Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

when science is counter intuitive

Okay how is it that mining in space makes more sense than mining right here on earth ?  read on:

Asteroid takeout—a one-billionaire mission to bring a 500-ton asteroid to Earth by 2025: Soon after the delivery of a report proposing the retrieval of a 500 metric ton asteroid to Earth orbit, a firm called Planetary Resources will announce itself on Tuesday. The firm is backed by several billionaires.
So get this:  quantum entanglement works not only instantaneously across distance, but the implication is it can affect independent observations done in the PAST.  Of course I could be reading this all wrong, so read it for yourself and make your own conclusions:
Quantum decision affects results of measurements taken earlier in time: An entanglement experiment involving four photons appears to play tricks with time: taking one measurement appears to affect the result of a different, earlier one.
Maybe this is not so unexpected:  deliberation is deliberation, careful consideration is good in any language.  How non-native does the language have to be?  If it's really foreign, how do you know you're even using the right words or ideas ?  If it's not so foreign, maybe it's not any different from thinking in your native language.  Perhaps there is an optimum "degree of foreign-ness"?
Thinking in foreign language makes decisions more rational: Psychologists found that considering decisions in a non-native language makes people more deliberate and more rational than if they considered the same decision in their native language.
Now this is cool:
Solar cells must emit light to attain perfection, research suggests: Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have hit upon a counterintuitive means of boosting the efficiency of solar cells: making them emit light.
This reminds me of the multiple-compounded error where Charles Barkley claimed he was misquoted, in his own autobiography..   Hmmm.   So two wrongs still make wrong.. ??
Climate change proponent realizes he was wrong, but for the wrong reasons: James Lovelock, an environmental scientist, has been painting pictures of a climate catastrophe that had no foundation in science. Now, finally, he's realized that he probably got things badly wrong.
Now this just feels wrong (it is at least a sad day):
University of Florida guts computer science department in budget-cutting move: Facing a budget crunch, the University of Florida is ending all research in its Computer & Information Science and Engineering Department.
Who knew?  And what does creation theory have to say on this one?
Synthetic DNA substitute gets its own enzymes, undergoes evolution: Researchers have synthesized a set of chemical relatives of DNA that can base pair and transfer information with it. They then evolved enzymes that could copy it, and showed that the synthetic genetic material could undergo molecular evolution.
It's all fine for science and media to examine themselves and others, but have inspections shown any improvement in safety (reliability) of the equipment way down?  Deepwater Horizon was a disaster that resulted from multiple consecutive failures of safety systems, any one of which could have prevented the big disaster.  Is deep ocean drilling any better (safer) today?
How science failed during the Gulf oil disaster: Christopher Reddy recounts his reaction in the days and months after the BP oil spill as an academic performing research in the field.