Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reader Info

For the few out there who actually read this blog, you may notice that "new" posts may appear with old dates. This happens because it is easier to collect links as draft postings than it is to actual edit them into a good post. I apologize for the inconvenience.

The Way Educational Financing Should Work

Peer-to-peer lending is an interesting model that may be worth trying.

Is deflation here?

Paul Krugman has warned us about the liquidity trap and deflation. When
there is no inflation the incentive to spend now is reduced. With
deflation today's money will buy more in the future so better to save
than spend. As a result an economy can contract. Is that already upon

Four-leaf clovers for everyone

Now that the gene for four-clovers has been discovered everyone can be lucky.

Organic agriculture better at controlling pests

In a comparison of organic and conventional methods it turns out that organic methods are better at longterm pest control that conventional methods.

You Can't Rely on Your Brain

A study has shown that small perturbations
in a single neuron can cascade everywhere.

"This rapid amplification of spikes means that the brain is extremely
'noisy' -- much, much noisier than computers. Nevertheless, the brain
can perform very complicated tasks with enormous speed and accuracy, far
faster and more accurately than the most powerful computer ever built
(and likely to be built in the foreseeable future). The UCL researchers
suggest that for the brain to perform so well in the face of high levels
of noise, it must be using a strategy called a rate code. In a rate
code, neurons consider the activity of an ensemble of many neurons, and
ignore the individual variability, or noise, produced by each of them."

Multicellular life two billion years ago

This is fascinating. Instead of only 600 million years the threshold for
multicellular life is 2.1 BILLION years ago. That's a shift of 1.5 billion
years. It opens a whole new window on the study of how life evolved.

How asbestos causes cancer

It has always been a mystery how exactly asbestos caused cancer. The fibers cause cells to die but typically dead cells don't produce tumors.  It turns out that the chemicals produced by the 'resultant inflammation causes the cancer'.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Immigration Overhaul

Securing the border first is the same thing as saying let's do nothing. Republicans are set to shoot down meaningful immigration reform while hoping to be able to continue to beat up Democrats for its absence.