Walking with monsters

March 16, 2010

I’ve just finished rewatching (via youtube) the immensely enjoyable Walking with Monsters and Walking with Beasts. Evolution has thrown up extraordinary creatures that could barely be imagined.

Thoroughly recommend them for anyone curious about natural history.

The Singularity Institute

September 19, 2007

Mitch Porter recently sent me this link to The Singularity Institute. In amongst the concerns of daily life and areas of immediate interest (e.g. politics), it’s very interesting to consider more long-term issues, such as how humanity might deal with an artificial intelligence that is more powerful than the mind of a human being. To quote from The Singularity Institute’s website:

In the coming decades, humanity will likely create a powerful artificial intelligence. The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) exists to confront this urgent challenge, both the opportunity and the risk.

Long-term “out of the box thinking” is always needed.

“The great global warming swindle”: Comments by the Australian Academy of Science

July 13, 2007

I received this e-mail from the Australian Academy of Science and thought that readers might be interested in reading it. (I’ve copied the text from this page.)

‘The great global warming swindle’ television program: Comments by the Academy’s
National Committee for Earth System Science

12 July 2007

It is both exasperating and unfortunate when the media either exaggerate stories, sometimes to idiotic degrees, or air poorly-vetted and inaccurate presentations that are purported to provide journalistic balance. It has been so for global warming ever since the topic burst into the media in the late 1980s with images of floods, droughted crops, storms, lightning bolts, cracked clay pans, carcasses in deserts, and people in deck-chairs on the beach up to their necks in sea water. This has created vividly false impressions. Now the TV program ‘The great global warming swindle’ (aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation television on 12 July 2007) presents a counter story with even greater, but opposite, exaggeration and inaccuracy. What can the man in the street make of this? How can the publics’ right to be well informed be addressed by such polarizing and incompatible presentations in the media? Is human-induced climate change the biggest threat to the world this century, or is it just a fraudulent claim by climate scientists trying to drum up research dollars? Read the rest of this entry »

Terence Tao – the cosmic distance ladder

June 3, 2007

Terence Tao has put up a nice post about calculating astronomical distances – the cosmic distance ladder. Download his presentation and enjoy.

Movies on hyperbolic spaces and three-manifolds

April 22, 2007

I just came across a very interesting movie (in two parts) on mathematical hyperbolic spaces! (FYI they’re youtube files.) This movie should give some idea of what three-manifolds and hyperbolic spaces are – conveying the idea of a closed, connected, orientable three-manifold to a non-mathematical audience can be difficult (I always use two-dimensional analogues to illustrate the idea) but these kinds of movies should be able to help.

It’s kind-of mind blowing if you havn’t come across it before.

Evidence of the earliest plate tectonics in Greenland

March 24, 2007

A very interesting story is on the BBC web-site:
Sea floor records ancient Earth. I love the para: “You can actually recognise features that formed in a couple of minutes, 3.8 billion years ago – a quarter of all time – and you can actually go and touch them with your hand,” said Professor Rosing.

Imagine that, touching something that is 3.8 billion years old! Of course, we are all made of atoms many of which resulted from a supernova about 4.55 billion years ago, not to mention matter that appeared about 13 billion years ago. All of us, 13 billion years old! Extraordinary! Read the rest of this entry »

Paper submitted to J. Knot Theory and Its Ramifications

February 27, 2007

Tonight I submitted the following paper: paper.pdf to the Journal of Knot Theory and Its Ramifications – the paper hasn’t been refereed yet so I’m merely offering it here for the reader’s enjoyment.

ARISING FROM Uq(osp(1|2n)) AND U−q(so(2n + 1)) Read the rest of this entry »