Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
On a hunch my mother came out into the hallway and found me, faced into a corner and munching away at the remainder of the toast. It was a heavenly meal, forbidden toast. Of course, Mom was angry at first but then burst out laughing at how cute it was for a five-year-old to be hurriedly munching a piece of toast knowing that it was something he wasn’t supposed to do. Toast, forbidden. How absurd.
There is, however, another context where you will hear “Rumsfeldian” being bandied about, and that is in conjunction with his famous quote during a press conference on Feb. 12th, 2002:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know.”
Consisting of the many and varied robotic spacecraft exploring our Solar System and parts beyond, the IREL soldiers on tirelessly, often in obscurity and in conditions that would make even the most hardy of human beings question their resolve, all to provide us with the data necessary to enhance our understanding of the Universe. They may only be robots, but they give every ounce of circuitry in the service of completing their missions, in many cases going above and beyond the call of duty to return useful measurements long after their designed operational lifetimes. Join me now as we take a look around the league.
While responsible space-faring nations are making de-orbit plans a standard feature of launches today, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of derelict objects still around from the time before this need was recognized. These factors combine to create a recipe for eventual chaos in the orbital arena, which if left unchecked, could render wide regions of Earth’s orbital space effectively unusable for decades or even centuries.
Late in July, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Liam Oran, into the world. He is a happy and healthy 10 weeks old now, and his presence prompted my wife to suggest today’s topic when I was soliciting suggestions a few weeks ago. While contemplating the idea of sex in space may invite more than its share of muffled laughter or red faces, for anyone who believes that the future of the human species depends on our ability to colonize outer space and other planets, it is serious business.
It is a new piece to a giant jigsaw puzzle of the course of human evolution from the earliest protozoan through the mini-mammals surviving the K-T boundary, up to the Cro-Magnons who are reading and typing on the internet . It’s quite likely that the pieces we have put together so far are in the wrong places in the picture that the puzzle represents, and that is why paleoanthropologists do what they do.
I encounter the second year grad students. The ones who earned their class the name “The Class From Hell”. They had a poster up in the TA office the previous year with a running total of how many female students came to see each TA. These amazing specimens move from dirty looks or come-on looks to comments: “You wear that just to show off your legs, don’t you?” “Not many skirts around this place.”
the 19th edition of the blog carnival Berry Go Round, which is a blog carnival dedicated to writings of any aspect of plant life from the blogosphere.
Scientists can talk forever. They can do it eloquently. They can express their passion and the wonder they find in discovery. They can be funny and clever and humble. But a listener who isn’t prepared to engage with the material will, at best, walk away with a slightly better view of scientists and about two and a half facts with which they can impress those of their friends who are impressed by that sort of thing.
I see a hazard and a way that this can backfire. If you have a friend or acquaintance that you have targeted for conversion, consider that your friend has a conflicting goal. Their beliefs compel them to share their experience and their salvation with you in hopes of saving your soul for Jesus. Consider that you may have just engaged in a game of strategy and competition.
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