Cluster Map

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here comes Pollyanna again-October 15, 2010

This time we are bringing out the blogs on  Friday because it is World Bloggers Day.
I want to refer you to the nasty blog because it has a long post dealing with water.  The bloggers of the world chose water  as this year's topic.  I do not want to repeat the long rant I put there about access to clean water as a human right, but would like to ask you to read it.
Of course, the most Pollyanna event one might think of happened before our eyes as 33 trapped Chilean miners were brought to the surface after 69 days underground.  I have incredible admiration for these men who managed to survive and get along with one another during this terrible time of burial.  I also salute the Chilean engineers and technicians who brought them up.  It is all a tribute to the human spirit.
This is Nobel Prize season.  The Peace Prize is dealt with on the other blog as well because it involves a major human rights issue.  We will start here with the  prize for medicine given to the man who pioneered in vitro fertilization and enabled countless childless couple to become parents.   Cheers for Dr. Edwards!
The prize of physics went to the developers of graphene which is a fantastic form of carbon, one atom thick that may yet revolutionize technology.  Kudos to Drs. Drs. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, for brilliant work.  Just for the record, Andre Geim was involved in an Ignobel prize  project ten years ago, the levitation of frogs by magnetic fields. .
The literature prize went to a Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa  who is another example of a dissident being recognized more abroad than at home. 

Our Neanderthal cousins have long had a bad press.  It is nice to hear that anthropologists are rethinking the stereotype and are drawing different conclusions.  The Neanderthals were apparently capable of making adjustments to environmental changes without the example of modern humans.

Artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis crafted this re-creation of a Neanderthal woman whose subspecies roamed Eurasia for almost 200,000 years. (Joe Mcnally/getty Images)  

New research is looking into the cerebral means of choosing right or left, albeit not in politics.  It seems that our brains have mechanisms for choosing which hand we use for a given task.

Recently I watched a television program featuring Steven Hawking talking about the universe.  He was fascinating and brilliant and laid out what we must do in order to survive in the long term, i.e. time scale much greater than the 5 billion years we have left to enjoy our Sun and Solar System.  He is a practicing atheist whereas Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal who has just completed a term as President of the Royal Society believes in a peaceful coexistence between science and religion.  He gave an interview that is of interest.
Let us wind down with a new take on evolution from Andy Borowitz    
I also owe you two does of Below the Beltway of Gene Weingarten.  In one of them our hero tries his hand at doggerel poetry  and in another he goes in for a bit of philosophy about mortality 
in a cemetery that is respectfully used as a canine latrine.