Six degrees and Facebook

This morning I requested a friend who Facebook kept suggesting to me. It turns out my new friend is a nice young lady studying biology at Carnegie Mellon. She is very much into the skeptic movement, from what I have seen and she sent me the address to her blog. So, naturally, I checked it out...

And she is funny! She blogs about a variety of subjects but manages to post a lot of humor (at least for my skeptical mind it sounds like humor). So I am having a blast reading her and I hope you will as well.

There is a theory that all humans are connected by six or less people. I am skeptical of that claim but I really do enjoy meeting new people on these social networking sites and every once in a while a real gem of a new friend comes along, courtesy of Facebook. So I guess I should give in when Facebook insists someone is my friend for more than three days or so...

In case you are wondering, the above picture I found in her blog, where she indicates the provenance.
Thanks for the friendship Shalini!

Debate about evolution?

I am continually amazed at the sheer stupidity of this issue. Now that Governor Palin (AK) has been nominated as the vp candidate for the Republican party, there are news again of a supposed debate between evolution and creationism.
Now children, repeat after me: "There is no debate. Evolution happened." Write 5000 times until it gets through your thick skull!
Problem is people seem not to know what a theory is. Pres. Bush's statement "it is only a theory" shows ignorance. A theory is a hypothesis that has been backed up by evidence and makes usable predictions about the real world. If I have a 10 pound weight on my right hand and I let go, it will fall to the ground. That is what the "Theory of Gravity" predicts. And it happens. It is not "only a theory".
Now, a gentleman by the name of Bobby Henderson wrote a letter to the Kansas Board of Education several years ago when the board tried to introduce creationism in school. Ah, sorry, not creationism, "Intelligent Design". Same difference. Bobby regaled the board with another option to teach in school, the theory that the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
And pastafarianism, which is the devotion (I will not say religion) to the Flying Spaghetti Monster has spread. I feel myself touched by His Noodly Appendage as I am writing this lines...
A strange belief? Not less strange than many of the stories found on the Bible, the Qur'an and the Book of Mormon.
And we are all pretty sure the Book of Mormon was made up by crackpot Joseph Smith...
Anyway, read all you want about His Pastaness at

We have not sunk into a black hole... yet!

Today is a day to remember in history. The Large Hadron Collider has been successfuly tested at 10 am this morning, Geneva time. The test was a success!

Although no particle collisions are scheduled to occur before October 21st, I am very skeptical that the disasters heralded by the usual loud-mouthed Chicken Little types will occur. The most talked about disaster these poor souls have been cackling about is the supposed creation of black holes that would in an instant swallow the Earth whole, taking us all into oblivion.

I guess they will say this can still happen since no particles are colliding as yet. But I would prefer to wait until October 21st before crying foul. Until then, I am not really holding my breath. The LHC is a wonderful new instrument for probing into the mysteries of the universe and all I am looking forward to is the news of more fascinating discoveries in the years to come.

If you want to learn about the best and worse case scenarios, there is a very nice article in the Wired magazine website. Enjoy!

God must be a robot...

I am a devoted reader of Popular Science and found this very interesting article. Since I have been reading about the Singularity (check elsewhere in my blog) I find these ideas a natural progression.

In short, once the Singularity is achieved and very advanced computers help design even more advanced and intelligent computers, progress would be so fast that time between computer generations could be shortened to a few days. The end of the line is for human beings to live forever, having uploaded their conscience into a mechanical brain... and an eternally repairable body.

So, this NASA exobiologist thinks there is a better than 50/50 chance that some of the alien races that may be out there are not biological anymore, but completely mechanical. And again, it would be the logical and natural conclusion to the series of events started by the Singularity.

So, future of humanity is robothood (will we call it robotkind instead of mankind?) And since, if there is a God, He is supposed to have created us in his likeness and we have not finished evolving, it only follows that God is a robot!

How about that for a slippery slope?