Category Archives: GLOOP

This is what I will list all of my science related posts under.

Pale Blue Video in a Cold Night Sky

Hat tip to Pharyngula; this is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. Carl Sagan, break-ups, human loneliness and a really really weird barrista. And a GREAT cameo.

I’d stay and chat about it, but I have a german friend to say farewell to.

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Meet the New Threat: Same as the Old Threat

Here I am to spread the news about another stupid bit of policy that’s coming our way. I feel like this has become a giant game of internet tennis, whereby a bunch of people try to catch us out with a new law banning the internet or making it less safe in one way or another, and we scramble to knock it back.

Well now we have CISPA. I’m not going to claim to be able to summarise it in great detail – I honestly barely understand how it would be implemented. All I know is “Homeland Security”, “my personal information” and “handed over”. So I’m instead going to recommend you arm yourselves by reading San Francisco-based blogger Violet Blue’s critique here, and what the US based EFF have to say about this bill being proposed in the US Senate.

Read the rest of this entry

For the love of science!

I’ve been really going easy on the “science” part of “Science. Music. Philosophy. Hats” thing up there recently.* This has been because I’ve been neglecting the Science feed in my bookmarks. So I thought I’d try and rectify that today.

… Ye gods, guys! While I’ve been away, suddenly loads of cool stuff has happened. So here’s a brief rundown, for the hell of it:

* In all honesty though I’ve yet to say anything about hats EVER.

Appearances can be deceiving. Climate change is pretty simple.

At first, it may look like this;

"Neighbouring countries; So near, and yet so far." Thanks, Google!

… but sadly, for all it’s goofy charm, Canada isn’t faring much better than it’s increasingly totalitarian neighbour. I can’t tell you how shocked and saddened I am to hear that Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, and in fact is the first country to do so. You know, the Kyoto Protocol; those actually pretty fucking weedy moderate pledges to not pollute so much.

I find this rather cheap.

Peter Kent, Canada’s minister of the environment, has said the protocol “does not represent a way forward”.

I agree. Reducing our emissions by 5%, as stated by the Protocol, will not guarantee us safety from climate change. Nor save us. But pulling out is just so much worse of an idea.

Peter Kent, Canada’s minister of the environment, has said the protocol “does not achieve enough, so we move that we should instead achieve nothing.”

This is pretty much the conclusion, or at least the reality of what their pull out means. Because the reasons cited are overwhelming cost to the tax-payers. This is short-sighted at best.

Well, at least we lowered VAT.

“We believe that a new agreement that will allow us to generate jobs and economic growth represents the way forward.”

If you want to be helpful, suggest one of these while you pull out. Otherwise, it just sounds like a pie in the sky dream, along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be great if I had eye beams?” No. Just don’t even bother talking about it.

“Why hasn’t America beaten them to the punch, and been the first to drop out?” I hear you say. For one simple reason. They never signed it. So in that respect, Canada is still in front. For now.

UPDATE: For more rage on this, and from the same country to boot, I would recommend Lousy Canuck’s article on it, and crap, does he seem even more pissed off than me!

Google must have some very geeky coders

It seems like the most pointless place to link to, linking to Google itself: it’s become the central pillar of the internet, and if you’re looking at this, you probably used it to find me.

However, I am going to do so to draw your attention to Stanislaw Lem.

Yes, google has another little animation, this time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first publication of one of his (Lem’s) books – which The Independent reliably informs meĀ  was called “Astronauci (‘The Astronauts’)”.

The reason why I see fit to mention this is because it’s not just an animation; it’s a game. And not just that either, but the puzzles include super-imposing sine waves and other physics-y things. It tickled me immensely, as did the punchline.

In fact, if you read the alt-text on the link above, then you’ll know that I read one of his stories before, and I suspect that whoever at google made this game also read the same short story I did. Either that or he had rather a lot to say about wishing for a sci-fi author.

Science is the best apology gift…

Essays are really on at the moment. Really, really on. And as I thought, I’m not going to get time to write this week’s review in time. Hell, I haven’t even listened to it yet!

So here is my apology to you for my TARDISness:

I AM TRULY, AND DEEPLY SORRY.

I HOPE I NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN.

By “this”, I mean bribe you with great science-y stuff that I’ve found online, via the new Cheezburger site “Dropping the Science”, and through my extensive studies into procrastination.* I hope you like as much as I did.

Read the rest of this entry

If you’re reading this on a computer, you must be mad

Meh, you’re probably already too far gone to be bothered. There has been yet another claim that gaming is ‘bad for your health’ has been fired up and thrown to the press; this time it causes dementia.* Or at least it does according to Professor Greenfield.

We in the gaming community are no strangers to these downright weird claims, but this has to be one of the downright weirdest. Off the top of my head, dementia has a genetic component, such as in the cases of a large number of neurodegenerative illnesses: how the hell would games set such things off? Gamma rays? Read the rest of this entry

Now this is cool…

And not just because it’s using superconductors and frozen nitrogen. I am thoroughly impressed, and want to see it being used to run trains tomorrow. I’m serious.

When was the last time science lived up to our expectations? Tell me when!

Maybe tomorrow, with any luck, I’ll test out some of their other videos for similar awesome.

(Via the Cephalopod Lord)

You learn something new everyday…

Well, when I heard Charlie Brooker accusing our dear Prime Minister of being a lizard, I was naturally skeptical. However, he has thoroughly responded to my criticisms, and those of others, in the most acceptable way.

IS TOO!

So, David Cameron is officially a lizard. Wow… I never would have guessed. It sounds too strange to be true.

So it must be!

I wonder what he looks like underneath his skin? I don’t know; I mean, I’ve never met the man. (You can tell because he still has his face and left arm.) But I think that this seems like a suitable approximation.

Somewhere in that speech bubble is a subtext about gutting the NHS.

 

All of this makes perfect sense! Now I know what was going on all this time. And if anyone makes any alternative claims, I have now been informed how to ask “How do we know?” and fact check sufficiently. Thanks, potholer54!

(And also Lousy Canuck.)

False Alarm… Maybe.

Well, sort of. A few weeks ago, there was that whole buzz about neutrinos travelling faster than light, otherwise though impossible. Do you remember?

Well, finally, after hundreds of papers suggesting mechanisms for why this has happened, or what was going wrong in their experiment, someone has put forward an explanation that seems to make sense.

It seems to make sense because, amongst other reasons, it uses phenomena we already know. Such as the speed of light.

Ronald van Elburg, of the University of Groningen, is he who has put forward a very helpful and sensible seeming solution, described here and here. His original statement is here.

Long story short, though? Their clocks were off, due to tem both relying on the same, radio-wave based satellites. Lovely and simple, and the fantastic thing is that the calculations imply that if that were the case, the readings would be out by 64 nanoseconds; the readings themselves beat the light barrier by 60 nanoseconds. 1-UP’d!

I get the feeling that regardless of how many people refute this, it’s going to go down in bad sci-fi legend for any B-movie that wants to break the light barrier. Please prove me wrong, Hollywood.*

Regardless, this could all be too neat, and we haven’t found a definitive answer yet. It just looks like we have.

My thanks to Lousy Canuck for pointing this out to me.

* That said, at least it would show that Hollywood listens to ACTUAL science.