Riches this morning in the RSS feeds. Seems like mainstream news dried up early this week. Probably means the local news will be crammed with kittens in trouble and the like but for me it means a virtual cornucopia of infotrivia.
I note, for example, that research by folks at Wheaton College have associated the Mayan use of the color blue with human sacrifice. [Link] And then there was the Saxon use of blue – woad – for people who would go into battle and enter a killing frenzy. Is there some particular necrology associated with blue? Does this say something about (modern) democrats? And what about the color orange when it is paired with blue, and thereby the U Illinois and Alibam Polytechnic Institute? And was it the Maya or the Aztecs who had the charming ball game (foot?) custom of executing the losing team? No mention of what happened to the losing team’s coach. And if this is all relevant, what does crimson and white signify? Other than greed and prevarication?
On a more practical and perhaps interesting (yes, I know I hate to use the word but after all my brain has been mudded up by having to think about football) level some researcher at Arizona State U has found a predominance of laevorotatory amino acids in a meteorite. [Link] But are we going to stop short of renewing that old theory that life came to Tellus from somewhere OUT THERE? I can’t recall who first came up with that idea but I do recall it was considered more a matter of science fiction than science. But it may be entertaining what the Intelligent Design/Creationist cabal makes with this.
Incidentally, the TED conference is on-going this week. [Link] Lots of good stuff already has been posted, but probably not the impromptu monologue of Robin Williams. Which probably tells us more about the nature of good and evil among humans than any of the scheduled presentations. [Link] But I especially like the idea that humans aren’t just propagators of human genes any more – the idea that our only purpose is to make humans and that’s why women live approximately eight years longer than men regardless of what medical practice can do – we are now also propagators of memes. [Link] It is really refreshing to learn that we have some purpose that transcends Darwinian stochastic pseudo-chaos and religious slavery.
Next I notice a fellow who went back to take the SAT at the age of 38. [Link] Professional (traditional media) journalist. Bombed maths. Got taken down on writing ability – pride before a fall sort of thing. Not surprising. If I had to do this I should probably do poorly all around. Tests have consistently proven that the more educated and experienced one is the less well one does on multiple guess tests. I can recall in graduate shul taking a test that had a problem on it about a pulley, a rope, and two climbing monkeys. I had just finished a maths course on functional theory and I settled in and approached the problem from the standpoint of the individual climbing events being punctuated; the professor who wrote the problem had no where near that level of accuracy in mind so I got called into office to be told I had really missed the “shul solution”, the “official” answer, but they – the test administrators – were going to pass me anyway because what I did I did correctly. This was my introduction to the fact of life that doing well on a test may entail not just the right amount of knowledge but also the right amount of ignorance. Which is why I would not dare take an SAT test at my age with way more than high shul maths and lots of published works and an antiquated, disciplined knowledge of grammar rules that are likely highly at odds with what is taught in high shul these days.
But happily I note that the Dutch have developed a sleeping suit that is supposed to enhance one’s sleep. [Link] Supposedly increasing skin temperature induces deep sleep. And here I thought I liked my electric mattress pad because of my low body heat capacity resulting from all the blood thinners my physicians prescribe for me. No, its because it heats my skin. Then why come do we sleep better in winter than in summer? The world wonders.
I am pleased to note that the Swedes have done us a service by figuring out how to fix our deep educational problems with programs like Every Child Left Behind. [Link] The answer is to do away with government owned shuls and make a marketplace. The government issues parents a voucher and the parents pick the shul. Talk about product/performance based. Talk about the moral indignation of the teacher unions. Or is that just economic indignation? Talk about children learning something. Gee, maybe socialists have some good ideas after all.
The dive for the bottom that Sony feared seems to be accelerating, indicating that there is no fundamental push for technology advancement but there is a fundamental customer pull. (Yes, Qadgop, that is a logistics metaphor although many Tellurian humans have some problems with such categorizations.) The Elonex people have now announced their Eee competitor, the One – a much more understandable but possibly disturbing name – that is supposed to retail for Pounds 99 is due in June. [Link] Questions now abound. How late with June be? Just how expensive will this box be then given the continued erosion of the strength of the Yankee governments dollar? Is the box top heavy – the screen side is noticeably thicker than the keyboard side?
And lastly we have a new Pew Poll. [Link] (Yes, Qadgop, that does alliterate. And also sounds like something out of Little Abner or the Beverly Hillbillies, or even Nawth Alibam.) Seems that they have begun to ask questions about evolution a little better although they still can’t seem to get past misusing the idea of belief. Nonetheless, the responses indicate that the older the respondent was, the less likely they were to be attuned to reality, which leads us to wonder if that means Generation Y has more good sense than Generation X after all, or is it just that the incidence of dementia increases with age? Not that the variance is very strong, only about 0.16 between teenagers and the edge between middle age and senior citizenry. Which still leaves us with the question of why there is so much dementia in the Yankee republic?