Scientific American Podcast

Science researchers, students, and enthusiasts now have a comprehensive and reputable source of science news in audio format since Scientific American has started its own podcast.

Scientific American Podcast

About the host:

Join host Steve Mirsky each week as he explores the latest developments in science and technology through interviews with leading scientists and journalists.


Episode 1:
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie reflects on the Korean stem cell debacle; the National Inventors Hall of Fame announces this year's inductees; and evolution defender Eugenie Scott discusses the importance of the decision in the recent Dover evolution trial. Also: hear outtakes from the CSI show you're never going to see on TV.

Scandal at NASA - Censorship of Scientific Research by Bush Appointee

According to the New York Times, a 24 year old Presidential appointee to the press office at NASA, George Deutsch, resigned this week when it was reported that Deutsch not only faked his resume but more importantly had been censoring scientific publications produced at NASA by applying a religious Creationist rewrite of technical research. This corruption included changing all references to The Big Bang to be replaced by Big Bang Theory (where theory is intended in the vernacular, as in "oh, its just a theory", rather than a scientific framework which best explains the facts and observations); moreover, according to the New York Times this requirement was enforced by Deutsch in a memo that said:

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion. It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator. This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most"


NASA's Administrator Michael D. Griffin has since called for "scientific openness" in this quote from the New York Times:
"It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."


Read the full article in the February 4, 2006 New York Times.

Additional Information:

See also:

Ice Climbing, Winter Hiking, Rock Climbing, Snorkeling, and Copper Canyon

Over the winter holiday, I had the opportunity to spend some time scanning in many of my old photographs from various trips. I've finally managed to put them together in online photo galleries:

Brandeis Mountain Club, Ice Climbing on Arethusa Falls
The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. The highest waterfall in New Hampshire. Brandeis Mountain Club guided by Kurt Winkler and Ian Turnbull of Mountain Guides Alliance. January, 1999.Read the full story


Brandeis Mountain Club, Winter Hiking on Mt Moosilauke
The Brandeis Mountain Club spends a couple days camping and hiking in New Hampshire's western White Mountains to climb Mt. Moosilauke in February, 1999.


Towson University's Project Marj
Project Marj was run by Towson State University modeled on the Outward Bound experience to build teamwork, leadership, and many related skills intended to assist personal development during the college experience and throughout life. We spent a full week camping and hiking long days throughout Shendandoah National Park, Virginia. August, 1990


Swimming with Manatees in Crystal River, Florida
Biology students from Towson State University spend a week in Florida, January, 1994.


Copper Canyon, Mexico
Copper Canyon, also known as Las Barrancas del Cobre, is Mexico's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. You can take the train from Chihuahua through high mountains to arrive at Hotel Divisadero. August, 1995


Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador
Marine Biology class at the Bahamian Field Station on the eastern most island in the Bahamas. This place currently known as the Gerace Research Center. Towson State University 1991.

Backup Fiasco: Short Lifespan for CDs

I've been considering how to improve the backups of my personal digital library such as photos, music, files, and other data after reading a story that's been widely circulated since last week. An IBM researcher estimates the lifespan of CD-R discs to be a mere 2-5 years, depending on factors such as heat, humidity, and light.

Storage expert warns of short life span for burned CDs


I'm considering options such as a 300 GB, 600 GB, or 1 TB Maxtor Hard Drive, maybe two of them in fact. To prevent bit rot I could transfer all the data from one megadrive to the other every couple of years, back and forth to write the data fresh. Of course, just like genetic mutations, with frequent copying some variation is introduced due to minor copy errors.

[steven@macromedia /work]$ shutdown -h +360 'Going on sabbatical. Please log off'

Like many others at Macromedia, its my turn for a long sabbatical, although I've been eligible for over a year. For the next six weeks, until September 12th, I'll be out of the office. I suspect that this is the first and the last time I'll be able to take such an extended leave.

I plan to spend the first 3 weeks at home, biking, swimming, reading, and blogging. Some of my objectives include reading parts of several technical books including one on Eclipse which has a chapter on building plugins, one on building Dashboard Widgets on Mac OSX, and one on Photoshop CS. I may take some time to read up SELinux, too.

During this last month I've been reading Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, which I highly recommend, so I hope to finish that up. I think that Friedman's book is complemented by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, and by Spencer Well's The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, but best if read (or viewed) starting with Wells and finishing with Friedman. If I find a day to spare, I think I'll finally sit myself down to watch the whole 8 hour series Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.

During the second half of my sabbatical, I'll be in Barcelona, Spain and then in the high Pyrenees. My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony two years ago and now we will be having a formal ceremony in a 12th century church in a small mountain village near the border with France, close to Pico Aneto, the highest mountain in Spain. I used Ray's BlogCFC to create a dual English/Spanish informational website to assist the guests.

If you're not familiar with the region, check this out. Its a small Javascript app that zooms in on Barcelona and the Pyrennes, which I made for those who will be travelling from the US. It's a little slow in MSIE, but great in Firefox. This was before Google Earth came out, so I was trying to provide a way for non-technical people to get their bearings.

shutdown -h +360 "Going on sabbatical. Please log off"
Broadcast message from root (pts/1)
(Fri Jul 29 11:56:35 2005):
Going on sabbatical. Please log off
The system is going DOWN for system halt in 6 hours!

ColdFusion Bloggers BOF @ CFUNITED 2005

CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005 CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005 CFUNITED ColdFusion Bloggers BOF 2005

Here's a photo to put some names to faces if you're not already familiar with the bloggers that attended a Birds of a Feather session at last week's CFUNITED ColdFusion conference. Frankly, I can't recall everything that was discussed there, but Jared's summary is up on FusionAuthority to help fill in some details. Just for fun I tried some art that might make a nice album cover or possibly a poster for next year's Bloggers BOF.

While we missed a few well known bloggers at the BOF such as Ray Camden, Rob Brooks-Bilson, and Tony Weeg, here's a short list of some of those who turned out:



I see Tony thought it was a great networking experience... I certainly enjoyed meeting all of you.

A French Asylum on the Susquehanna River in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania

Wyalusing Asylum Panorama over Susquehanna River


ASYLUM: A settlement of French Royalists who fled the French Revolution in 1793, was established in the valley directly opposite this marker. It was laid out and settled under the direction of Viscount de Noailles and Marquis Antoine Omer Talon. It was hoped that Queen Marie Antoinette might here find safety. Among many distinguished visitors to this place were Louis Phillipe, Duke of Orleans, later King of France, Prince de Talleyrand, Duke de Montpensier and the Duke de la Rochefoucauld Liancourt.

[More]

Movie Meme

Taking a clue from Leslee, here's my own take on the Movie Meme...

Total number of films I own on DVD and video:
Looking at the two bookshelves on either side of the living room TV, Id say there must be over 200 DVDs right there. This includes perhaps 100 movies from the states, and 50 foreign films including mostly Almodovar and Amenabar films, but theres the odd French films in there too including almost all of the Audrey Tautou films and an old favorite Betty Blue. The other 50 DVDs are of the educational variety such as the Carl Sagan series Cosmos, the PBS series on String Theory called The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a whole bunch of Nova episodes, the 2001 PBS 6 hour series on Evolution, the 4 hour Ken Burns special on Lewis and Clark, several NASA/Space Travel type shows like Origins, and the Revolution OS flick which traces the development of Linux and includes curious interviews with Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and of course Linus Torvalds. Among the VHS tapes, I still have my very first VHS purchase, Jeremiah Johnson, and my most recent VHS purchase, the Ernest Shackleton 6 part series starring Kenneth Brannigan(?).

Last film I bought:
Just this week the most recent addition to our DVD collection came in from Amazon... Northern Exposure, Season 3. This television series was a centerpiece to my twenties. The story as a whole further compelled me to travel to Alaska several times, although the filming was done in Roslyn, Washington outside Seattle where I had to stop and have a beer in The Brick,and I did manage to spend a couple days in Talkeetna, AK where the series was supposedly based on. Check out my photos. Only this past year has the NX series been available on DVD. Previously, while fearing that I would never obtain a video archive of the series, I bought a few key episodes that were available on VHS from independent vendors on Amazon. I paid $20-45 for individual episodes that I felt were most memorable, including "Northern Lights" from season 1 and "Thanksgiving" from series 3. The most inspiring character to me was Chris Stevens, the self-taught, quasi-hippi/biker from a wrecked home in West Virginia that elevated himself to the Cicelys poet laureate, DJ, lay philosopher. I remember frantically writing down and later researching all the literary fragments that were used by the Chris Stevens role. There was even a book published containing only the musings, quips, and quotes of Chris Stevens, : Chris in the Morning: Love, Life, and the Whole Karmic Enchilada. By season 5 the NX writers were jumping the shark, and as much as I loved the series I could hardly bring myself to watch with the new doctor and all. I missed the final episode Tranquility Base, which ended with the folky Our Town by Iris Dement, so I guess it will be a year or so before its available on DVD.

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Sys-con's Robert Diamond is very accommodating

So after my mini-rant late last night when I found a crappy photo of me up on MXDJ, Robert Diamond dropped me a note to smooth things out, and he asked for a photo that I would approve of to be used in lieu of said crappy photo. Nice guy! Thanks Robert!

I made the recommendation that they only pick up my ColdFusion RSS feed since that is what's relevant on MXDJ, not my Spain photos, rants, or biology blogs, and I even whipped up my own graphic to replace said crappy photo.







Voila! I love Adobe Photoshop :-)

I made this from a photo of me standing on Sentinel Bridge in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if they scribbled a mustache, a missing tooth, and a eye patch on it ;-)

(note to self: use more emoticons to show I don't bite)

So, my formal apologies for being a weener and picking apart their website, and a big Thank You for asking!

Massachusetts Legislature Rejects Governor's Amendments to Stem Cell Bill

Following up on my earlier blog post, the Boston Globe reports that the Governor's proposed changes to the Stem Cell bill were firmly rejected. Whoo hoo! One such amendment was an archaic definition of the beginning of life as the moment of conception.

The passing of this bill will help establish Massachusetts as a state that's serious about Biotechnology and Science, and will help keep scientists from moving elsewhere such as California which passed a similar bill which actually funded stem cell research last year.

Read more about it.

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