Watch people experiencing color for the first time

A company named EnChroma has developed glasses that allow color blind people to see colors.   The technology, developed by accident, is interesting in itself.  (See this and this for details.)  But what most struck me is the video showing people experiencing color for the first time in their lives.  See it after the jump. [Read more...]

Happy Super Pi Day: 3.14.15

Today is “Pi Day,” the 14th day of the 3rd month (3.14).  Not only that, it is “Super Pi Day,” with the rest of the date giving the next two numbers: 3.14.15.  Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  Though circles are everywhere, their numeric ratios can never be exact.  The mysterious number represented by the Greek letter π has been proven to be an “irrational number,” one which has an infinite number of non-repeating decimals.  And, yet, the ratio has to be used in all kinds of common calculations, from figuring the area of a circle to analyzing subatomic and astronomical phenomena.

After the jump, an excerpt and a link to an essay on π and pi day by Cornell mathematicisn Tara S. Holm.  Do go to the link for an account of the history of our knowledge of the concept, including a government attempt to regularize it at 3.2 by passing a law.  My favorite part is how Prof. Holm is celebrating the day:  Getting her family together at 9:26 and 53 seconds (the next five numbers) and eating a piece of pie. [Read more...]

Why we have eyelashes

Scientists have discovered why we, as well as all mammals, have eyelashes. [Read more...]

Are Russian oil companies funding environmentalists?

A newspaper is reporting that Russian oil companies connected to Vladimir Putin are funding some American environmentalist groups that are trying to stop the practice of fracking.  Russia is, of course, not particularly interested in saving the American environment, but, like Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich country has an interest in cutting the growth in American oil production due to this kind of technology. [Read more...]

Two more planets in our Solar System?

Pluto has been demoted from its planet status, though some dispute that.  But astronomers have found evidence that there may be two actual planets beyond Pluto.

If they are definitively discovered, what should we call them?  The names should be classical to fit with the others.  I say name one Athena, after the goddess of wisdom, since wisdom is also elusive and hard to detect.  And let’s  name the other one Pluto, so that we’ll once again have a planet named Pluto. [Read more...]

What about New Year’s Resolutions?

A time-honored custom is to make New Year’s resolutions, decisions to use the new beginning offered by the new year to improve one’s life in some way.  Reportedly, 50% of people make such resolutions, but 89% fail to keep them.

This can be seen as evidence for the theological teaching about the bondage of the will.  But though moral self-improvement is largely fruitless, apart from the Gospel, are there are other kinds of resolutions (exercise, eat better, or keep a tidier desk [my goal year after futile year] that are worth making and might be realized?  (Though such non-moral resolutions fail too:  I’m told that new gym memberships soar at the first of the year, but that attendance plummets after just a few weeks.)

Have any of you actually kept a New Year’s resolution for the whole year or longer?  How did you manage that?  After the jump, some advice for doing so. [Read more...]