Archive for Popular Culture

On what you think you know…

The excellent Jonathan Drori at TED recently.


On the Responsible use of Psychoactive Drugs

Brought to you from the excellent people at Erowid, this:

Fundamentals of Responsible Psychoactive Use

* Investigate the health risks and dangers of the specific psychoactive and of the class of drugs to which it belongs.

* Learn about interactions with other recreational drugs, medications, supplements, and activities.
* Review individual health concerns, predispositions, and family health history.

* Choose a source or product carefully to help ensure correct identification and purity
(avoid materials with an unknown source or of unknown quality).

* Know whether the drug is likely to reduce the ability to drive, operate equipment, or pay attention to necessary tasks.

* Take oneself “off duty” from responsibilities that might be interfered with (job, child care, etc.), and arrange for someone else to be “on duty” for such responsibilities.

* Anticipate reasonably foreseeable risks to oneself and others and employ safeguards to minimize those risks.

* Choose an appropriate occasion and location for use.

* Select and measure dosages carefully.

* Begin with a low dose until individual reactions are known and thereafter use the minimum dose necessary to achieve the desired effects: lower doses are safer doses.

* Reflect on and adjust use to minimize physical and mental health problems.

* Note changes in health over time that may be related to use.

* Modify use if it interferes with work or personal goals.

* Check in with peers and family and accept feedback about one’s use.

* Track reactions to specific drugs and dosages in order to avoid repeating mistakes.

* Seek treatment if needed.

* Decide not to use when the time isn’t right, the material is suspect, or the situation is otherwise problematic.

More, here at Cato Unbound

Krauss and Dawkins on Science and Faith

Krauss: You have cogently argued in The God Delusion that religion is bad science. I would argue, however, that this is particularly inappropriate, and in fact falls into the same trap fallen into by those who push Intelligent Design in science classrooms, as well as those who fund Templeton Foundation grants that attempt to foster scientific evidence for God. I have framed this issue in language that hearkens back to Carl Sagan, who said that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Would a world without God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? Most scientists would say no, and thus claim we do not need the God Hypothesis to explain anything about nature. On the other hand one might also ask: Would a world with a God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? People of faith would argue no, and in so doing feel vindicated in their faith. The problem is that both groups are correct, and nothing either can say is likely to influence the other.

Dawkins: I have several times said that a universe with a God would be a very different kind of universe from one without. You have translated this into operational terms, and consequently arrived at the legitimate question of whether the two kinds of universe would look different. Not be different (my question) but look different (your question, where ‘look different’ can presumably mean any difference, detectable in any way by any of our sense organs or scientific instruments). I agree that yours is an important question, and I agree with you that it might be surprisingly hard to detect, by observation or experiment, whether we live in a god-free universe or a god-endowed one. Nevertheless, I still maintain that there is a cogent sense in which a scientist can discuss the question. There still is a sense in which we can have an interesting and illuminating scientific discussion about whether X is the case, even if we can’t demonstrate it one way or the other by observation or experiment. How can I argue this and still claim to be doing science?

Read the whole debate, here.

A Meal in 140 Characters

Just what the web was made for!

Would you let another Woman Breastfeed your Child?

If you cannot breastfeed your own child, would you let another woman do it for you? We happily let our children consume the milk of another species, yet most people would recoil at the suggestion of “Milk Maids”. The rather startling (but brilliantly shot) photograph of GMTV presenter Kate Garraway is being used to promote a program she has made for Channel 4 – Other People’s Breast Milk – to be shown Wednesday 9th September at 10pm.

Large Hadron Collider

Want to build your own? Run your own experiments? Well now you can! CERN have released the entire technical specifications for the LHC via the Journal of Instrumentation. As is fitting for something 27km in circumference the manuals are massive, coming in at over 1500 pages and a 100+ Mb of data in pdf format. For the totally curious among you, this is the link.

From my iPod #3

The Universal by Blur from the album The Great Escape

PS Alex James looking particularly hot in this video…

Who Said…

Subtitle Wordles from Doctor Who This is the one from The Long Game from Chris Eccleston’s era:

Created By the genius that is Matthew Somverville. You should check out some of the other work on his site. Particularly the stuff for mySociety, which reminds me, we still miss you Chris.

Heh. Strange. Never imagined for a second when I decided to post those Wordles, it would end up with an Obit. of Chris Lightfoot (God-like genius). Funny old world, eh?

Stephen Hawking in Zero G

DNA Art Projects

Love these. Via.

CNN Morons

Did this question actually need asking? Absolute fucking morons.

My Favourite Banksy

The Flowerchucker

The Flowerchucker

Banksy @ Wiki and homepage