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Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Submission + - Canadian Blood Services promotes pseudoscience

trianglecat writes: The not-for-profit agency, Canadian Blood Services, has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type.

Disappointing for a self-proclaimed "science-based" organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the Nation's capital, appear to be taking some action.

Submission + - Google Releases Earth 5.0 1

trianglecat writes: Today is Pi Day (3.14) and Albert Einstein's 130th birthday. It is also the 174th birthday of Giovanni Schiaparelli who famously observed structures on Mars which he called "canali" or channels. This was later mistranslated as "canals" leading to speculation about life on Mars — most famously supported by astronomer Percival Lowell.
To celebrate, Google Earth has released 5.0 which has a number of new features for Mars including:

-Historical Maps — View antique maps by Schiaparelli, Percival Lowell, Nathaniel Green, and Antoniadi overlaid on the Mars surface

-'Live from Mars' — View the most recently captured images from NASA's THEMIS camera on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, directly on the Mars in Google Earth surface. A continuous stream of fresh satellite imagery of Mars has never been made available to the general public faster than this.

-Guided Tours — Narrated tours of Mars from Public Radio's Ira Flatow and Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Comment Re:John Allen Paulos (Score 1) 630

I concur. Paulos' books are fascinating. Teaching kids how to apply math properly and how to spot misuse of math is as important as anything else.

That said, I would caution a teacher against suggesting any of his books to students. His latest book is "Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up." That one might get a few parents' underwear in a bunch.


Submission + - Morphing-wing robotic birds to spy on us

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Dutch engineering students have developed RoboSwift, a bio-inspired morphing-wing micro aerial vehicle which flies like a swift. Like the real bird, this robotic one 'will have unprecedented wing characteristics; the wing geometry as well as the wing surface area can be adjusted continuously.' But unlike the real bird, RoboSwift, which will have a span of 50 cm and weigh about 80 grams, has been designed to spy on us. With its three micro cameras, it will perform surveillance missions lasting up to one hour on vehicles and people on the ground. The first RoboSwift is expected to fly in January 2008. Read more for additional references and pictures of a RoboSwift sweeping its wings back and forth."

Submission + - Project Arcade

Craig Maloney writes: "Growing up, I found myself more than once in an arcade, be it in the mall, Meijer, or a free-standing building. The atmosphere was unmistakable: loud, with lots of activity, and people getting fully immersed and "in the zone" between them and their pixellated avatar. While playing an arcade game at home has been possible for many years now, the true arcade experience has been a little more elusive. There's something about having an upright video game cabinet, and playing on arcade hardware that gives the game that extra sense of being right in the arcades of my youth. There are many sites out there that have different plans for building a MAME arcade cabinet from scratch, but most read like a post-mortem for how the author pieced together their particular setup. And what if you just want to convert an old (non-working, I hope) cabinet into a MAME arcade cabinet? Lots of information is out there, but where do you start? Project Arcade is an excellent introduction for building your own MAME arcade cabinet from scratch, and compiles lots of material into one comprehensive book.

Project Arcade is split up in to five parts. The first part describes the planning process, and comprises complete plans for building an arcade cabinet from scratch. The second, third, and fourth parts are a list of parts and design decisions for the hardware for your MAME arcade cabinet, from the control panel and computer, to the speakers and monitor. The fifth part is a summary of various "off-the-shelf" solutions for purchasing a complete MAME-ready arcade cabinet, as well as links to other "inspirational" projects. Obviously, if you're building the MAME arcade cabinet from the wood up, and outfitting it with your own hardware, then most of the book will be applicable to you. I found all sections to be very valuable, and regardless of which direction I take (build or buy) I'll be more informed when I finally devise my plans and make my purchases.

One thing that stood out in Project Arcade was the thoroughness of the book. Unlike some "build your own arcade books", Project Arcade contains complete plans for an arcade cabinet, from start to finish, including lists of all of the materials. I unfortunately didn't build the cabinet, and am not an expert on woodworking, but the plans looked complete and well thought out. At the very least, it left me with the impression that this was something that I could likely handle with some help. The part I am a little more familiar with (the electronics) was quite fascinating. The book catalogs a great deal of hardware available to the arcade-cabinet builder, and there were parts that I didn't know were available, such as screw-terminal keyboard adapters (no more taking apart cheap keyboards for me). The author details many different joysticks, trackballs, and button choices available, with thoughtful discussion on the pros and cons of each choice. I felt through most of the book like I was being guided by someone who was passionate about building excellent MAME arcade cabinets, and had a lot of knowledge to share. Even the section on pre-made cabinets was carefully put together, with the benefits of each cabinet design explained thoroughly. There are also copious amounts of photos, so you'll know exactly what it is you're looking at. Also, where applicable, there are diagrams and charts to aid and assist.

Unfortunately, the strengths of Project Arcade are also part of its weaknesses. There are a LOT of parts described in the book. After a few pages of the same type of part, my mind started to wander. While the descriptions are comprehensive and insightful, I found myself after a while thinking "I get it already". Detailed descriptions of taking apart keyboards and soldering to them to me seemed obvious, but I can see why the author decided to take the time to explain the process more thoroughly for those who may not be as comfortable taking apart something electronic. Also, the book focused mostly on the hardware for building a MAME arcade cabinet. I would have appreciated the same depth of discussion on the software available to complete the project, mostly because I think the author could have brought some very insightful recommendations on what software to use with the MAME arcade cabinet.

When I build my MAME cabinet, be it a conversion of an old (non-working) cabinet, or from scratch, Project Arcade will definitely be the book I use on that project. While the descriptions can be a bit verbose, the book delivers a very thorough and insightful perspective on what I should be looking for when envisioning what my completed MAME cabinet should be. Much like a do-it-yourself book for remodeling your bathroom, the book can only provide you guidance; the finished project is up to your creativity and imagination. Project Arcade is that guidance to building yourself the perfect MAME arcade cabinet."

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Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken