Robert L. Park is a physics professor at the University of Maryland, and the author of Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness To Fraud. He has written a wonderful short article on how to recognize scientific nonsense – an important skill for all of us in these confusing times.
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“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is investing close to a million dollars in an obscure Russian scientist’s antigravity machine, although it has failed every test and would violate the most fundamental laws of nature.
More interesting reading: this Slate article casts a jaundiced eye at the “National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace” pushed out by the Bush administration last month. Part of a broader strategy to fill the airwaves and the public consciousness with FUD – “fear, uncertainty and doubt,” this time by painting a picture of computer-savvy regimes ready to knock out our electricity and phone lines and electric blankets from their remote terminals. […] continuedRead more
CNET Radio (AM 910) has been my constant companion for the last year or more. It’s delivered technology news and talk all day, every day – and now it’s closing up the radio station on January 31. Sad news for anyone who had stumbled on its wonderful programming in the San Francisco area, or nationwide on XM Radio. […] continuedRead more
An article in today’s Washington Post reviews some of the major decisions the Federal Communications Commission will be making in the next few months, moves that could fundamentally rewrite the rules for the broadcast media and Internet service providers. The likely result is that a handful of mega-corporations will control virtually all aspects of our entertainment and our online experiences. […] continuedRead more
With the raging popularity of the Nigerian e-mail scam (see my writeup and links on October 24), a new sport has sprung up – Nigerian fraudster baiting, leading the scammers on the road to ridicule.Read more
Getting ready for The Two Towers? Here’s an early look from Time Magazine, which notes that “Fellowship was often quiet and deliberately paced. Two Towers is an unabashed action film.” They predict that we’ll like it even more than the first film.
There’s no introduction in The Two Towers, no prologue to remind you where the first film left off. […] continuedRead more
MSNBC has a wonderful article about an unexpected side effect of global warming – huge ice blocks, 22 lbs or more, which form in the upper atmosphere on clear days and fall to earth, smashing car windshields and ripping holes in houses. Don’t look at me like that – I’m serious. […] continuedRead more
Google is bringing its remarkable technology to harvesting the news. Here’s a link to Google News, presenting the top news stories of the moment without any human intervention. Google News software continuously crawls more than 4,000 Web news sources, looking for the most relevant articles from the most reputable sources. […] continuedRead more
The Press Democrat just did a feature about the abbreviations invented for text messaging – they’re becoming second nature to many kids, and teachers are seeing them turn up in school assignments. FYI, here’s a dictionary that covers many of the basic text messaging abbreviations FWIW. If U R like me, it will make you feel old. […] continuedRead more
The Fellowship of the Ring will be released on DVD in the next few days. But if you’re considering it, be careful! There’s going to be two versions released on DVD, and they’re staggering the releases hoping to trap the unwary into buying both.
This month sees the release of a 2-disc set that includes the original version of the film, plus a disc worth of extras. […] continuedRead more
More interesting reading at The Register: a deeply cynical article bashing the press for repeating stories about alleged threats of cyberterrorism. The government is beating the drums about the likelihood that al-Quaeda technology whizzes are about to level cities from their computers, or something like that. The press is repeating the stories without any investigation, corroboration, or thought. […] continuedRead more
In case you missed this in the paper a couple of days ago, here’s a story that’s absolutely priceless. The Beijing Evening News (circulation: 1.25 million) printed a word-for-word translation of an American news item in its June 3 edition. The article concerned the threat by Congress to leave Washington D.C. […] continuedRead more
Pick your flavor of early reviews of Attack of the Clones. On one side: a very favorable review from BBC News. Sample: “This is quite possibly the best Star Wars of the series. It looks lavish and Lucas pushes all the right buttons. He also lets us see that ancient Jedi Master Yoda knows how to handle a lightsabre!”Read more
I love stories about gullible people duped by magic tricks. It makes me feel proud to be a skeptic.
A Florida newspaper is running a series about Madison Priest, a good ol’ boy who got millions of dollars from people who should have known better. He promised he was developing a box that could convert plain copper phone lines into high-speed pipelines for data and video, four times faster than the most advanced fiber-optic cables. […] continuedRead more