Links for 7th May 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. How to map the multiverse

    "Greene's transformation is emblematic of a profound change among the majority of physicists. Until recently, many were reluctant to accept this idea of the "multiverse", or were even belligerent towards it. However, recent progress in both cosmology and string theory is bringing about a major shift in thinking. Gone is the grudging acceptance or outright loathing of the multiverse. Instead, physicists are starting to look at ways of working with it, and maybe even trying to prove its existence.

    If such ventures succeed, our universe will go the way of Earth – from seeming to be the centre of everything to being exposed as just a backwater in a far vaster cosmos. And just as we are unable to deduce certain aspects of Earth from first principles – such as its radius or distance from the sun – we will have to accept that some things about our universe are a random accident, inexplicable except in the context of the multiverse." Sensawunda.

    Tagged with: sciencerealitymultiverseuniversephysicsspace-timeweirdness

  2. Farmers’ crops keeping US cool

    "The effect was greatest in the warmest months of the year and in the Great Plains, Midwest, southern Texas and the heavily irrigated regions of the western US. If it weren't for the expansion of agriculture during the 20th century, says Diffenbaugh, the US may have felt the effects of global warming more than it has – although he concedes that his model did not include the warming of urban heat islands.

    The question now is how will land use change, says Diffenbaugh. Efforts to boost carbon storage by planting trees, for instance, may have mixed consequences because tree cover may increase local warming."

    Tagged with: USclimatefarmingagriculturetemperatureregulationenvironment

  3. Secrets of the Phallus: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?

    "… according to evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York at Albany, the human penis is actually an impressive “tool” in the truest sense of the word, one manufactured by nature over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. You may be surprised to discover just how highly specialized a tool it is. Furthermore, you’d be amazed at what its appearance can tell us about the nature of our sexuality." Stop giggling at the back – this is science!

    Tagged with: biologyevolutionpenisgenitaliaformfunctionsexuality

  4. 3D printing buildings: interview with Enrico Dini of D_Shape

    "Their D_shape technology makes it possible to 3D print 6 by 6 by 1m parts. These parts could either be shipped to the construction site or the entire building could be 3D printed on location. The parts made by D_shape resemble 'sandstone.' They are comparable in strength to reinforced concrete and the ingredients are the binding material and any type of sand. D_Shape's materials cost more than regular concrete but much less manpower is needed for construction. No scaffolding needs to be constructed so overall building cost should be lower than traditional building methods."

    Tagged with: 3d-printingarchitecturebuildingsmaterialsconstructionD_Shapefabricationtechnology

  5. MV CoilMaster Mark1 Coil Gun

    DIY urban future-weapon; total build cost under 100 Euros. Just add cheap and effective fabbing techniques for whole new affordable levels of stylish violence!

    Tagged with: coil-gunDIYweapongunprojectileproject

  6. News Corp will charge for newspaper websites, says Rupert Murdoch

    "Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an "epochal" debate over whether to charge. "That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal's experience," he said.

    Asked whether he envisaged fees at his British papers such as the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World, he replied: "We're absolutely looking at that." Taking questions on a conference call with reporters and analysts, he said that moves could begin "within the next 12 months‚" adding: "The current days of the internet will soon be over."" When this fails, my schadenfreude will be epic and guilt-free.

    Tagged with: NewsCorpinternetbusinessmodelnewspaperpaywallMurdochtabloid

  7. Culture Shock

    "Stripped of its woolly academese, what Poulos was asking was, can conservatism properly push back against a popular culture that it doesn’t really understand? How does a movement that yearns for the values of the past confront a culture that prizes novelty? This was a problem that had bedeviled modern American conservatism since Buckley first inveighed against the Beatles in his syndicated column. It was something that Poulos, who had dabbled in screenwriting and indie rock (his band was called the End of History) in Los Angeles before moving to Washington, had kicked around in his own writing. "The right has a lot to learn from people who are completely outside of it," he explained later. If they did that, they "might actually win some latecomers, people who have lived unhappy or unsatisfying lives."

    Tagged with: politicsjournalismGOPconservatismUSAculture11culturemedia

  8. 5 Lies Writers Believe About Editors

    "There are no great secrets to being published. Read lots. Write stories. Lots and lots of stories. Submit the work until the stories are either accepted or rejected by every market you could bear to see your name associated with. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Everything else is basically unimportant."

    Tagged with: writingfictioneditorsmyths

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