Sunday, June 26, 2011

Making Progress

Have you been to Flagstaff, ME? Probably not, unless you were around pre-1940. It turns out Flagstaff, ME was once a small town located on Flagstaff Lake. However, "progress" wiped out the town. Slaid Cleaves has chronicled the story in his song "Below".

The song is older (2004), but today I learned of Slaid Cleave and really enjoy his music. He masterfully weaves song and story leaving the listener (aka: me) wondering what to be more enthralled with, his tunes or the story?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Miss Evolution

The topic of this post was brought to my attention thanks to Sean Carroll over at Cosmic Variance. Sean is a well-known cosmologists and a well respected scientist who often weighs in on topics outside the realm of his research, such as the infamous "science v religion" battle. Sean posted a link to a pre-recorded Miss USA Q&A on evolution. In particular, "Should evolution be taught in schools?"

Some of the answers are baffling and entirely incomprehensible, such as those who answer "no". I'm not writing, though, to contribute to the banter that fills the Comments section, the science fanatics who scoff at religion are just as bad as those religious fanatics that scoff at science. Instead, I wanted to draw attention to an answer that has been ignored by the commentators; Ms Minnesota's answer.

Ms Minnesota was raised Catholic and was taught that evolution is entirely compatible with Catholicism; even supported by Blessed JP II. THANK YOU MS MINNESOTA! A voice of reason among the contestants, and the world at large, apparently. If you are unsure how this is true, I urge you to investigate this further. I could, and maybe will later, write up a post which explains this.

Why am I taking the time to bring this up? I have a theory as to why her answer has been ignored - ignorance. Those who argue ferociously from either side are entirely ignorant of Catholic beliefs. Science lumps all of Christianity into the category of the fundamentalists (e.g., Earth was created 6,000 years ago) and religious zealots tend to lump all scientists into the category of those who just plain hate religion (e.g., religion haters).

Maybe my post is vague and rather puzzling. I'm not sure if I really expressed what I had intended to from the start, but the point is that the whole "religion v science" debate is spiraling out of control with BOTH sides plagued by ignorance of the other. If we are to have an intelligent discussion on the topic of science and religion, we should be possess a knowledge of both.

To see all of the contestants answers, head over to the post on Cosmic Variance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bruins Win the Stanley Cup!!!

After a grueling 7 game series with the Vancouver Canucks, the Boston Bruins have come out victorious! They closed out the series with a brilliant 4-0 victory in Vancouver accomplishing a feat very few thought possible. The Bruins had difficulty scoring in Vancouver in games 1, 2 and 5, allowing the Canucks to sneak out a 1 goal victory in each of those three games. However, in Boston, the Bruins dominated the 'Nucks, outscoring them 17-3. Finally, though, Boston showed up with the A-game in Vancouver, and the rest is history.

Congratulations Bruins players, staff, and fans!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Far Side of the Sun

For the first time in human history, we have seen the far side of the Sun. It seems rather remarkable, at first thought, that this is even considered a triumphant result. However, the prediction of space weather through the monitoring of solar active regions is hugely important for our technology dependent society. Also great, is that we can now track individual active regions to get a sense of how long they last and study other aspects of the active regions which can lend insight into the underlying physics of solar activity.

Here is a video released from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center describing the achievement.