May. 18, 2012
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Not entirely correct, Doone - another way would be to increase the rotational speed of the planet, something I agree that we, at present, have not the technology to do, but that may not always be the case.
Sorry, gravitational speed has zero effect on the gravity of a planet. It would increase the coriolis effect and the weather on the planet if the planet had enough weather.
A tender mother-child moment, brought to you by the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. This picture was taken at Camp Leakey, Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia. The contest is open for entries until June 28, or even later with an additional fee, but oy, look at the competition! Link -Thanks, Marilyn!
(Image credit: miranda rachellina)
Martin Rees in New Statesman:
Einstein averred that “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible”. He was right to be astonished. It seems surprising that our minds, which evolved to cope with life on the African savannah and haven’t changed much in 10,000 years, can make sense of phenomena far from our everyday intuitions: the microworld of atoms and the vastness of the cosmos. But our comprehension could one day “hit the buffers”. A monkey is unaware that atoms exist. Likewise, our brainpower may not stretch to the deepest aspects of reality. The bedrock nature of space and time, and the structure of our entire universe, may remain “open frontiers” beyond human grasp. Indeed, our everyday world presents intellectual challenges just as daunting as those of the cosmos and the quantum, and that is where 99 per cent of scientists focus their efforts. Even the smallest insect, with its intricate structure, is far more complex than either an atom or a star.
Everything, however complicated – breaking waves, migrating birds, or tropical forests – is made up of atoms and obeys the equations of quantum physics.
Posted by Azra Raza at 06:28 AM | Permalink
May. 18, 2012
The USA would do well to emulate Germany, though Nuclear is falling off a cliff
by Namit Arora
It is often said that humans are the only animals to use symbols. So many other claims of human uniqueness have fallen away—thoughts, emotions, intelligence, tool use, sense offairness—what's so special about symbols, you ask? I share your skepticism, dear reader, and in the next few paragraphs I'll tell you why.
Let's begin by clarifying what "symbol" means here. One way to do this is to contrast symbols with signs. A sign, such as a red light, a grimace, a growl, or a thunderstorm, signifies something direct and tangible, making us think or act in response to the thing signified. Issuing and responding to signs is commonplace in Animalia. A symbol, on the other hand, is "something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention". A symbol allows us to think about the thing or idea symbolized outside its immediate context, such as the word "water" for the liquid, "7" for a certain quantity, and "flag" for a community. What is symbolized doesn't even have to be real, such as God, and herein lies the power of symbols—they are the building blocks of abstract and reflective thought. Evidence of material symbols used by humans dates back at least 60-100K years, when burial objects and decorated beads start to appear in archaeological finds. Linguistic symbols were almost certainly in use long before then.
According to Susanne Langer, symbols serve "to liberate thought from the immediate stimuli of a physically present world; and that liberation marks the essential difference between human and nonhuman mentality ... Words, pictures, and memory images are symbols that may be combined and varied in a thousand ways." It is only through symbolic thought that we imagine the past or the future—mental time-travel, including episodic memory, requires the use of symbols. Indeed, language is really a system of symbolic communication, combining words (which are symbols) and syntax. If non-human animals lack symbols, what and how do they really think?
Posted by Namit Arora at 12:35 AM | Permalink |
The epidermis of a mouse tail imaged with confocal microscopy after immunostaining. The "bulge" region of the hair follicle (red) harbors the hair follicle stem cells. Blue marks the DNA in the nucleus, and the basal cells of the epidermis are labeled green via an antibody to integrin α6.
Hoping it will make it to the next Fix =)