Science & Society

Last weekend, Dynamic Patterns Research attended a virtual presentation in Second Life. It wasn't an imaginary talk, but actually a very real discussion that included George Djorgovski, a top astrophysics from Caltech and the popular science writer from MSNBC, Alan Boyle.

I've just come across a fabulous tune from Newfoundland that captures perfectly the chaos of jigging (fishing with special lures) for squid:

Holy smoke! What a scuffle! All hands are excited.
'Tis a wonder to me that there's nobody drowned.
There's confusion, a bustle, a wonderful hustle,
They're all jiggin' squids on the squid-jiggin' ground.

LONDON, April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At The Times' Africa CEO Summit on Tuesday 22 March 2011, Brian Menell, Chairman of Kemet Global Ltd., presented to the Natural Resources Session his views on the challenges posed by the increase in "resource nationalism" which is building momentum across the African continent.

LUCERNE, Switzerland, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- -- EF Education First's English Proficiency Index reveals wide gaps in English skills across the world --

EF Education First, the world leader in international education, today unveiled the first comprehensive index ranking the proficiency of English among a broad population in 44 countries and territories around the world where English is not the native language.

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is the first index that compares the English ability of adults in different countries. The index uses a unique set of test data (see methodology) from over two million people across 44 countries who took free online English tests over three years (2007-2009).

RMS Titanic - Lessons From History

Titanic 100 Festival

Belfast's most famous creation, Titanic, will be commemorated in an extended annual festival from 31 March - 31 May 2011, which will include key dates of the ship's build.

It is unlikely that anybody involved in the design, construction and operation of RMS Titanic ever claimed that she was unsinkable.  But the rumor persists that the claim was made.
I am sure there is nobody who would disagree when I say that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were devastating disasters which have caused untold misery for hundreds of thousands of people and will have profound effects on the lives of millions more, but for a small group of 14 year olds who were sat nearly 6,000 miles away in a science lab it was the most exciting thing in the world.
"To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life." -James Joyce

Craig Venter is brilliant. Brilliant enough, you might say, to enter the ranks of literary gods. So brilliant, he might not even know it.

Venter wants to patent the human genome--all 2.9 billion base pairs of it. And why not? The pioneering geneticist is, after all, the man responsible for sequencing it. Venter first set his sights on the intellectual rights in the 90s while still president of Celera Genomics. Later, the company's soured partnership with the publicly funded Human Genome Project served as a forecast of how genomics research might evolve as a competitive business enterprise, if the stakes ever went up. And they did.
"Despite reports of concern from caregivers and some studies, there are limited data on  population-based estimates and predictors of risk for wandering associated with ASD/DD." --ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee Meeting 
Wandering is a real issue with real, present-day ramifications. While it's important to not dive into knee-jerk reactions every time the news provides us with another example of wandering incidents and deaths, it does put a real face on the issue. It isn't some hypothetical what-if; parents and caregivers are dealing with it right now.
Across the world, fewer people are buying the "I have a glandular disorder" excuse for obesity.

As the average waistline increases but the numbers of obese people skew that result, society is getting less tolerant of heavier folk - even in cultures where being big is considered better, according to a cross-cultural study of attitudes toward obesity to be published in the April issue of Current Anthropology.

The study didn't test what is driving the shift in attitude, but the researchers say that "newer forms of educational media, including global public health campaigns" may be playing a role.

Imagine, if you will, a Borg cube from Star Trek humming along through space, part of a fleet of such cubes, each with millions of drones participating in a spatially non-localized brain of billions.

Now imagine that this collective Borg brain has a headache. The camera zooms inside one of the cubes and we see the source of the problem: a dreadlocked alien has awakened, and he’s raging through the ship, ripping up the neural wiring that connects the Borg drones to one another. Suddenly disconnected from the collective, the drones are waking up and finding themselves for the first time.

Although this rabble-rousing nerve-cutter might sound like the actions of a Klingon, as the camera gets closer we realize it’s actually a human.