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Comment Re:Probably not what it seems (Score 3, Insightful) 1003

As a motorcyclist since the 80s, let me assure you there was no shortage of people trying to kill us motorcyclists before the advent of cell phones.

Look, this is pretty straight forward. Show me a graph of car accidents as a function of year, then superimpose the percent population with cell phones as a function of year over it. If you see the number of accidents increase at the same rate as the percent population with cell phones, I'll buy that cell phones are the hazard people claim. But even though there are more drivers today then in the past, the number of fatal accidents over the last 15 years has decreased. Sure, cars are safer now, and that accounts for some of the decrease, and I'm sure advanced Emergency response techniques also accounts for some of it.

Point is, show me the data. The data I've seen doesn't support the claim that cell phones are as dangerous as they claim.

And don't even get me started on the claim that cell phones cause cancer....

Comment Cops learning about colors (Score 1) 70

Yet another scene from the Simpsons, accurately predicting where this all will go:

Agent Johnson: [on speaker] This is Agent Johnson from the FBI. Be on the lookout for a 1936 Maroon Stutz Bearcat!

[A 1936 Maroon Stutz Bearcat whizzes past.]

Chief Wiggum: [lazy] Ahh, that really was more of a burgundy.

From The Trouble with Trillions

Comment Interesting objects to look at, and a few tips (Score 1) 377

The sun is mostly interesting to look at (with a proper dark lens) if there are sun spots. Check to see if there any sun spots on the day you view. You can have the kids determine the spin rate of the sun by using sun spots, which can be a cool exercise.

Other interesting objects that can be observed with a 4" telescope:

* Great Orion nebula

* The moon

* Pleiades

* Andromeda galaxy.

For celestial viewing, a telescope increases your light gathering ability (as the square of the diameter of the scope). So, the four inch (10 cm) telescope collects about 100 times the amount of light as your 1 cm pupil. Since there isn't much magnification going on, don't let the kids think they'll see much detail of anything they look at; the real advantage is the light gathering.

Have some analogies ready. For example, Andromeda galaxy is 2,500,000 light years away. Explain what a light year is by saying how many times you'd have to drive from your town to the nearest big city to cover the same distance.

Also, practice spotting objects before hand. It doesn't take me long to find Andromeda, but I have lots of practice. The first few times I looked it did take awhile. And that was without 20 crumb crunchers asking what was taking so long.

Comment Business and Social Advancement (Score 1) 146

I agree that the Stormtrooper's appearance probably influenced the Asimo's appearance.

I wouldn't credit the advancement in Prosthetics or Bionics to Star Wars - more the 6 million dollar man and the original Battlestar Galactica.

And until the Cinnamon Bun Hairstyle and Metal Bikini become fashionable, I'm not buying the Business and Social Advancement.

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