Cool Links

Atheists can't figure out religious people. It shouldn't be that hard, religious people only believe in one more God than atheists, so they aren't all that different, while atheists only believe in one fewer God than religious people, who don't believe in a lot of other Gods, so they aren't that different either.   Yet they just don't get along.

There may be new hope for understanding and dialogue. Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism (HFA) finds that autistic people are more likely to be atheists than neurotypical (NT) people.
The Times Atlas of the World, published by HarperCollins, exaggerated the rate of Greenland's ice loss in its thirteenth edition last week, scientists are saying. It said that Greenland lost 15 percent of its ice cover over the past 12 years, based on information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado in the United States. The Greenland ice sheet is the second biggest in the world.
Living in northern California, I have enjoyed one of the nicest summers I have ever had anywhere.  It's been spectacular.  Of course, climate instability can be a very bad thing - next year it could be heat winds like vorpal blades, dogs and cats living together...real mass hysteria.  But this year was pretty good, since I did not live in the southern or eastern US.

The Champagne region of France is also loving life.  They say climatic shift has made their lives easier and their Champagne better. Recently, the Champagne harvest ran from mid-September to early October, but it has progressively crept earlier, late August through mid-September.
Nature invited some prominent names to comment on Al Gore's recently concluded Climate Reality Project.

Barry W. Brook, director of climate science, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, Australia, said, "Overall, I don't think this initiative will do much good. For one thing, Al Gore is now as much a hindrance as a help on climate change advocacy, as he's been characterized (probably unfairly) as a highly partisan figure, and so immediately gets about half of all folks offside..."
Obama Foodarama, the public portion of the digital archive of record about Obama Administration food and nutrition initiatives from the White House by Eddie Gehman Kohan, has this nifty article on President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's mark on culinary.  They served homebrewed White House Honey Ale, made with a pound of honey from the White House Beehive, to guests at last year's Super Bowl party. 

Turns out no one, not even Thomas Jefferson, had done it before.  This won't make any campaign speeches in 2012, but it should.

We've all met people who ask what college we went to - it's a silly question, the first time it happens (well, if you are out of college anyway) but soon you learn it is simply a segue for the questioner to tell you what college they went to.

So no matter what school you went to, they will then introduce something along the lines of 'I went to a little school in Massachusetts, perhaps you've heard of it, called (Harvard/Yale)'.  Basically they want to lay the groundwork for bolstering the credibility of any future idiocy they may speak by invoking a school every has heard of.  I mean, those Whiffenpoofs are famous the world over.
A study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs says what you already knew - if you get drunk and pass out, you are more likely to die in a fire you could easily have escaped, if you weren't hammered drunk and sleeping on the floor.

Bonus: they manage to take shots at smokers too. 

The researchers' recommendation; have a designated house sitter.  Yes, if you are going to pass out drunk, have someone sober staying at the house. Because all sober people want to watch you get smashed.
The HARPS team today announced the discovery of more than 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, including 16 super-Earths - the largest number of such planets ever announced at one time.

One of the recently announced newly discovered planets, HD 85512 b, is estimated to be only 3.6 times the mass of the Earth and is located at the edge of the habitable zone — a narrow zone around a star in which water may be present in liquid form if conditions are right.

HD 85512 b - Super Earth in habitable zone one of 50 new exoplanets discovered by HARPS - Science Codex
I thought it was a joke when Alex Berezow of Real Clear Science sent this to me.  You know, someone sets up a spoof site for laughs because the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks naturally lends itself to humor.

Even the .ico file for the subdomain is a big ol' heart - and it is a subdomain so it must be real.
The COTI (Clip On Thermal Imager) by Optics1 gives warfighters "Predator"-style vision to better tag those terrorists and other threats; it adds thermal signals to to existing night-vision devices.

The human eye sees light in wavelengths between 400-700 nanometers, while a night-vision device is near the infrared range, around 900. The COTI's long-wave infrared technology is in the 8- to 10-micron range, allowing users to see through smoke, foliage, fog, rain and other conditions where standard devices provide only limited capability.
Science 2.0 fave Cam Neylon has some thoughts from a recent conference panel, namely that the thought process did not go beyond the usual "Institutions should do X" stuff.   Obviously we all agree, there would be no Science 2.0 if we waited for the NSF or a university or bloggers to create it.
Christianity has its controversies, like the original date on which Easter is based, but it's a celebration and therefore symbolic.  

Muslims are a little more rigorous in their approach and there has been turmoil over the possibility that quasi-scientific authorities in Arabia  misread the skies and mistook Saturn for the moon when it declared Ramadan and its daily fasting over last week.  If so, it caused people to starting feasting a day early.  You can imagine how the more militant Muslims feel about that. 
Stalin hated independence, he hated religion, he hated culture, and he hated 'Girl With An Oar', a statue by Ivan Shadr.

Well, it's a 23 foot tall nude so I imagine plenty of people in the West would hate it too, murderous savage dictators or not.  A gigantic naked chick in Gorky Park in 1934 was a tough sell.

Young people like retro, and that includes young people in Russia, who really know little about the USSR and what it stood for so they have recently embraced it - that's okay, we have idiots in America sporting the hammer and sickle as well.   And young people like sticking it to convention, so it's no surprise they have been fascinated by a giant naked girl Stalin hated and shipped to Siberia.
Who knew pizza was so competitive?  I thought the truly ridiculous ideas would come from the uber-egos of Richard Branson and Larry Ellison but, no, it's about pie.

Pizza Hut delivered pizza to pizza to the International Space Station in 2001 and Dominos...well, all they did was pay someone in Japan 25 grand for an hour's work.   But they have a new advertising company now and apparently they are thinking big.
It is sometimes said that top people in their fields are 'a mile deep and a yard wide' because they lack perspective about the broader world.

Dr. Judit Nadal, 47, director of the Proteomics Facility at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, was politically correct - she was driving an electric car, a blue G-Wiz, when she died.  It basically disintegrated when another car hit it because she pulled into traffic without looking.
In the 1980s, conservatives often sided with science while progressives demanded punitive actions regardless of benefit or even evidence of a detriment.  Alar, for example, was a head scratcher for anyone outside the environmental movement but Meryl Streep was clearly a science authority and so the media put people in a panic.

In the 2000s, the tables turned.  Conservatives wanted nothing done despite the science evidence while activists had science on their side.   
Things sure have changed now that a Democrat is in power.  The New York Times, once proud to publish anything that might make Pres. George W. Bush look bad, has criticized WikiLeaks for publishing unredacted U.S. State Department cables, the kind of thing everyone there used to love printing.

The change has been coming for a while.  When the so-called ClimateGate scandal was happening, the New York Times also dismissed the content because it had been illegally obtained, just like every piece of WikiLeaks information.
All people care about these days is cost.  What happened to buying local?

Health Canada warned would-be parents not to purchase "fresh" semen online, saying it may be tainted with infectious diseases.  Pesky Canada has strict controls for obtaining donor semen to minimize the potential risk of transmitting serious infectious diseases, like a requirement that donor semen must be quarantined for a minimum of six months and donors screened and tested before the donation and six months after, but that is just Big Government trying to control the mom and pop semen sellers out there.
We keep being told Americans want more government but Gallup polls tell a different story.  What Americans want are more computer companies.

The semiconductor industry, which gets nothing at all from academia, the many overlapping science funding agencies or mandates and subsidies from the government, ranks at the top of 25 business and industry sectors in this new poll.  Yayyy, capitalism.
Climate change has been implicated in many things but mental health is new.  A report titled A Climate of Suffering: The Real Costs of Living with Inaction on Climate Change by the Climate Institute says climate change could mean more than direct problems for the environment.

Australians are generally pissed off now, it says, and that will only get worse when there are more droughts, heat waves and wild fires.   Traditionally, disasters bring people together and make communities act in unison but they contend this will be different; families will be torn apart and anxiety will spike.