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Unstrange Phenomena

31 July 2009

Did an ice age boost human brain size?

From New Scientist: Did an ice age boost human brain size?

From Denny: We all wonder just how did the human brain evolve and become larger. Who knows? We may still be evolving and developing larger brains? As always, it's best to study our past to learn what might trend for our future.

It was 2.5 million years ago that our ancestors' brains expanded in size. BTW, it also coincided with an ice age. Hmmm...? Scientists wonder if there was a connection.

Did you know the modern human brain is a real energy glutton? C'mon, you feel hungry after spending a lot of time on the computer, don't you? I sure do; I know my brain is actually the hungry guy. Turns out that the brain accounts for almost half of our resting metabolic rate! Whew!

A decade old hypothesis by biologists David Schwartzman and George Middendorf of Howard University in Washington, D.C. suggests that our modern brain could not have evolved until that 2.5 million years ago ice age. Why? Their idea is that "such a large brain would have generated heat faster than it could dissipate it in the warmer climate of earlier times." Problem is that they couldn't prove it back then.

Apparently, a Climate researcher, Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany has been doing some research that could help prove the ice age-larger brain connection.

It does make you wonder if the ice age brought a bigger brain does this warmer climate change bring a smaller brain? Hmmm... back to stupid is as stupid does? :)

To find out and read the rest of their article, go here.

30 July 2009

Interesting Science News Links

From Denny: Social sites are great! You find the most interesting, and, OK, sometimes just plain odd and weird, headlines. Here are a few I culled for today's enjoyment:

From ScienceDaily.com - Bizarre Walking Bat Has Ancient Heritage - A bizarre New Zealand bat that is as much at home walking four-legged on the ground as winging through the air had an Australian ancestor 20 million years ago with the same rare ability, a new study has found.

From their educational site - University of Hawaii Astronomer Takes Sharpest Picture of Pluto System - this article is from 2007 yet still compelling. "Almost 30 years after the discovery of Pluto's large moon, Charon, a University of Hawaii astronomer has used a ground-based telescope to take an image of the Pluto system that exceeds the sharpness possible with the Hubble Space Telescope." At least that's what they claimed before newer photos have come in. :) There are images of Pluto's THREE moons which makes it interesting for me.

From Space.com way back in 2003 - New Theory: Universe Was Born in a Black Hole - "If black holes and the Big Bang befuddle you, try wrapping your brain around this one: The entire universe may have been created in an explosion inside a black hole." And here I've been wasting my time watching YouTube videos when these guys are a regular laugh riot in how they present their view of science information!

The Independent Science - Why We Swing Our Arms When We Walk - "Although it may seem obvious why people swing each of their arms in opposition to their legs, scientists have puzzled over the practice for many decades because it seemed to serve no mechanical function given that the arms do not touch the ground.

One extreme theory even proposed that arm swinging while walking was hard-wired into the human nervous system and served no modern purpose because it was a vestigial relic left over from when our animal ancestors walked on all fours."

OK, this last one really had me laughing because when does common sense enter into the world of scientific research? Almost never seems to be the answer. Sign me up for grant money; I'll make billions and the world will be a better place!

bat, bizarre, weird, space.com, walking, Hubble Telescope, University of Hawaii, ScienceDaily.com, Big Bang, black holes, Pluto

29 July 2009

Video: Too weird to be believed - a new planet in the solar system?

The New Solar SystemImage by Lexinatrix via Flickr

From Denny: While most of us already know about this "maybe planet" what you will find interesting is its relationship to the solar system at a 45 degree angle on the illustration that certainly caught my eye. It reminds me of a lost ball in high weeds. :) BBC always does an entertaining presentation.

"Astronomers have a massive breakthrough as they discover a weird and very bright extraordinary object in the far reaches of our solar system. Is it a planet? Is it a block of ice? Whatever it is, it's bigger than Pluto. Fascinating science video from BBC Horizon show 'Bye Bye Planet Pluto.'"

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28 July 2009

Video: What is Quantum Tunneling?

From Denny: This is a short little video. This sure takes me back to philosophy class where nothing is certain and the best you can do is kind of figure out where it might post up! :) From The Tabletop Explainer...

"This video is an adaptation of an earlier piece of mine--Perspective on quantum mechanical tunneling. That film, however, was designed for a unique audience, and I felt its overall length was limiting its appeal here. So I've repackaged it as one of my weekly postings. I Hope you enjoy.

People have been asking for the math. So here it is. The Sun's core temp is ~13.6 MK. For hydrogen nuclei the Coulomb barrier is roughly 0.1 MeV. This corresponds to a temperature in excess of 1 GK! Luckily, tunneling and the distribution of speeds among nuclei lower the actual temperature required. So without tunneling even the Sun's core isn't hot enough for fusion. To see most of this worked through, check out this link:

for a less mathematical explanation, try:

Transcript: http://www.davidcolarusso.com/edblog/...

The Tabletop Explainer is an intermittent educational vlog presenting answers to viewer questions, brief science lessons, and ideas for teachers and students. It is a feature of my blog "Tilts at Windmils" which can be found at http://www.davidcolarusso.com/blog/"

Category: How-to & Style

quantum tunneling physics sub-atomic physics quantum mechanics tunneling fusion potential energy star reality uncertainty measurement

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27 July 2009

Video: Who Lives in the 11th Dimension? Parallel Universes

From Denny: OK, this was a cool little video of scientists discussing what kind of life we might find in the 11th dimension. Parallel universes are back in fashion again to dream about and wonder. Listen in on their speculations...

"Scientists discuss what sort of life could be found in the eleventh dimension. With talk of world of lightning bolts, electricity, unstable atoms and more, this video from BBC show 'Parallel Universe' is full of mind-bending theories to set your imagination racing."

BBC space Parallel Universe Science Physics Awesome Free Education Video Weird Wow Astronomy Einstein Formulas

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26 July 2009

Video: Imagining the Tenth Dimension part 2 of 2

From Denny: Part 2 of our entertaining scientists' dimensional equivalent of an acid trip... this stuff really does bend your mind to consider the weirdest imaginations. Can't wait until they find ways to move through these dimensions as easily as they talk about their existence.

philosophy science theory space time dimensions tenthdimension Bryanton physics

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25 July 2009

Video: Imagining the Tenth Dimension part 1 of 2

From Denny: Boy, I sure enjoy these video and science versions of an acid trip. Who needs drugs when you have scientists to entertain you all day long! :)

"This is the first part of the animation illustrating the concepts found in chapter one of the book "Imagining the Tenth Dimension - a new way of thinking about time and space" by Rob Bryanton, from tenthdimension.com

full version

animation reality tenthdimension philosophy theory dimensions timetravel Bryanton physics tenth dimension

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24 July 2009

40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Men of the Moon Photo by RALPH MORSE / Time Life Pictures / Getty

From Denny: Time magazine has pulled out all the stops to remind us of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. It's like Kennedy's assassination, people remember where they were that day when they saw the footage. For me, I wasn't in America but in Taiwan, impatient to hear the audio in English translation instead of in Chinese. It still was a thrill for a schoolgirl and watched with other kids whose parents were on government assignment abroad.

Logo Apollo 13 {{he|הלוגו של אפולו 13}} {{pl|L...Apollo 13 Insignia Image via Wikipedia

Time: "Profiles of the Apollo crews, photos, video and an interactive graphic which shows the successful missions that have landed on moon's surface." For all their goodies, especially the interesting profiles, go here.

These are all their featured videos, enjoy!

Video: How Apollo 11 Got to the Moon - When the Apollo 11 mission reached the moon, it was the successful culmination of several missions over nine years

Video: Why America Hasn't Gone Back to the Moon - To accomplish the feat of putting human footprints on the moon, it took lots of money, people, political will -- and a cold war. Can we do it again?

Video: Apollo 11: Final Approach - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin avoid near catastrophe on their final approach to Tranquility Base

Video: Apollo 8: First Broadcast From the Moon - The Apollo 8 mission was a bright spot at the end of an otherwise bleak 1968. America watched in awe as astronauts broadcast live pictures from the moon

Video: Apollo Astronaut Jim Lovell - Astronaut Jim Lovell famously said "Houston, we have a problem." He talks with TIME's Jeffrey Kluger, who co-authored his book about Apollo 13. He also piloted Apollo 8, flew on Gemini 7 and Gemini 12.

Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, 40th anniversary of moon landing, Jeffrey Kluger, Apollo 13, Neil Armstrong, Apollo program, Apollo 11, Space

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23 July 2009

Is Warp Speed Possible? We Ask a String Theorist

From Denny: This guy, Michio Kaku, is one of my favorite science guys when it comes to physics. He brings it all down to earth for the non-technical crowd. He also gets interviewed a lot and does various science shows because he can talk on the average person's level who is not an expert in the field and mostly, because he is passionate about his subject.

This article came out in May when the new Star Trek movie was shown.

Popular Science has an interesting article asking him about warp speed possibilities. Here's an excerpt from PopSci's article:

"PopSci talks to futurist Michio Kaku about the (not necessarily) impossible physics of Star Trek

By Rebecca Boyle

Science geeks, Trekkers, and action-movie fans have now had a few days to digest the newest incarnation of the Star Trek franchise. PopSci set out to answer some of the movie's most puzzling questions (aside from what Winona Ryder was doing on Vulcan): Can we time-travel through black holes? Can we seed said black holes using something called "red matter"? How about teleportation -- will someone named Scotty (or Chekov) ever beam someone up?

To get a better grasp on these seemingly impossible concepts, PopSci talked to Michio Kaku, co-creator of string theory, professor, author and, of course, Star Trek fan. Kaku's latest bestseller, Physics of the Impossible, has entire chapters devoted to Star Trek lore like phasers, force fields, and time travel. A TV show with the same name will debut this fall on the Science Channel.

According to Kaku, science fiction is often prescient. He believes scientists might one day create laser (or phaser) guns powered by nano-batteries or nano-capacitors, for instance. And he doesn't rule out warp-speed travel.

This really isn't too far-fetched; there have been many instances wherein fiction fertilizes real discoveries. Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea inspired American Simon Lake to invent the submarine, for instance. In H.G. Wells' 1914 book The World Set Free, a scientist unlocks the secret of atomic bombs in 1933. The Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard read that book in 1932 and made the discovery his goal. In 1933, he figured out the chain reaction process. And when the U.S. created its first reusable space ship, we named the prototype the Enterprise.

There are a few spoilers ahead, so consider this fair warning.

PopSci: Let's talk about some concepts that are familiar in the show and that you talk about in your book, like teleportation. There is a scene in the movie where Kirk and Sulu are falling without a parachute, and they have to be beamed up; Chekov decides he has to do it manually. Unlike "The Next Generation," which had "Heisenberg compensators," the movie doesn't mention the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (the more precisely you locate the position of a particle, the less you can know about its momentum.) I know there has been success in teleporting atoms, but will we ever be able to teleport a human?

Michio Kaku: Well, quantum teleportation already exists. For the past 10 years, we've been teleporting photons as well as atoms of cesium and rubidium and terbium. The world record is 1,800 feet, across the Danube River. I suspect very soon that we will be teleporting molecules. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the coming decades, we are able to teleport DNA, or maybe even a virus. But beyond that, it starts to get very difficult. You have to entangle two atoms, they have to vibrate in unison, and that is very difficult beyond the molecular level. But, Star Trek takes place in the 23rd century, so maybe by then we can teleport 100 trillion cells, which is about the number of cells in a human body.

In the entanglement process, is the initial piece of matter that you are teleporting destroyed or changed in some way? What would happen to a person?

You have to have a carbon copy waiting for you; you can't be beamed to the surface of a planet. And the information content of the original gets destroyed when you beam the information over to another place. You are destroying the original to reconstruct it somewhere else. Well, then you begin to ask the question, who is this copy over there? All the atoms and cells get destroyed; you're dead. But somebody over there has emerged who is identical, atom to atom, to you. Well then it raises the question, who are you? Are you your body and all your neurons, or are you just information that can be transmitted across a room? Is there a soul? It raises all sorts of questions.

The movie makes frequent use of black holes. Future Spock, or old Spock, travels through one after he fails to save a planet from being blown up by a supernova, and he winds up 130 years in the past. Events change that alter the course of history as we know it for the Enterprise crew (which will be handy for sequels.) But my understanding of physics is that it's not possible to go through a black hole and come back out, at least in one piece?

Yes and no. There is a debate about this question. If you have a spinning black hole -- and all the black holes we've seen in space are spinning very rapidly -- then the math says they collapse to a ring, not a dot. If you fall through the ring, you wind up in a parallel universe. This solution was first found by Roy Kerr in 1963, and it is the most realistic description of a spinning black hole. There are many, many questions raised by this. If you could go through the ring, then who knows where the other universe is located? It could be backwards in time, it could be a parallel universe. But there are problems like radiation. The radiation would be very intense. And if you add radiation, there is a debate among physicists right now about, will it close up the wormhole, is it stable? Math says there is a wormhole at the middle of a spinning black hole. To keep the hole open so you can go through it, you need negative matter to stabilize the black hole. These are called transversable wormholes; you can go back and forth freely without too much effect."

For the rest of this interesting article just click on the title link.

Michio Kaku, Star Trek, 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea, Winona Ryder, Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers Force Fields Teleportation and Time Travel, Parallel universe, Jules Verne, Physics

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22 July 2009

Millions Watch Solar Eclipse: Awe and Fear

Featured: Solar eclipse highlights, NASA video of eclipse time-lapse photography, article on religious and astrological significance from India. Updated 23 July 2009 with more video.

Darkness falls in Asia during total eclipse, luring masses

From Denny: Here are a few excerpts from CNN about the huge event of today's solar eclipse. CNN even has a science explainer page with a moving diagram that explains a solar eclipse, worth the view, and link is at the bottom of this post.

Story highlights:

Event is longest of 21st century, astronomers predict it would last over 6 minutes
People in parts of Pacific Ocean, China and India able to get full view
Chinese city of Shanghai touted as one of the best spots to watch the eclipse

(CNN) -- The longest solar eclipse of the century cast a wide shadow for several minutes over Asia and the Pacific Ocean Wednesday, luring throngs of people outside to watch the spectacle.

Day turned into night, temperatures turned cooler in cities and villages teemed with amateur stargazers.


The total eclipse started in India on Wednesday morning and moved eastward across Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Vietnam, China and parts of the Pacific. Millions cast their eyes towards the heavens to catch a rare view of the sun's corona.

Total eclipses occur about twice a year as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun on the same plane as Earth's orbit. Wednesday's event lasted up to more than six minutes in some places.

In India, where an eclipse pits science against superstition, thousands took a dip in the Ganges River in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi to cleanse their souls, said Ajay Kumar Upadhyay, the district's most senior official.


It was sunny skies in Hong Kong for the eclipse, where students, parents and the elderly flooded a primary school to watch in the southern Chinese enclave.

The local astronomy society gave a presentation on how an eclipse happens and children climbed up ladders to look through two large telescopes on the school roof -- packed with skygazers -- to catch a glimpse of the moon moving across the sun.

Others looked through binoculars covered with solar filter paper or through a large rectangular block labeled "Large Solar Filter," where they could take pictures of the moon moving over the sun.

Astronomy enthusiast Louis Chung, 13, brought his teacher to the school to witness the eclipse.

"City folks wouldn't usually be able to see this. Nature is wonderful. It is awesome to know that nature can provide such spectacular sights," said Chung, a member of the Hong Kong Astronomical Society.

Hawaii, USA

Richard Binzel, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the total eclipse will first be visible at sunrise in India and about four hours later just east of Hawaii. A partial eclipse will be visible as far south as northern Australia and as far north as Siberia, he said.

Cultural Traditions Surrounding Eclipse Events

In India, an eclipse is considered inauspicious. Women forbid pregnant daughters-in-law from going outside out of the belief that their children could be born with marks or birth defects. Some temples won't offer any prayers on the day of an eclipse -- such as the one next to the planetarium in Mumbai, which said it won't even light a stick of incense.

In Chinese tradition, there is a story about a heavenly dog eating the sun. As the story goes, people would make noise to scare off the dog and rescue the sun, said Bill Yeung, president of the Hong Kong Astronomical Society.

"In ancient China, we shared the same impression with our Indian friends that a solar eclipse was not a good thing," he told CNN.

Updated 23 July 2009 - Great NBC video about the eclipse and culture:

From Denny: NASA's view of an eclipse time-lapse photography

From Denny: Here is an interesting article from the Hindu religious perspective from a writer in India.

Lunar Eclipse Explainer page at CNN :

Religious Significance and Astrological Effects: "This Solar Eclipse has special significance as the Solar Eclipse happening on 22 July, 2009 is the first Solar Eclipse in this new Hindu year and also falls in the holy month of Sravan. Eclipse time is also considered very auspicious for spiritual practices. Hindu Temples except some Shiva Temples remain closed during the Eclipse and open only after proper rituals are performed to get rid of the ill effects of the Surya Grahan."

Written by Anamika S @ HubPages

Photo from China TV

22 July 2009, China, India, lunar eclipse, Eclipse, Pacific Ocean, Hong Kong, Astronomy, Solar eclipse, China and India, Hawaii

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Video: Nuclear Weapons, Who Has Them and How Much?

From Denny: Thanks to bestontube.com who brought this video to my attention over at the Blogged Directory and GoodMagazine.com who produced it! This video is a couple of years old from 2007 so the numbers might be slightly off. Who knows how many nukes Russia may have sold to bolster its flagging bad economy? For those who don't know the actual numbers this video is a real eye-opener!

This is the promo text: "Nuclear weaponry is the most devastating technology on the planet, and has brought us to the brink of civilization-ending conflagrations. In 2007, who has them? Who is beefing up their arsenal? Who is scaling down? And what would a single nuclear weapon do to Manhattan?"

Russia, Nuclear weapon, Dmitry Medvedev, United States, Nuclear, North Korea, Barack Obama

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21 July 2009

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

From Denny: My husband was just telling me about a documentary covering this same subject today! So, of course, I went to check it out if Popular Science had anything on it and here it is!

Now that we are more technologically advanced than all those years ago for the moon landing it's a bit chilling to see how fragile and vulnerable we were just jumping out there in space like that.

Here's an excerpt from the PopSci article:

"This month marks the 40th anniversary of humankind's first steps on the moon. Auspiciously timed is Craig Nelson's new book, Rocket Men--one of the most detailed accounts of the period leading up to the first manned moon mission. Here, we have ten little-known Apollo 11 facts unearthed by Nelson during his research.

1. The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.

2. The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.

3. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. Urinating and defecating in zero gravity, meanwhile, had not been figured out; the latter was so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug to avoid it.

4. When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.

5. Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.

6. The "one small step for man" wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface."

For the rest of this article just click on the title link! Thanks for visiting as always!

20 July 2009

CNN: Japanese fishermen brace for giant jellyfish

From Denny: OK, WOW! These kinds of stories never cease to amaze us, do they? :) I had no idea that a jellyfish could reach such gargantuan proportions.

From CNN: "Giant jellyfish descend on the Sea of Japan, causing untold devastation to coastal villages and leaving a trail of destruction and human misery behind.

Sounds like a great sci-fi flick. But it's not.

It's real and it's a nightmare for Japanese fishermen.

The massive sea creatures, called Nomura's jellyfish, can grow 6 feet in diameter and weigh more than 450 pounds. Scientists think they originate in the Yellow Sea and in Chinese waters. For the third year since 2005, ocean currents are transporting them into the Sea of Japan.

Monty Williams, a marine biologist at Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said the jellyfish grow to an enormous size as they are transported by ocean currents. He said they stay together in packs and as they drift northward, they get caught in fishermen's nets.

The giant jellyfish are one of about 200 species of coastal jellyfish or large jellyfish that exist around the world. But Nomura's stands out because of its enormous size.

"The sheer size of them, individually, makes them fairly spectacular," Williams said.

Spectacular, perhaps, to scientists, but perilous to villagers along the Japanese coast who have seen the destructive habits of these colossal creatures in the past. They had giant-jellyfish invasions in 2005 and 2007, and because they've recently been spotted in the Sea of Japan, they're bracing for another, potentially harmful wave this summer.

The jellyfish destroy fishermen's nets, getting trapped in them, tearing holes and ruining catches.

Fishermen often use expensive mazelike nets that stretch for hundreds of kilometers. When swarms of giant jellyfish tear them, the result is devastating.

"Communities of fishermen and these fishing villages own these nets," Williams said. "When these nets get wiped out, it actually has this economic devastation for an entire community."

The good news is that previous attacks have prompted Japan to put in place a warning system for fishermen. While they still risk losing a big catch, they can, at least, save their pricey nets from the invasion of the giant jellyfish.

It's not clear why waves of Nomura's jellyfish have made it to the Sea of Japan in recent years. Some have speculated that overfishing, pollution or rising ocean temperatures may have depleted the kinds of fish that prey on Nomura's jellyfish in the polyp stage. However, no one is certain, Williams said."

From Denny: Hmmm... wonder if it's Karma backlash for killing all those wonderful whales...

For full CNN story, go here.

Jellyfish, Fish, Yellow Sea, Marine biology, Ocean current, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, School Time, Overfishing, Japan, whales

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19 July 2009

Bloggers Unite: Global Human Rights Abuses

From Denny: This is a post I ran over at The Social Poets Friday evening for the Bloggers Unite Human Rights Day post on 17 July 2009. Bloggers everywhere are all blogging on the same day about human rights.


Humanity is at a crossroads in our world history where we must make a profound decision. It’s time to live better.

Currently, human rights abuses are no longer exclusive to certain regions of the globe. There is a sharp increase in human rights abuses worldwide for decades now and situations are increasing in violence yearly.

Stories abound globally of the most heinous crimes to humanity. Nothing good is accomplished by mankind trying to annihilate mankind. Just what is going on in the world? Here are just a few areas:

• Hamas and Taliban Islamic terrorists and other terrorist groups worldwide are on a bloodthirsty killing spree with bombings of civilians, women and children in many places in the world.

Photo by azrainman @ flickr

• Rogue unstable governments, covertly cozy with terrorist groups, working feverishly to acquire the nuclear bomb so they can kill off their neighbors they don’t like because they are another religion, a different economic or another kind of social system – or just plain won’t give them what they want.

• Genocide in Africa because people of different tribes can’t work out their differences like civilized people.

• Jailing journalists - trying to report the truth - as political temper tantrums to get their own way: North Korea and Iran.

• Tortured prisoners worldwide with the most notable recent heinous acts perpetrated during the Bush years on terrorist suspects never given trials, mainly because there was no real hard evidence.

• Under Taliban Islamic law and culture women are still regarded as subhuman and not deserving of first class treatment like men.

• Here in the United States, during the Bush years, women were raped, often savage gang rapes, at our military universities yet went unreported.

• Then there are battered women worldwide from Islamic to Christian countries whose husbands will not stop pummeling them.

We, the majority, are allowing the few to terrorize us, our neighbors and our loved ones. We must mobilize to stop it. How? Education for starters.
In the end, in order for humanity to not come to an end, we must consider a working alternative to what exists today in the way of abuses. It is a basic human right to be loved. Loved, you say? Yes, loved. We all have the right to be loved.

Love comes in many forms. We have the human right to certain expectations of basic decency and civility. We have the human right to healthy drinking water and sanitation and affordable housing. We have the human right to expect our political leaders that are guardians of our country to be honest and get serious about addressing pressing social and economic issues.

Photo by alicepopkorn @ flickr

Human rights abuses worldwide, in our own countries, in our homes will continue until the average person stands up and says "No!" to it all. Human rights abuses will continue until we all get serious about connecting up to create a tsunami force to push humanity along until we all do better, choose better and, in the end, start living better. Now that’s Love in action! We all have the human right to be loved. Let’s give Love.

A few places you can go for education and plug in to help:

Bloggers Unite where you can help by blogging

Youth Movement For Human Rights - worldwide

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International, dedicated to bringing world attention to human rights abuse

North Korea, United States, denny lyon, Human rights, Nuclear weapon, Africa, Amnesty International, Human Rights and Liberties, Sharia, The Social Poets

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18 July 2009

Astronomy Video: How to Time Travel

From Denny: This has to be the clearest and easiest to understand introduction to what Einstein was talking about that I've ever seen! A real and fun mind trip...

17 July 2009

Video: What Time Is It? 5 of 5

From Denny: This awesome program really gets your creative thoughts spinning! :) Prof. Cox starts with talking about the Mayans and their knowledge and concepts of Time in video 1 and moves along to discussing Einsteins' classic theory about space-time continuum right up to Cox's field of quantum mechanics' view of Time. These videos are quite a thrill ride! :)

This video discusses Time beyond the Big Bang theory as all past, present and future exists somewhere in the space-time continuum and then gets into what the quantum mechanics folks think is true about Time.

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16 July 2009

Video: What Time Is It? 4 of 5

From Denny: This awesome program really gets your creative thoughts spinning! :) Prof. Cox starts with talking about the Mayans and their knowledge and concepts of Time in video 1 and moves along to discussing Einsteins' classic theory about space-time continuum right up to Cox's field of quantum mechanics' view of Time. These videos are quite a thrill ride! :) This one demos a new camera that can slow down Time into chunks we can easily see like any where from 80 times slower to 40,000 times slower. Reminds you of a circus fun house of mirrors.

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15 July 2009

Video: What Time Is It? 3 of 5

From Denny: This awesome program really gets your creative thoughts spinning! :) Prof. Cox starts with talking about the Mayans and their knowledge and concepts of Time in video 1 and moves along to discussing Einsteins' classic theory about space-time continuum right up to Cox's field of quantum mechanics' view of Time. These videos are quite a thrill ride! :)

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14 July 2009

Video: What Time Is It? 2 of 5

From Denny: This is an awesome program to watch! Since it's an hour long program I've divided it up over five posts, enjoy! This is number two of five in the series.

13 July 2009

Video: What Time Is It? 1 of 5

From Denny: Just finished watching this incredible hour long program on the Science channel! Loved it! (gush gush...) Went to Science channel, and, of course, all they offer is a lame link, not the ability to embed this into the blog. So... found it on YouTube, yay!

Since it is a long program - and who has the time to watch this much at once? - I'm posting a portion of the series each day this week, enjoy!

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12 July 2009

Another Good Science Quote for a Sunday

From Denny: Since it's Sunday I thought this smart quote was most fitting. Not all scientists are atheist, actually it is a small percentage that is so hostile toward spirituality. Scientists are just like the rest of the population: some believe in God, many are of varying religions and denominations, all question and doubt their faith, endeavoring to learn more over a lifetime.

What I like about this quote is the use of his mind in an analytical manner to explain what should be "the obvious"!


"The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go." [Having proposed the heliocentric world view] - Galileo Galilei

Make sure you run your mouse over the photo of Gallileo's manuscript for lots of info!

.It was on this page that Galileo Galilei first noted an observation of the moons of Jupiter. This observation upset the notion that all celestial bodies must revolve around the Earth. Galileo published a full description in Sidereus Nuncius in March 1610.

In 1614, from the pulpit of Santa Maria Novella, Father Tommaso Caccini denounced Galileo's opinions on the motion of the Earth, judging them dangerous and close to heresy.

In 1616, Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino personally handed Galileo an admonition enjoining him neither to advocate nor teach Copernican astronomy.

In 1633 Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy. He was ordered imprisoned; the sentence was later commuted to house arrest, where he remained until his death.

For a larger view just click on the Chris Weisberg link to take you to the flickr page - Image by Chris Weisberg via Flickr

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11 July 2009

A Good Science Quote

BERLIN - JULY 03:  A wax model of Albert Einst...Wax museum model of Einstein in Berlin - Image by Getty Images via Daylife

From Denny: I love a good quote by a scientist with a sense of humor who doesn't take themselves too seriously. Einstein was one of those rarest of creatures!


"I sometimes ask myself how it came about that I was the one to develop the theory of relativity. The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about space and time. My intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had grown up."

- Albert Einstein

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10 July 2009

Astronomy Video: Sipping Coffee from Unusual Mug in Weightless Space

From Denny: Did you see this video yet? An astronaut sips coffee from an unusually designed mug to accommodate weightlessness in space. He explains how the mug works to enable an astronaut to drink coffee without resorting to the old school way of sipping out of a plastic bag. They use this mug design for rocket fuel tanks too. Really interesting; take a listen!

NASA space weightless coffee mug fuel tanks rockets technology astronaut video

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09 July 2009

Coming Soon: Photographic Memory in a Pill?

From Denny: This sounds too good to be true! The only problem I ask is this: So, do you have a pill for extra capacity brain storage? :) Because you know people would go wild with this, testing it by reading whole Oxford Dictionaries, encyclopedias, going to the Library of Congress and reading through the entire library - the largest in the world - just to find out how much they could retain.

From the folks over at Popular Science. Here's an excerpt:

"Scientists isolate a protein that significantly increases visual recall

"Wish you had a photographic memory? Well, Encyclopedia Brown, drugs may amp your brain up to that point soon. A group of Spanish scientists claim to have singled out a protein that can extend the life of visual memory significantly. When the production of the protein was boosted in mice, the rodents' visual memory retention increased, from about an hour to almost 2 months.

"Unlike the long-term memory creation that was imaged recently, this memory extension only applies to memories made through the poorly-understood visual cortex of the brain."

For the rest of this brief article just click on the title link to get you there! Thanks for visiting!

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08 July 2009

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed - How to Foolproof Your Mind, part 2

From Denny: Here is part 2 of Luciano's article about foolproofing your mind from thinking traps!

This is an excerpt:

"In the first part of this article, we focused on five traps that hinder our ability to think clearly. Now it’s time to complete the list and expose yet another five dangerous traps to be avoided. Let’s dive right in.

"6. The Conformity Trap: Everybody Else Is Doing It

"In a series of experiments, researchers asked students in a classroom a series of very simple questions and, sure enough, most of them got the answers right. In another group, they asked the same questions but this time there were actors posing as students, purposefully pushing wrong answers. This time around, many more students provided wrong answers based on the leads from the researchers’ assistants.

"This “herd instinct” exists — in different degrees — in all of us. Even if we hate to admit it, other people’s actions do heavily influence ours. We fear looking dumb: failing along with many people is frequently not considered a big deal, but when we fail alone we must take all the heat ourselves. There’s always peer pressure to adopt the behaviors of the groups you’re in.

"This tendency to conform is notoriously exploited in advertising. Businesses often sell you products not based on their features, but by showing how popular they are: since others are buying it in droves, why would you not join them?

"Conformity is also one of the main reasons why once a book makes into a well-known best-sellers list, it tends to “lock in” and continue there for a long time. People like to consume what “everybody else” is consuming.
What can you do about it?

"Discount the influence of others. When analyzing information, shield yourself from other opinions — at least at first. This is the best way to decide without being subconsciously swayed by popular opinions.

"Beware “social proof”. Always raise a flag when someone tries to convince you arguing primarily on the popularity of a choice, instead of on that choice’s merit.
Be courageous. Be willing to overcome obstacles and defend your viewpoints, despite their unpopularity. Don’t be afraid pointing out that the Emperor wears no clothes."

By Luciano Passuello @ litemind

To finish this article just click on the title link to take you the litemind site! Thanks for visiting!

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07 July 2009

Astronomy: Photo of Our Galactic Center!

From Denny: A very cool photo from the folks over at ESO.org (European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere). Taken during the ATLASGAL survey this is really a color composite image of the Galactic Center and Sagittarius B2. The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is home to a supermassive black hole. That's a bit scary! How big is it? (This is starting to sound like a fish story...) That huge black hole is four million times the mass of our very own Sun! This galactic center is only 25,000 light years from our planet Earth.

X-ray Mosaic of Galactic Center: Chandra Takes...X-ray mosaic of Galactic Center: Chandra takes in the bright lights, big city of the Milky Way - Image by Smithsonian Institution via Flickr

OK, you ask, so who is this Sagitarrius B2 guy? It's one of the largest clouds of molecular gas in our Milky Way. Definitely one of the big guys on the block. According to the ESO, this Sagitarrius B2 is "rich in many different interstellar molecules" because it lies close to the Galactic Center. Sort of sounds like vitamins for the Universe, doesn't it? :)

Now who's who on this photo?

- the ATLASGAL submillimetre-wavelength data are shown in red, overlaid on a view of the region in infrared light

- from the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) in green and blue.

- Sagittarius B2 is the bright orange-red region to the middle left of the image, which is centered on the Galactic Center.

Galactic Center Milky Way Galaxy supermassive black hole Midcourse Space Experiment Sagittarius B2 ESO.org European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere Earth Sun infrared light black hole astronomy

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How Do You Cultivate Inner Happiness?

This is what I've featured today over at Beautiful Illustrated Quotations, my Quotes blog:

From Denny: What I so enjoy about quotes are two things: they are short, and therefore, easy meditations and also they often speak a facet of the truth in an amazing way! This is the first quote I've run across that discusses more than cultivating personal harmony or doing outward actions to help cultivate happiness. When you read between the lines what this author is talking about is acquiring a particular attitude toward self BEFORE you begin cultivating happiness - pretty cool take on it!


Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.” — Francis Wilshire

Photo by h.koppdelaney @ flickr

happiness meditation harmony mental health arts literature health self-help love Francis Wilshire quotes quotations

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06 July 2009

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed - How to Foolproof Your Mind, part 1

From Denny: From our friends over at the litemind blog comes yet another great article about how best to use our minds efficiently.

From Luciano, the author:

"Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble.

Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them.

1. The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First Thoughts

“Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million? What’s your best estimate?” Researchers asked this question to a group of people, and the estimates were seldom too far off 35 million. The same question was posed to a second group, but this time using 100 million as the starting point. Although both figures were arbitrary, the estimates from the ‘100 million’ group were, without fail, concomitantly higher than those in the ‘35 million’ group. (for the curious, here’s the answer.)

Lesson: Your starting point can heavily bias your thinking: initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data “anchor” subsequent thoughts.

This trap is particularly dangerous as it’s deliberately used in many occasions, such as by experienced salesmen, who will show you a higher-priced item first, “anchoring” that price in your mind, for example.

What can you do about it?

•Always view a problem from different perspectives. Avoid being stuck with a single starting point. Work on your problem statement before going down a solution path.

•Think on your own before consulting others. Get as much data as possible and explore some conclusions by yourself before getting influenced by other people’s anchors.

•Seek information from a wide variety of sources. Get many opinions and broaden your frame of reference. Avoid being limited to a single point of view."

By Luciano Passuello @ litemind

For the rest of this intriguing article just click on the title link, great reading!

critical thinking decision making psychology

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