TED Ed

2012-05-12 09:46 (comments: 0)

This is one of those things that make me proudly warm inside and unexpectedly rise my expectation. What a great learning resource! There are very well made video presentations and even suggested pop quizes, middle-school-like. I especially like this one.

(via The kid should see this)

Stairs of Québec

2012-05-05 19:43 (comments: 0)

Today I got to walk the "Escaliers de Québec" trail ("Stairs of Québec") with André and Charles. I like to stroll in the Old Québec, and I of course used a few of the stairs joining the high terrace with the "basse ville" (lower town ... no, not downtown). But this was special because we did most of the existing public stairs in one go, starting from the "Joffre" stair and going around until the "Cap Blanc" stair. This took about 5 hours, counting a bit more than an hour snack pause in the middle and the end walk back to the car. We had an excellent weather and Québec, under the fresh light of spring, is gorgeous to look at. I liked it quite a bit. A nice start for the hiking season of 2012.

Awesome brains versus shitty brains

2012-05-02 17:01 (comments: 0)

I didn't follow this story closely, but you can get an idea reading in sequence this and then this. And perhaps look at this video and then this video.

If you don't have the time, here is the executive abstract: some self-proclaimed vigilante environmentalist group profferes veiled violence threats against ideas, people and objects (full ludditism throttle) that they are misinformed about, concerning research on genetically modified wheat. Misinformation seems to come from negligence or, worse, stupidity, or, worst, malevolence. Then an attempt at proper information is made. If you peruse those links, you can see the clear differences in approaches: a powerful profusion of contents towards form that speaks volumes.

The story is still unfolding, thus I can't guess what will happen. We'll have to wait for May 27th and see. But what captured my attention was the well exhibited battle between ignorance and wisdom. Between emotional hysteria and scientific curiosity. I was spared this ugly human social habit, at least in its serious forms (but I had my doses of emotional NIH and OMG feces thrown at me).

It thrills me to see logic and rectitude so clearly displayed as in this text. But it boggles me to no end that such displays are still necessary so far in human society's development. I almost need to channel Ayn Rand.

Jupiter's moons

2012-04-27 13:16 (comments: 0)

Today's APOD image (attention, big) is thoroughly fascinating! In something which seems a simple 500mm lens photo capture, we can see Jupiter's moons! Jupiter is a bit more than 140000 km in diameter and its biggest sattelites (in order of proximity to their "parent: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) are stretched between 400000 to 1 million kilometers from Jupiter's surface. And yes, we can also see the ISS. So many things that trigger my telescope hunger...

Logical fallacies

2012-04-23 23:05 (comments: 0)

Reasons for this post are twofold. Let's get the shallow one out of the way: I really like the graphic design of http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com. We would probably be much better off if things on the web looked more often that good. So, reason one, form.

The second reason is of cours contents! I keep on my desktop (and sometimes even get a few minutes to read through it) this well written guide to logical fallacies and the art of the debate from Glen Whitman. Jesse, Andy and Som had the excellent idea of putting everything i short paragraphs with excellent (and humorous) examples that make things much easier to remember (contact information and credits for the authors are in the footnote of the http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com site).

I especially dig the poster formats made available for free, which I gladly downloaded to print (and donated a meager something for -- for it or for the beer that went into its creation ;-).