09 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 Distopian View Praising Second-Hand Knowledge

The first of these was the abolition of respirator. Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the ter...
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Evolving View of Science and Evil

Daedalus begins with an artillery bombardment on the Western Front, the shell bursts nonchalantly annihilating the human protagonists who are supposed to be in charge of the battle. This opening scene epitomizes Haldane's hard-headed view of war. And likewise at the end, when the biologist in his laboratory, "just a poor little scrubby underpaid man groping blindly amid the mazes of the ultramicroscopic," is transfigured into the mythical figure of Daedalus, "conscious of his ghastly mission ...
Folksonomies: evil inequality war science
Folksonomies: evil inequality war science
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07 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Questioning Air Pollution

How should a living organism live? When spring arrives, you open your doors, the wind blows in. The smell of flowers fills the airand colors come back to lifeSometimes when it rains or when it’s foggy out. You can’t help but breathe the air deep into your lungs and experience the feeling of small water droplets filling them up. Both piercingly cold but also pure and fresh. In autumn, you would spend a whole afternoon with a loved one doing absolutely nothing, basking lazily in the sun....
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11 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 How to Talk Math With Kids

Some simple ways to work numbers into the conversation: Note numbers on signs when you’re walking or driving with children: speed limits and exit numbers, building addresses, sale prices in store windows. Ask children to count how many toys they’re playing with, how many books they’ve pulled out to read, or how many pieces of food are on their plate. Use numbers when you refer to time, dates, and temperatures: how many hours and minutes until bedtime, how many weeks and days until a hol...
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Work it into the day-to-day conversation.

24 JUL 2013 by ideonexus

 Cost Benefits of Lead Cleanup

It's difficult to put firm numbers to the costs and benefits of lead abatement. But for a rough idea, let's start with the two biggest costs. Nevin estimates that there are perhaps 16 million pre-1960 houses with lead-painted windows, and replacing them all would cost something like $10 billion per year over 20 years. Soil cleanup in the hardest-hit urban neighborhoods is tougher to get a handle on, with estimates ranging from $2 to $36 per square foot. A rough extrapolation from Mielke's est...
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While it would cost tens of billions to clean up lead in the environment, it would generate a hundred billion in health benefits.

16 JUL 2013 by ideonexus

 O'Neill Cylinders

The O’Neill cylinder is named after an American physicist and space scientist who sought to engage his students by getting them to think about big problems—space settlement, in particular. He also led symposiums where the concepts behind large, permanent space habitats—including the cylinder that bears his name—were hashed out. The basic principle is fairly simple. Construct a cylinder at least half a kilometer in diameter so that it can be rotated at low speed and provide 1 g of art...
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Concept for a space station with gravity.

13 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Dyson Tree

Many species of terrestrial plants, including the skunk cabbage that sprouts in February in the woods of Princeton, New Jersey, where I live, are warm-blooded to a limited extent. For about two weeks the skunk cabbage maintains a warm temperature by rapidly metabolizing starch stored inside the part of its anatomy known as the spadix, which contains the hidden flowers with their male and female structures. According to folklore, the spadix is warm enough to melt snow around it. The evolutiona...
Folksonomies: biology speculation
Folksonomies: biology speculation
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A plant that grows a greenhouse to sustain itself in persistently cold climates.

18 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 The Geoscope

Because the real planet Earth is revolving around its north-south polar axis, so, too, is mini-Earth. They are both thus revolving without effecting any change of the observed position of Polaris—the North Star—in respect to mini-Earth's north pole. Therefore, the observer at the center of the Geoscope feels spontaneously the celestial fixity not only of Polaris but also of all the other stars as seen outwardly through the Geoscope's triangular windows. Because outwardly of Geoscope's equ...
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An enormous proposed model of the Earth that would teach children their orientation on our planet. With such an understanding, the term "sunset" would be replaced with "sunclipse."

28 MAR 2012 by ideonexus

 Using Santa Claus as a Teachable Moment

But as our son Connor began to exhibit the incipient inklings of Kringledoubt, it occurred to me that something powerful was going on. I began to see the Santa paradigm as an unmissable opportunity—the ultimate dry run for a developing inquiring mind. My boy was 8 years old when he started in with the classic interrogation: How does Santa get to all those houses in one night? How does he get in when we don’t have a chimney and all the windows are locked and the alarm system is on? Why do...
Folksonomies: parenting atheism myth
Folksonomies: parenting atheism myth
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Tell the child the fantastic story about Santa Claus, but answer their skeptical questions truthfully.

18 OCT 2011 by ideonexus

 Dinosauria, We

Born like this Into this As the chalk faces smile As Mrs. Death laughs As the elevators break As political landscapes dissolve As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree As the oily fish spit out their oily prey As the sun is masked We are Born like this Into this Into these carefully mad wars Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness Into bars where people no longer speak to each other Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings Born into this Into hospitals which ...
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A poem filled with fantastic imagery of the decline and fall of Western civilization.