31 August 2010 (am)

Richard Dawkins: quoted in this NPR piece on memes. Roughly speaking, a “meme” is a bit of information that can evolve and be passed along (say, like a tune, art form, etc.)

I find the concept to be useful even if it doesn’t always apply.

Ants and longevity: some differences in longevity among genetically similar ants is due to epigenetics (how the genes themselves are acted on…or “expressed”. Via Scientific American.

Politics In spite of what the White House says, many liberal economists were crying out for a much larger stimulus from the beginning, even if they admitted that the stimulus that was passed was better than no stimulus at all.

Yes, I disagree with the administration over this. But this is a matter of arguing on how to pull the car out of the ditch; our political opponents want to solve the problem by making the ditch bigger and filling it with quicksand.

Robert Reich: has some things to say:

I have the questionable distinction of appearing on Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program several times a week, arguing with people whose positions under normal circumstances would get no serious attention, and defending policies I would have thought so clearly and obviously defensible they should need no justification. But we are living through strange times. The economy is so bad that the social fabric is coming undone, and what used to be merely weird economic theories have become debatable public policies.

Tonight it was Harvard Professor Robert Barro, who opined in today’s Wall Street Journal that America’s high rate of long-term unemployment is the consequence rather than the cause of today’s extended unemployment insurance benefits.

In theory, Barro is correct. If people who lose their jobs receive generous unemployment benefits they might stay unemployed longer than if they got nothing. But that’s hardly a reason to jettison unemployment benefits or turn our backs on millions of Americans who through no fault of their own remain jobless in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Yet moral hazard lurks in every conservative brain. It’s also true that if we got rid of lifeguards and let more swimmers drown, fewer people would venture into the water. And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burnt to the ground, fewer people would use stoves. A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love.

I’ll add to this: there are intellectually intelligent Republicans, but they are just plain misguided. Yes, tough love might work when one is talking about ADVANCEMENT but not when talking about the basics…at least NOT with everyone. Sure, there is always that wayward kid that needs to be pushed out of the nest to learn to grow up. And yes, there are good for nothing slackers; there are some in my own family. They disgust me. But in such times of economic hardship, it isn’t as if there are jobs just sitting around to be had; there are well intentioned, hard working people who are suffering.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, economy, evolution, internet issues, nature, political/social, politics, politics/social, public policy and discussion from NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow. Science Videos, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, science | Leave a comment

Scifri Videos: Rumble In The Jungle

Science, technology, environment and health news and discussion from the makers of the NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow.

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Jerry Coyne has more here: he thinks that this will be some sort of mating call (a ‘froggy flirt”) and goes on to talk about scientific papers and how to “sell” your work to the journal.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | alternative energy, biology, blogs, brain, cosmology, dark energy, disease, environment, evolution, frogs, green news, health, matter, nanotechnology, nature, neuroscience, physics, public policy and discussion from NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow. Science Videos, science, Science Friday teachers, Science Friday teens., technology | Leave a comment