Archive for the ‘Science’

How culpability affects pain perception

April 10, 2014 By: erik Category: Comic, Geeky, Parenting, Science

How culpability effects pain perceptionOne curiosity I’ve noticed as I watch my children grow into their bodies is how they react to pain. There are days where it seems like the childhood is one long series of injuries. No doubt every parent has seen this, but when a kid is pushed to the ground on the playground by another kid, the chances of the victim running to his Mommy for consolation is much higher than if the kid was doing something stupid or dangerous and fell. If you’re a kid, and you hurt yourself by doing something stupid or risky the resulting pain appears to be minimized.
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Deadly Spanish Air Currents

August 26, 2012 By: erik Category: Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism, Spain, Weird

Curtain in BreezeCultural differences fascinate me, as do superstitions. So naturally I am enthralled by the utter mortal fear Spaniards have for air currents, specifically those running through a house. Every time I open two windows on either side of my house to get a nice current of fresh air running through, I am told to close one of the windows, because air currents (corrientes) are dangerous. When there’s a baby or child in the house – forget about it! – the importance of reducing air pressure differentials goes up by several orders of magnitude. Everyone in Spain knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who died because they had fresh air running through their house.
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Blindfolded Wine Taste Test: Can you distinguish white from red? Cheap from expensive?

June 11, 2012 By: erik Category: Experiments, Fighting Stupidity, Science, Skepticism, Spain, Wine

Blind Wine Taste TestHave you ever heard the claim that some wine experts, when blindfolded, cannot actually tell white wine from red wine? My gut reaction was the same as everyone’s, “That’s ridiculous, they’re so different!!” But I know enough about psychology and illusions to know that the wine industry is mostly bullshit, and it’s very possible that we might be kidding ourselves. Ever since hearing this claim, I’ve been dying to run an experiment on myself. This past weekend, I finally had the time and wine and test subjects… My parents, wife and I drank wine blindfolded to see how good we were at sensing the wine in the glass without our eyes.
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The Golden Age Fallacy and Our Social Decline

April 04, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Geeky, Internet, Science, Videos

thumbnailRemember back when you were a child, and the world wasn’t so complicated and messed up? That was a simpler time, wasn’t it? WRONG. It was a simpler time for you, because you were a child, free to play and almost entirely free from responsibility. We live in the most peaceful time in all of human history. Thinking that things were better in the past is called the Golden Age Fallacy, and it annoys the crap out of me.
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Crescent Moonset 2

December 27, 2011 By: erik Category: Photos, Science, Timelapse

MoonsetThe moon just after sunset today was really gorgeous, hanging there in the sky next to Venus. The new moon was on Christmas Eve night, so Rudolph’s nose must have been extra important this year. After seeing the pretty Moon, up high in the sky, I told myself to go and look in an hour or two to see if I could catch it approach the horizon. Normally, I would never be capable of such a thing, but I actually did remember, and I caught it just as it was touching the horizon. Unfortunately, in the time it took me to set up my tripod, the tip of the moon went behind the hill on the horizon, but I still got nine shots in the time it took to set completely.
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Elementary Fun

December 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings, Photoshop, Science

NoRaThis afternoon I was succumbing to a risky vice of mine, surfing the product pages over at ThinkGeek, when I came across this t-shirt where they had used chemical symbols for elements to write a dirty word. Silly, yes, but also kind of fun as a tool to separate people who know a lot of science from those that don’t, which seems to be the primary goal of the t-shirts at ThinkGeek. For instance, I always get a chuckle out of the one that says, “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don’t.” Is that kind of elitist behavior rude? Yes, but it’s a social defense mechanism, creating an “us vs. them” mentality that is ubiquitous in our species.
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How big is the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

December 16, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Math, Musings, Photos, Science

Earth's UmbraWhen I saw yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was fascinated by just how big the Earth’s shadow is on the Moon. When I made a comment to this effect on Facebook, my friend, Josh Grady, said, “It’d depend on the distance between the two, no?” Of course the size of a shadow depends on the distance to the object its cast upon, but I hadn’t considered that the distance from the Earth to the Moon varies, due to its slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth-Moon barycenter, by 42,840 km, causing it to appear 12% smaller at its apogee than at its perigee. This raised the question: What are the minimum and maximum sizes of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon?

To the geometrymobile!
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3D Bottle Window Effect

August 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Science, Videos, Weird

Virgen del Carmen (in bottle)In my local cured meat and cheese shop, they have this bottle of water that is very intriguing. It’s meant to be a souvenir of Colindres, the town where I live, showing the Virgen del Carmen, the statue of this version of the Virgin Mary (more or less a goddess of fishermen) that they parade around town once a year. In the photo, she’s seen in front of the town church. What’s cool about the bottle is the exceedingly clever 3D visual effect it presents. Watch the video first, and then I’ll explain it.
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In politics, the smarter you are, the dumber you are

April 28, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, Science, USA, Weird

brainAs I’ve approached and entered my thirties, I’ve become increasingly interested in politics. Not that I would ever, ever participate beyond the ballot box or a donation, but as a spectator, I’m fascinated. Another of my interests in recent years is the psychology of decision making, belief, and logical fallacies. Of particular curiosity is the growing ideological gulf between the political left and right in the United States brought on by increased access to information.
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First Glimpse of Offspring0002

April 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, News, Offspring, Photos, Science, Weird

Take me to your leader!Today we saw the first episode of the second season of Pregnancy. It was Marga’s twelve-week ultrasound. There was an eerie sense of déjà vu in the same corner of the hospital with the same nurses and same 12-week-ultrasound doctor as the last time. Just like last time, I was blown away by two distinct facets of our visit.
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