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Comment: Re: Very Disturbing Trend (Score 1) 1078 1078

No, there is more anthropological support for a strict definition of a minimum combination of factors necessary to define a civilization and the wide variety of bonds that peoples have called "marriage" throughout history than for your loose definitions of civilization as "tribe members acting in a civil manner" or a strict definition of marriage.

Civilization:
  • * Large urban centers
  • * Full-time specialist occupations
  • etc

I could include a list of existing and historical definitions of marriage by different tribes and cultures, but it would likely be pointless. Obviously no consensus or detente can be reached if we do not even speak the same language. Plus, this might be misconstrued as an "appeal to authority" argument rather than the appeal to historical precedence I am trying to get across.

Comment: Re:Very Disturbing Trend (Score 1) 1078 1078

How does the institution of marriage predate the civilization that would be needed to recognize and affirm such an institution?

Pair-bonding has deep evolutionary roots. Marriage is a formal recognition of a pair-bond by the tribe, not by a state. Tribal life and tribal behaviors predate civilization by a wide margin.

Comment: Royal Society (Score 1) 323 323

Don't discount the Royal Society journals and the early influence of British scientists. Yes, Newton's principia was published in latin, but the Journal of the Royal Society was printed in english. Even Leeuwenhoek had to have his work translated into english to get it published. I would say that the language of science went from greek to arabic, then to an early mix of latin and english, then to german due to the influence of the thriving german chemical and optical industries, then back to english.

Comment: Happened to me (Score 5, Interesting) 348 348

Spot on. No funding = no tenure = bye-bye faculty position and no more lab. Very proud of the papers we put out and the 3 PhD students and 1 MS student that graduated before the end though. We had just uncovered a possible mechanism for how an actin-binding protein could be involved in invadopodia formation and cancer metastasis (cancer cells escaping their initial tumor).

Comment: SpaceX is doing something right (Score 4, Informative) 123 123

Since debuting their Falcon v1.1, SpaceX has had 7 successful launches in the past 12 months (one secondary cargo in wrong orbit, though). Aviation Week announced yesterday that SpaceX just signed more contracts:

SpaceX closed 9 deals, w/possible 2-3 heavies. Four more in the next few weeks, incl one non-GEO, then maybe 4 more before end of the year.

Source: https://twitter.com/AvWeekPari...

Comment: Not suprising (Score 2) 191 191

Our brains evolved to learn fine motor skills like chipping flint. Writing notes by hand engages those motor skills and that learning process. Don't just go through your book and highlight important passages - that does almost nothing. Take notes in class. Make notes on those notes when you study.

Comment: Grasshopper Flew Thursday (Score 1) 125 125

FYI. The newest version of their grasshopper test vehicle flew on thursday at their facility in Texas. This one is as tall as the F9R that launched to the ISS and sports the same landing legs. But it only has 3 engines instead of 9.
F9R First Flight Test | 250m

Comment: Re:So more enthalpy=more life? (Score 1) 185 185

By heat bath, they do not necessarily mean "hot". The *difference* in temperature matters. The system (life) has to dump heat (delta-Q) into its surroundings (atmosphere, bath, etc) for replication to be favorable. The system usually has to be hotter than the surroundings for the heat (Q) to flow from the system into the surroundings. An engine is more efficient on colder days than hotter days. The system *can* absorb heat from the surroundings, but this is usually accompanied by an increase in disorder of the system.
So, Venus is just too darn hot to act as an efficient head dump for the negative delta-G's of carbon-based biochemistry.
Good old \delta G_sys = \delta H_sys - T \delta S_sys
[That said, I think that the paper is defining delta Q backwards (+ Q flowing out of system) from the usual convention (+ Q flowing into the system).]
Space

SpaceX Boosts Malaysian Satellite Into Orbit 71 71

Soychemist writes "On the same day that yet another shuttle launch was postponed, SpaceX successfully carried a Malaysian satellite, RazakSAT, into orbit. This is the second successful launch in a row for Elon Musk's space exploration startup. Later this year the company will launch its larger Falcon 9 rocket, which could be used to carry cargo to the International Space Station. RazakSAT was designed by ATSB and carries a high resolution camera. If it is intact, the satellite will take photographs of Earth that could be used to better manage natural resources."

Comment: Goldtouch mouse (Score 2, Informative) 171 171

I experienced serious pain from using the scroll wheel.
Why, Microsoft, why? Why did you place such a tempting button halfway down the longest finger, why? The tendons that control the bending motion for that finger extend through over six inches of flesh from the finger tips to the muscles in the upper arm. These tendons saw back and forth across several nerves, blood vessels, and tiny bones when when you use the scroll wheel.
I now swear by the Goldtouch optical mouse. Like the Evoluent VerticalMouse, it sits at a slant to place your hand in a more natural position. However, the scroll wheel has been moved from its middle-finger position to a bi-directional button at the side. The scroll button is operated by the thumb, which evolved large muscles at its base to perform this exact bending motion.
I have one of these mice for home and one for work: http://www.keyovation.com/ergonomics/product/ergon omicmouse.html

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.

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