science

Our changing world

The Earth's North magnetic pole is moving south at an accelerated rate, meaning that Alaska could lose the "Northern Lights" inside of fifty years.

And a 37-mile long fissure that split open in September in the Afar desert in Ethiopia could be the "birth of a new ocean basin," though that will take millions rather than tens of years.

These are reminders that our planet is on the move, that what we think of as "solid ground" is just an illusion of short timescales.

Human health linked to the health of the planet. Duh.

Reuters reports on a World Health Organization report tying human health to the health of the ecosystem:

"Human health is strongly linked to the health of ecosystems, which meet many of our most critical needs," Maria Neira, director of WHO's Department of Protection of the Human Environment told a news conference at the launch of a new report.

As the kids say: uh, duh? Like you hadn't figured this out a long time ago?

Poets are sexy

Reuters reports that creativity is sexy:

Pablo Picasso, Lord Byron and Dylan Thomas had more in common than simple creativity. They also had active sex lives, which researchers said on Wednesday was no coincidence.

Psychologists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in Britain found that professional artists and poets have about twice as many partners as other people.

Evolution of the expletive

Ironically juxtaposed against the death of Lenny Bruce's ex-wife, Honey Bruce Friedman, comes this story from the New York Times on the "psychology of swearing":

In fact, said Guy Deutscher, a linguist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and the author of "The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention," the earliest writings, which date from 5,000 years ago, include their share of off-color descriptions of the human form and its ever-colorful functions. And the written record is merely a reflection of an oral tradition that Dr. Deutscher and many other psychologists and evolutionary linguists suspect dates from the rise of the human larynx, if not before.

Vitamin C and cancer - another round of the debate

The BBC reports on a new study showing intravenous vitamin C in the form of ascorbate may help fight cancer.

The science about the health benefits of vitamin C is, to say the least, fraught with controversy, dating back to when Nobel laureate Linus Pauling first suggested it might help fight the common cold and cancer. Two sides of the issue: from Alacer, makers of Emergen-C, versus Stephen Barrett's "Quackwatch" .

The Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of "Intelligent Design"

From www.venganza.org:

OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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