Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Imponderables, New Species, Placebo Effect


"Collecting "imponderables" or interesting unanswered questions is one of my hobbies and I list a bunch of questions here. I decided to put them on this web site to encourage students to think creatively and identify deep questions. But anyone is welcome to enjoy them."

I am glad I do not have to be tested on this list! But it does keep the mind active and that is a good thing.

Teaching the Notion of Nanotechnology

Now this newtechnology is something (among many things) I know nothing or precious little about. However, there are a number of people I repect who claim that this is cutting edge and of great importance. In sum: it ought not be ignored.

"Scientist Robert P.H. Chang of Northwestern University had no trouble persuading education officials in Mexico to introduce the burgeoning field of nanotechnology to schools there, but it's been a far tougher sell in the United States. In Mexico, Chang said he had only to speak about the subject to top government officials, who then simply ordered school officials to teach it."

Mass Extinction Underway

"The World Wide Web's Most Comprehensive Source of Information on the Current Mass Extinction."

They do not exaggerate! What a compilation of sites and links!

Scientists find dozens of new species in Borneo rainforests

"Gland, Switzerland – At least 52 new species of animals and plants have been identified this past year on the island of Borneo, according to scientists.

The discoveries, described in a report compiled by WWF, include 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree specie
s and one large-leafed plant species."

Unfortunately, we discover far fewer than we manage to extinguish, it seems, as increasingly various species go extinct.

Placebo Effect

This article points to the various explanations concerning the so-called placebo effect. This well-known and tested effect has a number of differing explanations, but we are warned that "the placebo can be an open door to quackery."

"Researchers and medical doctors sometimes give placebos to patients. Anecdotal evidence for the placebo effect is garnered in this way. Those who believe there is scientific evidence for the placebo effect point to clinical studies, many of which use a control group treated with a placebo. Why an inert substance, or a fake surgery or therapy, would be effective is not known. "

Band of Holes in Pisco Valley, Peru

"Thousands of man-sized holes are carved into the barren rock near Pisco Valley, Peru on a plain called Cajamarquilla. These strange holes, stretching for a mile over uneven mountain terrain, were here for so long that the local people have no idea who made them, or why. Funny thing is no one really saw the big picture until the area was seen from the air."

More? see the links at left margin for other unusual places


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