News you can use

Quotable quotes:

Today, I thought that I would share this article on the death of rave culture and how Frederic Jameson predicted it, originally posted by Bruce Sterling. But then at Scalzi’s I saw, this, er, piece on why human penises look the way they do. Which led to this particular money shot: Hopefully you’re thinking as an evolutionary psychologist at this point…

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Pimp

the rules of fitness

I’ve been thinking about natural selection a lot, lately (and not just because I picked up Natalie Angier’s The Canon the other day). Turns out Bruce Cohen explains Darwin’s concept of “fitness” pretty well: Survival or mortality selection – Organisms that survive at least to the end of their reproductive phase are fitter than those who don’t, because they’re likely…

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Otaku Academy

Can the Church baptize robots?

I was raised Catholic. I should know the answer to this. But somehow it just never came up, in catechism. If you asked me what various theologians would have to say on the issue, I might be able to speculate (Augustine would likely say no, on the grounds that robots have no soul to save; Aquinas wouldn’t know his own…

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Science can be lame, too.

Since writing more SF, I pay more attention to science. Doing so allows me to examine global conflict and development from another angle, one more intimately connected to reason and research than strained appeals ethics that we are all only presumed to share. My interest in and appreciation for the field consequently makes me twice as baffled and frustrated when…

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News you can use, These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Everything old is new again. Like Lamarckism.

Via Futurismic, we hear of demonstrable Lamarckism in mice: The effects of an animal’s environment during adolescence can be passed down to future offspring, according to two new studies. If applicable to humans, the research, done on rodents, suggests that the impact of both childhood education and early abuse could span generations. The findings provide support for a 200-year-old theory…

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Inside your brain is an abusive soccer dad.

Via Pink Tentacle, some news about one of the mortal sins (and everybody’s favourite Homunculus), envy: New research from Japan shows that the human brain treats feelings of envy like physical pain, while schadenfreude — the pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune — triggers the brain’s reward circuits. The findings, published in the February 13 online edition of Science magazine,…

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Good news, everybody!, News you can use

Build your own supercomputer! With PS3's!

DIY guide now available! Mr. Ashby IM’d me frantically this afternoon to let me know about this little development, and I sent it along to BoingBoing with equal haste: Last year, Khanna’s construction of a small supercomputer using eight Sony-donated Playstation 3 gaming consoles made headlines nationwide in the scientific community. On the consoles, he is solving complex equations designed…

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