Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Educating the Public
Reaching for your cell phone in front of a police officer could get you killed. In 2000, police in Europe discovered the cell phone gun
. They hold 4 .22 caliber bullets and can injure or kill at close range. They are made in the Balkans by experts and weigh a bit more than a real cell phone. The police know about the threat, but what about the public? This is the first I've heard of it.
Labels: covert weapon public education security threats
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The Cat Who Senses Death
There is a cat named Oscar
who lives in a nursing home. He knows when someone is about to die and stays with them. Families are grateful because of the warning he provides. He been written about in the New England Journal of Medicine
Labels: Oscar death biochemical cues
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
When Seeing Isn't Believing
I was looking at my cat, Bashful, this morning and I was reminded of an incident that happened when she was a young kitten. My apartment got flooded while I was on some errand in the summer of 2003. Little Bashful who was a two month old kitten was soaked and hiding behind the cat litter box where I found her. I dried her off as best I could. Her sister saw her and walked up to her, then she sniffed her, hissed at Bashful, followed by a swat. It took about two days for the smell to wear off of her, and Nosey to accept her again. For humans, we usually only believe it if we see it. For cats, sight takes a backseat to smell, at least for kin recognition. (It's also possible that Nosey is partially blind, but how can one tell with a cat? She doesn't walk into walls and seems perfectly fine.)
Labels: kin recognition visual assumptions
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Biological Ignorance Versus Sexy Biology
A couple of science articles. The first one is similar to Julie's entry
a few days ago. It's about a worm
that isn't a worm. The second article is about the frozen carcass of a baby mammoth
that was just discovered. It's been shipped to Japan for extensive analysis. If it's intact enough, they'll be able to sequence the entire mammoth genome and then do a comparative analysis with African and Asian elephants' genomes. There is a Siberian biologist who is setting up a park
to bring back the Pleistocene ecosystem of the last Ice Age. I would like to see the mammoths return. But even more, I'd like to see the cheetahs and tigers make a come back. Many tiger species are on the brink of extinction, like the Sumatran tiger
. This goes for the Amur leopards, as well. Conservation is obviously more economical, but until molecular population genetics became available recently, a lot of conservation efforts were hampered by the ignorance of the conservation biologists. They didn't have any means to know if the animals they were saving were genetically unique or not, or what their closest relatives were species-wise. Leave a comment. What's your opinion? Should we bring back extinct species, or should we try to prevent them from going extinct in the first place?
Labels: jellyfish tigers mammoths extinction conservation
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
This is Bizarre
I was reading this article
on loop quantum gravity. I have to be careful here. For one, I have not read the paper. For another, it IS a theoretical physics paper. That said, I found it intriguing. This is the second paper I've heard of recently that suggests we live in a cyclical universe. The former paper was looking at how the value of the cosmological constant came to be its current value and it found that we may be the third or fourth universe, each universe living for 1,000 billion (trillion) years. This paper states that there is a cosmic forgetfulness. In others words, physical constants and parameters don't have to be the same for the child universe that they were for the parent. There is no memory of what was.
I was reminded of something Tolle said. He stated that each person is a microcosm of the universe. Each of us mirrors the universe in its complexity and I assume he means consciousness. Julie would call this fractal. I was also struck by the apparent phenomenon of forgetfulness after reincarnation. We all consciously forget our past lives possibly because those memories might be a burden, or maybe to give each of us another chance at getting the current lesson right, or maybe it's just the way consciousness evolves and grows. Of course, some would consider this total nonsense, but my subconscious knows reincarnation to be true. It feels right, though my logical mind can't fathom it. And here is this physics paper stating that the universe itself undergoes a similar process of rebirth and forgetfulness. How striking!
Labels: cyclical universe, loop quantum gravity, reincarnation