Monday, February 28, 2005

Mind Control- More on the BrainGate Neural Interface System

I know I must seem fixated on this one subject but this really is worth following. From Wired Magazine, this is an article on the more personal side of the BrainGate Neural Interface System and the current trial's sole human subject Matt Nagle. For more links see the brief story here.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Blood Pressure Demographics

Blood pressure demographics: nature or nurture ... ... genes or environment?
BioMed Central: "Hypertension is a growing worldwide problem associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the rates of prevalence of hypertension are higher in some populations than others. Although ethnic and genetic factors have been implied in the past to explain this, the environmental influence and psychosocial factors may play a more important role than is widely accepted. Examining the non-genetic influences in future hypertension research may be necessary in order to clearly define the local blood pressure demographics and the global hypertensive disease burden."


Friday, February 25, 2005

From my sketchbook 10 years ago, digitally enhanced for sharpness. I like it most for its simplicity which may to some extent conceal my lack of drawing ability. The intent was to have the viewer initially see it as a potentially real structure, then on further inspection realize that it is not possible. You can see from the upper left corner, I was thinking of the pythagorean theorem at the time that I drew it, but it played no part in producing the drawing.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

"What are you reading?" meme

I obey PZ Myers:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5.Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

I was tempted to look past the book nearest to me, "English Literature, with Readings" edited by Pace. Because I have not read it and don't intend to. But, reinforced by rule #5, I grabbed it. Amazingly pages 121-124 are torn out. What are the odds?

Anyway as commanded....
The next closest book is Time's Arrow and Evolution by Harold Francis Blum, 1951. The chapter is 'Structure And Its Reproduction' and the magic sentence is:
The crystals of most organic and some inorganic compunds are not formed of ions, however, but of molecules held together weakly by Van der Waals forces, or hydrogen bonds.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

SNL on Ernst Mayr

Last Night, Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update reported on Ernst Mayr's recent death. I believe it was Amy Poehler who noted that he was regarded by many as the 20th century's Charles Darwin. She also commented on his cause of death stating that he was killed by a bigger, stronger evolutionist. Funny, though I'm not sure who their suspect is.

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Name This Subject

I painted this picture several years ago in my sketch pad. Its not that great, but it should be recognizable to anyone who has seen it a few times. It is from a fairly well known location. If anyone can tell me who, what and where this is, I will be impressed and appreciative. I don't really have any prizes for the first to get it right, maybe I'll make a permanent link to your website or blog on the post or something. Just name it with your response.
Update-Since I currently have a readership of somewhere between 0 and 1, I will leave a hint to narrow it down so that the next person who stumbles across this site will have a chance if interested.
Hint: This location is a short walk from the Isle of La Grande Jatte on a Sunday afternoon.
Hint #2:This is in Grant Park.
Hint #3: Due to an overwhelming response, I will finally end the suspense. Click HERE for a picture and info about this monument. It is the Christopher Columbus Monument in Grant Park in Chicago.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!!

Charles Darwin was born 196 years ago today. To celebrate, I am on call for my hosptial, thinking about selective pressures, like the kind we place on the microorganisms that otherwise might consume or cohabitate peacefully with human bodies, or the kind this time of American abundance places on us. Here are some blogs that mention this occasion: Friends of Charles Darwin, Mountebank, Pharyngula, LinkFilter,


Monday, February 07, 2005

The Game Of Life

This is not a philosophical discourse. I am bringing you a link to The Game of Life. It is an example of a cellular automaton invented by Dr. John Conway in 1970. This game is found on many websites and most of you have probably seen this before but if not give it a try, it takes half a second to download and is quite entertaining.


Friday, February 04, 2005

T. H. Huxley on "The Ethics of Evolution"

I would like to quote, for your review and comment, an excerpt from a biography of T. H. Huxley called Scientist Extraordinary by Cyril Bibby, 1972, pg 137-8. This is a part of his lecture on Evolution of Ethics endowed by George Romanes, given in Oxford on May 18, 1893. Romanes had requested that he avoid talking about religion or politics. In a letter to Romanes just before the lecture he described his effort to do so as a "regular egg-dance", and made a somewhat disingenuous offer of withdrawal, which was obviously not accepted. I have carried this with me for several years since coming across it and find it incredibly insightful and timeless. None of my local friends or co-workers care much about this subject so I am just looking for someone else's opinion.
As for the idea of an innate justice in the common order of things, Huxley could not see it. "If there is a generalisation from the facts of human life which has the assent of thoughtful men in every age and country", he said. (id. 58), "it is that the violator of ethical rules constantly escapes the punishment which he deserves; that the wicked flourishes like a green bay tree, while the righteous begs his bread; that the sins of the father are visited upon the children; that in the realm of nature, ignorance is punished just as severely as wilful wrong; and that thousands upon thousands of innocent beings suffer for the crime, or the unintentional trespass, of one." In an attempt to reconcile such facts with their own concepts of justice, the Greeks had peopled the universe with an assemblage of largely autonomous gods and goddesses. Similarly, the Hindus had developed the concept of Karma, passing from life to life in a series of transmigrations and by its successive modifications eventually producing a sort of cumulative justice. But, on the whole, he preferred the great Semitic trial of this issue, taking refuge in silence and submission. As for those who were currently propounding what they called "the ethics of evolution", their logic was fallacious (id. 80): "Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but in itself is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before." And therefore, he urged (id. 83), "Let us understand once and for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less on running away from it, but on combating it."

Also here is a contemporary review of the Romanes Lecture.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

BrainGate Neural Interface System

Here is a link to a brief story from Reader's digest. This is going to be Huge!

More from Webiocosm


Thermal Conversion Process update

Here is an update from Fortune about Changing World Technology's venture to commercialize the TCP. It looks like they may be having some setbacks, but that is to be expected.
I originally mentioned this here

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