Sometimes there’s no unitary rule — Language Log with more than (most of) you wanted to know about the who/whom distinction.
Grotto-esque — Art guru James Gurney with a neat little squib on the history of the grotesque.
Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality? — Long but nifty piece on jellyfish, science and scientists.
For Winning The Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr Got A House With Free Beer — So was free beer the reason why Bohr was able to make great strides in developing quantum mechanics? (Via David Goldman.)
Mercury’s water ice at north pole finally proven — Scientists have finally shown what has been postulated for decades: the planet Mercury holds billions of tonnes of water ice at its north pole.
Who Will Solve Wearable Computing’s “Jetpack” Problem? — Wearables are supposed to be the future of consumer tech–and that’s what’s holding them back.
Spaun, the new human brain simulator, can carry out tasks — I need this as a prosthetic.
Wormholes: not just for physicists anymore — A biologist investigates old illustrations to find new data about bugs. Heh. This is clever.
Porn star punks Pastor Hagee: ‘I considered flashing my boobs’ — “The ability to compartmentalize seems to be the hallmark of ideologues everywhere. I guess it spares them potentially lethal attacks of cognitive dissonance.” Also, this: “I wasn’t sure I’d encountered firsthand the banality of evil, but I’d gotten a solid dose of the evils of banality.” (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits — I don’t like to link to the Wall Street Journal because of their deep conservative bias, and lunatic mendacity of their editorial board, but this article is fascinating.
New Study Shows Global Warming Is Rapidly Melting Ice at Both Poles — A new international study—done by 47 experts using data from multiple satellites and aircraft—shows that the Earth is losing ice at an ever-increasing rate from both poles. We’ve known for years that the Arctic has been suffering massive ice loss, with the record low broken more than once in recent years. What’s devastating about this new report is that it shows unequivocally and quantitatively that the Antarctic is also losing land ice, with the critical West Antarctica ice sheet losing on average 65 billion tons of ice every year. This would be what we in the reality-based community call “data”, which is therefore irrelevant to conservative beliefs and rhetoric. Just ask any Republican about climate change and see what answer you get.
How sensitive is the climate to added CO2? — 65 million years of Earth’s history suggest we’re in uncharted territory. Another great thing about science is that it doesn’t have all the answers, so it keeps asking questions. This is where dogma, both religious and political, fails. When you already know the truth, you have a strong disincentive to ask further questions. Especially those that might challenge a closely-held and cherished belief masquerading as that truth.
A 60-Million-Year Debate on Grand Canyon’s Age — Note this is how science works. Disagreement and revision based on experimental data and field observation. Not reasoning backward from an ideological or faith based conclusion.
America is a Christian Nation. If We Don’t Like it, We Should Get Out — Fundamentalist Christians see nothing wrong with this. To their mind, it is not the non-Christians who are the victims, but the Christians who are being told they cannot force their religion on the other students. To their mind, anything which impinges on the special rights of Christians is a form of persecution. Yep. This. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980 — This would be what we in the reality-based community call a “fact”, which is therefore irrelevant to conservative beliefs and rhetoric. Just ask any Tea Partier about tax burdens and see what answer you get.
Legends of the Fault — Jon Stewart of The Daily Show displays the arrant hypocrisy of Sens. McCain and Graham in opposing Susan Rice, in their own words on videotape. See, it’s ok to knowingly lie about foreign terrorism if you’re a Republican, but not if you’re a Democrat. That’s about the only difference here. Except that Republican Condoleeza Rice never has clarified her statements or apologized, while Democrat Susan Rice has — which is clearly unforgivable to the same people who supported Rice’s unrepentant lying. See the difference? More of that justly famed conservative intellectual consistency proudly on display from Sen. McCain (R-Palin) and friends.
?otD: Drugs or medicine?
Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (revisions to “Rock of Ages”)
Hours slept: 8.75 hours (very fitful)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing people to accept healthcare and committing voter fraud: 0
Currently reading: Neptune’s Brood by Charlie Stross