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links for 2010-12-27

  • Quote:". Caught up in a wave of new medical options and lured by an increasingly sophisticated cadre of veterinarians, pet owners across the country are forking over thousands — and even tens of thousands — of dollars to treat illnesses that would have gone undiagnosed or untreated just a few years ago. And then doing it again if they have to. Of course, pet owners and most vets have the animals' best interest in mind. But that doesn't make it any easier: With health insurance covering the humans in many families, it's not unusual for pet owners to spend far more money on health care for their cats and dogs than for their sons and daughters.

    // National healthcare time for pets?

  • // If this paper is accurate, then it is quite logical to assume the universe is teeming with life, that reproducing pre-cells would create reproducing cells in short order given enough simultaneous undirected "experimentation." And it should be reproduceable in a lab.
  • Quote:"In the winter of 1998, two separate teams of astronomers in Berkeley, California, made a similar, startling discovery. They were both observing supernovae – exploding stars visible over great distances – to see how fast the universe is expanding. In accordance with prevailing scientific wisdom, the astronomers expected to find the rate of expansion to be decreasing, Instead they found it to be increasing – a discovery which has since "shaken astronomy to its core" (Astronomy, October 1999).
    This discovery would have come as no surprise to Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966), a Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest who developed the theory of the Big Bang. Lemaitre described the beginning of the universe as a burst of fireworks, comparing galaxies to the burning embers spreading out in a growing sphere from the center of the burst. He believed this burst of fireworks was the beginning of time, taking place on "a day without yesterday."
  • Quote:"Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, I have found that most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off — what has become known as Dunbar’s number. Yes, you can “friend” 500, 1,000, even 5,000 people with your Facebook page, but all save the core 150 are mere voyeurs looking into your daily life — a fact incorporated into the new social networking site Path, which limits the number of friends you can have to 50.

    … "Our ancestors knew the same people their entire lives; as we move around, though, we can lose touch with even our closest friends. Emotional closeness declines by around 15 percent a year in the absence of face-to-face contact, so that in five years someone can go from being an intimate acquaintance to the most distant outer layer of your 150 friends. "

    // Boy am I in trouble.

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