Saturday, May 08, 2004

Average IQ by US state and how that state voted in 2000

Quite amazing how much of a correlation there is.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Interview with Noam Chomsky

From The Progressive: It was a typical day for the seemingly tireless seventy-five-year-old Philadelphia native. He had just come from a BBC interview. But before we sat down to do ours, he had an office matter to tend to. He took me down to a basement filled with file cabinets. He was tossing out old files and doing a running commentary on practically each one of them. As they were mostly about linguistics, almost all the references went right by me. Chomsky is a pioneer in linguistics. His Syntactic Structures, published in the 1950s, revolutionized the field. I recall years ago someone said that in Europe some people thought there were two Noam Chomskys, one who did linguistics and the other the political activist. His book 9-11 was hugely successful. His latest, Hegemony or Survival, is on many national and international bestseller lists. It even got on The New York Times business bestseller list.
The "newspaper of record" has an odd history with Chomsky. It doesn't publish his letters. His name is used disparagingly as a synonym for anti-Americanism. Yet in the past few months he has been the subject of a profile in the Sunday magazine, and the paper has published one of his op-eds. That Chomsky has a legitimate point of view may finally be dawning on the editors on West 43rd Street...

Monday, May 03, 2004

U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences

(New York Times)
The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals.

Europe and Asia are ascendant, analysts say, even if their achievements go unnoticed in the United States. In March, for example, European scientists announced that one of their planetary probes had detected methane in the atmosphere of Mars — a possible sign that alien microbes live beneath the planet's surface. The finding made headlines from Paris to Melbourne. But most Americans, bombarded with images from America's own rovers successfully exploring the red planet, missed the foreign news.

More aggressively, Europe is seeking to dominate particle physics by building the world's most powerful atom smasher, set for its debut in 2007. Its circular tunnel is 17 miles around.

Science analysts say Asia's push for excellence promises to be even more challenging.

Beware the Celebrity Bioethicist

A very good article by Leigh Turner warns about the perils of idle techno-utopianism.
How can bioethicists make a meaningful intellectual contribution to public debate about medicine, health care, and biotechnology? First, bioethicists need to reconsider what should be the core of their work. We live in a world of incredible inequities in access to health care, clean water, housing, nutritious food, and other necessities of life. Instead of contributing to the media circus surrounding genetics and biotechnology, bioethicists ought to pay more attention to those inequities and -- following the lead of scholars in economics, international development, and public health -- work on practical solutions.
Indeed. We dragonologists should not forget that, in an age that is both affluent and inequitable, the Bostromian dragon can be partially defeated by building a fairer global order. It doesn't take a cognitively augmented posthuman to realize that if the rich would be less wealthy, the poor could be much healthier.