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Humanity’s greatest challenge? Being all too wont to wander the primrose-strewn paths of the mind, perhaps?

  • Leading thinkers ponder the greatest challenges of the next 50 years.
  • Fragments of world’s oldest Christian manuscript found in Egyptian monastery.
  • Opportunity watches the clouds drift by — on Mars. Cool videos.
  • It’s Bubble O seven: James Bond’s underwater car becomes a reality.
  • Magnetic Reconnection: Thunderblogger Donald E Scott says astrophysicists have no excuse for trying to reinvent the wheel.
  • Gecko ‘begs’ insect for honeydew.
  • Earth’s oceans are vast, but not big enough to escape humans.
  • Phytomining and the Biomass Backlash.
  • Cannabis casualties, hybrid cars, and gamma rays in your brain.
  • If you’re wondering whether the media is actually this confused about science (to put it charitably), or trying to confuse us, read this (’cause such rare and pricey candor deserves a bigger audience).
  • Nonsense, dressed up as neuroscience, is being peddled to school children by their ‘credulous and apparently moronic teachers’. (Right up there with video game doping.) A better explanation of the research the first article talks about can be found here…
  • How extended explanations in refutations affect their acceptance, or, what negative political campaigning has to do with Pride and Prejudice.
  • Evolution in the classroom: Willful ignorance is the product of more than just ‘a change over time’.
  • Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge? The Age of American Unreason is available at Amazon US & UK.
  • What have we become?: Thoughts on Some Lessons From The Underground History of American Education.
  • New research shows that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals.
  • When and why did languages become untranslatable? A proposed answer.
  • Study finds some thoughts really do require language.
  • Cognitive Dissonance: A recent example brings the original case study to mind.
  • How the ‘engineering mentality’ produces terrorists.
  • Wired‘s Lore Sjöberg recently discovered that ‘the mind is a cruel, lying, unreliable bastard that can’t be trusted with even an ounce of responsibility.’
  • Dopamine and Orgasm.
  • Australian scientists are developing a remote-controlled contraceptive implant for men. Guys and their gadgets…
  • Jonah Lehrer on the psychology and neuroscience of back pain.
  • How to get smarter, and (incidentally) save the world.
  • The Peace Drug: Post-traumatic stress disorder had destroyed Donna Kilgore’s life. Then experimental therapy with MDMA, a psychedelic drug better known as ecstasy, showed her a way out. Was it a fluke — or the future? Editor’s Note. Ironic, don’t you think, considering this next article…
  • One thousand lives a month: A renowned researcher estimates that 22,000 patients could have been saved if the Food and Drug Administration had removed the heart surgery drug Trasylol two years ago, when his study revealed widespread death associated with it. (Video segment from ’60 Minutes’.)
  • Spiritual healing: More hokum, or the ‘missing link’ in medicine?
  • Paranormal investigator called in after sewage workers are stalked by ‘zombie’ in underground tunnels.
  • Officials mystified by three bodyless right feet, each in a sneaker, that have washed up on the shores of British Columbia over the past six months.
  • Man says he’s found long-lost civil war gold, but the state won’t let him dig.
  • Newly-found documents related to JFK assassination expected to be grist for conspiracy theorists.
  • China: From basket case to superpower in 30 years.
  • How Attila the Hun, aka ‘The Scourge of God’, ground the whole of Europe to dust. If you’re into historical fiction, try William Napier’s Attila trilogy (books one, two & three) at Amazon UK.
  • We were stardust, we were golden: Memories of Australian rock festivals past.
  • The Wiki History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less. Why am I suddenly humming the melody to We Didn’t Start the Fire?
  • How imperfect symmetry shaped the universe we know.

Thanks, Rick.

Quote of the Day:

…We shall not try to make these people [the lower and middle classes] or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for the embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple… we will organize children… and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

Rockefeller’s General Education Board, Occasional Letter Number One, 1906, regarding public education in the US.