June 26, 2008

Resistance Is Futile

This month's IEEE's Spectrum is a special issue with ten articles on the technological singularity. You can join IEEE (if you qualify) or learn more here.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2008

All I Want is A Frickin' Shark With a Laser On Its Head

No problem. Get yourself one of these Boeing ABL 747s (videos here):

Boeing ABL.JPG

and paint it like a vintage WWII P-51 Mustang:


That will ruin any ICBM-launching lunatics day.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2007

Is There Anything Global Waming Can't Do?

Global warming could mean more heart problems, doctors warn

Of course, these doctors seem to be unaware that even the global warming shills predict that warming affects evening temperatures and temperatures at the higher latitudes more than it does daytime temperatures in the lower latitudes.

On the sidelines of the European Society of Cardiology's annual meeting in Vienna this week, some experts said that the issue deserved more attention. It's well-known that people have more heart problems when it's hot.

During the European heat wave in 2003, there were an estimated 35,000 deaths above expected levels in the first two weeks of August. In France alone, nearly 15,000 extra people died when temperatures soared. Experts say that much of that was due to heart problems in the elderly worsened by the extreme heat.

Weird. I thought 15,000 people died during a heat wave in the middle of summer in August (gee, who'da thunk it?) because everyone is on vacation in France during this time period. Remarkable isn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)

July 11, 2007

Perhaps the Coolest Picture Ever


Hubble Ultra Deep Field Images

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2007

I Can't Wait For The Next Study To Find Out What Men Are Drawn To

Women drawn to men with muscles

Muscular young men are likely to have more sex partners than their less-chiseled peers, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles said on Monday.

Their study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests muscles in men are akin to elaborate tail feathers in male peacocks: They attract females looking for a virile mate.

"Women are predisposed to prefer muscularity in men," said study author David Frederick of UCLA.

How weird is that?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Sun Set Grilled

'Sun not behind global warming'

I agree, it's at the very front.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2006

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

A swarm of these little buggers would scare the bejebus out of me:

Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

The flying robot, nicknamed the "bionic hornet", would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.

It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants, it said. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a "bionic man" and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers.

The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth.

"The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry.

Killer bees indeed. This reminds me a little of what Isaac Asimov described in the Foundation Trilogy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

March 23, 2006

Lex Luthor Showed Us the Way

We can profit from the rising sea level by buying the new beachfront property now without having to set off a nuclear device in the San Andreas fault:

The rumblings of global warming are echoing across Greenland. Groups of scientists studying ancient climate, tweaking computer models of future climate and even listening to earthquakes add to the evidence that global warming is melting polar ice, according to a series of papers in this week's issue of the journal Science. At the current rate of rising temperatures, by the year 2100 Arctic summers could be as warm as they were 130,000 years ago.

You know, 130,000 years ago, the last time Americans were raping the planet and indiscrimnately burning fossil fuels that were going to run out in 30 years years and ..., oh, never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:51 PM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2006

Dog Bites Man

It never ceases to amaze me at what passes for research these days:

Long-term heavy users of marijuana perform significantly worse on tests of mental agility and physical dexterity than short-term users or nonusers, even when they have abstained from smoking for more than 24 hours, new research shows.

Apparently there must be some new strains of pot that invalidated all the previous, ahem, research.

Even after controlling for I.Q., other drug use, age, sex, depression and other variables, long-term users scored significantly lower than control group members and shorter-term users on tests of verbal fluency, memory and coordination.

Let me guess, more federal funding is now needed. Or maybe we should adopt the Canadian method of dealing with alcoholics and just give the stoners all the weed they need - for the children, of course.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2006

A Test

There is so much ignorance in this "news" story as to beggar belief:

An international team of scientists says the absence of sharks from abyssal regions of the world's oceans may mean some species are in danger of extinction.

The findings mean the world's oceans are about 70 percent shark-free, researchers said.

The oceans' abyssal zone remains in perpetual darkness at depths below 6,560 feet, with immense pressures of nearly five tons per square inch at its deepest.

It had been hoped that, as man explored deeper into the abyss, new shark species would be discovered. Scientists do not know why sharks are absent from the deep, but suggest one possible reason might be a lack of food.

They warn their finding has environmental implications. Professor Monty Priede, director of Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said: "Sharks are already threatened worldwide by the intensity of fishing activity, but our finding suggests they may be more vulnerable to over-exploitation than was previously thought."

I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find at least three major holes in this "theory."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:12 PM | Comments (5)

January 15, 2006

What's Up Doc?

Didn't Mary Shelley cover some of the philosphical implications of this?

British scientists are seeking permission to create hybrid embryos in the lab by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs. If granted consent, the team will use the embryos to produce stem cells that carry genetic defects, in the hope that studying them will help understand the complex mechanisms behind incurable human diseases.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2006

Lies! Lies!

You must not subvert the dominant paradigm:

HUNDREDS of thousands of years worth of climate records in ice cores show there is nothing unusual in a global warming trend over the past 25 years.

Marine geophysicist Bob Carter, a professor at Queensland's James Cook University and leading climate change sceptic, said the effects of human activity would barely register in the long-term history of climate change.

Take me to your leader.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

We're Doomed!

Gloabal warming strikes again!

Japan was bracing for more snow on Friday after some of the heaviest snowfall on record that has left 57 people dead and paralysed transport.

Almost 4 metres (13 ft) of snow has piled up in the worst-hit areas of Niigata near the Japan Sea coast, though the snowiest season of the year is yet to come.


Posted by Charles Austin at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005

A Geek Moment

Instapundit notes that the blogosphere itself has fallen into the scope of Moore's law.

Ah, but the interesting question now is does the blogosphere more closely resemble a Mealy machine or a Moore machine? Come on, I know some of you had to study logic circuits in college.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Big News?

If this is even close to being correct, why isn't it the biggest news story of my lifetime?

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water.

Note, not that there was life on Mars, but that there is life on Mars today. As Harry Carey would say, Holy Cow! If this is true, then we probably can expect to find life all over the universe, that is, when we get around to slipping the surly bonds of earth while we are still alive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004

Lysenko Lives

War, Famine, Pestilence, and the Other One:

The world is on the brink of a major flu epidemic — one that could claim more than a billion lives, the head of the Russian Virology Institute, Academician Dmitry Lvov said at a press conference organized by the RIA-Novosti news agency on Thursday.

“Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months,” Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. “We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe,” the academic said.

At least the Greens would be happy about the rider on the Pale Horse doing his worst.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:20 PM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2004

Has That Thing Got a Hemi?

Let's hope Guinness hasn't gone to press yet:

The Spirit rover shattered a one-day distance record on Mars, rolling nearly 70 feet across the planet's rocky surface, NASA said Tuesday.

Maybe they should wait a while before going to press. I predict a steady stream of new records as each week goes by.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

He Blinded Me With Pseudo-Science

Here's a "scientific" report that disproves a classic pop culture reference. Why? Because it's Scottish and it's crap:

The growth rate of trees in the Amazon Basin's pristine rainforests has nearly doubled in recent decades, which may have helped slow global warming

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The rainforests are getting bigger! We have to put a stop to that. No, wait... Of course, they offer another argument:

Yadvinder Malhi of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, a contributing scientist and one of the publication's editors, said the change in these pristine areas - making up more than half of the Amazon rainforests - may have acted as a brake on global warming. The increased biomass helps clean carbon dioxide from the air and slow its buildup in the atmosphere.

Fascinating how it goes from "may" to certainty in one sentence. Please note that the greenhouse effect is not the issue. That is well documented and understood. The question is still whether or not an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide does other things that offset the greenhouse effect, such as increased cloud cover, or increased biomass, or other as yet fully unknown and unappreciated effects. It's all incredibly complicated and not at all clear. My weatherman cannot reliably predict snowfall 2 days out and yet I am to believe that these same models can predict temperature increases 20 or 100 years out? Puhleeze.

If the proponents of global warming would consider something other than the US as the sole culprit and transnational progressivism as the solution, maybe I'd listen more closely, but for now I'm remaining fairly deaf to all illiberal utopian statist solutions. But it's a moot point anyway because we'll have cut down all the rainforests in the next couple of years according to the fund raising literature I've received. We're doomed! Doomed!! DOOMED!!!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:57 PM | Comments (4)

January 15, 2004

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Martians Come Over

Sorry, I couldn't resist:

Rover Spirit Rolls Onto Martian Surface

I wonder if NASA inquired as to product tie-ins with Land Rover to help offset the cost?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

To Infinity, and Beyond!

To those without a visceral reaction to his very existence, President George W. Bush continues to surprise:

President Bush is said to be on the verge of announcing plans to build a permanent science base for men on the moon that could serve as a stepping stone for sending astronauts ultimately on to Mars.

Of course, since it is President Bush, we must have an opposing viewpoint:

"The cost of a manned enclave on the moon, I think, is going to make the space station look cheap. That's the only good thing about it," said Stanford University's Douglas Osheroff.

Yes, of course. That will be the only thing good about it. The incredibly vast number of spinoffs and improvement to our lives that were generated with the last major space effort can never happen again. At least, not if it makes President George W. Bush look good. Admittedly, I do wonder where the money is going to come from, but the recurring false dichotomy that we must either have only manned or unmanned missions seems a bit silly. The naysayers also seem to fall prey to a utopianism that requires we be able to run before we can walk.

I'm kind of looking forward to the next State of the Union Address. How about you?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)