I like funny women

I came across this article about how men aren't attracted to funny women, and before I even read it I thought, “Pish-posh! I find funny women very attractive.' Then I read the article, and came across this line:

While women want to settle down with a guy who can crack a good joke, men, to a large degree, want a partner who laughs at their antics.

I then knew that it wasn't very far off base. I will admit that I find women who find me funny to be more attractive. Hey, it is all about me, isn't it? However, I also find a woman who can give as good as she gets, so there.

Of course I don't know what women want (other than not me, even though I have it on good authority that I am, on occasion, funny), they are a mystery to me.

Subway science!

Subway Sleuth Clears Dinosaur of Cannibalism - New York Times:

A graduate student in paleontology was standing on the downtown subway platform at the American Museum of Natural History stop. He idly inspected the bronze cast on the wall of one of the museum’s dinosaurs.

The student, Sterling J. Nesbitt, was surprised to see what looked like crocodile bones that had presumably been the dinosaur’s last feast. This set in motion a re-examination of two specimens on display in the museum’s Hall of Dinosaurs, and wiped clean a dinosaur’s reputation that had been besmirched by suspicions of cannibalism.

You never know when you'll get some good paleontology in.

An Inconvenient Truth

aninconvenienttruth_l200604101748.jpgWe all know that I am not a political person, nor am I a treehugger. Politics disgusts me, and I think the outdoors would be far better if it were inside. That being said, An Inconvenient Truth is a movie that everyone should see. It is eye-opening, stunning, and frightening.

Sure, some may let the occasional snipe at the Republicans blot out what the movie is really about and that is a shame. This movie isn't about politics (though Al Gore mentions a number of times that politics is part of the solution), rather it is about the very future of our civilization.

I'll say that again: the future of our civilization.

No, I haven't lost my mind.

We, as a species, have had an incredible impact on the planet, so much so that we are changing the very climate. I'm not sure why some people find this so hard to believe, but it is true. The planet is getting hotter and we are to blame.

I'm not a spiritual person, I believe in science. Science tells us that we are getting ourselves into a real mess, however, we can turn things around. Thoughtful use of technology and public policy can make the environment safe again (and create jobs at the same time). What a shocking idea.

This movie really sparked something in me, and I hope to change certain things about the way I lead my life for the good of the planet.

Anyway, I have rambled enough. Bottom line: see the movie.

Oh, and thanks to Marisa for inviting me to see a screening of the movie!

Stuff in sloooooo-mo

Does anyone else think it is funny that high speed photography produces slow motion type movies?

No? Ok, well then take a look at these. This site has all kinds of neat things shot with high speed photography.

Via Asymptomatic.

Ahh, Science. Every day you prove to me more and more that we don't need no stinkin' God.

That, folks, is a joke, I fully support your right to worship whomever you choose as long as you support my right not to.

Hey, how did this turn into a post about God? Sneaky deities, always messing up blog posts.

BBC NEWS: Space shuttle to get critical fix

On second thought perhaps I don't want to be an astronaut. BBC NEWS reports that the shuttle, currently orbiting the planet, needs some repairs:

The astronaut will remove strips that are sticking out between heat shield tiles on Discovery's belly. Nasa is concerned the dangling material - called gap fillers - could cause part of the shuttle to overheat as it re-enters the atmosphere. The type of repairs being planned have never been conducted by astronauts on a spacewalk before.

That's what I call a high pressure job.

James Lileks on Star Trek

kirkspock.jpgI love Star Trek, we all know this. I may, in fact, love it a little too much, but that is a topic for another day.

That is why I took great pleasure in reading this:

And that was what hung in the Smithsonian that day they opened the Star Trek exhibit. All the cast showed up, except for Bones. I met them all: press tour. On the way out I found myself standing next to James Doohan under the big model of the Enterprise, floating above in the hall. I walked up next to Scotty. We looked up.
"Ah, she's a beautiful thing, isn't it?" he said.
That she was.

Elisa introduced me to James Lileks, and I must say I read his site more out of a sense of 'well, she seems to like it,' than any real interest, but with this post he redeems himself, and I'm sure he cares what I think.

TREKKER! How many times do I have to say it?

whoisthis.jpgThis South Florida Sun_Sentinel article wins the prize for 'Best Star Trek Pun Title.' The title? Why, 'Star Trek' Bit Players Cling On. Here's a choice bit from the article:

"But it was a very popular episode," Dante insisted, speaking in the same wooden tone he used as Maab, lead villain on the planet Capella IV. "It had action. It had comedy. It had drama."

More than three decades after the original "Star Trek" series ended in 1969, after 79 episodes over three seasons, Dante and other actors have discovered that they can milk even the most ephemeral appearances on the show by appearing at extreme fan conventions that can draw thousands of enthusiasts.

For an added treat, if you can tell me the name of the character pictured above you will win this week's 'Blankbaby Star Trek Trivia Contest.'

Alas poor Hubble, we hardly knew ye

Despite the fact that the Hubble Space telescope is crippled by the fact that its orbit has it pointed towards the Earth 50% of the time, it still has been a great success for NASA. Now it looks like Hubble will die a slow death:

With the moon on its horizon, NASA sees a slight increase in the budget proposed by President Bush on Monday, but it's not enough to save the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA thinks it is too risky to send a shuttle up for a repair mission.

I salute you, Hubble Space Telescope!

Days are now shorter

The large earthquake that caused so much destruction in Asia has also caused the planted to be slightly more 'compact,' and has the net result of quickening the Earth's spin.    More here:

The deadly Asian earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth's rotation -- shortening days by a fraction of a second -- and caused the planet to wobble on its axis, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

The Pioneer Anomaly

pioneer.jpgHere is another Scott tidbit for you to consider, when I first started college I was sure I was going to major in physics and work for NASA. I still love physics, and science in general, but as I soon found out calculus sucks. So I became an english major and haven't looked back since.

It looks like there is some evidence that gravity may not be so constant:

One possibility is that invisible, so-called dark matter is holding the spacecraft back. Some cosmologists believe that dark matter exists because only 10% of the expected mass of the universe has been found. If 90% of the universe's mass and energy is invisible, maybe it could exert gravitational pull on spacecraft.

Another possibility, even more fanciful, is that invisible dimensions of space are tugging at the Pioneers. This idea has its origin in string theory, an idea that suggests we are surrounded by far more than the three dimensions we know about. Some versions of string theory suggest there may be as many as 11 dimensions, most of which are curled up and hidden from us.

As with dark matter, no hard evidence has been found proving the existence of vibrating strings far tinier than the smallest known particles.

Brings me back to 4th grade when we had to stand in front of the class and give a speech; we got to choose our topic. My topic of choice? Gravity waves.

The True value of stem cell research

I am a huge fan of science in general. Even science just for science's sake, however, I think stem cell research is one of the most important developments in medicine, and this story proves it:

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.

Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy.

We, as a nation, can't let 'morality' stop scientific progress, but that is just my wacky old opinion. Your mileage may vary.

The Man Who Grasped the Heavens' Gravitas

newton.jpgThe New York Times has a great piece called The Man Who Grasped the Heavens' Gravitas about the new exhibit at the New York Public Library called The Newtonian Moment: Science and the Making of Modern Culture:

Newton's stature as one of the greatest figures in the history of science, and the influence of his ideas on the wider culture for more than two centuries, is the subject of a thoughtful and engaging exhibition at the New York Public Library. The show, "The Newtonian Moment: Science and the Making of Modern Culture," opens today and will run through Feb. 5.

I have a few personal heroes and Newton is definitely one of them. I think a trip to New York is in order, too bad my philistine New York friends probably won't be interested in this.