Science News of the Day

Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Sun May 04, 2008 4:50 pm

DAR
An informative evolution link:


Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions

* 16 April 2008
* NewScientist.com news service
* Michael Le Page

If you think you understand it, you don't know nearly enough about it
***
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Expelled: No Intelligence UPDATE

Postby Dardedar » Wed May 07, 2008 10:40 am

Expelled update:

If you were on Ben Stein's email newsletter list, you would have gotten this message:

"If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE SEE EXPELLED NOW; its future relies on you. Without strong support from leaders like you, EXPELLED could get tossed from the theaters. PLEASE get out to SEE EXPELLED THIS WEEK. Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone – he needs your support."

<<snort>>

And now Yoko Ono (billionaire) is going to sue the crap out of them:

Yoko Ono Files Suit Against Expelled Producers

John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of Expelled, on the grounds that they did not get Ono’s permission to use portions of Lennon’s hit song “Imagine” in the movie. The case is Yoko Ono Lennon, et al. v. Premise Media Corporation (S.D.N.Y., No. 08-03813).

LINK

Interesting:

"Of course, Stein and his groupies are defending the claim, asserting their free speech right to appropriate material and use it fairly. In just a second, I’ll get to the law, but let’s take a minute to consider how elegantly this latest chapter fits in with Stein’s entire modus operandi. Stein has had to lie to interviewees, cheat away negative reviews, and now steal content to make his point. But if his claim had merit, would any of this be necessary? Apparently, Stein feels that a creationist’s right to make his argument comes with the right to violate objective tenets of morality along the way. Fascinating."

LINK
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Postby Dardedar » Thu May 08, 2008 9:22 pm

DAR
Kids be gone. This is for real:

http://www.kidsbegone.com/

I wish they had a test tone you could listen to on your computer. I can hear pretty high frequencies.
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Postby Dardedar » Sun May 11, 2008 10:15 pm

DAR
An important comment about climate, which I will put here:

"...the climate system has enormous amounts of variability on day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year and decade-to-decade periods. Much of this variability (once you account for the diurnal cycle and the seasons) is apparently chaotic and unrelated to any external factor - it is the weather. Some aspects of weather are predictable - the location of mid-latitude storms a few days in advance, the progression of an El Niño event a few months in advance etc, but predictability quickly evaporates due to the extreme sensitivity of the weather to the unavoidable uncertainty in the initial conditions. So for most intents and purposes, the weather component can be thought of as random.

If you are interested in the forced component of the climate - and many people are - then you need to assess the size of an expected forced signal relative to the unforced weather 'noise'. Without this, the significance of any observed change is impossible to determine. The signal to noise ratio is actually very sensitive to exactly what climate record (or 'metric') you are looking at, and so whether a signal can be clearly seen will vary enormously across different aspects of the climate."

RC
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Postby Dardedar » Mon May 12, 2008 10:45 pm

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “has reached a record high, according to new data published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists say the new figures confirm that CO2 “is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than expected.”
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Postby Dardedar » Fri May 16, 2008 11:38 pm

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Postby Dardedar » Fri May 23, 2008 7:58 pm

From a reader comment on the Realclimate blog. I very much agree:

"Realclimate.org is a place where people can come and learn about climate science from the scientists who actually do it. Genuine scientific debate takes place within the pages of peer-reviewed scientific journals and at scientific conferences. The fact that the few genuine skeptics have nothing to say in those venues–and that on those rare occasions when they do publish, their ideas lead nowhere–demonstrates the infertility of denialism of anthropogenic causation. That the most virulent attacks [of Spencer] and other denialists come in nonscientific publications demonstrates that they are not based on science."

Later...

"There is currently not a single technical society that has looked at the evidence and taken a position running against the consensus position that humans are behind the current warming epoch. The few contrarian manuscripts that are published in peer-reviewed journals are met with silence and go on to die quiet deaths as they provide no path to progress."

Link
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Postby Doug » Sat May 24, 2008 1:46 am

Darrel wrote:"There is currently not a single technical society that has looked at the evidence and taken a position running against the consensus position that humans are behind the current warming epoch. The few contrarian manuscripts that are published in peer-reviewed journals are met with silence and go on to die quiet deaths as they provide no path to progress."

Link


DOUG
In the philosophy textbook I use in my course, it outlines five basic criteria for comparing competing theories in philosophy. These are similar to the criteria used in science, I would say.

i. Consistency.

A theory bears a heavy negative mark against it if it is found to be inconsistent. A self-contradictory theory cannot possibly be true because the fact that it is self-contradictory means that if one part of it is true, then necessarily another part of it must be false.

ii. Simplicity, the number of assumptions made by a hypothesis. (Occam's Razor)

Some issues are decided on the basis of simplicity. One explanation is simpler than another. It assumes fewer metaphysical entities, or it assumes fewer causes.


iii. Scope, the amount of diverse phenomena explained by the hypothesis.

Given a couple of competing hypotheses A and B, if each explains phenomena p equally well, but A explains more than B, then A would seem to be a better theory. A explains p as well as explaining other phenomena q, so A has more scope. It has more explanatory power.

iv. Conservatism, how well the hypothesis fits with what we already know.

This kind of conservatism has nothing to do with politics. It refers to maintaining present beliefs and resisting change in them. If you have two hypotheses h and i, and h fits in with your other knowledge but in order to believe hypothesis i you would have to revise much of your present beliefs, then hypothesis h has an advantage.

v. Fruitfulness, the ability of a hypothesis to successfully predict novel phenomena.

Sometimes theories, if adopted, are intellectual “dead ends.” This is a strike against them. If, of two competing theories A and B, each explains the same phenomenon, but A seems to allow for more promising avenues of explanation in the future, where B only explains the phenomenon in question but cannot go beyond that, then A has the advantage.

"The few contrarian manuscripts that are published in peer-reviewed journals are met with silence and go on to die quiet deaths as they provide no path to progress."

Those contrarian manuscripts died from lack of fruitfulness, and perhaps other things as well.
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Postby Dardedar » Fri May 30, 2008 9:47 pm

DAR
Fantastic clip 4 1/2 minute clip showing genetic evidence for evolution. I think we should show this at the meeting tomorrow. Check it out:

Genome sequencing leaves Creationists unable to respond
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Postby Dardedar » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:29 am

New York Times
May 30, 2008
THE ENERGY CHALLENGE

Mounting Costs Slow the Push for Clean Coal

By MATTHEW L. WALD

'“Coal’s had a tough year,” said John Lavelle, head of a business at General Electric that makes equipment for processing coal into a form from which carbon can be captured. Many of these projects were derailed by the short-term pressure of rising construction costs. But scientists say the result, unless the situation can be turned around, will be a long-term disaster."

'“It’s a total mess,” said Daniel M. Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley."

"The fear is that utilities, lacking proven chemical techniques for capturing carbon dioxide and proven methods for storing it underground by the billions of tons per year, will build the next generation of coal plants using existing technology. That would ensure that vast amounts of global warming gases would be pumped into the atmosphere for decades."

LINK

DAR
Another comment from a list I am on:

"...last January that the Dept. of Energy had pulled the plug on its FutureGen CC&S pilot plant in Mattoon, Ill., after an initial investment of @ $50M-- the technology just wasn't ready to bear the rising costs.

Now, skepticism about the Bush Administration's and the energy industry's silver bullet solution to CO2 emissions is accelerating. In spite of lip service support, at least, from all three presidential candidates,..."
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Postby Dardedar » Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:55 pm

Interesting new movie: Bigger, Stronger, Faster
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YouTube of the high frequency ringtone...

Postby Nisemono » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:01 am

This is the tone that the Mosquito device uses... I am only 22, and I can't hear the one that they say shows that you are under 40. Tad bit worrisome, I suppose.
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Re: YouTube of the high frequency ringtone...

Postby Dardedar » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:05 pm



DAR
I am so glad you found that link Amber. I couldn't hear the one under the age 40 either (I'm 42). I am a piano technician btw. When I said above in this thread that I can hear pretty high frequencies I was basing that upon the fact that I can hear the top notes on a piano very well and a lot of my customers, and some (many) piano tuners, cannot.

Too much information dept.:
Although the "fundamental" (what you actually hear) of the top note on a piano (C-8) is typically around 5,000 hertz (humans can typically hear 20 to 20,000 hertz), most of the "power" of that note is coming from "upper partials" that are way higher than that. So some people, especially older people, can't hear the high notes on a piano. They just hear the thunk of the hammer hitting the string. Sometimes they think their piano has changed because they have had the instrument for decades (or all their life) and they used to be able to hear those notes.
End too much info dept.

I will be very interested to see if my 17 year old son can hear the "under 40" pitch and the Mosquito pitch.

I should get my hearing tested. I played in a noisy rock band for 11 years and used to have a walkman (early 80's) that would really crank out the volume (they later lower the volume level these devices would put out). I may be more deaf than I realize.

D.
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Re: YouTube of the high frequency ringtone...

Postby Doug » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:31 pm

Nisemono wrote:This is the tone that the Mosquito device uses... I am only 22, and I can't hear the one that they say shows that you are under 40. Tad bit worrisome, I suppose.


DOUG
My 14-year-old couldn't hear the last two (under 40, under 24). Maybe it's a joke and there's no tone.
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Postby Dardedar » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:34 pm

DAR
Here's the one with no tone (I hope)
Hearing IQ test.
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Postby Barbara Fitzpatrick » Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:27 am

I couldn't hear it either. However, nothing on that test said anything about age (I'm 56 at the moment) and lots about IQ (last time I tested, it wasn't an "official" test, but I came in at 135). Off hand, I'd say it's a joke.
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Postby Dardedar » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:26 am

DAR
The creationist leader of conservapedia challenges a scientist and gets a very public and thorough smack down. Excellent read: Here

D.
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Postby Dardedar » Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:45 pm

DAR
Rich oil tycoon, T Boone Pickens, is getting into the wind power business in a big way. His one project will double US wind power generation. Very interesting, details here.
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:46 pm

DAR
This is the future folks. Finally.

GM stock is up almost 10% today.

GM plugged in to new car line

Atlanta Business Chronicle

General Motors Corp. may have been behind on the hybrid, but it won't be behind on the next generation of electric cars.

The storied automotive company Tuesday announced a partnership with the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute, which represents more than 30 utilities, to speed the adoption and commercialization of plug-in electric vehicles. The announcement was made at Plug-In Conference in San Jose, Calif.

General Motors (NYSE: GM), which has an engine plant in Tonawanda, is set to release the Chevrolet Volt in 2010 and also announced plans and a Department of Energy grant for a demo program of its Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid.

The partnership will attack challenges ranging from electric grid capacity to standardizing plugs to educating the public about plug-in electric vehicles and shaping public policy to support electric vehicle infrastructure. The association of utility companies will be key to developing universally recognized technical standards for electric cars.

"Together with the EPRI and the utility companies, we can transform automotive transportation as we know it and get our nation and the world past oil dependence -- and heading toward a future that is electric," said Jon Lauckner, General Motors vice president of Global Program Management.

LINK
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Re: Science News of the Day

Postby Dardedar » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:32 am

From my plug in hybrid list:

pluginamerica.org

It's the Batteries, Stupid

Former CIA chief James Woolsey and former U.S. Labor Secretary George Shultz made that statement, invoking Bill Clinton's campaign slogan, three years ago to stress the benefits of electric drive today. Industry experts are finally stating that those batteries are ready for the road, and, like those in our ubiquitous cell phones, they're made of lithium.

Government, academic and industry representatives presented data backing this development at July's Plug In 2008 conference in San Jose. Contradicting CARB's two-year old expert panel report, which said that more research was still needed, it appears that we are "there." The current crop of battery designs meet performance objectives and cost and safety concerns are now old news.

Five major companies reported test results including recharge cycles in excess of 4,000 and calendar lives of 10 to 15 years. These numbers extrapolate to more than 150,000 driving miles per vehicle and dispel the safety bugaboo.

"Battery safety is simply a systems issue at this point," stated panel speaker Fritz Kalhammer, an independent consultant in energy technology.

Most enlightening were Kalhammer's calculations that fuel savings over the life of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) life now exceed the added cost of batteries. For a PHEV 10 (with a 10-mile all-electric range), estimates are $3,823 vs. $3,000, for instance. For a PHEV 20, the difference is a similarly impressive: $5,779 vs. $4,500. These numbers don't include likely savings on vehicle maintenance, something that drivers of pure EVs already enjoy.

With all the good news, what's keeping the technology from appearing in your local showroom? Only the time required to construct battery factories and get production lines humming, which was generally estimated at two years.

Who will be first to market with automotive-sized batteries? The nod may go to those who have experience in turning out large quantities of quality batteries. Companies such as A123, which supplies batteries for power tools, and LG Chem, the world's largest maker of lithium batteries for laptops and cell phones, will certainly be in the running. Both are in competition to power the Chevy Volt, due in late 2009. Johnson Controls-Saft, whose officials spoke confidently of their progress at a recent PHEV conference in Washington, DC, was joined in San Jose by representatives with similarly positive reports from Altairnano and Canada's Electrovaya. All are in deals to supply batteries to carmakers.

To be sure, the horserace for better batteries is rounding the far turn with a bevy of worthy competitors. Plug-in hybrids will cross the line first with pure EVs in hot pursuit. All are riding on lithium. Woolsey and Shultz's proclamation is about to come alive.
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