So people are freaking out about milk powder. There are two underlying agendas here, on top of some actual science. Ministers like Yapa Abeywardene and Champika Ranawaka want people to drink more natural milk (cow and human breast) and milk companies like Fonterra want to sell more powdered milk. Behind this all is that Sri Lankan consumers want to buy both. The actual science is that certain batches of wholesale milk powder may have been tainted with botulism causing bacteria (really scary), but that none of those batches were meant for SL. The other concern is that there is a chemical called DCD in milk, which A) it seems there isn’t and B) is less scary cause there are little or no ill effects from that.
Archive for the 'Science' Category
Post-modern transport is stuck in a rut. From car to commercial air travel was a quantum leap, but now we just have hybrid cars and bigger jets. These are incremental gains, which don’t even feel like it cause you’re still stuck in traffic or getting your crotch groped en route to sitting in a chair for hours. Nothings changed the game and it’s like we’ve stopped even thinking about it. However, in 1972 the Rand Corporation envisioned a vacuum tunnel system that would get you from New York to LA (2,500 km) in around 21 minutes. At potential speeds of up to 14,000 MPH. That never happened, but Tesla/PayPal genius Elon Musk is announcing a similar plan for half hour travel between San Fran and LA (381 miles).
In our pre-history, there’s this idea that humans were great hunters. And we are, now. In his article ‘Why nearly every sport except long-distance running is fundamentally absurd‘ David Stipp makes the case that we evolved to outrun prey and tire them out, not to rapidly hunt them down. Many animals can sprint and kill better than we can. Very few can run longer and more patiently than us, however.
Despite working on a foodie site YAMU, if I could find a way to eat less I would. Eating for pleasure is one thing, but eating cause you have to can be a chore. Hence it’s interesting to see that Rob Rhinehart has gone over a month without eating what we’d call food. He drinks a chemical shake he calls soylent. And apparently he’s in good health and poops like once a week. Check out his blog. It’s hilarious, and very insightful too.
The bite from a lone star tick may give humans an allergy to meat. It seems that their saliva causes antibodies for meat to rise after a bite, releasing histamines when meat is consumed, giving people hives, making them throw up, and even throwing them into anaphylactic shock. Essentially, what happens to me when I eat peanuts, which I avoid like the plague. So the effect here is that some people become vegetarian.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but for I think over a month now, I haven’t cursed on this blog. No F, S or other bombs. Nothing fecal or fornicatory. This was Shru’s idea and I tried it out. It seems fine. I don’t think not swearing has limited my range much at all.
I was writing previously about a study that suggests that pedophiles were likely to be shorter, dumber and more left-handed than average. Now I just read that psychopaths may have an impaired sense of smell. So if you find a short, slow and left-handed person that can’t smell that well, that might be a psychopathic pedophile. But most likely not. These studies may find clues, but they’re not useful (or fair) to judge people by. Just saying.
Molesting children is a horrific crime. Is being attracted to children also criminal? For some people their attraction to children may be impossible to change, even if they never act on it. No group of people is as widely reviled as pedophiles, but crime and punishment alone may not be enough to stop the real problem – actual children being abused. To prevent that, we may have to understand and treat the pedophile.
I was, uh, procrastinating by watching this video about the science of procrastination. The science here seems to be that people are biased to value near rewards more than distant ones (in time). I’m not sure this is a bias as in a misperception, however. I mean, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They site the example of people valuing $100 now more than $110 later, but it is worth more. In finance there’s something called Discounted Cash Flow which calculates how much less money is worth in X years time because it is worth less. You could be earning interest if you had the money now.
For all the hype about the Mars Rover landing and 15 minutes of terror and all, the actual images of the Mars landing were somewhat meh. The main thing I remember was people in the NASA command room celebrating, but they don’t even wear ties or geeky glasses or smoke nervously anymore. Then they released a video of the landing, which sucked. Thankfully, however, filmmaker Bard Canning has made it smooth, HD and added sound. As you can watch above.