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NRDC Says Your Xbox Is Causing Global Warming - But It Isn't

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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

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Should you happen to be in Washington, D.C. in October and at House of Sweden, the Swedish Embassy, you will get a chance to see a fireball red colored car that delighted Europeans who like tiny red cars earlier this year.

It's called the Baldos II and it is a hybrid auto built by engineering students at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden.    So what?

The fuel tests show it can run 152.2 kilometers on a liter of fuel, whatever that means - in Sweden, they use some primitive system invented during the French Revolution to stick it to the English, so I am not certain but that sounds like 357 MPG.   Or approximately 12X my tiny convertible's mileage!
It's been a good decade for "The Wizard of Oz" - much better than the Oz books merit but in that one story there is the kernel of something terrific that has resonated with people for decades.   There was a time when it was less cool - anyone watching "The Wiz" had to wonder what they were thinking but re-tellings of the story in more recent years have been terrific.

"Wicked", for example, tells the story of the Wicked Witch and she ends up being a lot more sympathetic.   The core storyline of "The Wizard of Oz" pops in and out but it is her story - and the musical is terrific. 
I took a moment to look at Ray Kurzweil's response to PZ Myers' second-hand dissection of his talk at the Singularity Summit(1) I attended last weekend (see The Singularity Stole My ATM Card) because Andrea Kuszewki is on the case and trying to keep things on track (like, can we reverse engineer the brain?
A few days ago, while talking about mundane business issues, I learned that today, August 19th, was the birthday of that famous childhood delight, the 'black cow', what would later be called a root beer float.

If you are not up on your carbonated beverage lore, root beer hails from the root of the sassafras tree or the sarsaparilla vine.  When the root mixture is mixed with water, sugar and yeast, it is sweetened and the yeast generates carbon dioxide and carbonates the water.
Despite being one of psychology's most memorable concepts and a genuinely good idea, Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, immortalized in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" and later Motivation and Personality, needs a makeover, say some researchers.  

Maslow's hierarchy says humans will fulfill basic needs before moving on to higher level ones.    If you're unemployed and losing your house because fuzzy 'jobs saved or created' statistics have no real value to you, for example, global warming will not be your biggest concern.   
Anthropology rules!   

If a physicist tried to do a research study playing "World of Warcraft" for 3 years his peers would say, "Don't try to church it up, Tommaso, you're just playing World of Warcraft" but when an ethnographer does it, they get funding from the National Science Foundation, Intel, and write a book about it.