Disco, ergo vivo

"I learn, therefore I live."

Also possibly a statement which I would find quite untrue of myself, that I live for disco. I was never-minding-the-bollocks when disco happened. But anyway.

Just some stuff I've been watching/reading this quiet Sunday, of a science-is-awesome bent:

Critical Thinking Part 1: Argument: a Field Guide

This is the first of a set of six videos put together by a group in Australia, and they're outstanding introductions to the concepts of logic and critical thinking, particularly well-suited (IMHO) to the questioning mind of a child, but cleverly including iconography that the adult viewer will link to real-life issues without ever actually saying what those issues are. They're short - about 2 minutes each - and well-focused on a single aspect of critical thinking, each leading into the next quite well.

El Cielo de Canarias: The Canary Skies

Daniel Lopez is an "astrophotographer", which is just an awesome job title, and this website shows his incredible work. It's in Spanish, I'm afraid, and no sign of an English link, but I think his art speaks eloquently for itself. His time lapse videos in particular are breathtaking reminders of the intense sense of wonder I had when I was tiny and first encountering the world.

High Levels of Resistant Bacteria on Meat
- Again

Okay, this is significantly less awesome. The excellent science journalist Maryn McKenna has been beating this drum for all she's worth for some time now, that agricultural use of antibiotics (among other abuses of this class of drugs) is leading us to a terrifying future, one in which simple sepsis could come back to being a major killer again. Getting anyone to listen, on the other hand...not so much. So I mention her work every chance I get, because the idea of a world without antibiotics (aka, the 19th century) is not one I fancy much. The words "totally drug-resistant tuberculosis" have happened lately. That should scare anyone.

Can you describe what a flame is? Take the Flame Challenge.

Alan Alda (who's become something of a science pundit in his later years) has an intriguing challenge for scientists and science fans: describe what a flame is, in ordinary English, to an 11-year-old (link is PDF).

Climate Science Denial at Carleton University: A Detailed Take-down

This one caught my eye because I actually started at Carleton University, in Ottawa here in Canada, when I began my days as a student. I'd just been turfed from the Army, met someone, and we moved in together in Ottawa (on Bank at Third in the Glebe, for the cognoscenti; I sat on my bedroom windowsill to watch the Panda Parade). It's also where I was when I had the car accident that set me on the path to becoming a cane-user today, and almost certainly a wheelchair-user later.

But it's sad to me to see that one of my almae mater should have such a politicized and fact-rejecting course being taught at a university, a place which should be dedicated to the pursuit of truth, not teaching people how to dispense fossil-fuel-industry propaganda.

Lastly, I should say to those who've been e-mailing me stories about the Canadian electoral fraud issue now being pursued in the media here, yes, I know, I'm basically waiting until there's more information so I can write a post at length about it. Yes, it's appalling, and yes, I'm all over it like a dirty shirt. :)

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