Archive for April, 2008

They’ve made memristors!

April 30, 2008

Link. More later.



April 30, 2008

My ISP’s having problems with their network, so no lengthy posts for the time being


April 30, 2008


10 Great Experiments

April 30, 2008

There’s an interesting article on the Telegraph webpage, entitled “Top ten greatest experiments,” which describes ten simple but highly important experiments in science, including Galileo’s ramps; Newton’s prisms; Galvani’s frog legs; the ever-famous Millikan oil-drop experiment; and, or course, the Michelson-Morley experiment.

The Physics of Chocolate

April 30, 2008

Julianne Dalcanton has a post at Cosmic Variance about the physics of chocolate; in particular, the importance of obtaining the appropriate crystal form for the cocoa butter triglycerides (the β(V) form).

Illusion Sciences

April 30, 2008

I’ve added a new blog to my blogroll, “Illusion Sciences.” This is a blog created by Professor Arthur Shapiro to showcase and discuss the many optical illusions he creates to study visual perception. I linked to a Cognitive Daily post referring to one of Prof. Shapiro’s animated illusions back in February.

The Neumann case

April 29, 2008

In an addition to these posts, I would like to point to this individual’s page on the Neumanns as an example of what we can expect:

While it is true that God created the world and all that is in it, including doctors, we must note: Jesus never sent anyone to a doctor or a hospital. Jesus offered healing by one means only! Healing was by faith. Yes, God created doctors but only to give man a choice between man’s ways — the doctor — or His way — faith! When we don’t have faith we need the doctor and it’s obvious that most want-to-be Christians need the doctors because they have no faith in God; their faith is in man. God created good and evil. Witchcraft can heal also. Should Christians also seek witches?

This family had every right, by law and by Biblical principle, to pray for a healing and not seek medical attention. That is not murder. They loved their daughter and were only seeking to do as God teaches in His word. God tells us by faith we are healed. He also tells us to turn from our (man’s) ways and to follow Him. Going to man for healing is trusting man. Going to God is trusting God. Many may argue these points even though the Bible is clear on the subject; however, even if I am in error the law is still the law and the law states this family did nothing wrong!

What this really is, is an attempt by the government to make yet another attack on our religious belief in an effort to destroy our faith. If we have no faith, or worse, we are unable to exercise it, we may as well close the door of the church and hold a Bible-burning ceremony. This has to stop now!

I would add that “Pastor Bob” does mention some potentially relevant state law, namely Wisconsin law, Section 948.03 (6) (which he incorrrectly identifies as 948.04 (6)):

(6) TREATMENT THROUGH PRAYER. A person is not guilty of an
offense under this section solely because he or she provides a child
with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone for healing
in accordance with the religious method of healing permitted
under s. 48.981 (3) (c) 4. or 448.03 (6) in lieu of medical or surgi-
cal treatment.

[PDF here].
As Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist notes in his post on the topic, this is why the charges were reckless homicide, rather than abuse or neglect.

More on the Canadian speech police

April 29, 2008

Mark Steyn has an extensive article on about the expanding powers of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission to stifle free speech with opressive, Star Chamber methods. In particular, he addresses the inversion of history in chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch’s reductio ad Hitlerum:

There’s just one teensy-weensy problem with it: pre-Nazi Germany had such “reasonable limits.” Indeed, the Weimar Republic was a veritable proto-Trudeaupia. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, put it:

“Remarkably, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.”

I know they say “team-building” exercises can be torture…

April 28, 2008

…but I doubt they mean it this literally: boss waterboards employee, calling it a “team-building exercise;” employee sues.

The Expelled exposure continues

April 28, 2008

The reviews of the creationist propaganda film Expelled continue to roll in, pointing again to the vast intellectual dishonesty, fundamental vacuity, and offensive arguements of the movie. I find this review, by Ken Hanke, to be one of the most notable (and amusing).
And over at National Review Online, John Derbyshire steps in with his own condemnation of Expelled, noting the fundamental dishonesty of the entire intelligent design movement. He also points out that science is a unique product of Western civilization, and as such, calls the film’s spurious and repulsive attempt to blame Darwin for the Holocaust “a blood libel on Western Civilization” (expanding on the comment by blogger Andrew Mazels calling that argument “essentially a blood libel against science”):

And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone. Stein claims to be doing it in the name of an alternative theory of the origin of species: Yet no such alternative theory has ever been presented, nor is one presented in the movie, nor even hinted at. There is only a gaggle of fools and fraudsters, gaping and pointing like Apaches on seeing their first locomotive: “Look! It moves! There must be a ghost inside making it move!”

The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism. (A thing that cannot be said of Darwin. See Chapter X of Voyage of the Beagle.)

It’s a lengthy and reasoned post, and I reccommend it in particular to those readers of politically conservative leanings (like myself).