Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Thinglonger

I'm not saying I beleive this, it seems a little hokey, and I haven't read the actual paper this is based on.
However, I did notice a few years ago that my index and ring fingers are almost exactly the same length (my index finger is just a hair longer than my ring finger), and that this is unusual.

Now, there may be an explaination.
I will also point out that both of my siblings are a little dyslexic. Actually, my brother quite a bit more than my sister.

The study drew on work in the last few years which established that the levels of estrogen and testosterone a person has can be seen in the relative length of their index (second) and ring (fourth) fingers. The ratio of the lengths is set before birth and remains the same throughout life.
The length of fingers is genetically linked to the sex hormones, and a person with an index finger shorter than the ring finger will have had more testosterone while in the womb, and a person with an index finger longer than the ring finger will have had more estrogen. The difference in the lengths can be small – as little as two or three per cent – but important.

A survey of the finger lengths of over 100 male and female academics at the University by senior Psychology lecturer Dr Mark Brosnan has found that those men teaching hard science like mathematics and physics tend to have index fingers as long as their ring fingers, a marker for unusually high estrogen levels for males.

Billys Ballon

Interesting, funny and ...well... a little disturbing. Try not to think about this the next time you go to the circus...

Friday, July 14, 2006


Not many people would think to make a statue of Cthulhu out of a sheet of paper, and yet .... there it is!

The FSM makes an appearence as well.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Department of Buried Puns

On new, ultra-modern chemical weapons to be used against the "enemy".

Most bizarre among the plans was one for the development of an "aphrodisiac" chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other. Provoking widespread homosexual behaviour among troops would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale, the proposal says.

blow to morale... hahaha

So my take is... what? we have to wait for a *war* for this????? Get this on the market *NOW*! I can make a fortune at the White Party!

Or the SuperBowl!

Battlefield 2: (Very) Special Forces

This, btw, was my Father's Day present this year. I had no idea the uses it could find, video game, time waster, congressional evidence of terrorist activity...

Was an elite congressional intelligence committee shown video footage from an off-the-shelf retail game and told by the Pentagon and a highly-paid defense contractor that it was a jihadist creation designed to recruit and indoctrinate terrorists?It's looking more and more like that is the case.

The bizarre story began to unfold last week when Reuters reported that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was shown video footage of combat action which was represented as a user-modified version (or "mod") of Electronic Art's best-selling Battlefield 2, a modern-day military simulation which features combat between U.S. forces and those of the fictitious Middle East Coalition (MEC) as well as the People's Republic of China.

Reuters quoted a Pentagon official, Dan Devlin, as saying, "What we have seen is that any video game that comes out... (al Qaeda will) modify it and change the game for their needs."


According to Reuters, the U.S. government is paying SAIC $7 million to monitor Islamist web sites, which is where they apparently discovered a copy of the footage. However, the video can also readily be accessed via links found in the user forums of the popular Planet Battlefield site, operated by IGN Entertainment of Brisbane, California.


This from Andrew Sullivan. Watch the right-hand side of the video.

The End of Dark Matter

To be blunt, I've always thought dark matter was a kludge. As it has grown from a weird theory in the 80s to a part of the Standard Model, I have watched with dismay. Why?
1) There is no evidence
2) The theory is ad-hoc
3) The theory has no real mathematical or physical basis (hence the constant spate of press releases about how the newest model in particle physics is dark matter
4) It is... inelegant

I have been a proponent of an alternate theory, that space is discrete not continuous and leads to a non-uniform Newtonian gravity field for mass, i.e. gravity gets weaker at long (and oddly very short) distances. This has it's own flaws of course
1) There is little evidence, and what there is is open to other explanations
2) It seems, again, ad hoc
3) it doesn't have a mathematical formalism

Until now...

This seems to be excellent progress toward turning this into actual science.

We have made the theory complete, connected the loose pieces of theory by one nice formula, and we think this formula has deep physics behind it. This theory is now fully specified so we can check it now."
This is the crucial part of any scientific theory: if it is capable of being tested and therefore falsified, it can be taken seriously. If scientists fail to knock it down, the theory gains credibility.
The new formula will be debated at a meeting at Edinburgh's Royal Observatory in April, when Dr Zhao and Dr Famaey, of the Free University of Brussels, will demonstrate their new formula on dark matter and gravity to an audience of experts from ten countries. They can expect a stormy ride.
"When people say 96 per cent of the universe is dark, that's an assumption," Dr Zhao said. "We don't need to introduce huge amounts of dark matter to explain the astronomical phenomena.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

German Snark

This is pretty funny, and it explains a lot!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Must Have More"

Turn your speakers on

Digital bubble wrap.

use Maniac Mode, it saves time!


As They Sow, So Shall They Reap

When you make it a point to try and remove and facility for incrudulity from your followers, it isn't surprising that they think everything is true.

To be honest, I'm not sure this isn't some kind of meta-parody.

I mean, *everyone* knows the Onion is a joke. Right???


Best comment in the comment section so far:

I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Four Most Dangerous Words in the English Language

Good advice on investing from the Cassandra class:

"The best investing advice is simple, timeless, paradoxical -- and often ignored. Yes, ignored, because so many investors cannot make decisions. Lacking self-confidence, they rely on the random flow of breaking news. That overwhelming rush of new information, all of it short-term, drowns out the investment advice to which we should be adhering. Those timeless principles demand that we ignore breaking news and take personal responsibility, a very scary idea for investors who have lost their self-confidence.
This message has been summarized by the Chinese master Lao Tzu: "Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know." He offered this investment advice three thousand years ago in the Tao Te Ching. Test it on any guru: Gross, Siegel, Bogle, Cramer, Bernanke, Paulson, and yes, even me. Of course, if investors took Lao Tzu's advice, Wall Street would be out of business. You'd be in command!"

Those words? This time it's different.