14 May 2006
To be a scientist is to explore the natural world with systematic observations, and create models (conceptual, mathematical, computational) that render the results comprehensible.
To be a scientist is to apply ruthless logic and maintain absolute honesty in evaluating the agreement of any theory with reality.
be a scientist is constantly to marvel at the unreasonable success of our
mathematical structures in accounting for the fundamental processes of
nature; and to catch glimpses of a transcendent mystery each time nature
offers one of her exquisite surprises.
~ Josh Mitteldorf
13 May 2006
12 May 2006
Using a previously described mouse model of cancer resistance, scientists in the Comprehensive Cancer Center have described new findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA in which they demonstrate the ability to cure cancer in normal mice by transferring purified immune cells (white blood cells) from cancer resistant mice. These studies show that specific types of innate immune cells, such as macrophages, can migrate to the site of cancer in a normal mouse and selectively kill all of the cancer cells without harming normal cells. Such studies suggest that this type of mechanism might one day be used to help design a new strategy for cancer therapy in humans.
11 May 2006
Richard Feynman had the gift of seeing through complex matters to a simpler underlying reality.
His signature contribution to the world of physics was his prescription for computation in the theory of relativistic quantum fields. The actual calculations are multi-dimensional integrals so complex that each one can tie up the world’s best physics minds (and their computers) for months on end; yet Feynman saw them as the embodiment of a few simple pictures. Look! he told us. The particles do everything that it’s possible to do, and each of the possibilities can be represented with a few squiggly lines – a “Feynman diagram”.
A great mystery of his era (largely understood today): What holds an atomic nucleus together and keeps all those positively charged protons from flying apart?” Must be some new particle that we haven’t yet discovered, Feynman reasoned, dubbed it the “glue-on”, and continued to deduce its properties. The name stuck.
Late in life, he was assigned to the commission to investigate the misfiring of the Space Shuttle Challenger in January, 1986 that killed seven astronauts. On national TV he used a glass of ice water to demonstrate the way that rubber gaskets get brittle in the cold, and can’t do their job. It’s not that no one else could have understood this, but would we have believed it if anyone else but Feynman had tried to tell us it was so simple?
We loved him because he was plainspoken and
unpretentious. The Man of the
Big Brain had no use for intellectual finery, and had the stature to expose
phoniness wherever he found it. Everyone’s favorite physicist, Richard
Phillip Feynman was born this day in 1918.
10 May 2006
Now that a huge diversity of news sources is available on the Internet...
Now that mainstream news sources have been thoroughly infiltrated with stories that are there because it serves some corporate or political interest for us to believe them...
And since we find ourselves at a unique juncture in human history when limits to unsustainable technologies are becoming manifest...
It is our challenge, our responsibility, our mission as independent thinkers
~ Josh Mitteldorf, born this
day in 1949
9 May 2006
Discard morality and righteousness, and the people will return to natural love.
from the Tao Te
Ching, Walker translation
8 May 2006
MY soule, sit thou a patient