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Chris Bush
Lives in Dresden
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Chris Bush

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It's only taken the Catholic church 500 years to join the science party, but better late than never.
Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican
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This seems strikingly similar to the myth of taste bud zones on the human tongue. Told enough times, we're even convinced we taste bitter only at the back and sweet at the front. As long as everyone agrees to agree....
 
In the world of art, architecture, and design, the golden ratio 
has earned a tremendous reputation. Greats like Le Corbusier and Salvador Dalí have used the number in their work. The Parthenon, the Pyramids at Giza, the paintings of Michelangelo, the Mona Lisa, even the Apple logo are all said to incorporate it.

It's bullshit. The golden ratio's aesthetic bona fides are an urban legend, a myth, a design unicorn. Many designers don't use it, and if they do, they vastly discount its importance. There's also no science to really back it up. Those who believe the golden ratio is the hidden math behind beauty are falling for a 150-year-old scam.
The golden ratio is total nonsense in design. Here's why.
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The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.

So why are so many people in a near moral panic over GMOs?
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I've got a hunch these facts mean theory doesn't have a prayer in America.
...But maybe a chance in hell?

We live in a nation where public acceptance of evolution is the second lowest of 34 developed countries, just ahead of Turkey. Roughly half of Americans reject some aspect of evolution, believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs.
This essay is adapted from a piece originally printed in the March/April 2015 issue of Orion. Request a free trial issue of Orion here. To teach evolution at the University of Kentucky is to teach at an institution steeped in the history of defending evolution education. The first effort to pass an anti-evolution law...
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You don't need a strong and competent army to flex your muscles. Ein reiches Reich reicht.
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Chris Bush

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NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies monitors numerous aspects of earth's atmosphere. Using this data, Bloomberg Business has published these animated graphs to help non-climatologists understand the causes of climate change.
Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise
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There's a reason one should never discuss religion, politics or college football in polite society: they trigger that tribal ooga-booga emotional reaction in us, which squelches rational thought. But if democracy should be based on rational discourse, where does that leave us?
 
Americans now discriminate more on the basis of party than on race, gender or any of the other divides we typically think of — and that discrimination extends beyond politics into personal relationships and non-political behaviors.” This according to a study published last year by Stanford and Princeton researchers.  The divide is as fierce as it has been, since… since previous phases of the recurring American Civil War. See: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html

I found this excerpt interesting: “Also of note is that the partisan polarization occurs even though Americans aren’t all that split on policies or ideology. Their partisanship is more tribal than anything — the result of an ill-informed electorate. “In order to have an understanding of the ideology of your party and the opposing party you have to have a lot of information….”
 
And hence, polemicists on both sides (though one far worse than the other) strive to oversimplify and to downplay science. The article blames we, in the electorate.  And sure, some fault lies there.  But history tells us how our ancestors got out of similar phases, in the past.  And it always took just one thing.  One thing that’s needed now.
 
Blue America (the Union) has to wake up, get mad, win the damned thing, turn the nation back toward a scientific and calmly, can-do future… one that pragmatically negotiates, mixing a mostly decent government with even-greater emphasis on joyful-competition and self-reliance... and thus we can restore a blessed, though much-maligned word and process to our tormented land.
The problem with politics isn’t Washington, but a hyper-tribal electorate.
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This is a revealing interactive map showing the second-most spoken language in countries around the world. While it was no surprise to find Spanish holds that position in the US, I did not expect to learn that 60 million Americans - that would be 3/4 the population of Germany - speak a language at home other than English.

Also no surprise is that Germany's Turkish immigrants have established their language as number 2, at just 1.8% of the population.

Spanish is the most common second language throughout [the US], but in several states (Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) French is the most commonly spoken second-language. More than 60 million Americans speak a language at home other than English
The most spoken language in any country is often obvious; usually, it’s the official language of the country. However, you can learn a lot about a country by analyzing its second most spoken language.
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We mentioned this one long ago, and it's time to mention it again: You can download for free the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. They were recorded by Dr. James Kibbie (University of Michigan) on original baroque organs in Leipzig, Germany.
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Good information from a comic source - again

It seems more and more frequent that good reporting is found in places that are at least ostensibly focused on making people laugh rather than making them think. But hey, if humor is an effective way of slipping useful information past our usual defenses of being too busy or too uninterested or too focused on our preconceptions, I'm all for it. 

This piece is a particularly helpful one for those dealing with the wilds of the Internet... which would be everyone here. It offers ways to help clear the nonsense from the sense, ways that are especially helpful because they don't demand a huge amount of specialized skill. Basically, the author is recommending that we treat information encountered online or in other media as we'd treat it if we heard it directly from another person. It's especially helpful that this article is designed to help us understand statistics, which, at least in my anecdotal experience, is one of the most despised, most underestimated, and most often flunked required courses in the basic undergraduate curriculum. 

Here's a good introductory quote: But stats are a mathematical crowbar: a very useful tool in the hands of smart scientists, but one which also can be misused to hurt people and take things and get into positions people shouldn't.

The author also gets major points from me for invoking Sturgeon's Law. 
Behold, eight math-free ways to work out which numbers to ignore.
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Dresden
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Cincinnati - Columbus - Camp Lejeune - Atlanta - Berlin - Mainz - Dresden
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More questions than answers...Okay, only questions.
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I can regularly make people laugh in a foreign language...sometimes intentionally.
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