20 October 2010 (pm)

Friendly Atheist: posts this humorous “free market-ish” attack on woo:

Politics: do people vote against their own economic interests? (hat tip: Mano Singham)

Probably not; the poor tend to vote Democratic and the rich tend to vote Republican:

The 2004 election:

2008 Election
From here

(more analysis here)

There are more “demographics/state maps” here.

My point: I don’t think that most of the tea party push-back is from the poor; in fact a New York Times/CBS survey said that they were more affluent than average.

Some Science Links

Do you want to see how scientific positions are challenged? Here is an article on a paper that talks about the “fine structure” constant and claims that it might vary by position in the universe:

A few weeks ago there was a bit of media excitement about a somewhat surprising experimental result. Observations of quasar spectra indicated that the fine structure constant, the parameter in physics that describes the strength of electromagnetism, seems to be slightly different on one side of the universe than on the other. The preprint is here.

Remarkable, if true. The fine structure constant, usually denoted α, is one of the most basic parameters in all of physics, and it’s a big deal if it’s not really constant. But how likely is it to be true? This is the right place to trot out the old “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” chestnut. It’s certainly an extraordinary claim, but the evidence doesn’t really live up to that standard. Maybe further observations will reveal truly extraordinary evidence, but there’s no reason to get excited quite yet.

Chad Orzel does a great job of explaining why an experimentalist should be skeptical of this result. […]

Surf to the link to read more.

More: here is a spectacular display in a pinwheel galaxy; the false color shows where star formation is going on.

Space Travel: will human travel to Mars be one way (e. g., in the same way Europeans came to the “New” World)


Why did leopards evolve spots? Why didn’t all big cats? Why do some big cats come in different patterns? Note: it has to do with the following: leopards live in different kinds of areas; cheetahs not so much.

How do some snakes eat eggs (those who don’t have teeth; what do they do with the shells?) Surf here to find out.

Here is a newly discovered species of snailfish (cool photo)

How did morality evolve? Here is a NY Times article that I am about to read. 🙂

October 21, 2010 - Posted by | 2008 Election, 2010 election, cosmology, Democrats, economics, economy, evolution, nature, obama, physics, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, rebulican party, Republican, republican party, republicans, science, space

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