About Me Profile

11th May 2012

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Massive rise in Asian eye damage →

I have fairly severe myopia so I am interested in research in this area. I have an unconventional eye doctor that believes that too much time reading and doing up close work does contribute to myopia. I suspect it is a nature and nurture issue that combines a genetic weakness for myopia with a lot of time spent doing close up work as a child. I definitely spend most of my asthmatic childhood inside reading instead of outside running around, but I also have a mother who is just as blind as I am. The sunlight discovery is pretty interesting stuff. Perhaps my mom should have made me read outside instead…

Tagged: asianhealthmedicinemyopiaresearchBBC News

26th November 2011

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Seven men arrested over Amish hair-cutting attacks →

I think this is both bizarre and sad. One would like to think of the Amish with their religious piety and simpler lifestyle as above such pettiness and bullying, but I guess the evils of human nature can not be fully suppressed in any culture.

Tagged: bizarreAmishBBC News

2nd November 2011

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The world at seven billion →

A interesting BBC interactive concerning where you fit into the world population growth. As I expressed in this post, I am concerned about population growth because there is a limit to what the planet can provide. However, the below article which is part of the same series seems convinced that the planets population growth is slowing and will stop in the relatively near future. I hope that prediction comes to pass so that our children still have natural wonders to behold and clean air and water.

The article also gives a bit of the history of the population control movement which I did not know. The solution is hard because the population should not be allowed to grow out of control, but who has the right to tell someone how many children they can have. I think that it is true that the best population control is education and development as fertility has crashed in the developed world without any harsh population control mechanisms. Where people have more choices and better health, they naturally choose fewer children.

The world at seven billion

Tagged: populationconservationBBC News

28th September 2011

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Deadly bird disease trichomonosis 'spreads to Europe' →

This is very concerning. I have seen this parasite in pigeons and it seems to cause a very painful condition that eventually leads to death in the pigeon if not treated. However, in such a relatively big bird the death is slow and may not dramatically effect reproductivity. I suspect it is a much faster disease in these tiny finches.

I know people accelerate the spread of disease by encouraging pigeons to drink and bath in small backyard bird baths that are not regularly cleaned and disinfected. In this way one infected bird can infect the water and infect the flock. Natural water sources are typically much larger or have water flow which reduces the infection risk. Bird baths are a very enjoyable way to watch birds, but please if you have finches coming to your bath, clean AND disinfect it daily if possible.

Tagged: birdsdiseasetrichomonosiseuropeBBC News

28th September 2011

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Maine lobsters: Breeding a sustainable business →

Two of my favorite things: Maine lobsters and sustainable fishing. Yummy! Seriously, this is a great article about how Maine has been able to continue producing a large quantity of lobsters without overfishing. They notch and release females with eggs which are then not allowed to be caught. They have a minimum AND a maximum take size. Plus their lobster traps have releases if the trap gets detached from its buoy or does not get checked frequently enough. If these types of solution could be implemented around the world, I am sure that the oceans could supply the world with a wide variety of edible sea life for many generations to come.

Tagged: lobstermaineconservationsustainable fishingfishingBBC News

27th September 2011

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Polio strain spreads to China from Pakistan →

As someone who has suffered from one of the childhood diseases that are supposed to be gone in the western world (mumps), I do not like these stories of the spread of other childhood diseases that could easily over spill again in the western world particularly now that there has been so much anti-vaccine hype. I think that UNICEF is doing a great job trying to get the polio problem in Pakistan under control, and I think more organizations and people should support them.

I also think that you should make sure your vaccines are up to date and get your kids vaccinated. As I learned vaccination is NOT an assurance that you can not fall ill to a new strain of a disease, but it is your best defense. You don’t want the mumps as an adult or whooping cough (another increasingly common Australian ailment) or measles. And I can promise you that you do not want polio. All of these diseases can become deadly, particularly as you grow older.

Tagged: poliovaccinehealthmedicinechinapakistanBBC News

26th September 2011

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Times Atlas 'wrong' on Greenland ice →

This is an example of why I have issues with how political and charged the topic of global warming is. Reliable information is extremely hard to come by on simple things like how much ice there is in Greenland. If there is debate on the current state of weather/ temperature in one location, I am not very confident that any one side of the climate change debate is as sure as they would like to have us believe.

I wonder if this was a genuine error on the Times Atlas’ part or if they stir was just to gain the Atlas more publicity.

Once again, I am sure the climate is changing because the worlds climate has never been stable and is always changing. I am also sure that pouring tons of pollution into our air and waterways is not good for the planet or ourselves, but weather is an extremely hard problem and complex models are very susceptible to systematic errors. We need to clean up our over consumptive and polluting ways, but we also need to be able to challenge scientific results and models without being treated like someone who wants to run the planet into the ground.

Tagged: climate changeTimes AtlasBBC News

25th September 2011

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Giant crabs make Antarctic leap →

I know that articles like this are supposed to give validity to climate change and the political storm that surrounds it, but animals and plants have always migrated into new areas when the opportunity presented itself and changed the ecosystem because of it. Whether is was human caused climate change or a fluke warm current that took the crabs to Antarctica. I think giant crabs are pretty cool (and tasty)  so I can’t say I think this is necessarily a change for the worse. No matter what your personal opinion of climate change is, these migrations are interesting.

Tagged: migrationgiant crabantarcticaclimate changeBBC News

16th September 2011

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'Oldest' woolly rhino discovered →

Wouldn’t be cool if giant woolly rhinos still walked the earth? Actually, I wasn’t aware that woolly rhinos ever walked the earth until I ran across this article. The fossil record is a strange an interesting thing.

Tagged: rhinocerosfossilshistorypaleontologyBBC News

1st September 2011

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LHC results put supersymmetry theory 'on the spot' →

Experiments aren’t going as expected to match the theory. Time to change the theory. That is what science is all about. Theories, experiments, results, new theories. Nothing in science is certain until it has been well tested over and over again. The dogmatic certainty being espoused by the climate scientists is what has me concerned about there claims. Scientists generally aren’t so quick to be *sure* about anything.

Tagged: sciencephysicspartical physicsBBC News

13th August 2011

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How Mexico's deadly gang tactics are spreading →

This is seriously scary and a direct result of the US’s stupid drug war. The illegality of drugs has made these drug lords rich and powerful to the point that Mexican law obviously doesn’t apply to them. They are becoming more brazen with more wealth. How can the US allow this to go on right beyond their borders.

Tagged: War on drugsmexicoUS dissentBBC NewsmurderCrime

13th August 2011

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Doctors begin major stem cell trial for MS patients →

As I have a good friend with MS, I really hope this trial goes well. It is really a horrible disease. I am somewhat saddened that this research is going on in the UK instead of the US. I feel that the US’s dysfunctional health system is making the US is lose its edge on medical research.

Tagged: healthmedicineresearchMSBBC News

10th August 2011

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Bats Drawn to Plant via "Echo Beacon" →

Bats are important pollinators in other parts of the world outside Australia, and it seems that this Cuban plant is specifically shaped to attract pollinating bats. That is really cool! I wonder how many other plants are specifically adapted to attract bats? Research has shown that some Australian trees have peak nectar production in the middle of the night because Australian flying foxes are the primary forest pollinators of most native trees.

Here is the BBC article on the same research:

Plant evolved a bat beckoning beacon

Tagged: batsresearchpollinationanimalsnational geographicBBC News

7th August 2011

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Legal change for personal CD ripping →

It looks like the Brits are about to add a little common sense to their copyright law which should be good for everyone. I have never understood how Hollywood and the music industry can think that people can’t transfer their media to a more convenient format for personal use once it has been purchased.

Tagged: copyrightukBBC News

6th August 2011

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'Stoned wallabies make crop circles' →

This is funny, and with the amount of poppies that are grown in Tasmania I do not doubt the wallabies get high as kites at certain times of year. Funny!

Tagged: bizarrewildlifewallabydrugsBBC News