- AIX SMIT Running Man – YouTube. This is both tech and humor. You only need to jump to 1:50 (if the link doesn’t take you there) and watch through 2:25 but this animation is classic. It’s better than the bouncing penguin I have on my GKrellM.
- The Art of Darkness » Seen Online. An especially good one with a couple of literary bits (the cellar and the letter) being among my favorites.
- The History Blog » Intact tomb of elite woman found under mausoleum in Greece. Finally tagged after hiding for about 1800 years.
- Old Theban port of Chalcis: A medieval maritime crossroads in Greece — ScienceDaily. This time period is far later than that of my main interest but it’s still a good find from Greece’s thousand-year “Indian Summer.”
- The History Blog » New discoveries from the warship Mars. Moving up four centuries and to Scandinavian waters, there’s this.
- July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind | NASA. From the warship Mars to a peace ship on the moon. Perhaps the greatest day in history.
Big Pharma Is Watching You
- Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You —… — ProPublica. This is directly about the health insurance industry rather than the drug manufacturers, but the point is that this is a long-winded article that boils down to: every detail we put out into the infosphere, no matter how seemingly unrelated and innocuous, and every detail health insurers can find, by any means, is being used to create general and faulty statistical analyses as well as specific dossiers on individuals which is resulting in or will result in negative influences on public policy and on your lives and deaths, exacerbating stereotypes and harming those who most need good treatment. The EU has laws (how effective?) which attempt to mitigate this; the US does not. (I got this from a SciAm reprint but the above link goes to the original.)
- Walmart patents audio surveillance technology to record customers and employees – CBS News. And Walmart is listening to you. They claim they want audio to see how quickly things are being scanned (like the scanner doesn’t tell them that) or how many bags are being used (like inventory software doesn’t tell them that) or how quickly the lines are moving (like the already existent and no less problematic video doesn’t tell them that and more). (I neglected to post this in the last “Links” post but it fits well here.)
- A Trillion Worlds – Scientific American Blog Network. We may find the multi-species Galactic Federation tomorrow but, given that there are probably trillions of factors that go into our existence and that every increase in knowledge so far has shown more sterility out there and a more anomalous situation in here, I really wonder if a trillion worlds would be enough to produce even a second technological civilization (which almost certainly wouldn’t be contemporary anyway) when it might easily take a couple trillion stars.
- Billion-year-old lake deposit yields clues to Earth’s ancient biosphere: Finding could help inform astronomers’ search for life outside our solar system — ScienceDaily. I always find those genocidal cyanobacteria, that we evil oxygenists built our existence on, fascinating. Also, the idea that even Earth is generally uninhabitable, then habitable by limited lifeforms, then habitable by a completely different kind of basic lifeform and that (if we don’t get to other planets) our complex macroscopic blip will again give way to the vast temporal bulk of the simple-life/no-life curve is all rather sobering. And it has relevance to exoplanets which dovetails with the above article.
- Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics – Scientific American Blog Network. This is too long (and not just because it
repeats itself in a couple of placesre-emphasizes some points). When it mentions “novelty forced by data” and bemoans discontinuous leaps, I still see it as a bigger problem that data should be forcing novelty and isn’t as many physicists cling to previous pet theories with mathematical sleight of hand and/or things like “well, for a brief period, the universe expanded a little faster than it did otherwise… there, that fits the math.” I could quibble with other stuff but that’s not the point. The point is that it treats Aristotle with respect! Oh, and it’s also a hugely important topic handled in a stimulating way. This relates to the “beauty is not necessarily truth” thing I linked to recently (Links (2018-06-27) -> Science -> #9) and, when it said, “credibility has degrees” also made me think again of Asimov’s “The Relativity of Wrong,” which I linked to a longer spell ago. They’re not talking about precisely the same thing (or maybe better to say, not impelled to say it by the same circumstances) but, well, close enough. Regardless of the details, while anything can be misused, I think you need history, philosophy, and science for everything.
- Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers: Modelling data in reverse offers hints for how the arrow of time emerges — ScienceDaily. “Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.”
- Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines — ScienceDaily. Fantastic Voyage! Well, no, there’s no actual submarine (and certainly no Raquel Welch) but it is a sort of micromedicine.
- Backreaction: Evidence for modified gravity is now evidence against it. Regardless of modified gravity vs. dark matter, this sarcastically-titled article makes a great point about 300-pound hamsters.
- Material formed from crab shells and trees could replace flexible plastic packaging — ScienceDaily. I often forego posting such preliminary stuff and I do wonder about cost and other downsides, but this was too neat (and potentially valuable) to not note.
- The Milky Way’s long-lost sibling finally found — ScienceDaily. No wonder Andromeda’s bigger than us. That’s dirty pool. But it does make our local group even more interesting.
- THE SKINNER: The Battle of Forever – A E Van Vogt. Regardless of book publication date, I’ve read almost everything van Vogt wrote before 1963 and almost nothing after but Neal Asher’s encouraging me to open that second temporal front. (On the other hand, I have a very different take from Asher’s on Simak’s atypically thrilling and delightful Cosmic Engineers, which evoked a rarely felt sense of wonder I wouldn’t trade for any amount of supposed sophistication.)
- Tyrannosaurus Ranch: Sharks, Ranked*. This isn’t science fiction but it’s not science, either. Apologies if any of the recent (or past) victims of shark attacks or those associated with them don’t appreciate this but it’s entertaining in the abstract.
- Does That Sound Familiar? | Learn Fun Facts. LFF gets science fictional as it discusses Murray Leinster’s internet prescience. (For “logic” read “computer.”)
- 1929-07-25 Stanley Asimov
- 1894-07-26 Aldous Huxley
- 1928-07-26 Stanley Kubrick
- 1943-07-26 Peter Hyams
- 1978-07-26 Marissa Lingen
- 1979-07-27 Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
- 1931-07-28 Jay Kay Klein
- 1888-07-29 Farnsworth Wright
- 1818-07-30 Emily Brontë
- 1911-07-30 Reginald Bretnor
- 1970-07-30 Christopher Nolan
- 1976-07-31 John Joseph Adams
Links above go to SFE or Wikipedia biographies. Links below go to free fiction online.
Huxley, of course, brought us a Brave New World. Not everything Lingen writes does it for me, but she’s written several good things. Ditto Zinos-Amaro. Bronte wrote the powerful Wuthering Heights. (I’ve never seen any of the adaptations but I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them got it right.) Bretnor brought us many a Feghoot.
Stanley Asimov was Isaac’s brother and is in the ISFDB because he edited a collection of the Good Doctor’s letters. Klein brought us many author biographies in the pages of Analog. Wright brought us many Weird Tales. And Adams brings us “Nightspeed” every month.
On Kubrick and Hyams, you learn something new everyday (perhaps not for the first time). I had no recollection that a major creator of 2001 and a major creator of 2010 shared the same birthday. 2001 is probably a bit overrated but superb and 2010 is a lot underrated and is also superb in its way. Nolan has been part of the creation of many films such as Memento, Insomnia, Inception, and Interstellar. (And he knows how to title a flick. But, speaking of 2001, Interstellar‘s greatest flaw is that it was a little too inspired by 2001 at the end. Still neat, though.)
Happy birthday, all!
As with “Mohs Scale 2-3,” here’s a track from an album that was in the running for an appearance in “Tunesday: Favorite Albums of 2017 (Mohs Scale 4-5).” (doo-doo-doo-doom city) Continue reading