The ashes of the recently deceased contains high amounts of nutrient rich phosphates, just perfect for sprucing up that garden of yours. On the iconic peaks of Scotland though Mountaineers have decided that enough is enough
Roe v. Wade,
33 years old today. With abortion back in the news due to the Supreme Court nomination of Alito, will the Ideological Rumble
over the issue ever be settled or are we doomed to see questionable declarations like today's recognition of "National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2006"
? ...creating a society where every life has meaning...
-- every life? Really?
39 Pounds of Love
"is the inspirational and humorous non-fiction account of Ami Ankilewitz, who was diagnosed with an extremely rare and often fatal form of SMA/2 that severely limits his physical growth and movement yet at 34 years of age, he continues to outlive a doctor's prediction of life expectancy by 28 years and counting. Ami, who weighs only 39 pounds, works in Israel as a 3D animator and creates his art despite the fact that his bodily motion is limited to a single finger on his left hand."
Economist Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
, has long posited
a controversial thesis that legalized abortion help reduced crime, by reducing unwanted children, prone to crime. However, a new paper argues
that Levitt (& Donohue) made serious errors in their research. Properly analysed, abortion has no significant effect on crime. Levitt disagrees
, of course.
Mating Leopard Slugs entwine
- one of the untold wonders of the animal kingdom captured on video....
The BBC gets up close and personal
with Life in the Undergrowth
in their new wildlife documentary. A must see for any animal, insect or
David Attenborough fan...
(If the main vid link doesn't work for you try it from here
- realplayer needed)
Design your life.
Design as a way to think about life.
The origin of life?!
I heard from an authority in molecular biology today that a group of researchers funded by the Carnegie Institution and NASA believe they've discovered the origin of RNA
, and with that, the origin of life.
This new discovery grew out of NASA's Deep Impact
mission to study the composition of comets. Specifically, they started investigating a kind of carbon that forms in layers, with each layer slighly offset from the previous one in a helix shape. Significantly, the thickness of these carbon layers corresponds with the thickness of each twist in a strand of RNA.
It turns out that the individual building blocks of RNA are capable of bonding to this layered carbon when exposed to UV radiation. Once this has happened, apparently formaldehyde
can then bond to the building blocks of RNA on the carbon "pattern", allowing the bonded RNA to slough off into the primordial soup. Over time, some of these RNA strands could fold and bond to themselves, forming DNA. Formaldehyde, the initial bonding material, would eventually be replaced by a more chemically sophisticated substance, creating the chemical bond that we observe today in DNA.
Expect a paper on it to be released in approximately three months with all the details.
Death as we know it will die.
If you wish to be a prophet, first you must dress the part. No more silk ties or tasseled loafers. Instead, throw on a wrinkled T-shirt, frayed jeans, and dirty sneakers. You should appear somewhat unkempt, as if combs and showers were only for the unenlightened. When you encounter critics, as all prophets do, dismiss them as idiots. Make sure to pepper your conversation with grandiose predictions and remind others of your genius often, lest they forget. Oh, and if possible, grow a very long beard.
By these measures, Aubrey de Grey is indeed a prophet. The 42-year-old English biogerontologist has made his name by claiming that some people alive right now could live for 1,000 years or longer. Maybe much longer. Growing old is not, in his view, an inevitable consequence of the human condition; rather, it is the result of accumulated damage at the cellular and molecular levels that medical advances will soon be able to prevent — or even reverse — allowing people to go on living pretty much indefinitely.
The 2004 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' Red List
of Threatened Species.
“The real world is
simply too terrible to admit; it tells man that he is a small, trembling animal who will decay and die." “The defenses that form a person’s character support a grand illusion, and when we grasp this we can understand the full drivenness of man. He is driven away from himself, from self-knowledge, self-reflection. He is driven toward things that support the lie of his character.” Words of Ernest Becker
, here summarizing Gestalt therapy and his own existential perspectives in Growing Up Rugged
"If time has to end, it can be described, instant by instant," Mr. Palomar thinks, "and each instant, when described, expands so that its end can no longer be seen." He decides that he will set himself to describing every instant of his life, and until he has described them all he will no longer think of being dead. At that moment he dies.
In memoriam of Italo Calvino
, who died exactly 20 years ago
by his friend Gore Vidal. Calvino's obituary
by Vidal, il maestro William Weaver
's essay on Calvino's cities
, Jeanette Winterson on Calvino's dream of being invisible
, and Stefano Franchi
's philosophical study on Palomar's doctrine of the void
. More inside.
Temperance. Silence. Order. Resolution. Frugality. Industry. Sincerity. Justice. Moderation. Cleanliness. Chastity. Tranquility. Humility. Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues
. "He committed to giving strict attention to one virtue each week so after 13 weeks he moved through all 13. After 13 weeks he would start the process over again so in one year he would complete the course a total of 4 times."
The Inequality Taboo
- Charles Murray defends his ideas, published in the controversial book The Bell Curve
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed
? Carl Zimmer wonders
. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled
"He is profane, uneducated, impious, lecherous, and unwashed.
He doesn’t care much about the war. In most cases, he misses his mother badly. But the American combat infantryman in Iraq is doing just fine." An in-depth (and apolitical) profile of day-to-day life in the 506th Infantry; "the same regiment that immortalized itself as the Band of Brothers in Normandy and Bastogne during World War II."
How to do everything from mowing the lawn to being a cool parent.
Science explores 125 big questions
that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century. [via]
Man Claims Firing Over Drinking Wrong Beer
He works for one mega-beer brand and, on his own time, partook of a competitor's.
Richard Feynman wrote letters
to all kinds of people. Here are some of them.
M. Scott Peck: I'm a prophet, not a saint M. Scott Peck, author of the ultimate self-help manual, has Parkinson’s and his wife of 43 years has walked out.
Interesting profile of M. Scott Peck, the best-selling self-help author who preached self-discipline and delayed gratification despite being a smoker, a drinker, and an adulterer.
Via Bookslut. (Possibly nsfw drawing of nude woman.)
Fossil records show Biodiversity comes and goes
in a 62 million year cycle
. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UBC, has withstood thorough testing so that confidence in the results is above 99-percent.
An Objective Legal Look (and more) on Schiavo-- As a Florida law blogger, I have created this page to help people understand the legal circumstances surrounding the Terri Schiavo saga. In my view, there continues to be a need for an objective look at the matter. There is an unbelievable amount of misinformation being circulated.
Links to all court decisions, timelines, questions and answers
(some shocking)...you name it. All the info available on this tragic situation.
Ghosts in the Machine.
How many email addresses do you have? How many forums have you joined? How many people do you speak to online? Where does the trail of your Internet life take you--and what would happen to it when you die? MyLastEmail
haven't been available for a while now. Executors' jobs may get a lot more complicated.
ESA scientists announced that a giant sea is hidden under the Martian surface.
With discoveries like this
and weird photos like this
, how long can it be before we find conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life?
- a strong case for life on mars was presented sunday
A pair of NASA scientists
told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars. Spirit
has also recently taken a very intriguing photo.
Of course this is just making things official, since we've known
the truth for years.
--a new group applying their marketing and communication expertise
to help prevent the draft. Take a look--maybe this new approach can get thru?
Why haven't you settled down yet?
(impermanent no-login link
) Time has discovered that people are no longer graduated, married, and parenting by 22.
are using their 20s to jump between jobs, apartments and cities instead of becoming adults. The reasons? Colleges
seriously out of step with the real world,
the ubiquity of choice, declining wages and plenty more. Personally, I blame the Toys-R-Us ad song for conditioning a generation to not
wanna grow up.
[Java]. Mirek's Cellebration is an beautiful applet for exploring all sorts of cellular automata. Source code and standalone version also available.
The Meaning of Life Project
is an attempt to get stories from everyday folks answering the question "what is the meaning of life?" for an eventual book. You only have until Friday to submit your own thoughts here
, though I hope for the book's sake they have a blanket ban on mentions of puppy dogs, unicorns, and teddy bears.
Underwear Goes Inside The Pants
(video) is a nice little ditty about the condition of the world in 2004.
The Foundation For A Better Life.
A non-profit, non-partisan, non-religious, organization that doesn't want your money, but that simply believes, "the values we live by are worth more when we pass them on
." What kind of values? Strength
. Hard Work
, Class & Courage
, and more. Their billboards
and TV ads
are all around, but if you're like me, you probably had trouble figuring out who they were from...
An e-zine about balancing work and life.
"We have [a substance]
that extends the life of every species it's given to. We're 50 years ahead of where I thought we would be 10 years ago." While Harvard Medical School rules prevent David Sinclair
from recommending product
, "I know a number of scientists who think [it]
is their best shot. Others satisfy themselves with a glass of red wine
," which contains the compound. Too good to be true?
The Meaning of Life
according to various rather famous people (Dennett, Fukuyama, etc). I'm watching the Dennett video at the moment and it starts rather weakly, but, by midway through, is rolling along nicely. With topics like "being good without god" and "the anthropic principle" it struck me as relevant to a couple of recent askmefi threads
Dennett: [pause] i guess i'll say it again, more slowly...
(oh, and the player interface is rather delicate - give it time to load and click play a few times...)
How long til you buy the farm?
• "The Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator
© was designed to translate what we have learned from studies of centenarians and other longevity research into a practical and empowering tool for individuals to estimate their longevity potential." Wasn't this on a Futurama episode?
Pageant of the Masters
: if the tableaux vivants presentation
in the Olympics opening ceremony leaves you wanting for more, it's not too late to find your way to southern California
this month. This is the 71st season of this famous
event in Laguna Beach. (More behind-the-scene stories here
Channel 4 in england are set to screen a graphic film of an abortion taking place
. The programme examines the debate of abortion and gives views from both pro life and pro choice protagonists.
Play with a virtual ecosphere