Random Thoughts

Observation is the generative act in scientific discovery. For all its aberrations, the evidence of the senses is essentially to be relied upon--provided we observe nature as a child does, without prejudices and preconceptions, but with that clear and candid vision which adults lose and scientists must strive to regain.

- Peter Medawar, Pluto's Republic, p. 99






If the labours of men of Science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we  habitually receive, the Poet will sleep then no more than at present, but he will be ready to follow the steps of the man of Science, not only in those general indirect  effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the Science itself.
Enough. I have lost to hyperspace too many paragraphs of my scribblings -here, as well as elsewhere- and I cannot stand it anymore. I need your help.

I write on a SONY VAIO laptop, with an English keyboard. The bottom row of keys has the "ctrl", the "Fn", the "windows" key; the second row has the shift key first; and the third row has the "caps lock" key. This information is relevant for what I am about to explain.

It turns out that sometimes while I write I type some nasty combination of shift, caps lock, or other keys in the thereabouts, together with some normal key I am typing at the same time, and the whole paragraph I am editing instantly disappears, vanishing into hyperspace.
Me Want

Me Want

Aug 11 2009 | 7 comment(s)

Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan in Warehouse 13Ok, so I'm still not over my steampunk phase.  It may be because I decided to read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or that the shine hasn't come off Warehouse 13, yet (come on, who doesn't love Saul Rubinek?).

Saul Rubinek
Tangential Science: it's not necessarily science, but it's still funny.

1.  You've all heard that blondes have more fun.   There is even a recurring urban legend that they are becoming extinct, which seems like an effort to get them to have even more fun while they are still around, but what about that most rare hair color, redheads?

Apparently they are in their 50,000th year of not getting enough respect.
Stitchgasm

Stitchgasm

Aug 10 2009 | 0 comment(s)

So, my ever expanding RSS feed subscription list now contains, in addition to a LEGOs blog, a cross-stitching blog.  No, I do not know how to cross-stitch.  Let's follow the chain of events.  io9, the goto blog for science fiction news, lured me in with the following Joss Whedon inspired arts and crafts.
Inspired by Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Zhad SquadFrom Buffy the Vampire Slayer by zhad Squad
This cute-posting of a wee ring-tailed lemur from ZooBorns was headlined thusly: A Furry Little Backpack
 Fi in Eden
But, they never completed the joke with a picture of this product:
Milkshakes

Milkshakes

Aug 10 2009 | 8 comment(s)


Who doesn't like milkshakes?

Communists and Nazis, that's who.

UPDATE: The requested Venn diagram, for clarification.  As with all my Venn diagrams, this is inspired by the work of Jessica Hagy at Indexed.
Tangential Science: it's not necessarily science, but it's still funny.

1.  Greek fire ain't what it used to be.  If you're a student of history, you know that Greek fire  (πῦρ θαλάσσιον) was popularized by the Byzantines, mostly against Arab navies.   We don't know what it consisted of because the recipe was lost to antiquity but it made enough of an impression that various other cultures copied it.   Naptha?   Saltpeter?  No one can be sure.

Greek fire was not an ingredient but instead an entire system.   It required special processing to make and was compressed so that the liquid shot out.  Thus it required expert handling as well. 
I've noticed that my readership numbers are lower in summer, often only half as much as usual.  Bearing in mind I only launched in Spring, there was a noticeable drop as we hit (especially) July and now August.  With my non-science web column, I've noticed the same trend.  It's the flip side to the 'September Effect', when most sites get a sudden surge in visitors as incoming collegiate freshmen suddenly have free, unstructured time and fast web access.