Archive for 'Arts and Science'

Tardigrades on Far-Off Planets, Measuredly, Theoretically [research study]

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

One can rate far-off planets by their cosiness—especially the extremes, good or bad, of coziness—as homes or potential homes to tardigrades. That’s what this study tries to do:

Tardigrade Indexing Approach on Exoplanets,” Madhu Kashyap Jagadeesh, Milena Roszkowska, and Łukasz Kaczmarek, Life Science in Space Research, epub 2018. The authors, at Jyoti Nivas College, India, and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, explain:

“Finding life on other worlds is a fascinating area of astrobiology and planetary sciences. Presently, over 3800 exoplanets, representing a very wide range of physical and chemical environments, are known. Scientists are not only looking for traces of life outside Earth, but they are also trying to find out which of Earth’s known organisms (ex: tardigrades (water bears)) would be able to survive on other planets. In our study, we have established a metric tool for distinguishing the potential survivability of active and cryptobiotic tardigrades on rocky-water and water-gas planets in our solar system and exoplanets.”

Maybe Evolutionary Psychology

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Here is an essay for use by evolutionary psychologists. Written by Alice Shirell Kaswell, its title is “Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.”

Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe?

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe (maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe) maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe: maybe maybe; maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe.

This essay was inspired in part by Doug Zonker’s classic treatise “Chicken Chicken Chicken,” and in part by the field of evolutionary psychology. It is, maybe, excerpted from Alice Shirell Kaswell’s book (now in prep) called Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.

BONUS UPDATE: “Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Sizes of cash prizes for science awards (up to $ ten trillion)

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

ABC News compared the amount of money given to various prize winners. Their report bears the headline “Chart of the day: How cash prizes for prestigious science awards stack up against reality television winners.” They include this remark:

But spare a thought for those who receive Ig Nobel Prizes. The awards — honouring achievements that make you laugh, then think — came with 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

This is the chart ABC prepared:This is a picture of a ten trillion dollar bill:

Automated password generation of offensive expressions

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) offers users an online ‘Choose and Book’ service for making appointments. When a user creates an account, the software automatically creates a two word passphrase – but not everyone is happy. Professor Simon de Lusignan MSc MD FBCS CITP FRCGP for instance (currently Professor of Primary Care & Clinical Informatics / Chair in Health Care Management / Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Surrey, UK) cites an example provided by a patient :

“The two words generated for this patient were ‘Poppy’ and ‘Cock’. The patients felt this was offensive and complained. ‘Poppycock’ means nonsense or rubbish and is generally used as an expletive. It was first recorded in the mid-19th century in America. It was thought by some to derive from the Dutch word for soft faeces ‘PappekaK’ though the authenticity of this is challenged. Instead it is more likely to be derived from the Dutch expression: ‘Zo fijn als gemalen poppekak’, – used to imply excessive religious zeal; but literally translated meaning ‘As fine as powdered doll s**t’

See: Automated password generation of offensive expressions: Choose and Book and Poppycock Informatics in Primary Care,16:241–2

Note: The professor’s observation is now ten years old. Is the Choose and Book service still generating inappropriate passphrases? If you have been assigned one, please get in touch.

Inventiveness: “The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

“The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”—that’s what the promoters say in promoting their invention called CuloClean. It’s a propulsive bottle cap. The promotional video and crowdfunding campaign, like the device itself, comes with minimal information.

You may find it tricky to flush out information about the people behind CuloClean. Their press kit says only this:  “This is Ana and Guillermo, two young engineers from Madrid (Spain) concerned about the environment and willing to offer an efficient, reusable, discreet and cheap solution to everyone’s intimate hygiene​.”

Their materials make the claim “there hasn’t been until now an actual discreet, portable bidet that can fit in a pocket.” Here is a promotional photo-spread showing the device viewed from three different vantage points:(Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Lluis Pallarés, co-inventor of Babypod, the device that delivers vagina music to pregnant women, for bringing CuloClean to our attention.)