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... That if you store bottles of beer laying on their side in the refrigerator, they'll foam up much more when you open then than if you'd stored them standing up? I wonder why this is? It can't _just_ be because of the slight extra shaking caused by rotating the bottle from a horizontal to a vertical orientation, can it? I figure it's probably because when laid flat, the side of the bottle that's 'up' dries out some, and when the beer is sloshed back right before opening, this somehow provides a better surface for bubbles to form. I'll have to ask my Chemistry professor about that tomorrow after the final, she'd probably know.

Hmmm...

Dec. 18th, 2008 02:43 am
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Random thought of the day: If "life begins at conception", then what happens to the soul of a poor fetus in fetu?
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Behold, the utter awesomeness of the Lego Vault. I have to go mastur... I mean, weep tears of jealousy now. Also, read about the The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science, and check out the most accurate review of DnD 4E on the net.
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I wonder, do allergy-induced watery eyes physiologically predispose one towards feeling maudlin? Someone should research this.
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Since PZ Myers orders it, I post a link the the Expelled Exposed website. Hail Darwin!

AAAAAAAAH!

Apr. 14th, 2008 04:55 pm
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Apparently, for marmosets Chimerism is the norm. This means that indivudual monkeys really _can_ have more than one father. I can't explain how creepy and _wrong_ this is, on a biological level. I'm cool with splicing two guys' DNA in the lab and growing little Adam Steve Junior in a surrogate's womb, but this is just WEIRD. There oughta be a law...

Darn it.

Mar. 7th, 2008 04:53 pm
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I'd really like to go see Richard Dawkins next week, but I'll probably be asleep. Considering how liberal Madison is, there probably won't be any protesters either. Maybe I should encourage our local religionists to remedy that? Hmmm...
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I have the coolest money-making scheme posthumous memorial idea ever: FOSSILIZATION! How awesome would it be to have your bones permeated or replaced with the mineral of your choice? So awesome it's a shame you'd have to wait till death, _that's_ how awesome. But at least your descendants can admire your stony skeleton in the living room, posed in a tastefully dramatic diorama.

Also, me add linky to El Goonish Shive. All the gender-bending furry action that's possible while still maintaining a g-rating. That didn't come out right...
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Radio Frequencies Help Burn Salt Water.

ERIE, Pa. - An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.

John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

Excellent, we finally have a suitable deterrent against the Squid Invaders.

In other news, Shrubya Snubs War Widow, Trans-Simianism debunked, and Anarchy Explained. I'm also adding a link to Chugworth Academy, the strip is currently on hiatus, but you can start reading the archives here. Also, can anyone recommend a good, cheap, preferably free photo-editing program?
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... I want to kill and eat This Cow so I can be even higher on the food chain.

Other linky things:

Introducing ClockPunk, Things I Will Do if I Am Ever the Hero, The case for Privatizing Defense, German women aren't really forced into prostitution, Some of the new Transformers are actually kind of silly, Venus terraformed, The World that Dubya made, and finally The Speculative Dinosaur Project. Of all the "What if the Dinosaurs had survived?" thought experiments out there, this one is BY FAR the best. I particularly liked the "Salmonites", but the actual dinosaurs are all cool too.

On a sad and serious note, the tale of Million-Dollar Murray brilliantly explains why the US government currently spends far MORE per citizen on health care than countries with "Socialized medicine", because we mandate emergency care regardless of ability to pay, but don't cover preventative care. I was surprised that they missed the obvious, pro-business solution, though: Simply stop mandating emergency care. You show up at the ER bleeding to death but lacking insurance or a substantial bank account, they let you die on the floor. Just think of all the money we'd save!
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In the not too distant future, genetic screening will become cheaper and cheaper, until the cost of the procedure will be outweighed by the average medical costs of _not_ using it, and it will probably become routine. When they figure out how to culture oocytes and spermatocytes outside the body, it won't even require that an embryo be created first to test for genetic defects*. Once the screening becomes routine, congenital deafness will become increasingly rare, as most hearing parents (and many, maybe even most deaf ones) will make sure that their children are born with (or more precisely, have the genes for) normal hearing.

Now, here's the dillemma: Some Deaf parents are going to want to ensure that their children are Deaf, like them. Should this be permitted as well? Hmm...

*How this will work is, you would isolate a single oocyte or spermatocyte, induce it to divide, then examine(destructively) either the polar body, or one of the sperm, and by process of elimination see what the genetic makeup of the egg or other sperm is likely to be. Of course there's always the possibility of mutation or chromosomal abnormality, so creating an embryo and destructively examining one cell will continue to be more accurate, and probably a lot cheaper. This method will eliminate the current ethical problem for those who believe that life begins at conception, though.

Of course, once that part is out of the way, it will probably be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to induce the fertilized egg to divide into twins, quadruplets, octoplets, etc, than it would be to repeat the first procedure until you have enough embryos to ensure one of them gets implanted. So do they all share the same soul?
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Firstly, Fiona has linked to me, so I return the favor.

Next, matters scientifical: Darwinian Pickup lines, The rea; story behind Haekel's embryos, Whale Evolution explained, and Scientists visit Creationist "Museum" so you don't have to

Nextly, religious stuff: I've joined the Evil Atheist Conspiracy, to avenge the Murder of Larry Hooper. I may ally myself with The Funkiest Atheist. Also, Mr. Deity makes a disturbing amount of sense.

In the political/social sphere:


What Bush hears, Still MORE republican sex scandals, Porn popups ruin lives,Wingnuts misquote Lincoln, Gay Foster Parents Loss Child, Wingnuts Rejoice, and The Swiftboating of Jesus.

I have to weigh in on the notion that the US should Take in thousands of Iraqi refugees. IMO, it's a VERY BAD IDEA. We really don't want aa bunch of people who have strong and compelling reasons to want revenge on us living within our borders. No doubt, we are obligated to make restitution, but we don't have to do it _here_. Let's just pay France to take them. The translators, though, are a different story. Their lives are in danger because they worked for us, so we sort of owe them. Plus, they're less likely to snap and take a shotgun to the denizens of the local mall.

Finally, humor... Or is it? I hope everyone celebrated Saint Skeletor's Day, The Best Movie Review Site EVER, and Real Life Vs The Internet.
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Be grateful for your opposable thumbs, while the bacteria give thanks for their antibiotic resistance. Meanwhile, the nascent super-squid make their own plans...

Elsewhere, Congress wants to read your email, Iran is arming the same Iraqis we are, William Donohue's a jackass, 10 reasons to hate America (courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] curt_holman), Anders ponders the meaning of truth (kinda), Truth in Advertising, and finally a "Christian" defends the logic of genocide. That logic is impeccable too. If there really is a God, and he/she/it has no constraints upon his/her/its actions, than might _must_ make right, and if God tells you to kill a toddler, a Good Believer should have no qualms. See, that is why all irrational, supernatural belief systems are dangerous. Maybe not equally dangerous, but the seeds of Abraham's psychosis lie within them all. As Voltaire said: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities". (BTW, for all intents and purposes, Marxism is a religion too. Just replace the Great Sky God with Historical Inevitability, but require the same adherence to unquestionable dogma. Stupid commies. :-P )
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Sometimes I worry that my sheer awesomeness may actually be dangerous, that it might overwhelm my mortal frame, and cause my body to burst like a hyperinflated balloon. I can only hope that when this happens, there are no innocent bystanders around. Only those who _deserve_ immolation...

Why am I so awesome at this specific moment in time? Because I finished my Logan Veritech!

Read more behind the cut. You know you want to. )

Speaking of Robotech, everyone who's even vaguely interested in anime should go out and watch Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Buy a copy, or rent it repeatedly. I wouldn't recommend stealing it, but if you do, leave a note exhorting the victim of your larceny to buy another copy.

I'd be lying if I said it was wholly satisfying; After 20 years of anticipation, the movie could have come with a free stripper and a keg, and it wouldn't _quite_ be enough. But it was still quite good. Though I disagree with _some_ of the plot developments, I suppose it's only natural that the writers changed things around, lest they be accused of ripping off the novel, comic book, and fanfic authors who have gone before. I am very much looking forward to what we'll see if a whole new series gets made. They're planning on doing one, but that can ONLY happen if DVD sales justify the expense. So get buying/renting/stealing, people!

Elsewhere on teh Intarweb:

Weed turns you into a muppet, Yet ANOTHER Gay Evangelist scandal, Another vaccine for the fundies to whine about, Illegal Immigrants blames for resurgence of neo-nazis, and finally, Faux News says Obama would have been pro-slavery. How stupid do they think their audience is, anyway? And how justified are they in that belief?
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So far, so good. I don't _think_ I'm in too far over my head. As for the classes:

Biology: I could sleep through this class and still get a B. I'll stay awake and study, though, because I'll be damned to New Jersey before I let myself get shown up by a bunch of punk kids!

Math: Oh, this is going to suck. At one point, I knew all this junk, but I've forgotten it over the last 10 years. Almost recognizing the cryptic symbols involved just makes it more frustrating. And the teacher's accent doesn't make it any easier. I'm almost tempted to drop it, but I won't just yet.

Introduction to Speech Disorders: Seems pretty interesting, and not too hard.

Linguistics: Now, this _is_ interesting. I think I already know most of what will be covered this semester, but I'm sure that, as my knowledge is limited to what I've picked up at random over the years, there are glaring gaps in it. This will probably be the most fun class.

History of Central Asia: Another one that seems interesting yet-not-too-trying. I'll have to see if it's not too late to "upgrade" for honors, writing a couple extra essays should be simplicity itself.
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I get to spend the next week and a half spoiling nieces. 5 hours on planes and in airports, how fun. Somehow, I think it would be a bad idea to bring The Poor Man's James Bond as reading material...
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... I kept expecting them to invoke Asteroth, but I guess Goetzie is to agnostic for that. The reception was fun, and much drinking was had. My own inebriation was slight, but an unnamed friend was so trashed that I had to support him on the way back to the hotel. The local savages dubbed us "Queers", but we also got whistled at by a car full if pretty girls, so maybe there's something to this metrosexuality thing. Elsewhere, we see Darwin's Christmas Toys. Except for the "Traitor Cannon", they were mostly pretty cool. Vampire Evolution is fascinating, yet I'm not so convinced that they weren't simply designed that way by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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