At last! A new music video from John Boswell of Symphony of Science, and it’s one of his catchier tunes:
More Symphony of Science videos here.
The clips of Michio Kaku are taken from his video for The Floating University, which offers free online lectures by leading scholars and thinkers on a wide range of subjects — from astrophysics to political philosophy, from finance to population studies, from linguistics to the psychology of sex. It’s a wonderful online resource and I highly recommend checking it out.
Here’s Kaku’s full lecture:
More Floating University videos on YouTube (via BigThink) here.
S.G. Collins provides an excellent takedown of the “moon hoax” argument. Watch it through to the end: Collins not only dismantles this particular theory but shines a much-needed light on the difference between knowledge and belief, the nature of paranoia, and the utmost importance of distinguishing between imagined conspiracies and very real government shenanigans.
Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy offers lots more debunkery here and here.
(h/t Bob Cesca)
More excellent bite-size science videos over at Minute Physics.
Click on the image (or here) for the full sequence. If there’s a simpler or cuter way to summarize the conflict between the methods of science and the claims of fundamentalist faith, I’ve yet to see it.
I found this via Phil Plait, who says: “Not everyone is so unwavering in their dogma, but enough people are (especially those who run this country) that this should be required reading by the time every US citizen reaches elementary school.” I concur.
(A note: from the comments on Plait’s site, there seems to have been some debate about whether the artist was reinforcing gender stereotypes. Well, maybe — though I’m not aware of any perception that women are more fundamentalist than men, and there are certainly plenty of fundamentalist males in the news today. As always, though, please correct me if I’m wrong. And you can check out PZ Myers’ post about it and his readers’ reactions, if you’re interested.)
Tim Minchin narrates a nice introduction to the history — and future — of genomics:
More on ENCODE — the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements — here:
Gina Kolata of the New York Times walks us through the most recent breakthrough in DNA research and its implications. It’s worth reading through, but here’s a bit some may miss:
The findings, which are the fruit of an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, will have immediate applications for understanding how alterations in the non-gene parts of DNA contribute to human diseases, which may in turn lead to new drugs.
Indeed — ENCODE operates under the auspices of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health. That’s your tax dollars at work, America! As researchers continue to decode the human genome and gain significant ground in the fight against diseases like diabetes and cancer, it’s yet another clear example of why government matters.
(h/t Boing Boing)
Wow. Here’s the Dalai Lama:
[T]he reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
And also this, from his book The Universe in a Single Atom:
My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.
Fantastic — and this comes from a source I’d never have expected. What other major religious leader would have had the courage, confidence, and humility to make this assertion?
I must admit here that I’m shockingly ignorant of the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism and the beliefs of the DL. More for me to learn and catch up on, hooray!
(via io9; photo via Inquire)
Click on the image to start zooming around (be sure to view it in full-screen). It’s fantastic.
Number Sleuth’s interactive universe graphic one-ups the Hwangs’:
While other sites have tried to magnify the universe, no one else has done so with real photographs and 3D renderings. To fully capture the awe of the vastly different sizes of the Pillars of Creation, Andromeda, the sun, elephants and HIV, you really need to see images, not just illustrations of these items. Stunningly enough, the Cat’s Eye Nebula is surprising similar to coated vesicles, showing that even though the nebula is more than 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times larger, many things are similar in our universe.
Read more and click around here.
(via The Dish)
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman answers science questions from passersby on the street corners of New York:
Chemist Stephen Benkovic answers questions in Philly:
What a wonderful, and wonderfully democratic, idea. I wish there were more; the videos, produced by ScienCentral, date from 2008 and 2009, and no more seem to have been filmed since then. Too bad; making scientists accessible, and having them engage directly with the public about their questions and concerns, seems like an excellent way to make science feel relevant again, and help raise the science literacy of the country — one curious passerby at a time.
(via Boing Boing)
To mark tonight’s once-in-a-century transit of Venus, King of Pain seems uniquely and utterly appropriate:
Adam Frank reflects:
The next Venus transit will be in 2117. That is 105 years from now. It’s unlikely that anyone reading this today will still exist then. Think about that: The next time the orbits of Earth and Venus align just so to create a transit, the world will be entirely populated by an entirely unborn generation. That essential point about time is really what makes this transit worth a moment of your own. [...]
While the astronomy behind Venus transits might not be news, the celestial mechanics of our own trajectories through life and the universe are an ongoing story. The transit of Venus reminds us of something essential. We are so busy worrying about getting the kids to school before homeroom, getting to work before the shift starts or getting to the gym for spin class that we completely forget time spins on many different cycles. While our heads are down waiting for a Facebook page to update on our cellphones, the solar system continues relentlessly on in its steady, stately dance of gravity, matter and motion.
(Image via Citizen Scientists League)