Friday, July 11, 2008

From the New Scientist bench

Despite its obvious trend toward the political left - New Scientist is still an excellent periodical.
As mentioned before I have been a subscriber for seven years. I recently tossed out a cartload of older issues (much to my wife's pleasure) to make some space around the house (no fear though - older information is made available online to all New Scientist subscribers via a Web archive).

While I make an honest attempt to read every issue (not an easy feat what with the arrival of a new baby and a busy school year before that) I have to admit to being selective at times.
Physics articles almost always grab my fancy (no surprise as I am a Physics teacher). As of late many of these articles have centered around the Multiverse theories and Alternatives to Early Universe Expansion. Particle physics seems to be frozen in a lull (largely due to the funding issues associated with several accelerator projects worldwide - that Higgs Boson Particle sure is stubborn). However the theoretical world is still abuzz, as the String Theorists and their critics mount arguments and counter arguments against one another's potential Theories of Everything.

On another front the Intelligent Design v Darwinian Evolution debate appears to have subsided with the proponents of ID in retreat. Although to jump ahead to a finality may be somewhat premature - see
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926643.300?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=specrt14_head_Evolution%20under%20fire

Global Warming Science continues to take center stage in the magazine - a continuous line of thought that has become tedious. There is a tendency to see Global Warming problems 'eveywhere'. Read the extract below to find out why climate change is bad for bread
http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2008/07/why-global-warming-is-bad-for-bread.html?DCMP=ILC-rhts&nsref=ts19_pic

Some say that global warming may be influenced ironically by cleaner skies (at least in Europe)Mmmm.....
http://environment.newscientist.com/article/mg19926634.800-cleaner-skies-explain-surprise-rate-of-warming.html
Come on lads bring on those particulates.........cheez
You see what I mean.......

I have little patience for many of the psychology studies that try and draw conclusions about an individual's predisposition to religion, political orientation, mate selection and regard much (but not all) of this as junk science. Nevertheless every once and a while these are great for a chuckle - see http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14292-referees-award-more-points-when-they-see-red.html
Does this explain some of the Soviet/East German Dominance in the Cold War Era Olympics?
Methinks not.

Anyway thats enough for now..........I will continue the theme later.

G.
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