New Scientist: Meet the NASA scientist devising a starship warp drive.
“You would have an initial velocity as you set off, and then when you turn on the ring of negative vacuum energy it augments your velocity. Space would contract in front of the spacecraft and expand behind it, sending you sliding through warped space-time and covering the distance at a much quicker rate. It would be like watching a film in fast forward.”
MIT: Encryption is less secure than we thought.
Daily Beast: Barbara Fredrickson’s Bestselling ‘Positivity’ Is Trashed.
“This is what’s so irksome about the positivity self-test and the ‘science’ of the positivity ratio more generally. It’s not just that that there’s no credible scientific finding to the effect that it takes three episodes of awe to pay back one episode of embarrassment; it’s that no one has ever looked. It’s arbitrary to give all the elements of positivity and negativity equal weight.” From the bottom of my sometimes-acerbic nobbly-nincompoop heart, I thank you for this article.
Open Culture: Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, and Anne Enright Give Ten Pieces of Advice.
For writers. Some quite funny … “You can also do all that with whiskey.”
Boston Review: Can Science Deliver the Benefits of Religion?
“Research on the existential and emotional aspects of particular scientific beliefs or of a scientific worldview is in its infancy, but the findings so far suggest we’ve been asking the wrong questions when it comes to understanding the widespread rejection of human evolution in favor of divine creation. The relevant contrast might not be between science and religion but between beliefs that promise an orderly universe—one in which individual humans or some external forces, be they natural or divine, impose structure and corral uncertainty—and those that do not.”
BBC News: Hot summer unearths Roman discoveries in Wales.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when the pilot and I approached the location and saw fading crop marks of a major Roman fort complex, lost beneath fields and a road for nearly 2,000 years.” Drought news isn’t all bad, I suppose.
The Brander: Grammar.
New Republic: Science is not the Enemy of the Humanities.
The Atlantic: The Book That Changed Reza Aslan’s Mind About Jesus.
“I think that, obviously, is an enormous threat to the power-holders whose authority came from—precisely as Dostoevsky says—from their ability to appease a man’s conscience. Pay us your dues, your tithes, bring us your sacrifices, submit to our authority, and in return, we will give you salvation. And Jesus’ challenge to that idea was based on the notion that the power for salvation does not rest in any outsider’s hand: that it rests within the individual. I think that’s an idea that a lot of Christians need to remember.” Martin Luther would likely approve.
Open Culture: Free—The Met and the Guggenheim Offer 474 Free Art Catalogues Online.
Writer’s Digest: Gwawdodyn — Poetic Forms.
“The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and matching end rhymes on lines 1, 2, and 4.” If’n you get bored today.
Dozuki: Tech Writing Handbook.
Many new tech bloggers could use this.
PS Mag: The Pernicious Mission Creep of Ranking Academic Journals.
Just because the ranking system can be gamed, doesn’t mean you throw out the journals. What if we closed down all the weblogs after Technorati jumped the shark? What about post-Klout?
History.com: Archaeologists Make Mysterious Find in Gulf of Mexico.
But who were they? What’s their story?
PLOS One: Honeybee exposure to pesticides alters Nosema Ceranae susceptibility.
“While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to.”
Open Culture: The History of Philosophy, from 600 B.C.E. to 1935, Visualized in Diagrams.
In These Times: Why the Relentless Assault on Abortion in the U.S.?
Um … because abstinence education and attacks on basic science education have left wide swaths of people with no clue about how pregnancy happens.
New Mexico Connections Academy.
A free virtual school, here in NM.
Open Culture: Henry Rollins—Education is the Cure to “Disaster Capitalism”.
I don’t generally link musical artists for anything other than music. This, however, was congruent with my own thinking: “I’d be looking up the road so far my eyes would fall out of my head.”
BBC News: Primitive human society ‘not driven by war’.
“As the hunter gatherers made the transition to farming, groups became more territorial and with a more complex social structure. ‘As humans settled down, then war becomes more dominant and present. For these primitive societies, war has not yet entered the picture’ …”
Guardian.UK: Navigating 18th-century science—Board of Longitude archive digitised.
Guardian.UK: Down’s syndrome cells ‘fixed’ in first step towards chromosome therapy.
“The long-range possibility – and it’s an uncertain possibility – is a chromosome therapy for Down’s syndrome. But that is 10 years or more away. I don’t want to get people’s hopes up.” Still, it’s great to know research hasn’t been shelved in order to emphasize HIV, cancer, bird flu, etc.
Slate: The New York Times chronic Lyme disease—Placebo effects and misleading anecdotes.
“Jane Brody and the editors at the New York Times ought to have known better. There’s very little evidence that treated Lyme disease lasts and lasts, and there’s no reason to blame Lyme disease for symptoms among patients with no history of infection.”
Uphill All the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929.
BBC News: ‘Muscle power truths’ revealed.
“As muscles flex, tugging filaments fan out in a lattice …” Strength isn’t a just a two-way street.