Monday, July 31, 2006

Michael Crichton's State of Fear

I am reading the book State of Fear now. Crichton writes a fictional story that pushes the idea that Global Warming is still not a certain occurance. He presents arguments against many opinions I have expressed in my postings to date. At the end of the novel he has included an essay on the dangers of politicized science and lots of references about the politics and philosophy of science and about geoscience data. I do love to read.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Censorship of Science through Government Censorship of Scientific Reports

Censorship—a powerful meme in America. We argue voraciously for freedom of speech. Yet some of us believe that censorship is important to protecting the interests of …Who? McCarthy thought he was protecting us from communism when he fostered his witch-hunt on everyone who spoke against the status quo and gutted Hollywood of its talent. Of course, the actual, centuries-earlier witch hunts of the “actual” witches was censorship at its burning cruelest.

Today censorship is directed towards science. It does not matter what the evidence. What counts is the political message. This I say based on the words of Dr. Hansen of NASA-Goddard Space Center on Sixty Minutes on CBS this Sunday evening, July 30, 2006, and the evidence produced on the show. (I am, of course, trusting the journalists.)

The willingness to be censored is seen in the push for a constitutional amendment against burning the flag. This bothers me because I do not think that patriotism and respect for this country can be legislated. Although I would not personally burn our flag, I recognize that flag-burning is a powerful meme for people with a gripe to use to get other Americans to notice them, and by implication their message. Let freedom ring.

But, the censorship of science does not affect just the notice of the public. It affects the credibility of this nation in its interpretation of evidence. It affects the credibility of science itself. But, then, the Creationist movement has convinced many Americans that science is not creditable, anyway. The anti-science fostered by the political censorship of a scientific report makes me not trust my government. After all, if it will lie about science, what else will it lie about?

Science prides itself in its attempt to let the evidence speak for itself, in attempting to remain objective in its interpretation of the evidence. The methods used in scientific research are scrutinized by scientists and philosophers alike as to science’s ability to produce trustworthy results. Using these methods, science performed under the scrutiny of the scientific community becomes self-correcting when given enough time. Truth will out. But, only if the truth is what is reported.

Censorship of science such as what was reported on Sixty Minutes today is tantamount to fraudulent science. Thank goodness, some scientists are not willing to tolerate fraud—even if our elected officials strongly encourage it.

Censorship is a meme that provokes powerful negative emotions in this patriotic believer in the Constitution of the United States, as it should in all Americans. Censorship must be used with extreme care and its use should be monitored carefully by us all.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I love those extreme homes on HGTV. Now the Travel Channel is showing unsual homes. Today's show, Top Ten Outrageous Homes, featured a steel home on steel legs, a concrete dome built over a balloon, and hand-built homes in Sun City, NM, that included a convection-current heating system made from glass-bottle walls.

The domes are billed as storm-proof. Do you think any of the designs will be used in the rebuilding of the coastal areas? Several hurricane-proof designs are out there, but the homes are unconventional. If only they were more popular. It might save a lot of future grief.

See more images of the steel house at this site. Read what a forum community has to say about this houes.

Dome homes are among the list of eco-friendly houses listed here.

The geodesic dome and the concrete dome house are both listed in a google search of dome houses.

The concrete dome is discussed here.

Do you think housework would be more fun if the home was extremely unsual? I wish!

Please note: links as written are truncated for space in this column. The underlying hyperlink is much longer in most cases.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Living Machines

An explanation of living machines technology was presented by Penn State in 2002,, but I came across it after Googling living machines because I had just watched a show on lime TV.

Googling also took me to the site of an architectural/bioengineering firm that designs and constructs buildings, both commercial and home, that incorporate both solar energy and living machines with other green building strategies. Surely this is the way to go.

In fact the show on lime claimed such technology to be (1) sustainable, and (2) paradigmatic. Yes, a paradigm shift is in the works. Get information about the program from The program that aired was called The Next Industrial Revolution, and profiled the work of Bill McDonough, architect, and Michael Braungart, chemist. In fact, the show claimed that these two were instigating a paradigm shift in architecture.

You can get information and free videos about lots of green ideas from

Grammar in a Tech Society

I have ideas about how to make typing info easier in today’s tech savvy world.

(1) Webpage and website should be one word. That makes them easier to type, and to read in bookmark sites such as my account at (I invite to share my bookmarks on science, education, on-line learning, and other topics I collect for my blog and website.)

(2) Maybe I just do not know the right shortcuts, but how do you type the sentence punctuation after a link? For example, look at the sentences in Living Machines above. I placed periods and commas after making the link, spacing, then backspacing to place the punctuation. Since the typing was originally in Word, the link was hyperlinked automatically once I spaced after typing.

(3) Typing chemistry formulas such as CO2 is not actually correct. But, I see it often in .pdf and other files where it is just too cumbersome to use subscripts. Superscripts are also difficult. Will a new grammar rule result?

War -- Israel vs Hezbollah

I hate war. But, I must say that Israel must be allowed to defend itself. Why should anyone believe that a people who have been given what they desired-- when the Palestinians were given the West Bank and Gaza Strip-- should be dealt with diplomatically when their response to autonomy was to still attack Israel again and again. Diplomacy doesn’t work, obviously.

Lebanon was a hope for a modern future in the mid-east, but that was the problem. The militants do not want to live in the modern world. It is sad that the Hezbollah has destroyed this beautiful country, but they attacked Israel -- and probably the US in Afghanistan and Iraq -- so I say we should let Israel do what is necessary to protect itself -- and by serendipity, us.