Archive for the 'science' Category

12
Sep
07

The minority report and DNA profiling

Most of us should have seen Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report starring Tom Cruise. I liked it, and the premise of preventive arrest is as frighteningly enchanting as a Matrix-like dystopia.

Sometimes, the fear of what we could do in the future paralyzes us to immobility.

Hence my interest in this matter perked up upon reading this piece in the TimesOnline.co.uk .

There is a conflict, it often seems, between science and freedom. The more scientists discover about us, down to microscopic genetic tendencies we might have to aggressive impulses or early dementia, the less secure we feel in our liberties.

In a sense, science is like gazing into a crystal ball. After all, in the public mind, science matters because of its predictive power, which is what everyone cares about anyway.

This raises the age old debate between free will and determinism. How much of me is free-how much of it is controlled by factors outside my control, like my genetic makeup.

Public policy makers, heck even the layman often make the mistake of thinking that just because I don’t have direct control over my DNA, therefore I don’t have control over my future actions. Or perhaps it’s immediate corollary appeals to us even more: If I want to control my actions, I must change my DNA.

Fallacies like this play up the apparent conflict that science has with personal liberty. A conflict fueled partly, by the innate belief that science tells all there is to know about me, while personal freedom is all there is to being me. It’s a tough call, one that plays out in policy debates as a conflict between security of the masses and individual freedoms.

But there needn’t be a conflict. If DNA tells us that we are predisposed to violent or suicidal behavior, perhaps the right response is to take personal responsibility for our choices. Granted that some thoughts and immediate impulses are above control, there are habits we can undertake that will reduce the likelihood of such behavior from blowing out of proportion. We are certainly not mentally incapacitated and clearly lucid enough to realize where our emotional state is heading to. In essence, isn’t this freedom?

No one, not even in government wants a totalitarian dystopia. But then there’s the age old paradox of the heap. Adding one  grain of sand to a scattering of sand grains doesn’t make it a heap. Although, if the process continues, eventually you’ll have one. The question to ask is how much restrictive policy can governments enforce, before we cross the line?

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21
Aug
07

Post-lunch sleepiness

Donald Trump once remarked that he didn’t have lunch hours. Everyday, he would have a cup of tomato juice during that time. I bet he never got sleepy after that.

I guess everybody yawns after lunch. I do, in fact I need that shut eye. And after reading this article from the NYT, I now know why.

Just too bad there’s no real bed around in the math’s department for some shut eye.

Merdeka is coming up, but due to some ridiculous obsession with the national anthem, nobody seems to write anything inspiring about the 31st.  I might as well get down to it…

…later.

15
Jul
07

Do you know your science?

It has been common nowadays for us to eschew synthetic products/medicine for the so called ‘natural’ occurring ones. Much of these natural cure-alls is marketed in the media as being ‘scientifically’ proven formulas while synthetic products are vilified as being dangerous to our health.

A high school student in Idaho, USA won first prize in a science fair. He asked the following question, “Should dihydrogen monoxide be made illegal?”

43 out of 50 people said they would support a move to ban this dangerous substance.

I say he totally deserved the prize.

01
Jul
07

Can you explain this?

Take a toothpick, light it and put it into the microwave. What happens then? Well, here is the answer.

Anybody got an explanation on this phenomenon? I’m sure there are geniuses out there.

25
Jun
07

Beauty of nature

All of us long for that perfect picture of sunset. But capturing this image is still reserved for the select few.

This view of Earth’s horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Link.

What a wonderful world we live in. 🙂

07
Jun
07

Nintendo Wii related injuries!!??

My housemate’s brother bought a Nintendo Wii lately and sometimes would bring it over to play. As they were tennis fans, she and her husband would usually spend their time playing Tennis on WiiSports.

Now, it seems that even in simulcara, real life injuries do pop up too. Excerpt from a report from CNN,

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) — When Dr. Julio Bonis awoke one Sunday morning with a sore shoulder, he could not figure out what he had done. It felt like a sports injury, but he had been a bit of a couch potato lately.Then he remembered his new Wii.


Bonis, 29, had spent hours playing Nintendo Co.’s new video game in which players simulate real movements. Bonis had been playing simulated tennis.


It was not quite tennis elbow, he decided.

Actually, it just had to happen.
Via: http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/06/wiiitis-on-the-rise-with-wii-players-reports-doctor/

04
Jun
07

This is so freaky…

Still remember Ju-On?

If you still got chills…now watch this Youtube clip. (unfortunately you’ll have to go to Youtube to watch it, owner disallows embedding.)

It even makes the same, “aaaaa….”

These japs are really crazy…via: http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/03/cb2-child-robot-is-possibly-the-most-disturbing-machine-ever-bui/ 




About me

moogleBorn and bred in KL, Malaysia. Now studying for his Phd in Singapore. Learning to walk one fall at a time.
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