Gambling on Space

Last week Obama introduced the new United States budget– which notably kills the American space program. There is one way the zombie that is NASA can return from the dead: a lottery. NASA has been in the sick ward for some time. Few come to visit these days. The Shuttle is a flying Betamax of technolgy. NASA has been reduced to finding parts on eBay. Perhaps the only thing George W Bush did I concur with was give NASA a reboot. The proposed Constellation Program was Apollo on steroids. After all, we have computers, CAD, and iPods so let’s use that awesome technology to go to the moon. Using proven rocket technolgy from the design of Saturn V and Soyuz rockets, the Ares would take us back to the moon. It might have, but now the money and interest is gone. This has been the problem with manned spaceflight since […]

Only NanoBot STDs Can Save the Whales!

Whale penises are big these days.  (Pun!) Perhaps the greatest metric of humankind’s power is that not only have we trashed fat tracts of the 30% of the Earth that we run around on but we’ve somehow managed to screw up the 70% we can’t even live in.  Yes friend, the ocean’s got problems.  Human impact has crashed populations of sea life, leaving us in a situation where once common fish on the menu may be extinct within our lifetimes.  Meanwhile, sushi is more popular than ever, especially among the well-informed and well-meaning types most likely to cry while watching The Cove. While river dolphins are undeniably fucked, ocean dolphins are plentiful enough to use as jet ski ramps, if that’s your cup of tea, without danger of wiping them out.  The most compelling reason not to eat dolphin is that they are a high-end predator and thus accumulate dangerous […]

Gristleism. December.

Oh man, old man Veer is gonna be livid when he sees I scooped him on this but this is too good not to share immediately: there’s a Throbbing Gristle version of the Buddha Machine on its way.  It’s called Gristleism Yes, that’s right.  Gristly loops of audio-gnashing goodness will be emitted from handheld devices across the land come December when this new iteration of the Buddha Machine drops with more loops and a wider range of pitches than the original versions. Now, I had plans to hook my iPod up to a homemade ring mod wired into a mic outside and pipe it all through some pliers-prepared dollar store speakers to get my dissonance fix but now there’s a handy consumer device to wipe the sinful bland audio of the world around me from my brainpan.  About.  Bloody.  Time. The website for the thing looks like they have a […]

Manners are the Weapon

Last week’s pop science debut of the remains of the early hominid species Ardipithecus ramidus was notable for a variety of reason’s, not the least of which was the secrecy and slow, careful approach of the scientists involved, so different from the half-baked, chuck out speculation for the slavering masses approach of so much of what crops up in my internet drain trap.  I particularly liked Carl Zimmer‘s summary of the findings, with this paragraph catching my eye: White and his colleagues  found so many teeth of different Ardipithecus individuals that they could compare male and female canines with some confidence. The male teeth turn out to be surprisingly blunted. This result suggests that hominids shifted away from a typical ape social structure early in our ancestry. If this was a result of males forming long-term bonds with females and helping raise young, this shift was able to occur while […]