Archive for March 3rd, 2012
There was a time when UFO conventions or seminars only drew the lunatic fringe audience — those who believe benevolent extraterrestrial beings are watching over us, to make sure Mankind doesn’t destroy itself through warfare and bad decisions affecting planetary climate.
At the recent 21st annual 2012 International UFO Congress near Scottsdale, Ariz., there was certainly some of that purchase-an-ET-trinket mentality.
But during my visit, I observed something else more telling: not everyone present was a UFO fanatic.
Under the well tuned guiding arm of Open Minds Production, the IUFOC was truly an international event as nearly 2000 folks from around the world attended the six-day festivities.
I’ve been to other UFO conventions that catered to the out-of-this-world element, but was impressed with several aspects of this event.
Skepticism was welcome here. There was arch skeptic Robert Sheaffer’s daily critical observations as he wandered in and out of the main speakers and vendors rooms.
In my own presentation, I urged the audience not to believe every UFO item they hear about on the news, in magazines and, especially, online.
Phayul, a main web portal devoted to news for the Tibetan community-in-exile, reports that His Eminence the 9th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Dorjee Chang Jampel Namdrol Choekyi Gyaltsen, “the spiritual head of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the spiritual head of Mongolia,” passed away yesterday at age 80. They further note that “the Central Tibetan Administration expressed deep sadness at the demise of Khalkha Jetsun
Dhampa and convened a special prayer service to pray for his speedy reincarnation. As a mark of respect, offices of the CTA remained closed following the prayer service.”
The CTA’s official obituary for His Eminence was also just published and can be found here. In addition, you can learn more about his life, lineage, and teachings at http://www.jetsundhampa.com.
via Buddhist News.
Let’s get one thing clear from the get go: moms are generally better parents than dads. And that goes double for me. I’ve had three kids across two marriages and I am undoubtedly the weak link. My 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son trust their step-mom more than they trust me, which proves that I married well but am still getting the hang of being a dad. Most of us are.
That said, there are a few subtle nuances that I have picked up along the way as a dad that might come in handy for moms raising boys.
Ladies, here are some things to think about with your boys:
A growing body of psychology research shows that incompetence deprives people of the ability to recognize their own incompetence. To put it bluntly, dumb people are too dumb to know it. Similarly, unfunny people don’t have a good enough sense of humor to tell.
This disconnect may be responsible for many of society’s problems.
With more than a decade’s worth of research, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has demonstrated that humans find it “intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don’t know.” Whether an individual lacks competence in logical reasoning, emotional intelligence, humor or even chess abilities, the person still tends to rate his or her skills in that area as being above average.
Dunning and his colleague, Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now at New York University, “have done a number of studies where we will give people a test of some area of knowledge like logical reasoning, knowledge about STDs and how to avoid them, emotional intelligence, etcetera. Then we determine their scores, and basically just ask them how well they think they’ve done,” Dunning said. “We ask, ‘what percentile will your performance fall in?’”
The results are uniform across all the knowledge domains: People who actually did well on the test tend to feel more confident about their performance than people who didn’t do well, but only slightly. Almost everyone thinks they did better than average. “For people at the bottom who are really doing badly — those in the bottom 10th or 15th percentile — they think their work falls in the 60th or 55th percentile, so, above average,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries. The same pattern emerges in tests of people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess. “People at the bottom still think they’re outperforming other people.” [Graph]
It’s not merely optimism, but rather that their total lack of expertise renders them unable to recognize their deficiency. Even when Dunning and his colleagues offer study participants a $100 reward if they can rate themselves accurately, they cannot. “They’re really trying to be honest and impartial,” he said.
If only we knew ourselves better. Dunning believes people’s inability to assess their own knowledge is the cause of many of society’s ills, including climate change denialism. “Many people don’t have training in science, and so they may very well misunderstand the science. But because they don’t have the knowledge to evaluate it, they don’t realize how off their evaluations might be,” he said.
A Frenchman took Google to court Thursday over a photo published online by its Street View application showing him urinating in his front yard which he believes has made him the laughing stock of his village in rural northwest France.
The man, who is aged around 50 and lives in a village of some 3,000 people in the Maine-et-Loire region, is demanding the removal of the photo, in which locals have recognized him despite his face being blurred out.
He also wants 10,000 euros ($13,300) in damages.
THAT the universe is made of matter is obvious enough. What bothers fundamental physicists, though, is why that is. The best current theory of particle physics, called the Standard Model, suggests that basically equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been produced in the Big Bang. Famously, however, matter and antimatter annihilate on contact and disappear in a puff of pure energy, so a primordial equity between the two would have led to a lifeless, photon-filled universe. One possible reason for the apparent imbalance is a phenomenon called charge conjugation/parity violation (or CP violation for short).
If charge conjugation and parity were conserved, nature would treat particles and their antiversions, which carry the opposite electric charge and opposite value of a property called spin, alike. The Standard Model allows for a whiff of CP violation. But that is nowhere near enough of it to explain matter’s cosmic dominance.
Last November an experiment called LHCb, which feeds off the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, saw hints of excess CP violation beyond theorists’ predictions. Now an experiment in America, known as CDF, has spotted something similar. It announced its results at a meeting in La Thuile, in Italy.
Like LHCb, CDF was looking at a subatomic species called mesons. These come in a variety of types, or flavours, each containing a quark and an antiquark. One flavour, known as D0-mesons, is composed of a charm quark and an up antiquark. Its antimatter twin, known as D0-bar, consists of a charm antiquark and an up quark. (A charm quark is a heavier cousin of the up quark which, together with down quarks, makes up the ordinary protons and neutrons found in atomic nuclei; lest things get too straightforward, the down quark is not simply an up antiquark.)