Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Misperceptions meet state of the art in evolution research

Misperceptions meet state of the art in evolution research

A short article covering some talks on the state of current Evolutionary theory from the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wedding Photographs up

A number of photos from Mike and Kelly's wedding have been added to Speculum. As usual the blog is password protected so if you can't view it and think you should contact me or leave a comment and I'll add you.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Art of becoming One with the mat

So recently I've started to study the "Art of becoming one with the mat" (mat as in floor covering NOT as in Matt W or P) and in the furtherance of this art have been going to lessons 2-3 times a week. I'm wandering if any one else might be interested in learning this art.

A typical lesson begins with us greeting the mat and the one who will help us become one with the mat. We then prepare our bodies for the activities required to become one with the mat, this takes some time and can be somewhat uncomfortable (ouch splits).
After preparation we practice the various correct methods which we will utilise to safely become closer to the mat. Once that is done the lesson moves onto the next section where we are shown a variety of "ritual moves" by those who are closer to becoming one with the mat than we are. Once the demonstrations of oneness are complete, we the seekers of oneness pair up and attempt to use the "ritual moves" to help each other become closer to being one with the mat. And thus the lesson proceeds as we learn a variety of "ritual moves" and practice them ad nauseam, or until we run out of time.
Once the lesson is done we thank the one who has meet the mat many many more times than we have and thus has acquired a certain oneness with it. We then farewell the mat and return home to recover until once again it is time to seek oneness with the mat.

So who will be the first to decipher the true meaning and name of this art :-).
Any way once you have determined what it is that I have refereed to, and should you be interested in joining the study of "oneness with the mat" there are basics classes 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), starting at around 6pm and lasting for ~1.5 hours. Currently I'm attempting to attend all three classes each week. If your interested in also coming along leave a comment and I'll let you know the details. The first lesson is free, so no reason not to attend once and see if your'd find it interesting.
"Becoming one with the mat" is an interesting and enjoyable way to get some exercise and learn some new useful stuff. Also the art welcomes both Male and Female with one of the most senior instructors being female, along with a decent number of the students, so your gender is not an acceptable excuse :-).

Free online storage for back up and file sharing

Well Micro$oft now offers 5GB of online file storage to any one with a @hotmail @msn or @live account and while it is unfortunately M$ 5GB of free online storage for backing up data and sharing material between computers and people is certainly worth considering.

Windows Live SkyDrive launches, but needs a touch of paint

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Privacy in the US of A?

The Anonymity Experiment | Popular Science
The Anonymity Experiment

An interesting article looking at some of the privacy concerns in the US, I just hope NZ isn't quite that far down the road!

CO2 too Petrol?

Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline - New York Times
Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

Certainly a possibility but the hug energy requirements for such a system would be rather dauting to overcome.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

Origin of the Japanese

Japanese Roots | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine
Just who are the Japanese? Where did they come from and when? The answers are difficult to come by, though not impossible—the real problem is that the Japanese themselves may not want to know.

An interesting article on the origin of the modern Japanese by Jared Diamond. Well worth reading if your interested, in human origins and the spread of cultures and languages.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Current Desktop Theme

Finally got around to clearing out all my old gnome, and thunderbird settings (canning all the old pop mail in thunderbird and moving to IMAP saved 1GB of HD space) today, and changed the default theme for my desktop. Have moved to a Dark grey theme which works rather well except that it looks a little odd in thunderbird and on some Internet sites in firefox. As seeing firefox uses the system theme colours and widgets you end up having dark grey data boxes on a white page and a few other minor things like that.


Odd appearance of, with a dark theme.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is a highly efficent minicar the end of the world?

It's a car that does close to 20km's per Liter of fuel which is approximately twice the distance my familys current rather ordinary cars do (~10kmL). Yet some call it an environmental nightmare, and others say it's nothing unsual.

Does A $2,500 Tata Nano in India Mean Higher Gas Prices and More CO2 Everywhere Else?

When poor people pollute - the Tata Nano and eco-crime

Spore and Mass Effect Releases Dates/Info

Looks like todays a big day for gaming announcements.

First we have the release date for Spore on all three platforms:

GameSpy: Spore Release Date Announced

Spore for PC, Mac, DS

Then next we have info that Mass Effect for PC will be arriving in May:

Mass Effect for PC

Looks like it's going to be a good year for pc gaming.

So finally a release date for what could be one of the most interesting games ever made.
Who's looking forward too it? I certainly am.

Also Mass effect will be rather awesome as well!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You may wish to Rethink those Diet Drinks

Can Sugar Substitutes Make You Fat? - TIME

Looks like your body isn't as easily fooled as you might hope for dieting, apparently the body expects calories to go with sweet foods, and when they don't it tries to make up for it. So when you eat food with artificial sweeteners you may end up eating more food as your body tries to acquire the calories it expects to go with the sweet taste.

The experiments described in the article were carried out on animals but the results fit data from other experiments on humans, suggesting it's likely that the animal results apply to humans as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More foolishness in the name of Religion

Female Muslim medics 'disobey hygiene rules' - Telegraph

Muslim medical students are refusing to obey hygiene rules brought in to stop the spread of deadly superbugs, because they say it is against their religion.
Women training in several hospitals in England have raised objections to removing their arm coverings in theatre and to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands, because it is regarded as immodest in Islam.

Nice to know that it's apparently better to risk infecting someone with a deadly superbug than to be immodest.

With regards to incest

As people may have noticed in Andrews Theo Geek: Jesus and the apostles on homosexuality post the discussion got onto such topics as incest and it was sort of suggested that with out the bible the problems with incest would be hard to spot, thus why would rpimative non christian societies consider it wrong. Well the truth is they're not that hard to spot and enough frist cousin marriages can make such problems evident as can be seen in the following article.

BBC NEWS | UK | Birth defects warning sparks row

When such problems can be observed in marriages with first cousins then it's going to become even more blatantly obvious in marriages between direct family.

More on Anonymous vs Scientology

Scientology protests start across Australia |

Nick Cohen: Why Tom Cruise would love our courts | Comment is free | The Observer

Apparently the "Church" belives such protests are "religious hate crimes", seeing the tactics aren't that far removed and are less damaging than the "church's" own tactics against instigating groups or people who disagree with them I think it's a case of the "pot calling the kettle black".

In a statement released this afternoon, the Church of Scientology's Oceania branch condemned the actions of Anonymous and described the group as "cyber-terrorists".
"Anonymous is perpetrating religious hate crimes against Churches of Scientology and individual Scientologists for no reason other than religious bigotry," the statement said.

If you want a look at some of the tactic the church uses have a look at this: The BBC's Panorama documentary on the church made a year or too back.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anon Protest

Flickr: Scientology If you keep an eye on some of the more popular internet/community sites you may have noticed a group called Anonymous declaration of "War" on scientology, the publishing and sharing of there copy righted religious texts and various anti-scientology papers/articles. Any way it looks like they've moved a step further with Anon protests against Scientology starting. The link shows a set of photo's showing an Anon protest in Sydney.

So what do you think off this "war" on scientology?
Is it good, bad or irrelavent?

Interesting Research

This looks like and interesting research project, and one I'll look forward to seeing results for!

Blue Brain Project It's an attempt to model/simulate the brain, producing a computing model that corresponds to what is observed experimentally that can then be used to gain a greater understanding of how the brain works.
They plainly state that it isn't an Artificial Intelligence/Sentience though I personally suspect that to generate a AI/AS that is human recognisable/derived may require a similar project, one that would likely have to model the brain from the Atomic/Quantum mechanics level upwards.

Nuclear Power Myths

Ten myths about nuclear power | spiked
Ten myths about nuclear power

I think I mentioned this to some one recently, any way it's an interesting though undoubtedly bias (but then everything/one is so to bad) look at some common nuclear myths.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn

The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn.

A decent article on things that environmental groups should keep in mind. I'm not entirely sure I fully agree with some of the points especially the example for point 8, just because an organic farm might use twice the land doesn't necessarily mean it's worse for the environment than using half the land with heavy fertilizer and pesticide use.

Point 4 though "It is unreasonable to expect the general public will accept major reductions in living standards or comfort and convenience" is certainly worth considering though, and rather accurate I think!

Any way what do you people think of the list?