23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Engineering Away Extinction, Ecological Functioning

Or might the threatened animal be just one of several subspecies that all perform approximately the same ecological function? In that case its extinction might be inconsequential. That was the reality when the Galapagos giant tortoise ‘Lonesome George’ died in June 2012 and was mourned worldwide. Dubbed ‘the rarest living creature’, he was (probably) the last of his subspecies. Ecologists shrugged. Taxonomists shrugged. There are 10 more subspecies of Galapagos tortoise. Their populat...
  1  notes

The American Chestnut is an example of engineering life to thrive and refill its function in the ecosystem. Tortoises are other examples.

23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invasive Species Increase Biodiversity

Life becomes different, and it carries on. Since the majority of invasive species are relatively benign, they add to an island’s overall biodiversity. The ecologist Dov Sax at Brown University in Rhode Island points out that non-native plants have doubled the botanical biodiversity of New Zealand – there are 2,104 native plants in the wild, and 2,065 non-native plants. Ascension Island in the south Atlantic, once a barren rock deplored by Charles Darwin for its ‘naked hideousness’, no...
Folksonomies: environmentalism ecology
Folksonomies: environmentalism ecology
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 How Metroid Forces Players to Remember the Whole World

Whenever a Metroid player aquires a new power-up, her mind races back in time in a way not unlike what happens at a turning point in a movie. When a secret is revealed we are forced back through the story to mentally review everything we've seen so far, sometimes changing the interpretation of entire scenes. [...] Since the player never completely leaves an area behind and forgets about it, the game world constantly expands in the mind of the player. By never completely exhausting an area b...
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invisible Pink Unicorn

It is common when discussing the Invisible Pink Unicorn to point out that because she is invisible, no one can prove that she does not exist (or indeed that she is not pink). This is a parody of similar theistic claims about God—that God, as creator of the universe, is not subject to its laws and thus not physically detecting him tells us nothing about his existence or lack thereof. The Invisible Pink Unicorn is an illustration which attempts to demonstrate the absurdity of citing attribute...
Folksonomies: secularism
Folksonomies: secularism
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Pastafarianism

Most of us do not believe a religion – Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – requires literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment. That is, we can be part of a community without becoming indoctrinated. There are many levels of belief. By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma. That is, there are no strict rules and regulations, there are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say i...
Folksonomies: secularism
Folksonomies: secularism
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Apathism

Apatheism (/ˌæpəˈθiːɪzəm/ a portmanteau of apathy and theism/atheism), also known as pragmatic atheism or practical atheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity. An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may ...
Folksonomies: secularism
Folksonomies: secularism
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invoking God to Explain Ignorance is Unproductive

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God's handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout. ut a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when ...
Folksonomies: science religion
Folksonomies: science religion
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Write With Style

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style. These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bri...
Folksonomies: writing style
Folksonomies: writing style
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Why Do We Like Certain Tunes or Understand Certain Senten...

Contrast two answers to the question, Why do we like certain tunes? Because they have certain structural features.Because they resemble other tunes we like.   The first answer has to do with the laws and rules that make tunes pleasant. In language, we know some laws for sentences; that is, we know the forms sentences must have to be syntactically acceptable, if not the things they must have to make them sensible or even pleasant to the ear. As to melody, it seems that we only know som...
  1  notes
 
23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Human Propensity for Making More Complicated Things Out o...

A child stacks and packs all kinds of blocks and boxes, lines them up, and knocks them down. What is that all about? Clearly, the child is learning about space! But how on earth does one learn about time? Can one time fit inside another? Can two of them go side by side? In music, we find out! It is often said that mathematicians are unusually involved in music, but that musicians are not involved in mathematics. Perhaps both mathematicians and musicians like to make simple things more complic...
  1  notes