In a similar vein to the Global Warming rebuttals we blogged about previously, Scientific American has put together a smackdown of Creationist claims. They aren’t pulling any punches with the title, 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense. The article looks at the top 15 assertions that Creationism levels against the theory of evolution, and presents straightforward, cogent responses. Good stuff.
Posted in Science April 30th, 2008 by Chip
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For anyone who’s ever dumped vinegar into baking soda, this list of “Amazing Chemical Reactions” is for you. Each entry has a short description of the chemicals involved, plus a video of the reaction.
Potassium Chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen. It is often used as a disinfectant and in fireworks and explosives. When potassium chlorate is heated to melting point, any item added to it will cause a rapid disintegration in the form of an explosion (as we see in the video above). The gas coming off the potassium chlorate is oxygen. Because of this, it is often used in airplanes, space stations, and submarines as a source for oxygen. A fire on the space station Mir was attributed to this substance.
Fun! Educational! But mostly fun!
(Hat tip to Professor Fate)
Posted in Ephemera April 29th, 2008 by Chip
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If you’re familiar with the iGoogle page, you probably know that you can customize its appearance with several themes.
What you may not know is that every night at 3:14 a.m., some of the themes get a little creepy. On the Beach, Nessie surfaces for 60 seconds, then takes a deep breath and dives back underwater for another day. In Cityscape, UFOs descend and start abducting pedestrians. A monster appears in Spring Scape, and the fox spirits of Japanese folklore appear out of the mist in the Tea House theme. The timestamp is a geek homage to the mathematical concept of Pi–and in fact, the 3:14 Easter Egg in the Sweet Dreams theme is the Greek letter pi made out of stars.
You can see screen shots of a couple other theme Easter eggs here, along with a method for unlocking the other themes at a more decent hour of the day.
(via Museum of Hoaxes)
(Cross-posted at The Art of Darkness)
Posted in Ephemera April 28th, 2008 by Chip
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Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Presented the Nebula Awards® for 2007 at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown in Austin, Texas on April 26, 2008.
- Novel: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
- Novella: “Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress
- Novelette: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
- Short Story: “Always” by Karen Joy Fowler
- Script: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro
Other presentations included:
- Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
- Damon Knight Grand Master for 2008: Michael Moorcock
- SFWA Service Award: Melisa Michaels and Graham P. Collins
- Ardath Mayhar was honored throughout the weekend as Author Emeritus.
Pictures can be found at http://www.midamericon.org/photoarchive/08nebs00.htm
Falling squarely into the category of Things You Wouldn’t Expect. Like, Ever. is the news that Milla Jovovich has a little-known secondary career as a folk singer. She’s produced two albums, Divine Comedy and The PeopleTree Sessions, both of which actually have decent reviews. Sadly, there is no song entitled “Mooooltipass.”
Posted in Ephemera April 25th, 2008 by Chip
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Chop Shop offers this awesome T-shirt featuring the silhouettes of 51 robots from “film, television, books, toys and one even from a famous classic rock album.” I’ve spent 15 minutes staring at this thing, trying to see how many I recognize.
Link (via Big Dumb Object)
Carl Zimmer is a science writer who lists his interests as “Tapeworms, tattoos, and the meaning of life.” He’s devoted an entire blog to at least one of these things, inviting anyone with a science-related tattoo to send him a photo and short explanation for addition to Carl Zimmer’s Science Tattoo Emporium.
There are a couple other science-tattoo sites around (we blogged about one previously), but this one has many more examples.
I think this one is particularly awesome.
Posted in Ephemera, Science April 23rd, 2008 by Chip
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Just in case you don’t spend enough time in front of the computer, CBS has posted full-length episodes of several classic TV shows online. Currently on offer is all three seasons of the original Star Trek and the first two seasons of The Twilight Zone. So if you just can’t go another minute without watching Spock’s Brain, click on over and appease your inner redshirt.
Posted in Movies & TV April 22nd, 2008 by Chip
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Lists of best science fiction books are pretty common, but it’s somewhat more rare to find a rundown of best SF series. Listverse has come up with a “Top 15” list, and the picks look pretty solid. (Although I don’t know if Heinlein’s “Future History” stuff really qualifies as a true series.)
Check it out and see how many you agree with.
Link (via The Website at the End of the Universe)
Posted in Books & Authors April 21st, 2008 by Chip
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You already visit us for your daily fix of SF news. Did you know that the Other*Worlds*Cafe also offers science fiction chats every night?
Well we do. So there.
Our hosted chats begin at 10:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) and run until midnight. You can view the chat schedule here and find the chat room here.