Friday, April 20, 2007
Very bad sore throat, haven't slept for most of the night. Drugged in paracetamol to the limit of hepatic poisoning, I truddle through the day, mainly occupied by a seminar by Geoff Tucker (+ Steve Toon, + Elena IDontRemember), founding fathers (and daughter) of SimCyp, a, In Vitro In Vivo Extrapolation (IVIVE) software. Pretty interesting stuff, mind you.
I also joined them for lunch, which got me a grilled lobster, pity that it wasn't cooked enough, and anyway I did not appreciate since my sense of smell has been blown to smithereens by the goddamn viruses.
Now I try to get some work done. Isn't it fascinating how I always fall sick when I can't afford it? Yuck!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
No, I haven't gone POP (or whatever style this timberland sings into).
I just want to point out for you this very interesting piece about sociology and the study of human behaviour, particularly of phenomenon such as fads, or the success of a rock band, or movie, and such.
Why do the experts in the field, e.g. movie producers and such, get it wrong so often? Why so many flops get financing, and so many future hits struggle to even get published? The answer, it seems, is in random choices and most people being sheeps. That is, following the herd.
the author, DUNCAN J. WATTS, is also the author of a book covering the same and many more example on similar subjects. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age
Silly decision of the US supreme court to ban a method of abortion. Not even particularly cruent.
The banned procedure, known medically as “intact dilation and extraction,” involves removing the fetus in an intact condition rather than dismembering it in the uterus.
so, what's wrong with this? I mean, I am no expert but may be those fetuses would have been 'useful' at least. don't know how, but asking for shredding them before extracting doesn't seem to me to expresses respect for the dignity of human life,” as Justice Kennedy said.
most likely, as someone else has put it:
"Those who support this law are trying to outlaw all abortions, one step at a time."
I strongly feel about chimpanzees.
I believe they should be awarded almost-human rights, if not fully human altogether. They may not look exactly like us, but (starting from Jane Goodall onward) they have shown in many occasions to have an elaborate culture, tool-making and surprising cognitive abilities.
The latest discovery that made the news was the recent report of adult, mostly female chimpanzees fabricating and using spears to hunt bushbabies.
I've now come to know, reading this very nice piece in the NY Times, that chimps can actually outperform humans in some immediate memory-related tasks, computer version of the Kim's game we would play at the boyscouts.
Also, I read of the sad fact that in fifty years their number has gone from an already low million to 150 thousands, may be some more. By comparison, the very same continent contains 800 millions people. All this makes me sad.
If we humans were just able to get our act together forget the source of all diversity (also known as 'religion'), we would be better steward of this planet. And make sure that our siblings (and not only) survive.
anyway, just go, read the article and make up your mind by yourself.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Or so say scientists in Germany, Jochen Kuhn of Landau University.
I did already blog about Honeybees' Colony Collapsing Disorder. It seems like it's extending to other countries than the US, now.
GrrlScientist reports on this.
Dinobase has been launched, Sarda reports from Bristol!!!
I love dinosaurs. So I'll be definitely having a look.
And in a seemingly related subject, I have been looking for a good introductory book about the angiosperms' evolution, and more in general plants' evolution, but haven't found one yet.
Also, a book extensively detailing past climates of the Earth would be wellcome. Or both in one, a sort of Annals of Natural History of Planet Earth. Passers-by, any suggestions?
Haven't had the time to even open the book. I just skim-read the back cover. It looks nice though, it's a pity that my nun aunts doesn't read english, or I'd give her one to keep side by side with her bible. I mean, I'm just returning a favour, right?
Update: Have a look at how the ITS DEITY THE FSM created the WORLD!!!
Edit II: an introductory video to pastafarianism:
Everybody must be aware of it right now.
Yet another shooting in an education institute in the US. I don't want to enter any discussion about gun control or else, tghis is my blog, not a newspaper. So, it better be personal. And in fact, I remember pondering on whether to apply to Virginia Tech, some years ago, when my PhD was nearing its end and I was looking around. The place did seem nice, and they had just received a 1000-G5 Apple cluster... So lots of cpus to crunch my numbers on...
Today, i found myself secretly thanking the decision to never apply there. Founded in part on my disliking of living and may be growing my (future) children in a place where guns are, like it or not, too easily available, and things like this do not seem to cause any reaction -be it because of de-sensitivisation of the people, be it because some lobbies instill a misplaced sense of security in those same people. as if having a gun were a deterrent for anybody to break in and enter your house. Quite the opposite, I'd say. The criminal will make sure he has superiori firepower, so that you'll be shot dead instead of punched in your face. Well, whatever you prefer.
I'm just sorry for those poor students, and their families.
See you later.
Then, the following thousand went through in just two weeks! I am impressed. If the exponential progression continues, in less than one months the whole Erat population will be visiting my blog daily. May be I'll be able to leave work and blog full time - about science and movies and crap...
Well, here's to the 2000th visitor, expected today. :-)
To celebrate, I've added Google Analytics to the webpage :-)
I'll mostly be away from the PC today, heavy meeting and planning day, guys... and girls of course.
I'll post about a weird dream I've had today, if I get the chance.
See you in the af'noon.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Jeremy tackles the nonsense meeting-people blurb out when they're... well, in a meeting.
His definition perfectly matches mine:
“places where nothing happens and nothing gets done”
Later on in the day, you ring the person who called the meeting and in less than a minute decide on a course of action.
and what about the meetingese spoken:
“Well, we’re outside the box here with a new kind of hybrid venture and we can’t know what the result will be until we’ve run the flag up the flagpole and seen which way the wind’s blowing.”
“It’s mission critical that we use blue sky thinking and that we’re proactive, not reactive, if we’re to come up with a ballpark figure that we can bring to the table.”
to end up with:
“We must maintain a client focus so that we can incentivise the team and monetise the deliverables, and only then can we take it to the next level.”
Mr Clarkson, as usual, you're spot-on.
And yes, I'm sorry dear Boss, but sometimes you do it, too.
I've just had a revelation. Not, like San Paul (then Saulus) on the way to Damascus, but rather on my mailbox - the real one, not the electronical one.
I was walking by the corridor, and an indefinable light was shining through my pigeon hole. A padded envelope was inside, translucent with this divine light. Like in trance, I took it up, tore the seal apart, and a blast of light surrounded me, impressing an indelebile shadow of my silhouette (internal organs included) on my boss' closed door.
I should have been dead, instantly vapourised by the holy radiation emanating from the envelope, instead I felt like blessed, and reached with my hand inside it, extracting an orange hardcover but easily pocketable book, whose title read: "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster".
Now, I am not the religious type of guy, but very much like Alessandro Manzoni after his onw late conversion, I feel compelled to drink from this wisedom fountain, to discover what the ONE I now accept as the real creator of the universe has to tell me.
I'll keep you posted ;-)
Monday, April 16, 2007
Here's the guy who wrote "The World is Flat", columnist of the NY Times, writing on how the USofA should change their face (and hearts) to regain the position of leading nation of the world, morally, technologically and environmentally.
The article is quite long, so I'll print it out to read it, may be at my bedside. Cheers
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Otherworldly Photos by Galileo, Voyager & Co.
from the NY Times, I've come to know that “Beyond,” a one-year exhibition of more than 30 large-format photographs of Earth’s planetary neighbors, opens this weekend in the museum’s Imax Gallery, a corridor by the theater that is also a pathway to the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
I can only incite you who can to go and visit it, and hope that'll come across the pond at sometime.
from the NY Times: A report, scheduled to be published on Monday but distributed to some reporters yesterday, said issues usually associated with the environment — like rising ocean levels, droughts and violent weather caused by global warming — were also national security concerns.
The effects of global warming, the study said, could lead to large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water. All could lead to direct involvement by the United States military.
“Just look at Somalia in the early 1990s,” Mr. Schwartz said. “You had disruption driven by drought, leading to the collapse of a society, humanitarian relief efforts, and then disastrous U.S. military intervention. That event is prototypical of the future.”
“Picture that in Central America or the Caribbean, which are just as likely,” he said. “This is not distant, this is now. And we need to be preparing.”
Other recent studies have shown that drought and scant water have already fueled civil conflicts in global hot spots like Afghanistan, Nepal, and Sudan, according to several recent studies.
follow the link to know more. registration required.