Monthly Archives: March 2008

Colliding Over The Hadron Decision

Hmmm, let’s see, some dudes in Hawaii are apparently VERY pessimistic. I mean really, just one little poofy black hole. What’s the worst that could happen? (But they are strangely optimistic when it comes to the justice system; I mean, really, Hawaii has international super powers?)

But, I on the other hand, tend to take a brighter view of the world. Apparently, I am not alone: When charged particles of more than 5 TeV pass through a bubble chamber, they leave a trail of candy.

Oh, XKCD, what would we do without you to put the world of science in perspective?

a milestone i hoped we wouldn’t reach

I’ve been too busy with life to mention the anniversary of the invasion, but I couldn’t let pass the 4,000th soldier to fall.

It’s been two years since my last numbers update, so here are the current tallies:

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction found before invasion: 0
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction declared by US before invasion: LOTS
  • US Cost in dollars: 500,000,000,000 (yes, half a trillion dollars already)
  • US military deaths: 4,000
  • Iraqi civilians killed: 82,000
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction found after invasion: 0
  • U.S. timeline to leave Iraq: NONE
  • Days until the 2008 presidential election: 224

And yes, that last link is a blatant plug for Barack Obama. As was that one. But seriously, how else am I supposed to respond to such depressing numbers?

Meeting of the (Mammal) Minds

This is a great article in National Geographic called Animal Minds.

Certain skills are considered key signs of higher mental abilities: good memory, a grasp of grammar and symbols, self-awareness, understanding others’ motives, imitating others, and being creative. Bit by bit, in ingenious experiments, researchers have documented these talents in other species, gradually chipping away at what we thought made human beings distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities came from. Scrub jays know that other jays are thieves and that stashed food can spoil; sheep can recognize faces; chimpanzees use a variety of tools to probe termite mounds and even use weapons to hunt small mammals; dolphins can imitate human postures; the archerfish, which stuns insects with a sudden blast of water, can learn how to aim its squirt simply by watching an experienced fish perform the task.

I can say that my sheep definitely recognize me over other people — although I think it’s my voice, more than anything, that gives me away. However, my sheep do look at my face and make eye contact. Anyway, the article is a worthy read.