It's been a busy couple weeks since my last shared items from Google Reader update. Sorry I took so long!
- Obama ended the ban on stem-cell research funding. Things that are stupid about the idiots who are against stem-cell funding:
- The things being used for research are blobs of cells. They're less human than a patch of dry skin that flakes off.
- The blobs of cells are incinerated when they aren't used in research. How is incinerating these blobs of cells less bad than using them to learn?
- The assholes love to point out that embryonic stem cells haven't shown as much promise as other types of stem cells... ya know, the types of stem cells that have received government funding for research. If embryonic stem cells are so great, why can't researchers learn things from them when the research isn't being done, huh??? Answer that!
- A chimp at a Swedish zoo hoarded rocks to later throw at people. In other words, the chimp planned for future events. That is very cool.
- These photos of undersea eruptions near Tonga are awesome, moreso after the confirmation that this event wasn't associated with a tsunami or anything.
- Obama ordered his administration to consult with AG Holder before using the content of Bush signing statements (ie, to ignore them unless Holder says otherwise). Mostly awesome news, although he signaled that he might use them himself.
- Diebold admitted that its voting software had a flaw: it failed to record deletion of ballots. Um, that's a pretty big flaw.
- Students who listen to podcasts of lectures outperform students who attend lectures.
- Woohoo! The Texas board of education didn't ammend the science standards to include "strengths and weaknesses" garbage about evolution (an attempt to set natural selection apart as a weak theory, rather than one of the strongest). Hurray, science education survives in Texas!
- Er, survived in Texas. Six hours later, an ammendment to require teachers to tell their students that there are different estimates for the age of the Universe passed 11-3. Ok, technically there are different estimates, but they result in an age of 13.7 +/- 0.12 billion years. The young-Earth creationists on the board think that +/- 0.12 billion is close enough to the +/- 13.7 billion (to three sig figs) that they believe, and want to make sure students have room to think that their nonsense is backed by science.
- In better news, YouTube and a site called Academic Earth have each put together directories of the various educational videos available online. YouTube's offering contains over 200 full courses. Very interesting.
- Sometimes I think Scott Adams is watching me.
- Research for my mecha is almost complete: UT-Dallas scientists have created nanotube-based artificial muscles, and European researchers are making microchips that physically mimic brains (I assume this will be useful for the complex control systems that my mecha will require).
- I want to believe Space Bat survived his trip, and will return one day to save us from Mothra or something.
- The entire Cosmos series is now on Hulu. This needs to get hugely popular, inspiring someone to make a series somewhere near as awesome.
- You can filter google image searches by color by adding "&imgcolor=COLORNAME" (such as "&imgcolor=green") to the end of an image search. Neat!
- User scripts work in the beta (or dev) version of Chrome. I now have subfolder-labels in my gmail inbox. Woot!
- Peter Bregman at the Harvard Business blog says small businesses will win in this economy. I hope he's right.
- On a related note, a BusinessWeek column from 2000 wondering how Google will possibly ever make money (particularly since it's focused purely on search, not on the lucrative portal market like competitors [never heard of them] and [oh yeah, remember altavista?].
- Zenhabits had some good tips for beating procrastination. #7 is best: "Put something you dread more at the top of your to-do list — you’ll put off doing that by doing the other things on your list." I've been using it (combined with Gmail Tasks), and it works like a charm. Well, better than a charm, since charms don't work.
As always, leave your comments on these or anything else below (or on Reader if you use it, with the cool new comment feature).