James Mackey’s Quantum Entanglements

Letter to the IT in response to James Mackey’s frankly mind-boggling opinion piece on Tuesday. His entanglement of evolution and quantum truly is actually more bizarre than quantum entanglement itself. Links added by me for reader reference.

Sir,

If “Dawkins’s case against religion creaks at every joint”, then James Mackey’s case against Dawkins (July 12) is splintering and cracking at the seams like a cheap stool under a fat man. He doesn’t appear to have a functional understanding of evolution theory, never mind the quantum theory he is bizarrely tacking on to it; which has about the same logical sense as saying “creationism is true because cows fart”.

If your readers would like to learn the basics of quantum theory, I’d suggest “The Code Book” by Simon Singh, which breaks quantum down in a wonderfully simple way in the context of an overview of “The Evolution of Secrecy”. Mr. Mackey may need to look up “quantum” in the dictionary beforehand.

Yours faithfully,
Adam Beecher
Killeagh, Co. Cork

What An Astronaut Sees

An intimate tour… in 1080p… of Earth’s most impressive landscapes… as captured by astronauts with their digital cameras. Dr. Justin Wilkinson from NASA’s astronaut team describes the special places that spacemen focus on whenever they get a moment.

Time Lapse Antarctica

BoingBoing: The Akademik Fyodorov is a Russian research ship that’s been to both the North Pole*, and to Antarctica. This time-lapse video packs an entire 201-day Antarctic expedition into 10 minutes, starting in Cape Town, South Africa, and traveling around the coastline of the Frozen Continent.

What happens? There’s a lot of ice breaking—during which the Akademik Fyodorov seems to beach itself like a whale before backing up and ramming the ice again—and a lot of loading and unloading of cargo. It looks like the boat’s mission was to resupply several inland research stations. At one point, a helicopter unloads the coffin of a man who died in a fire at one of those stations. The Akademik Fyodorov shipped his body back home.

There are frolicking penguins, the construction of an entire airplane, and (at about 7:19) the construction on an on-deck swimming pool, which is quickly filled with frolicking Russians.

8-Year-Olds Publish Scientific Bee Study

I want my kids to go to a school that has neuroscientist parents in to talk to the kids, that encourages them to build scientific models, and write papers for publication in peer-reviewed periodicals. Does such a thing exist in Ireland? Can we replace the catholic crap with this please?

A group of British schoolchildren may be the youngest scientists ever to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal. In a new paper in Biology Letters, 25 8- to 10-year-old children from Blackawton Primary School report that buff-tailed bumblebees can learn to recognize nourishing flowers based on colors and patterns.

“We discovered that bumblebees can use a combination of colour and spatial relationships in deciding which colour of flower to forage from,” the students wrote in the paper’s abstract. “We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before.”

(Wired)