On the Neuroscience of Music…

SkyHarbor, 2010/05/31 

(this picture has nothing to do with anything really… I just thought it looked cool ;-})

NYT: Music’s Hold On The Mind

We all have our own heroes.

Cat eyes, 2010/05/30 

Memorial Day: Remembering the U.S.S. Codfish…


It’s a day to remember the debt we owe to our servicemen and women past and present… And to char the carcasses of miscellaneous critters on the grill out back as we welcome summer’s return (well, except in Seattle… where it’s raining ;-}) to the northern hemisphere!

Anyway, after you’ve all saluted the flag and heard the obligatory Sousa marches… I invite you to suck up a couple of brews… enjoy a sparkly ‘jazz cigarette’… and take a listen to this classic lighter side of our U.S. Navy’s “Silent Service”:
Bob Newhart: “The U.S.S. Codfish”

It’s the American Way! ;-}

Thoughts on Hacks, Ratchets and Energy…

SkyHarbor, 2010/05/29 

‘futuristic’ phytoplankton at 17000X (colourisation mine)

One of the most amazing things about the process of evolution is nature’s ability to ‘hack’ a solution to a problem. Evolution must always make do with what is at hand. Every single step in the evolutionary process must function well enough to compete successfully as a ‘stand-alone’ system. Existing systems are adapted to new (sometimes startlingly new) purposes. Consider that the ‘standard’ vertebrate jaw model is a series of adaptations of the audio sensors (ears)! Who’d of thunk it?! But the larger any single-step mutation is, the greater the chance that the system will be utterly broken. So the byword must almost always be ‘baby steps’ยน.

read more…

Thursday Night.

byronius, 2010/05/27 

Max, Sluggo. and Cat-Eyes are arriving shortly for jammish.

Critical mass of New-Worlds. Dangerous.

Sky to please teleport. Explosion then.

PS: Goodness in the mail.

like a little weirdness for the morning?

raison detre, 2010/05/26 

30-weight on your shrimp dinner?

SkyHarbor, 2010/05/25 

OK. I’ve been quiet about this horrible fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico for long ENOUGH! Solutions?
(1) IMMEDIATELY FREEZE ALL British Petroleum assets in the U.S.
(2) ARREST and hold BP chief execs WITHOUT bond on charges of negligent homicide. They should be allowed TWO things… A cell phone and a check book.
(3) The U.S. Minerals Management Services (MMS) should be immediately ABOLISHED and ALL employees should be summarily FIRED and barred henceforth from ANY U.S. government employment. Bribery charges should be filed where appropriate.
(4) ALL use of so-called ‘Oil Dispersants’ should be immediately HALTED. In this case, it is only making an awful situation even WORSE.

The Sierra Club has a germ of the right idea:

Draconian you say? Medieval you say?… DAMN-FUCKING-RIGHT!
This is NOT an oil ‘spill’. This is an oil AVALANCHE, and it’s continued now for 36 days with NO END IN SIGHT.

Oh… did I mention that I was PISSED?

Mars lander Phoenix: RIP…


The Mars polar “Phoenix” lander has been officially declared ‘dead’ by NASA/JPL mission control after exceeding its designed lifetime by several months and providing valuable data on water ice found near the Martian north pole. Here’s the AFP article.

The announcement comes two years to the day after Phoenix set down on Mars on 25 May, 2008. I think I speak for most ‘New-Worlders’ in saying that Phoenix did a great job and wishing a fond farewell to the little robot!…

There’s more on the Mars ‘Scout’ program at Wikipedia.


OReilly, 2010/05/24 

This guy just came to speak at Western – very cool guy – he teaches at Berkeley

Be careful of the drinking water in CA and take care of your amphibians……

Palin/Paul 2012? Please?

Max, 2010/05/23 

Poll: Rand Paul Surges Ahead of Palin Among Voters Who Describe Themselves as Morons

MINNEAPOLIS – (The Borowitz Report) – In a sign of his increasing prominence in the so-called Tea Party movement, a new poll shows Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul topping former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin among voters who describe themselves as morons.

In the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, 42% preferred Paul, 36% preferred Palin, and the remaining 22% were unsure what the word “prefer” meant.

According to Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota, Paul’s surging popularity among morons is bad news for Palin, who previously had a lock on that important constituency.

“I never thought I’d say that, but if Palin is going to stay competitive with Paul, she’s going to have to start dumbing down her message.” More here.

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