David Kirkpatrick

February 24, 2009

Is social networking turning us into babies?

I’m going to get out there on a limb and say no.

Didn’t stop this Brit professor to state otherwise. Sadly, her comment is very indicative of the overall quality of UK medical research and opinion. Check out some of the bogus “research” published by the Lancet over the last few years to get a broader picture. Overt bias and research driven to meet pre-ordained results seems the order of the day across the pond.

From the link:

No less an authority on the brain’s workings than Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and the director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, told a British newspaper on Tuesday that social networking sites remind her of the way that “small babies need constant reassurance that they exist” and make her worry about the effects that this sort of stimulation is having on the brains of users. Lady Greenfield (she’s a neuroscientist and a baroness) told the Daily Mail:

My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.

October 22, 2008

Moving toward quantum computing

Making headway, it seems. This is amazing — storing information inside the nucleus of an atom!

From the link:

The problem: How do you isolate a quantum bit from a noisy environment to protect the deli-cate quantum information, while at the same time allowing it to interact with the outside world so that it can be manipulated and measured?

The team, with scientists and engineers from Oxford and Princeton universities and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reported a solution to this problem in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Nature.

The team’s plan was to devise a hybrid system using both the electron and nucleus of an atom of phosphorous embedded in a silicon crystal. Each behaves as a tiny quantum magnet capa-ble of storing quantum information, but inside the crystal the electron is more than a million times bigger than the nucleus, with a magnetic field that is a thousand times stronger. This makes the electron well-suited for manipulation and measurement, but not so good for storing information, which can become rapidly corrupted. This is where the nucleus comes in: when the information in the electron is ready for storage, it is moved into the nucleus where it can survive for much longer times.

Go below the fold for a release from October 23 on this story.

(more…)

October 2, 2008

Is Earth part of a strange bubble of space-time?

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:53 am

From KurzweilAI.net — This Live Science article opines we exist in an abnormal bubble of space-time that explains away dark energy.

Do We Live in a Giant Cosmic Bubble?
Live Science, Sep. 30, 2008

Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter, which could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe‘s expansion, not dark energy.

Matter warps space-time. Light travelling from supernovae outside our bubble would appear dimmer, because the light would diverge more than we would expect once it got inside our void.

Oxford researchers Pedro G. Ferreira and Kate Land say that the upcoming Joint Dark Energy Mission, planned by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy to launch in 2014 or 2015, may be able to distinguish between dark energy and the void. The satellite aims to measure the expansion of the universe precisely by observing about 2,300 supernovae.

They suggest that by looking at a large number of supernovae in a certain region of the universe, they should be able to tell whether the objects are really accelerating away, or if their light is merely being distorted in a void.

 
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