The Last Laughing Death — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)
Can Worms Alleviate Autism? — Autoimmune and allergic diseases are more prevalent in more developed countries where citizens are accustomed to better water quality and less contact with farm animals. Some researchers chalk this phenomenon up to the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which posits that the microbes and parasites that humans co-evolved with act to help keep our immune responses in check. The theory was spurred initially by observations in humans—that after anti-parasitic therapy, people scored higher on allergy skin prick tests, or that autoimmunity and allergies were more prevalent in more-developed West Germany than East Germany[.]
Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase
3-D Chip Promises Better Brain Control — A new device will let scientists create complex patterns of activity within the brain using optogenetics. More conspiracy nut bar fodder. Ever read Mike Jay's The Air Loom Gang?
The Monstrous Eye at Saturn’s North Pole — Wow. Just wow.
Language Is Shaped by Brain's Desire for Clarity and Ease — Using an artificial language in a carefully controlled laboratory experiment, a team from the University of Rochester and Georgetown University has found that many changes to language are simply the brain's way of ensuring that communication is as precise and concise as possible. (Via David Goldman.)
The Key to Science (and all learning) is...? — …being wrong and learning from being wrong. That's what happens when you base your worldview on "facts" and "data" instead of faith and ideology. First and foremost, you admit that you can be wrong, and that you can learn from it. Facts are far more forgiving that many people's version of faith. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
Let's Get Rid of Zero! — Denialism outside of a political/religious context. Math! (Via
White evangelicals and contraception: reversal and revision redux — Slacktivist Fred Clark on Evangelicals and contraception. Just five years ago it would have been unthinkable for American evangelicals to rally against contraception. Religious opposition to contraception was strictly a Catholic thing and evangelicals, as Protestants, did not accept the baroque theological arguments supporting that Catholic teaching. That has begun to change. I'm pretty sure the Forced Pregnancy Movement, masquerading as ever as a right to life effort, has had their sights on contraception a hell of a lot longer than the past five years.
Services Announce Recruiting Numbers for Fiscal 2012 — All four active-duty services and five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their recruiting goals for fiscal 2012, officials announced today. That means that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell had no impact on recruiting. Yet another in the endless parade of histrionic conservative talking points that turned out to be nothing at all. But yelling about the evil gays sure helps generate more angry white guys, which is the keystone of the GOP's electoral strategy. Much easier to be hysterical than to look at the truth.
The Killing of Jordan Russell Davis — Ta-Nehisi Coates on a Florida man using his Second Amendment rights to his theoretical defense of essential liberties to murder an unarmed teenager with whom the man had picked a fight. Thank God for the NRA and the Republican Party, or that teen ager wouldn't now be dead for the crime of playing his music too loud. Guess he learned his lesson. More to the point, the shooter may well walk free because of Florida's NRA-sponsored 'Stand Your Ground' law. Feel safer now?
Movement Conservatives Foisted Romney on Themselves — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on the history of the Romney candidacy.
GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public — Ah, Grover Norquist. If you don't know who he is, you really don't understand the deep Republican irrationality on this topic.
?otD: What song do you want to dance to?
Writing time yesterday: 2.25 hours (revisions to "Rock of Ages", including an editorial meeting with
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on stationary bike)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (interrupted)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing people to accept healthcare and committing voter fraud: 0
Currently reading: Neptune's Brood by Charlie Stross