September 28, 2005
"Japanese scientists have photographed for the first time in the wild a live giant squid, one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea." —CNN.com - Scientists photograph giant squid
Very cool news for any dork. Those zany Japanese have done it again, this time filming for the first time a giant squid in the wild. The squid, which measures 25 feet in America or 8 meters for the rest of the world, was filmed attacking some bait off the coast of Japan's Bonin Islands.
The pictures are cool, but it's tough to see the scale of the thing. Leave the science to Japan and leave the fear mongering to the United States. It's only a matter of time now before some nutjob nature show guy is wrestling one of these things.
Apparently this poor fellow also left one of his monstrous tentacles behind as it got caught on the bait. The tentacle has not hit eBay as of the time of this printing.
Full Article: CNN.com - Scientists photograph giant squid - Sep 28, 2005
Posted by MostlyForMe at 12:35 PM
September 27, 2005
"This case is about free inquiry and education, not about a religious agenda." &mdashEvolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times
Today was the beginning of the latest court battle concerning evolution being taught in public schools. Eleven parents from Dover, Pennsylvania are suing their school board for the inclusion of Intelligent Design (ID) as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Creationism, having been banned from being taught in public schools in 1987, should not be confused with ID.
there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence. —William Dembski, Leading ID Proponent
Ok, well it can be a little bit confusing. Seeing as most ID supporters don't spell it out for you, the intelligent designer isn't Apple or even the Dutch, it's God (capital "G"). So in case you're confused, most of the time we're talking about God having planned out all this 'so called evolution' and whatnot because, really, it's too complicated for nature to suss out on its own.
So the major argument for teaching ID in schools is something like this: Hey, there are things about Darwin's theory we don't understand (yes, evolution based on Darwin's research is an actual scientific theory, not to be confused with Intelligent Design which is, in the scientific canon, on par with an email you got forwarded from your Mom), so why can't we fill in the gaps with an omnipotent being? Oh yeah? Prove to me He doesn't exist!
And so on and on it goes. This will probably go to the Supreme Court and I suspect, lose. I have no issue with alternate theories, myths, anecdotes, funny stories about the origin of our species. What I do take issue with is teaching poor/bad science in a science classroom. It still is a science class, and in that respect we should not allow children to be confused by ideas that hold no scientific value.
I remember learning about Lamarck's discredited theory of evolution and heredity in my biology class. Lamarck believed that generations of a species could inherit acquired traits, as such that if I chopped my arm off my child could be born with one arm. Yes I was taught it, and I was also taught it was rubbish. I don't even think Intelligent Design has earned the right to be taught as a poor hypothesis, let alone an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Science does not deal in things that are not provable nor demonstrable. That's why humans invented philosophy.
Full Article: Evolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times
(Via New York Times)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:24 PM
September 26, 2005
"'The biggest treasure in history has been located" &mdashNew Scientist Breaking News - Robot claims 'treasure island' booty
GARR! They found me booty!
Apparently a Chilean company by the name of Wagner Technologies has gone AND CHEATED by developing a fancy-treasure-finding-robot dubbed Arturito (the audible sound heard when trying to say R2-D2 with too many Pringles in yer' mouth). While the rest of we Goonies have been wasting time with secret maps and ingeniously devised traps and puzzles, Wagner Technologies has used things like 'science' and 'technology' to hit a stash so big it could make One Eyed Willy's 'rich stuff' look like something found in the crack of your couch.
So about my treasure...my beautiful treasure. The fabled treasure has reportedly been found on the very island that inspired Daniel Defoe's tale of human isolation Robinson Crusoe. The island, now actually just named Robinson Crusoe, is 660 kilometers off the coast of Chile. That's like right around the corner from New York!
Back to more of the fantastic and mysterious. The treasure tale goes something like this: In 1715 Spanish sailor Juan Esteban Ubilla-Echeverria (long names make the story seem more legitimate) buried his gigundo treasure horde on the island. Then it was dug up by some other sailor, the Britain Cornelius Webb. I guess Webb and the Mrs. got into some kind of fight over where they were going to store 800 barrels of gold ingots because he reportedly reburied it at some other location on the same island.
Yes that's right, the treasure is rumored to be as large as 800 barrels of gold ignots. Using my "Ignots To Dollars" widget that's around $10 billion. Obviously Chile says it already has full dibs on any treasure found.
Regardless (IT'S MINE), as soon as their permits go through Wagner Technologies plans on excavating. MAN!! I need some treasure! I need a little robot to find me treasure!! ARRRRGGHHH! I'm sure even if Chile claims the loot, some barrels are finding their way back to Wagner Tech home base.
Of note, the method used to find the treasure under 15 meters of muck makes it "very, very difficult" to be a reliable treasure sniffing tool. What I'm saying is, set sail me boys, thar may be treasure still!
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:12 PM
September 21, 2005
Dutch artist Theo Jansen says this about himself in charmingly broken English:
Since about ten years he [Mr. Jansen] is occupied with the making of a new nature. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic matierial of this new nature. He makes skeletons which are able to walk on the wind. Eventualy he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.
What more does one need to say? They are Strandbeest, kinetic sculptures powered by the wind. Does it GET any cooler than that? Check out Mr. Jansen's site for more photographs.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 2:12 PM
September 16, 2005
" Hi! I'm the Glove Master and this is my apprentice Little Digit. We're going to take you to a new dimension in game play; a dimension that puts amazing powers right in your hand. With the flick of a finger you can devastate an army of attackers or deliver a deadly blow to your enemy." &mdashMattel's Power Glove Instructions for NES
After setting the hype machine to eleven for the better part of a year, Nintendo has finally delivered the goods on its next generation gaming console, currently named 'Revolution'. Well, at least some of the goods.
At the keynote address for this year's Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata finally took the wraps off of the much ballyhooed Revolution controller. Here's the skinny...
In order to attract a wider audience to gaming Nintendo has opted to give the Revolution controller a less alienating and frightening appearance. The siren's call that Nintendo chose to lead the flocks of would be gamers to the Revolution? A TV remote.
With a slim, milky white, vertical aesthic the standard Revolution controller looks like a cross between an original NES controller and an iPod. The point though is to be able to use this controller with one hand. How is that done? Well the controller is more of a wand with buttons than a traditional game controller. Using special Nintendo magic motion sensing technology the user will be able to interact with his/her game by waving the controller around.
Swing your bat, swing the controller. Look around the screen, move the controller. There's also room to plug in other devices into the button of the controller, such as more traditional analog sticks. This combination apparently can allow for movement with the analog stick and free looking by waving the controller around.
Sounds really interesting. I thought we did this with the Nintendo Powerglove, like 15 years ago, but I guess it's time to revisit it. The big question is whether gamers and 3rd party developers will embrace the new technology. My money? I think a good portion of Revolution games will support standard controllers through the expansion ports. I'd like to see the new controller catch on, but the battle for developer and consumer money is not an easy one.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:07 PM
September 13, 2005
Fiction is engaging, and people love their movie stars. For better or for worse, you're going to get more eyeballs on a fictionalized version of the global oil industry than a New York Times article about it. In this case, I suspect it will be for the better. George Clooney (star & producer), Steven Soderbergh (producer) and Stephen Gaghan (screenwriter, credits include "Traffic") have something to tell us about the global oil industry, and they've chosen to do it in a film.
The movie is based on a book called "See No Evil: the True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism." It was written by Robert Baer, a 21-year veteran CIA case officer, and author of another book called "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude." Clooney apparently plays Baer himself, as he discovers horrifying things about what he's been employed to do for the past 21 years.
Not having seen it (or read it), there's not much to say one way or the other. But let me state, for the record, that I have high hopes, friends. High hopes.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:38 PM