Cluster Map

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nice blog for end of June, June 29, 2010

 For the nasty stuff  go to  the old blog...


The round of sixteen, or what some call the 1/8 final, has provided some great football to watch.  It has also shown some rather poor  officiating.  The NFL in the USA (American football) has gone hot and cold on instant replay technology  Now a coach has two challenges per half and is sanctioned if he loses the challenge.  A similar debate on goal line technology has been raging on BBC and elsewhere.  I think a small camera could be embedded in the goal post and be used to confirm all goals, as needed.  OTOH, I do not think we should interrupt the flow of the game for every tough and possibly illegal challenge.  What do you think??  Was a Spanish player off side when the goal against Portugal was scored? 

The French team showed us how not to play in a Mondial.
and how not to behave in public.  Now Sarkozy is just making it worse.
I would hate to see French football suspended from international play because of political interference.

There have been questions raised about the ball used in this World Cup tournament.  Science at CalTech is having  its say about this...It really should not matter for the results since both teams play with the same ball, but perhaps some of the goalkeeper mishaps can be blamed on the ball..  I am reminded of a statement on a can of Wilson tennis balls, "victory with Wilson balls," as if the opponent were playing with Spaldings....
I doubt whether an event like the World Cup tournament could ever be held without complaints about a multitude of sins.  

Have you ever wondered where a word comes from?  Is a preposition a good word to end a sentence with?  Are you saying fiddlesticks as you read my nonsense?  Go to Michael Quinion's blog and enjoy cool stuff.


We have some good news from AVAAZ about the IWC meeting.  This is usually on the rant blog, but I will put it on both this week and hope folks will come up with some cash for the cause.  of protection of whales.
The picture shows our petition being delivered to the Australian  environment minister

Normally the rants go on the bad  blog, but there are three  issues here that are not political and are worthy of attention.  One is the anti-vaccination movement that has struck down
new victims in California,  
another is  the superstition about cell phone dangers and the third is the real danger of genetically modified food.


Now we can get on to the nice stuff.  People have long wondered about the French paradox--why they eat all that good fatty food and the Brits and Yanks get cholesterol and heart attacks.  It has been proposed that speaking English will do you in, but now some light has been shed on a component of wine, resveratrol found in grapes, peanuts and wine   which is apparently  the agent of benefit.   I shall watch the Mondial with wine and peanuts instead of beer and popcorn.  Well, maybe the next games...

Neutrinos are funny little critters and have bugged physicists for a long time.  Now they appear about to stand particle physics on its head.  As if we did not have enough confusion with entanglements and causality in big trouble as I reported a few weeks ago;  Now new experiments are making life interesting for physicists. 

Beware the Pee
Biologists have long noted that different challenge stimuli evoke different reactions in animals in conflict situations.  It now appears that the signals  are in the urine protein composition and the same protein evokes a different reaction according to its source.  Mice will flee from rat or cat protein, but if they sense it from another mouse, they prepare to fight.  Lab mice that have never encountered a cat, for countless generations, panic when exposed to cat MUP (major urinary protein). 

It is nice to report the release of a Sri Lankan journalist who was sentenced to a long prison term for telling the truth about the civil war.  The world wide outcry led, among others, by Amnesty International, caused the government to back down. 

Let us wind up with Below the Beltway and the sort of commencement address I never received.

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