Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Avatar spoilers

January 5, 2010

This is a comment I left on a review of Avatar on Dark Worlds blog that raises issues with the lousy science in Avatar:

Then there is the subject of evolution on Pandora. All the animals have six limbs. Four up front and two in the back. All of them, including the Pterodactyl like creatures. Four wings and pair of legs. Four eyes as well. One pair above sightly farther out than the inner pair.

Everything except the Terminator Smurfs. Two eyes, and four limbs.

Radically different biology, yet they could mesh their nervous system with the local animals.
Did the Terminator Smurfs braid their hair to protect the nerve bundle or did it grow like that naturally.

Oh, why did the Pterodactyl like creatures naturally develop stirrups for the Terminator Smurfs?

With all the “scientists” they had on that planet, why didn’t any notice that the Terminator Smurfs obviously didn’t evolve there?

Also published at the Urbin Report.

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Some open scientific debate on climate change

November 14, 2008

I expect calls for the heretics to be burned at the stake.

So far, the debate is civil, but then actual scientists are the only ones involved.

Fully Viable Stem Cells from Adults

September 26, 2008

No harvesting embryos required.

Details at Urbin Technology.

A Dose of Reality from Down Under

September 9, 2008

Andrew Bolt writes in the Herald Sun:

Let’s assume just for now that man’s carbon dioxide emissions really are heating the world. Let’s also assume that heating would be bad, and wouldn’t actually help crops grow. Let’s also ignore that the world has in fact cooled since 2002.

Even given all that, it’s bizarre to think Australia should lead the world in slashing emissions, losing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

What difference to the world could Australia make, when we pump out less than 1.5 per cent of all man’s greenhouse gases? Why make such sacrifices when giants such as China and India are stamping on the growth pedal, getting gassier by the week, and have vowed not to stop until they’re rich?

Read the whole thing.

No Northwest Passage this year…

August 16, 2008

The Register points out that Arctic Ice is actually thicker than it was at this time last year.

Maps of Arctic ice extent are readily available from several sources, including the University of Illinois, which keeps a daily archive for the last 30 years. A comparison of these maps (derived from NSIDC data) below shows that Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007. (2008 is a leap year, so the dates are offset by one.)

HT to Ace.

Bad News for OPEC

June 17, 2008

The Times of London has a story on a California based company that is working on bio-tech produced oil, that should be “carbon negative” to produce.

These slightly modified industrial yeast cells take in biomass, such as wheat straw or wood chips, and “excrete a substance that is almost pump-ready.”

There are still issues on how this can scale up to industrial levels, but even a lot of small plants can produce fuel to allow a city to run its municipal vehicles (police cars, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles) without worrying about the rising market price of foreign oil breaking their budget.

Just bringing a few of these plants online should cause the market price to respond in a downward manner. The start of construction of the plants would probably have that effect.

Update: The fact that uses modified yeast lead me to thinking about home brewing. If this process can be made as simple as brewing beer, then home brewing gas can’t be far away. Say that you could brew 20 galleons of gas in your basement a month. That’s a tank of gas. So, imagine if 20 or 30 million car owners bought one less tank of gas a week. Call it 25 million, 20 galleons a pop, so that’s 500 million galleons of gas a month that isn’t be imported or pumped from an area that environmentalists don’t want oil drilling. At the current average pump price of $4.09 a galleon, that over $2 Billion that isn’t going to “Big Oil” or Middle East dictators.

Actual Science instead of cult following.

April 20, 2008

The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so

Actual Science the Goracle doesn’t want you to see.

Interesting new data on the global climate

March 22, 2008

From The Australian:

Duffy asked Marohasy: “Is the Earth stillwarming?”

She replied: “No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.”

Duffy: “Is this a matter of any controversy?”

Marohasy: “Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued … This is not what you’d expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you’d expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up … So (it’s) very unexpected, not something that’s being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it’s very significant.”

Duffy: “It’s not only that it’s not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there’s any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it’s put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary.”

Read the whole thing.

So it looks more and more like the “Global Warming” doomsayers have been the modern equivalent of “Chicken Little.” Even so, reducing the levels of pollutants put out by large carbon emitters, like Communist Chinese coal plants, is still a good idea.
So is developing alternate fuel sources so the rest of the world can tell the Arab nations (and that Socialist Chavez) that they can bloody well drink their oil.

Where in the World is "Global Warming"?

March 20, 2008

According to NPR, it is not hiding in the oceans:

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

HT to Mr. Reynolds

Picking up where Tesla left off

February 26, 2008

Wireless power transmission is being researched at MIT.