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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sunspots 15

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

William Law's A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (published in 1729) viewable by chapter.

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I've noticed that Bloglines doesn't seem to be as effective in searching as it used to be (As far as I can tell, it seems to notify me of new posts as well as ever, but it isn't returning keyword searches as well as it used to, it seems). This report, from Search Engine Watch, indicates that there are 2 million or more "articles" per day posted to blogs. It also indicates that there will be progress in searching this summer. I hope so.

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Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary, 1906, which consists of witty, if cynical, definitions.

Samples:
BOTANY, n. The science of vegetables -- those that are not good to eat, as well as those that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed, inartistic in color, and ill-smelling.

GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion [sic] to the quantity of matter they contain -- the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A.

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An article on the discovery of photosynthetic organisms around hydrothermal vents on the ocean's bottom. The vents emit some light, apparently.

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Interview with the scientist who first grew human embryonic stem cells experimentally. He is not happy with Bush's policies on these, but is not as optimistic as some are about therapeutic uses. He believes that the greatest importance of such cells will be their contributions to understanding basic human biology. He also says that the U. S. never really dealt with the moral issues of in vitro fertilization, and those are the issues that are most important in embryonic stem cell research.

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Carl Zimmer's response to a commenter who is understandably exasperated at (apparently) everything being evidence for evolution.

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A Flickr project to post pictures of all of the birds of the world. You probably need a Flickr membership (free, and no ad e-mail) to see this.

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Article challenging the very foundations of science. Sample:

Scientists don't know that the universe is comprehensible. This metaphysical assumption – which must be made if science is to proceed at all – is a pure article of faith. This challenges the whole orthodox conception of science, which prides itself on making no assumptions independently of evidence and being, in this respect, quite different from religion or politics. The problematic, necessary article of faith is thus repressed.

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Fusing embryonic stem cells to adult cells may turn the adult stem cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.

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I expect to post a link to this week's Christian Carnival at this point, later today.

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