In the sobering news department: "The problem is so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine. A post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the twenty-first century." That's according to a 257-page warning today from the World Health … Continue reading World Health Organization: No, Seriously, Stop Abusing Antibiotics – James Hamblin – The Atlantic
Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. They disappeared after our ancestors, a group referred to as “anatomically modern humans,” crossed into Europe from Africa. In the past, some researchers have tried to explain the demise of the Neanderthals by suggesting that the newcomers were … Continue reading Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, says CU-Boulder study
Mano Singham has a interesting post up on a large scale review of animal intelligence studies. Animal intelligence is a fascinating topic and there have been many attempts at studying it. Many of the individual studies look at one or other specific trait that we associate with intelligence in one species and the traits … Continue reading Evolution of animal intelligence | Machines Like Us
I think most of my readers know that I'm not religious. However, I am interested in both the history and anthropology of religion. This interest has led me to read a number of books by Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar. In the last decade or so, Ehrman has exposed the public to a … Continue reading How Jesus became God
This morning I saw a captivating movie called 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' about a little girl living with her father in a shanty town on the south Louisiana coast. It's a haunting tale of people living in the most wretched circumstances imaginable, but still finding satisfaction and happiness in life. The little girl's name is Hushpuppy, … Continue reading Beasts of the Southern Wild
The other day, I noted that there wasn't much information on what had happened with the SpaceX soft landing. Now there is a bit more, and it sounds promising. In addition to maybe saving 70% of launch costs, the technology could have benefits for future Mars landings. After flying to the edge of space, a … Continue reading SpaceX Successfully Soft-Lands on Earth for First Time. Is Mars Next?
An interesting article in The New Yorker on the necessity of keeping an open mind about what form an alien intelligence might take. Yet, even as the Kepler mission gets closer to finding a mirror image of our own planet, many scientists have ceased believing that we should be looking for ourselves in space. There … Continue reading What Makes an Alien Intelligent?
Many Americans are optimistic about the future of space travel, but they don’t necessarily want to pay for it. It’s been that way for some time, actually. A Harris survey taken in 1970 – less than a year after the first moon landing – showed that a majority (56%) thought the landing was not worth the money spent. … Continue reading Americans keen on space exploration, less so on paying for it | Pew Research Center
A while back I highlighted SpaceX's reusable first stage. Last week, they launched with it with the plan to have it do a controlled descent into the waters off Cape Canaveral. I haven't been able to find detailed reports of how well it worked, other than this snippet from their web site. Data upload from … Continue reading Reusable rockets: Up and down and up again