Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hobbits exist,.... wait,.. no they don't

Perhaps you have heard in the past year or so about the discovery of so-called hobbits at Flores Island in Indonesia. The claim was that little people had lived there up to several thousand years ago. This claim cause quite a stir in the anthropological and archeological world among other disciplines.

A new report identifies these "hobbits" as normal modern humans. I won't explain it as I wouldn't do it much justice. And I'm sure there will be some kind of rebuttal. But it is interesting and underscores interpretation problems in science. Many discoveries, like the Flores people, deserve a multi-discipline approach. It is up to the methodologies of science to get it right. Perhaps with an event like this, a rush to press is immature. It can make or nreak a scientists career. Or it can do both. I'll have to keep my eye on this story as I'm sure it isn't over yet. We've certainly seen much debate over hominid species over the decades.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prepare for the New Physics

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

- Albert Einstein

On September 10th the tests on the Large Hadron Collider will begin. This structure is probably one of the greatest achievements of engineering in history. That is, if it answers the deep questions it seeks to find. We'll begin to find out rather soon. With all the hoopla about mini-black holes and possible demise of our planet, I think it's time to fire this baby up.
It's amazing to think that our own curiosity about the nature of the universe is so strong that we have engineered massive instruments to aid in seeking the answers. There must be something about the human condition that begs these answers. I think it is quite an intriguing and awe-inspiring undertaking. And after many years at a standstill in physics, perhaps this will shed light on the origins of matter. Look for physics to change, perhaps drastically, in the preceding years.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bug Identified - Tobacco Hornworm

The last post contains a picture is of a Tobacco Hornworm. Funny since I'm not growing tobacco. There are actually tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms. they look similar but the tobacco hornworm is identified by seven white stripes and a typically red "horn". The tomato hornworm looks very similar but has eight stripes and a typically black "horn". My sources say to pluck this and remove it from the garden, because it apparently feasts on my tomato plants. Oh boy.

On top of that there is likely more of them. Wonderful. And I thought it was just this harmess, wonderful, LARGE caterpillar hanging out for a photo op. The things you learn.

Here is one of my sources

By the way this is what they turn in to.

And I'm pretty sure I saw my cat wrestling with one recently.

Insect in my Garden- Huge Barbed Caterpillar

You never know what you might discover if you never go out and look at things. I've been thinking about this as I've started this blog. And what do you know, I found this little, uh, .. big critter clinging to a branch of my tomato plants. It has a barb at the top (or bottom) of its body. Not exactly sure which end is up.

Either way, it was really interesting and something I've never seen before. Anyone know what it is??? I certainly don't as of right now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From Chaos to slightly less chaos

I wanted to start a science blog. But I knew that I would stray from the science a bit. I also want to incorporate personal subjective experience, and we know how this begins to depart from science. Science is dedicated to understanding and improving knowledge by way of repeated observation, testing, developing hypotheses, interpresting data and so forth. You'll definitiely find a lot of science related material here, but it won't end there.

I find in our society, American society that is, we have a packaged reality. We are reminded daily of what to buy. We are told and reminded how we should look. Continuing on we are molded into perfect consumers. We are lambasted by commercialism. We understand what to wear, what to eat, what kind of car to drive, that we should go to work 5 days a week, trust our government, and what is important. Apparently what IS important is Britanny Spears, Brad and Angelina's babies, political marital infidelity, and how we can all look more attractive.

It is difficult to sum up the messages we hear everyday, but most of them display aspects of controversy and entertainment. We somehow think we are truly informed because we read the paper everyday and watch the news and surf the net. However, I find that we are not truly informed, we are closer to being programmed. It makes life somewhat simpler for many because it is easier to be told what to do and how to act than to actually make these decisions for ourselves.

So, in turn I thought I would try and make some sense out of this "storm" of societal and domestic pressures. This blog is to find the interesting things in life that we don't often hear about. In fact, honestly, it is a venue for me to follow interests of mine. Science is a large part of this. I wonder how many people understand the unbelievable things we are doing in space. And what it took to get there. And where it may lead us. On the flip side, I'd also like to write about non-science stuff as well like music, art, and experience. I'm not entirely sure where I will even venture. But it is time for me to explore my own personal sense of clarity among the chaos that is our everyday lives. No time like the present to start. I hope if you discover this blog somehow that you will enjoy what you read.