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Far-Out Science

first_imgThe following list of bizarre stories coming from science news outlets is jarring on two fronts: it shows how little scientists understand, and calls into question what counts as science these days.  Some stories illustrate one or the other; some both.Roar of the aurora aura:  Both Saturn and Mars turned up auroras that are mystifying scientists.  Electromagnetism was pretty much figured out in the 19th century – so they say, but theory did not predict an aurora this large in the area where it was found on Saturn’s north pole.  It didn’t predict the perfect geometric hexagon of cloud formations there either.  On Mars, physicists did not expect the planet’s patchy magnetic field to be strong enough to generate an aurora.Grape big puzzle:  If the BBC News story is correct, the Cambrian Explosion problem just got worse.  Fossil trackways previously thought to be evidence for Precambrian worms might have been made instead by grape-sized single-celled protozoans moving millimeters per day.  If so, that means there were no bilaterian organisms lighting the fuse for the explosion of life forms to come.In the beginning, hydrogen:  If atomic hydrogen was the most abundant element coming out of the big bang, why is there so little of it at 11.5 billion light-years?  PhysOrg puzzled over that: “If anything, hydrogen was expected to be more abundant so early in the life of the Universe because it had not yet been consumed by the formation of all the stars and galaxies we know today.”  Was it all plasma back then? the article asked.  If so, what would that do to theories of galaxy evolution?Wild wild web:  Orb-web spiders go nuts in space, spinning webs in chaotic patterns.  Space.com shows a picture. Gut feeling:  There are 10 times more species of micro-organisms in your colon than scientists thought, Science Daily reported.Secret network:  New Scientist reported on “previously unknown way in which animal cells can communicate with each other.”  A nano-network of tubes apparently provides a path for proteins to move from cell to cell. Fuel economy:  Oil may not come from squishing dinosaurs, but from a fungus acting on biomass, reported Live Science about a fungus that is highly efficient at making biofuel directly.  “In fact, it’s so good at turning plant matter into fuel that researchers say their discovery calls into question the whole theory of how crude oil was made by nature in the first place.”Paranoia:  They’re out to get us.  The aliens are everywhere.  The universe is teeming with them.  That was not printed in New Schizophrenic; it was printed in New Scientist.  You don’t even need a habitable zone any more.  Just add water, a little heat, and presto: life.  It doesn’t seem to bother these scientists that there is no empirical evidence for it.Cool your GW jets:  One of the most forward-looking and futuristic scientists of our age, who has had no trouble imagining life on frozen worlds and aliens able to harvest all the light of their dimming stars in huge spheres, doesn’t buy global warming.  Freeman Dyson, who taught physics for 41 years at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, and has received 21 honorary degrees, is unimpressed by the models and methods of the Global Warming consensus, reported Town Topics, a Princeton newsletter.  Dyson thinks the proponents of anthropogenic global warming are “tremendously dogmatic.”  The self-styled rebel warned an audience that “When science gets rich it becomes political.”What’s yanking on my spacetime fabric?  Something’s out there.  We can’t see it and don’t know what it is – but it’s tugging on the universe, said National Geographic News.  The culprits could be anything: “As bizarre as you could imagine—some warped space-time,” the protagonist said.  On the other hand, though, it could be “something dull.”  Whatever it is, finding it was a “great surprise” and would require “explaining the unexplainable.”  There’s hope, though; “Not everyone is ready to rewrite physics just yet.”An unexpected link?  Are the half-lives of radioactive elements constant?  Science News spent four pages last week examining the possibility that decay rates are influenced by the sun.  The editor even commented on the article; “Maybe radioactivity hasn’t revealed all its mysteries,” he said.  He recounted several instances in the 20th century when consensus views about radioactivity were overthrown.  “To be sure,” Tom Siegfried said, “there’s no reason yet to throw out the nuclear physics textbooks.”  Human error is often the problem – not the laws of physics.  “But you never know.  Radioactivity has a way of revealing some of nature’s best-kept secrets.”Quantum indeterminism:  Is the whole edifice of quantum physics about to come unglued?  PNAS published a paper by Aage Bohr, the fourth son of Niels Bohr, who with two colleagues is upsetting the atomic world view.  In its place, they offered a geometric world view, “which recognizes the occurrence of events, clicks in counters [as in radioactive decay], coming without a cause, referred to as fortuitous.”  They hastened to explain why this is not the death of science.  But what would a traditional cosmologist or historian of science think of the following:Through fortuity, space�time invariance itself thus acquires a hitherto unrecognized role.  Departing from the norms of physical theory, the uncaused click is not a measurement of something, and the reality mirrored in the distributions is the geometry of space time itself, and not a property of an imagined object.  The geometric world view involves only the dimensions of space and time, and the absence of an irreducible dimension of mass is seen as the result of the discovery of new physical phenomena.  Accordingly Planck’s constant has no place in fundamental theory and is seen as a relic of dimensions that have become superfluous. Considering what scientists have told us is true about some of these things before, how can anyone trust what they are telling us now?  Scientific truth ain’t what it used to be, and maybe science isn’t, either.  If the mission statement of science ever was to follow the evidence where it leads, without bias, toward gaining understanding of the workings of nature, what happened?    A new book on the history of science reviewed by Thomas F. Gieryn, a sociologist at Indiana University, in Science, 1 may provide insight.  The book is The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation by Steven Shapin (University of Chicago Press, 2008).  Shapin examined the difference between academic science (going on in the research universities) and corporate science (out to make a profit).  Both groups distrust each other; Shapin “is impatient with cultural commentators and academic social theorists who align virtue only with a ‘pure science’ ideal and university-based inquiry and who often treat industrial and entrepreneurial science (or science done in big teams at state facilities) as corruptions of what makes science and scientists ‘good.’”    The idealized vision of the pure scientist is largely gone, most philosophers of science admit these days.  The ivory tower vs the greed-motivated entrepreneur is too simplistic; “surely reality is somewhere in between,” Gieryn said, agreeing with Shapin.  For instance, university scientists are subject to some of the same pressures and selfish motivations of the corporate researcher, such as being “distracted by teaching and endless committees and where the need to refresh one’s grants speeds up the treadmill as it forces research agendas to align themselves with mandates of funding agencies.”    What sets a good scientist apart, then?  Shapin called his book a “moral history” of science for a reason.  A prerequisite for good science, regardless of venue, is personal character and morality:What makes Shapin’s attention to industrial and entrepreneurial research so compelling is how different today’s technoscience looks when contrasted with histories in which pure science in universities becomes the gold standard.  In these other sites of science, Shapin finds the paradox that gives the book its spring.  Research managers at Bell Labs or General Electric judge scientists not only on their impressive credentials and technical skills but also by their personal dispositions for working well in large, variegated, transient, and loosely organized teams.  Venture capitalists must, in the face of massive uncertainties about whether an invention will yield profits, rely on character judgments about the personal trustworthiness and dedication of this particular scientist or engineer, who may differ little from a thousand others in terms of bench skills or academic achievements.  The Scientific Life provokes us to discard worn-out understandings that science outside universities is necessarily aberrant and that the credibility of scientific knowledge no longer depends upon moral judgments about the experts who make reality claims.  In that task, the book succeeds masterfully.In other words, character counts.1.  Thomas F. Gieryn, “History of Science: Who Scientists Are Now,” Science, 21 November 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5905, pp. 1189-1190, DOI: 10.1126/science.1166262.Last month we saw Dyche Mullins say that what sets a good scientist apart is intuition – trusting one’s instincts (10/21/2008).  And then we asked why that makes science any more special than football coaching or prosecuting a case or hunting.  Notice that Gieryn just referred to “experts who make reality claims” (i.e., scientists), but are you convinced by the reality claims in the 12 stories above?  Some of these scientists wouldn’t know reality from Reality TV.  If asked to define reality philosophically, it is doubtful they could defend what they believe as being really real.  They couldn’t tell us where their presuppositions stop and their empiricism begins.  If what they told us yesterday was scientific fact is now obsolete, how are we to trust what they are telling us now?    A common tactic of the leftist secularist Darwin-worshiping crowd is to call their critics “anti-science.”  That mud won’t stick.  If by science they mean its original intent of “knowledge” gained by honest pursuit of the truth, following the evidence where it leads, then no one could be more pro-science than the Darwin doubters.  They are willing to risk reputation and even livelihood for standing up to dogma masquerading as scientific knowledge.  But if by science the Darwinists are talking about the institutions of ivory-tower elitists who enforce consensus with punishment, then any honest citizen should be anti-that.  Michael Crichton, the best-selling author who died this month, bravely told a group of scientists in 2003 what one of their own would be afraid to say: “There is no such thing as consensus science.  If it’s consensus, it isn’t science.  If it’s science, it isn’t consensus.  Period.”  This lecture, available from Stephen Schneider at Stanford, was a refreshing break from the herd mentality of the academic environment.    Gieryn and Shapin did not describe good science in terms of its methods, its institutions and its libraries.  They boiled it down to character: personal trustworthiness, honesty, and the ability to make moral judgments.  Doesn’t that apply to every scholarly endeavor?  The same character requirement should apply to the historian, the lawyer (don’t laugh; there are some honest lawyers), the philosopher, the theologian, the architect, the teacher – indeed, to everyone.  Each of us makes truth claims sometimes.  By definition, one cannot pursue truth without honesty.  Did you ever find honesty mentioned in the scientific method?    Science’s claim to privilege is supposed to depend on its way of acquiring knowledge of the natural world.  As we have seen, though, the word “natural” is slippery and ill-defined (11/09/2008).  Science overlaps with many other fields of inquiry.  The word is broadly applied in areas where it probably does not belong.  The institutions that encapsulate science encapsulate other things, not all of them savory, and some true science occurs outside the capsule.  For instance, when you find a scientist positing entities that cannot be detected even in principle, or punishing a colleague who doesn’t go along with the consensus, or appealing to the Stuff Happens Law to explain something, is that person doing better science than a citizen researcher, just because he or she wears the scientist label or has a degree in science?  A dishonest scientist does not deserve any more respect than a devious lawyer or a shaman.  To be really pro-science, you must be pro-honesty.  Since honesty does not emerge from matter in motion, that rules out many scientists-so-called who have excluded the Source of honesty from their world view.(Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Heroes’ welcome for Banyana

first_img14 November 2012 In 2008, they also lost to Equatorial Guinea, who were also hosts at that time, in the final. SAinfo reporter Banyana Banyana returned home from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Women’s Championship on Tuesday to a rapturous welcome from hordes of supporters who brought the arrivals hall at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to a standstill. “We could so easily become number one in South Africa, just by having the right structure in place, and that would be through a professional league.” Looking fatigued after a long flight which saw them stuck at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport en route home for hours, Banyana landed on Tuesday afternoon and then had problems negotiating their way through as a mass of supporters scrambled for their attention. “We have laid a solid foundation and I hope next time we should go all the way. This team is gelling and I am confident we are heading towards a ‘golden era’ for women’s football in the country,” he said. Captain Amanda Dlamini said the semi-final win against Nigeria might have taken some of the fight out of the team, but “getting so near, yet so far” was not a disgrace. Goal achievedCoach Joseph Mkhonza, who was last week named the South African Coach of the Year at the South African Sports Awards, said while the team had achieved its goal of reaching the final and beating their nemesis Nigeria, they would have loved to go all the way and win the title.center_img Business came to a standstill as onlookers joined the “welcoming party”. “They gave it their all. As a country, we are happy and proud of these heroines,” he said. A professional league?Caf vice-president Natasha Tschiclas, meanwhile, has encouraged Safa to start a professional women’s football league in South Africa. South African Football Association (SAfa) President, Kirsten Nematandani said Banyana Banyana had done the country proud. The South African national women’s football team reached the final of the continental championship for a third time, but were beaten 4-0 by the hosts, Equatorial Guinea, in the title decider. In an interview with radio station SAfm, she said: “They are very determined. They love what they are doing and they are professional footballers. They’re not amateurs; look at the way they play. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Mobile App Store Pocketgear Rebrands as Appia, Goes White Label

first_imgPocketgear, a major name in mobile application stores, has today announced a rebranding and shift in focus. It will now become Appia, a company focused on offering a white label app store platform for mobile operators, handset manufacturers and other mobile portals.Already, Appia powers the app stores for over 40 industry partners, including 4 of the 5 top handset makers, one being the Samsung Widget Store, as well as stores for U.S. mobile carriers T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T. In total, Appia serves apps through its platform to over 3,200 mobile devices.For Developers: Access to Global Distribution ChannelsAppia’s developer community, which grew out of its Pocketgear days, now totals over 32, 000. The developers are heavily Android-focused right now, we’re told, with approximately half their offerings being built for Google’s Android mobile operating system. The other half are Symbian, BlackBerry, Java, Palm or Windows Mobile/Phone focused.With the new white label offering, Appia wants to help developers expand their reach to global application distribution markets. Through the updated developer portal at dev.appia.com, app developers can submit their apps for inclusion in the app stores that Appia supports.In total, these stores see a combined 500,000+ downloads per day, and that number is expected to double by mid-2011, says Dov Cohn, Appia’s VP of Marketing. And Appia has relationships with more than 50 top channel partners in place, including, as mentioned above, several of the top carriers in the U.S., plus three of the top 10 mobile operators globally. For Brands, Carriers, OEM and Handset Manufacturers: White Label StoresFor those interested in building a branded app store experience of their own, Appia’s white label service now wants to be that one-stop shop for launching a managed app store for any platforms or devices a brand, carrier, OEM or handset maker has in mind.In addition to powering the stores for major carriers and handset manufacturers like Samsung, Appia says it now has two more deals in place with “major brands,” but can’t disclose what those are at this time. It also is working to expand its carrier partner relationships in Latin America and Europe. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#apps#mobile#news Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img sarah perez What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts Why this Matters: 75% of Mobile App Revenue Comes from “On-Deck” AppsAlthough you may think that application stores like iTunes, the Android Market and others are the only places where developers are earning revenue, that’s not actually the case. These “off-deck” stores – the ones that sell directly to consumers – only account for a fourth of the global mobile application revenues. “On deck,” or carrier-managed, app stores actually account for 75% of the global app revenues. This is according to MarketsandMarkets’ World Mobile Applications Market Global Forecast, released in August 2010.That balance is changing, though. The same report notes that the number of off-deck app stores is growing rapidly, thanks to lowered entry barriers and the establishment of new stores. By the end of 2015, the off-deck app stores will just surpass the number of downloads from on-deck stores. However, even then, the on-deck app stores will be an important channel to address, for developers and store operators alike.last_img read more

Nikola Jokic continues to amaze as Nuggets rout Clippers

first_imgLATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “He could play for NFL teams the way he passes the ball,” Malone said.Later, Jokic picked up his dribble on a play, saw the path through the lane was clear, banked it off the glass to himself and put it in. It was something he had never tried in a game before.And no, he wasn’t thinking slam.“I knew he wasn’t going to dunk it,” Murray cracked. “It was a smart move. It was a great play.”This capped off the night: Jokic and Miller exchanging jerseys.ADVERTISEMENT Nuggets: At Phoenix on Saturday before hosting Portland the following night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “It means a lot. I watched him a lot,” Jokic said. “He’s a beast. He’s someone that can’t be stopped.”These days, the same can be said of Jokic, who was coming off a game in Miami on Tuesday in which he had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.“He’s just a great player,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.Murray scored 23 points and Mason Plumlee added a season-high 17 points to go with 12 rebounds for the Nuggets. They’re now 17-3 at home.Lou Williams led the Clippers with 19 points, and Danilo Gallinari chipped in 18 against his former team.Denver built the lead to 102-81 with 9:03 remaining on a jumper by Monte Morris. The Clippers made a little run, but Morris silenced it with a 3-pointer.“They just kicked our butt from the beginning,” said Tobias Harris, who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “Their intensity and pace, we were kind of on our heels with all night. We’ve got to respect that especially from a team that’s No. 1 in the West.”Gallinari received applause from the crowd when he was announced. He joined the Clippers last season after a bulk of his career in Denver. He was limited to 21 games with Los Angeles in 2017-18 due to injuries and didn’t suit up when the Clippers played in the Mile High City.“It was a good feeling to see a lot of my friend and people that I know,” Gallinari said. “But honestly I was just focused on the game plan and trying to play my game and trying to help the team.”TIP-INS Behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s career-best 56, Spurs outlast Thunder in 2OT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Another eventful evening for Jokic.The player nicknamed Joker finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 21st career triple-double to help the Western Conference-leading Nuggets extend their home winning streak to 11 by cruising past the Los Angeles Clippers 121-100 on Thursday night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“Another triple-double,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “The guy continues to amaze.”Jokic did a little bit of everything, including the pass of the night when he lofted a full-length strike over a defender to Jamal Murray for a dunk in the third quarter. TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games openingcenter_img LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Clippers: F Luc Mbah a Moute remains out with a sore left knee.Nuggets: G Gary Harris missed his second straight game with tightness in his left hamstring. … F Juancho Hernangomez has been dealing with an injury. Earlier this season, he dealt with an abdominal strain. “If it gets to a point we have to shut him down for a bit, we’ll do so,” Malone said.EJECTEDClippers guard Patrick Beverley was ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing.Asked what he may have said, Rivers responded: “I was in the huddle. I think he said I love you.”NATIONAL TREASURESJokic, who’s from Serbia, currently sits in seventh place among Western Conference frontcourt players in the All-Star voting by fans. Dallas rookie and Slovenian native Luka Doncic is second, with fans counting for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters.“Obviously, a lot of fans in Slovenia are voting and not enough fans in Serbia are voting,” Malone cracked.UP NEXTClippers: Begin a four-game homestand Saturday against Detroit. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic swap jerseys following the Nuggets’ NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Denver. Denver beat Los Angeles 121-100. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)DENVER  — Nikola Jokic wowed his teammates with a perfect full-court pass that led to a dunk and by tossing a pass to himself off the backboard for a layup.The Denver Nuggets big man was the one wide-eyed after the game when he met Broncos pass rusher Von Miller and exchanged jerseys.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more