A Shrewd Mint

I am Andrew, and this is my tumblelog. It is not, in fact, a blog about somersaults, but rather a veritable fount of wisdom, merriment, and deep philosophical reflection. Subscribe → Twitter →

June 16, 2010 at 4:26pm #
video science 2 notes

Computers can play Jeopardy! now. Your argument is invalid.

June 3, 2010 at 8:15pm #
psychology science article 2 notes

Don't Eat the Marshmallow! →

Interesting article about self control from The New Yorker:

Once Mischel began analyzing the results, he noticed that low delayers, the children who rang the bell quickly, seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home. They got lower S.A.T. scores. They struggled in stressful situations, often had trouble paying attention, and found it difficult to maintain friendships. The child who could wait fifteen minutes had an S.A.T. score that was, on average, two hundred and ten points higher than that of the kid who could wait only thirty seconds.

May 11, 2010 at 8:12pm #
science weird 0 notes

Metabolic supermice →

Professor Hanson noted that the supermice “are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees. They utilize mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid. They are not eating or drinking and yet they can run for four or five hours. They are 10 times more active than ordinary mice in their home cage. They also live longer – up to three years of age – and are reproductively active for almost three years. In short, they are remarkable animals.” However, “they eat twice as much as control mice, but they are half the weight, and are very aggressive. Why this is the case, we are not really sure.”

September 17, 2009 at 9:02pm #
article science link 0 notes

Wikipedia Genome Article →

I think it’s pretty crazy that the creature with the most DNA is a single-celled organism. No joke: Amoeba dubia has 670 billion base pairs. For comparison, humans only have about 3.2 billion base pairs.

September 12, 2009 at 3:39pm #
philosophy science evolution 0 notes

Creationists are coming for your children →

Writes Richard Dawkins:

Evolution is an inescapable fact, and we should celebrate its astonishing power, simplicity and beauty. Evolution is within us, around us, between us, and its workings are embedded in the rocks of aeons past.

If I said this sounded like metaphysical or (if you’ll excuse my mentioning the word) “religious” language, would you still be my friend?

Mental exercise: replace the word “evolution” (and any appropriate pronouns) with any of the following: God, Allah, Vishnu, the Universal Mind, etc.

Two things:

  1. Just because Dawkins uses this kind of language, doesn’t mean a belief in evolution is necessarily a religious belief. Of course, that is not my criticism here.

  2. If Dawkins does not mean these things literally, what is the purpose of writing them? If he meant anything scientific by them, it is very poorly stated. If he wrote those things to give emotional weight to his article when they don’t really mean anything, he is being manipulative. If he does mean those things literally, he is being religious.

That’s really all I wanted to say.

12:38pm #
video science 1 note

Richard Feynman on the Nobel prize and other academic honors.

July 14, 2009 at 12:10am #
art science interesting 0 notes

A Stirling engine in motion. Mesmerizing.

Beautiful stirling engines from Heteluchtmachines.

From the Wikipedia article:

A Stirling engine is a heat engine that converts thermal energy into mechanical energy. The engine is like a steam engine in that all of the engine’s heat flows directly through the engine wall.

June 22, 2009 at 12:01pm #
global warming science articles 0 notes

Michael Crichton on global warming (2005) →

This is probably outdated, but it’s a good read nonetheless. And it’s not from a partisan source, either—Crichton describes himself as a “political agnostic”.

In my view, our approach to global warming exemplifies everything that is wrong with our approach to the environment. We are basing our decisions on speculation, not evidence. Proponents are pressing their views with more PR than scientific data. Indeed, we have allowed the whole issue to be politicized—red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. This is in my view absurd. Data aren’t political. Data are data. Politics leads you in the direction of a belief. Data, if you follow them, lead you to truth.

June 21, 2009 at 9:00am #
humor science video 0 notes

Look Around You is quite possibly the best thing ever.