Flight Papers

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Archive for the ‘SCIENCE!’ Category


Monday, August 16th, 2010

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Dear Internet,

I just ate a piece of pizza. I know that it is making me fat. I am aware that it contains polyunsaturated something-or-other, hydrolyzed this-or-that, and also sugar and, god help me, corn.

I know that half of what I just ate is giving me cancer even as the other half is preventing it. I know the wheat is shredding my intestines even as it murders my children. I know that the corn is genetically engineered and that it’s giving me cancer, because as everyone knows, genes cause cancer. I know that I probably need more B12 or B7 or K or something, I know that fructose is the new cyanide, I know that I’m probably allergic to goddamned near everything, and yes, I know that if I add a teaspoon of sugar to my tea I may as well be mainlining crystal meth.

Oh, and hey look! Something about gut bacteria. My gut bacteria, or possibly my lack thereof, are making me fat and maybe also killing me. Okay, I know that now, too.

I know that I need to work out more. God, do I ever I know that. I know that I should be working out RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND. (And yes, I know that the aspartame I just sipped in my diet coke is killing me in exactly the same way as sugar, but with a funny aftertaste.)

But you know what, Internet? I just. Don’t. Care. The aggregate cost of filtering, processing, and understanding a constantly-shifting stream of breathless information about THIS thing which causes toe cancer in genetically engineered lab rats or THAT thing which prevents aging in soybean nematodes—let alone the vast array of things that affect my chakral alignment or the quantum moment of my vitreous humors—has just become far higher than any conceivable benefit.

When you can show me a living person who is 300 years old and who doesn’t look a day over, say, 50, then we can talk.

Until then: please, please, shut the fuck up.

~ v.

p.s. I either ALREADY HAVE brain cancer, or I NEVER WILL. Either way, unless you’re whining about the antenna in the fucking iPhone 4, please shut the fuck up about cell phones, too. Actually, on second thought, don’t say anything about the iPhone 4, either.

Sadly, coffee appears not to be an LSD analog.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

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It’s very disappointing, truth to say. Although I suspect my kidneys (and employer) will quickly become much happier with me.

Aside: In high school, I was once hospitalized for overdosing on caffeine (nine shots of espresso and 1.6g of caffeine in pill form). The only voices I heard were those of concerned (or at least slightly put-out) hospital personnel, and that of my mother. The punchline to this story should rightly be, “And I have never had a cup since,” but really, I think that was merely the beginning of a drug-infused spiral that lasts to this day. I expect I shall begin shooting Vivarin any minute now.

Afraid of productivity?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

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Wikipedia has a list of common misconceptions. As with everything else on Wikipedia, it is vaguely interesting, oddly compelling, and oh my gods what do you mean it’s five pm?

Now, you too can be the life / death of parties by knowing such Mythbuster-friendly tidbits as follows:

  • Different tastes can be detected on all parts of the tongue[18], with slightly increased sensitivities in different locations depending on the person, contrary to the popular belief that specific tastes only correspond to specific mapped sites on the tongue.[19] The original “tongue map” was based on a mistranslation by a Harvard psychologist of a discredited German paper[20] that was written in 1901.
  • People do not use only ten percent of their brains. This myth is thought by some to have emerged after the discovery of glial cells in the brain, or it could have been the result of some other misunderstood or misinterpreted legitimate scientific findings, or even been the result of speculation by self-help gurus.[21]
  • It is not true that air takes the same time to travel above and below an aircraft’s wing.[38] This misconception is widespread among textbooks and non-technical reference books, and even appears in pilot training materials. If this were truly the case, there would be no lift generated by the wings and the plane wouldn’t fly.
  • Lemmings do not engage in suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating. This misconception is due largely to the Disney film White Wilderness, which shot many of the migration scenes on a large turntable in a studio. Photographers later pushed the lemmings off a cliff using a broom.

As with most things Wiki, I happened upon this list while reading the page on What the Bleep Do We Know, which atop its fantastically typographically annoying title, sounds like precisely the kind of quantum bullshit about which my views are largely unprintable.

Of course, I have a deep, burning urge to see the thing. Or rather, I have developed such an urge coincident with my realization that we could quickly devise a hilariously lush-friendly What the Bleep drinking game.

He is an expert, after all.

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

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Is Lost’s Island Electromagnetic Enough to Move Itself Through Space? Time-Travel Expert Says It’s Not Impossible.

Well, thank goodness. I was wondering about the plausibility of moving an island through an artificially-created wormhole, but if an expert—especially an expert in that vaunted and well-founded field of time travel—thinks it’s possible, then I am TOTALLY ON BOARD.

I’ve been slumping into illness, hence posts being a bit sporadic of late. The blitzkrieg seems to be working, however, so I should be on my posting feet again soon.

Wrong Things

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

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There’s a somewhat-interesting article in the NYT magazine that’s making the rounds today, in which Steven Pinker describes his theory of the basic components of morality. Pinker is kindof a SCIENTIST!—distinguished from unexlamatory scientists by their propensity to write mass-media books which contain all of: experimentally-collected evidence, their personal theories, little to no connection between the two—and if that’s what you’re looking for, the article doesn’t disappoint. It’s an interesting read anyway, significantly because the article presents a bunch of moral thought experiments, and it’s always funny to see how well your morals align with the supposed norm.