the leading baking and milling companies want to make sure the biotech wheat is something they can sell their customers on.   “We’re not one hundred percent convinced that our customers will go for a GMO wheat unless it has enhanced characteristics,” says Hayden Wands, director of procurement at Sara Lee Corp.  It is thought that if, in addition to yield improvements, nutritional improvements are built into the seed, then the GMO wheat will be an easier sell to a resistant market place.

The miller’s and baker’s shift from opposition to conditional support should be a big win for Monsanto who has been aiming to restart its effort to develop and sell GMO wheat.  Monsanto in the past has seen their efforts to expand their influence into wheat hampered by strong public opposition to their herbicide-tolerant, “Roundup Ready” GMO wheat.

For more on millers and bakers yielding to the push for genetically altered wheat, see the report at Reuters.

For more on Monsanto, see the documentary previously posted at Knosha.

Also of interest is Michael Specter making his case for GMO’s at a TED.

Written by Aaron Nee

May 10, 2010 at 10:29 am