December 16, 2009

From David McClafferty:

Re: “Hammer” heads give sharks super vision: study (Dec. 7): The story about the hammerhead sharks got me thinking about birds. They obviously have a great ability to judge distances. I don’t think their eyes are capable of stereo vision, have there been any studies into whether or not birds have stereo vision?

From Sara Shiraz:

Re: When déjà vu becomes unbearable (Jan. 30, 2006): I found your article after experiencing non stop moments of deja vu for about 3 days. I went abroad with my family, to see my cousins and my new born nephew, and I had a serious feeling I’d been there before, even though I’ve never been to that country before. Im 14 years of age, and Im really freaked out at the fact that from Monday early morning, until now, Thursday night, I have been ‘living every minute with deja vu’. As it was unbearable, I decided to google it, just to know Im not alone, and I found your article somewhat comforting. I would appreciate it if you could advice me on how to get over this weird feeling. Im afraid to tell my parents, because I think they may think Im out of my mind. After an event of deja vu, I try to remember what happens next. However, I cant remember what happens next until after it happens. Right now, I got a feeling that Ive typed this before.

From Jackenson Durand:

Re: Black holes may zap galaxies into existence (Dec. 1): Whoever who was discovered the dark energy or dark matter in the Universe, has been an incredible human discovery in all astrophysic age history for me because, this would allow a better understanding on galaxies and black holes formations. In this idea, between black holes and galaxies residues or planets which come first created; our response could be closure here on Earth, in analyzing Earth hurricanes formations. If a hurricane has been suddenly form by Earth energies heat, humidity, ect… Black holes could suddenly form (appear) with its own galaxies together, and could vary with space and time in the Universe.

From Charles Douglas Wehner:

Re: From chimps, new clues to language origins (Nov. 16): This article raises also the questions of (1) those born deaf-mute and (2) those born left-handed.

Humans who have never had the power of hearing might have a right-hand bias in their sign-language communications. Only their educators will know.

Secondly, the question of left-handedness arises. Is the whole brain reversed, or is it only the manuals skills of the left-handed people (excluding communication) that are reversed?

A thought-provoking article.

From Brian Tychonski:

Re: Scientists: artificial steps against global warming may be dan (Sept. 2): How about an article about how the CRU and Michael Mann, Phil Jones and others have cooked the books about AGW? How they fudged the numbers to keep the Medieval Warming Period and the subsequent Mini Ice Age out of the data set? How their own computer programmers commented in the code about how the numbers weren’t working unless they were heavily manipulated? How about an article on the Duke University Tree Ring study that goes back over a thousand years and shows that AGW is simply a lie? And barring that how about at least a link to the Minnesotans for Global Warming “Hide the Decline” video on Youtube? Continuing to perpetuate the now debunked myth of man made global warming doesn’t make World Science appear very scientific. When I took science classes, all raw data and methodology had to be recorded, and made available for others to replicate. If it wasn’t replicable, the theory was disproven. That is the scientific method.

(Editors' note: We have posted links to more than one article about the developments referred to in Mr. Tychonski's letter.)

From Toby Katz:

Re: America’s food waste laying “ waste” to environment (Nov. 25): “For ex­am­ple, food waste is now es­ti­mat­ed to ac­count for more than one quar­ter of the to­tal freshwa­ter con­sump­tion and more than 300 mil­lion bar­rels of oil per year rep­re­sent­ing about 4 per­cent of the to­tal U. S. oil con­sump­tion. This, along with re­lat­ed emis­sions of meth­ane and car­bon di­ox­ide, “im­pacts glob­al cli­mate change,” Hall and col­leagues wrote. “Sur­pris­ingly lit­tle dis­cus­sion has been de­vot­ed to the is­sue of food waste,” they added.”


Are you going to address the recent revelation/scandal that the whole global climate-change scare is a scientific hoax?

From Paul Cheung:

Re: Study suggests how DNA building block might have formed (Nov. 2, 2007): I just read your article on “Study suggests how DNA building block might have formed”. It is very interesting. I am curious about the how the first DNA is being formed. I understand that DNA is like a set of codes that contains instructions for building different types of proteins. Even we can successfully create the building blocks adenine (like the alphabets I suppose) of the code, how can these building block come together to make DNA a set of meaningful codes? It seems we are still very far from understanding how the first DNA is formed. From the number of codes inside even the most primitive cell, is it really possible that somehow these building blocks just align together correctly (like different letters align together to form an menu I suppose)? What is the odd for this to happen? Are there any theory on this topic?

From Joe Vita:

Re: Our oceans, extra terrestrial material? (Nov. 17): Do the findings of Mr. Albarede give some credence to the claims of Immanuel Velikovsky that were severely criticized in the 1950’s?

Apparently, National Geographic counts this explanation for water on the moon as somewhat plausable: see here.

Joe Vita
Lexington, Va.

From Herbert Gintis:

Re: Giving among strangers more nurture than nature, study suggests (Oct. 13): Regarding “Giving among strangers more nurture than nature,” your report is misleading. Suppose all humans have an equal genetic capacity for altruism. Then all reported differences will be cultural. This does not mean there is no genetic component, but only that it is not heritable. For example, virtually all variation in number of hands in humans is cultural (e. g. , some societies cut off hands of thieves). Nevertheless, the number of hands in humans is genetically determined to a high degree.

Herbert Gintis
Santa Fe Institute and Central European University
Northampton, MA

From Roland White:

Re: Fungus-treated violin beats Strad in blind test (Sept. 15): I am a fiddler with over 30 years of playing and listening experience. Violins and the Art of the Luthier have always fascinated me especially the debate and quest to replicate one of the great violin masterpieces.

From the top tier of historic Luthiers, Stradivarius, Gunarius, Amati, and a few others the wood of choice for their Violins was Spruce for the tops, and Maple for the back sides and neck. It is surprising to me that this experiment was conducted with a non- traditional wood of Sycamore.

Although I am sure it is an adequate wood with decent musical properties I have never known of any Luthier claiming any fame or creating significance using this wood as the backs for their instruments, especially for Violins. In my research the only reference to Sycamore for Violins is the one made from the Sycamore tree that grew outside Arthur Conan Doyle’s home, however nothing is said of the tonal qualities of the instrument.

Further I have never come across any historical references that the Master Luthiers treated their wood with fungi, or any other material to improve the tonal qualities of their instruments.

I have however found many historical and modern references relating to the wood that these historic Luthiers used to be from a mini ice age that affected the growth pattern of the Spruce and Maple used to make these magnificent instruments.

Another important fact that has not been considered is that if this historic period produced wood that improved the tonal qualities of these instruments, why didn’t all the Luthiers, famous and not, compare with the instruments of the great masters and contemporaries like Gunarius, Amati and Stradivarius himself. Is it not reasonable to give more credit to the empirical knowledge that the Master Luthiers acquired in constructing their violins with the wood of their region and the gifted and accumulated knowledge of their craft?

Lastly, the fungi treated Sycamore Violin has not endured the tests of time whereby its fungi treated wood has improved the tone over time or that it maintained its structural integrity like the Historic Masterpieces, carved with the wood produced in nature without the influence of altering its natural characteristics with fungi or any other modification of the wood.

Although I am quite sure that the Mr. Rhonheimer is a Master Luthier these facts in my opinion still favor the expertise and craftsmanship of the Historic Masters over the modern maker striving to one up the best that History has to offer by altering the natural properties of the wood itself.

I’m sure that Mr. Rhonheimer would not agree that the wood trumps his skill as a Luthier, nor would I expect that every Luthier using Fungi Treated Sycamore would make an instrument surpassing the Violin Masters of Old.

Roland White • Fiddler
Bend, Oregon

From Edward N. Haas:

Re: Discovery of “furthest object” said to pave way for probing early cosmos (April 28): Even the media have been telling us about this most distant object ever observed. So far, though, no one has said a word about precisely how distant it is. I would certainly like to know both what that distance might be and why no one mentions it. Some say the universe is 93 billion light years in diameter. If this most distant object is calculated to be at least 45 billion light years away from us, that would strongly indicate the truthfulness of the 93 billion light year estimate. So, precisely what is the calculated distance of this most distant object ever observed, and why is no one mentioning it?

From J.Moorcroft:

Re: Light from a cosmic “dark age” (Oct. 28): how big was the Universe when it was 5 percent. of its present age? It always strikes me as contradiction to think that the more distant the object, the longer light takes to get to Earth (which I accept as true) but at the same time that the further back you go in time, the closer to Earth the object was (which must also be true given the proven Doppler effect).

From Jega V. Jegatheesan:

Re: Distant moon may have oxygen in ocean (Oct. 9): This is an interesting article. Is that possible to obtain more details by using Hubble Telescope? Why no attempts are being made to study in more details. I always wonder with so much advancement, scientific world still moves slowly.

Jega V. Jegatheesan, PhD
Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering
School of Engineering & Physical Sciences
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD 4811

From BDe nni s41 0@aol .com:

Re: New space map reveals “mystery ribbon” (Oct. 15): Is the “galactic wind” flowing at us from just one direction the “center” of our galaxy or our universe, or is it multiple “winds” originating from many sources but “stronger” from one direction?

If our Ribbon is preventing harmful cosmic rays from reaching into our solar system, then our heliosphere must be “stronger” than the galactic wind at the meeting point. Is our heliosphere in turn “stronger” in one direction, or in multiple areas?

Is the Ribbon uniform in distance from the Sun in all directions, a “Zero Sum” point at which the Ribbon most effectively neutralizes the galactic wind, or unevenly dispersed because of interference from planets, or other forces?

Confirming the Ribbon’s existence leads to the conclusion that there must be multiple Ribbons. One surrounding each galaxy, perhaps, probably not uniform in dispersion, but logical in existence; if Sol’s Ribbon exists, then so must others around galaxies.

If other “universes exist, then ours must have a Ribbon as well.

From Julian Lieb:

Re: Small “epidemic” may have killed Mozart (Aug. 17): There is nothing new about the streptococcus theory. It was originally derived from the history of attacks of rheumatic fever, the nephrotic syndrome, and hypertension culminating in a stroke, with the possibility of subacute bacterial endocarditis. For my money, this is pretty close, but the terminal event the embolization of valvular bacterial vegetations to the brain. Rheumatic fever may cause various deformities of the aortic, tricuspid and mitral valves, that may become breeding grounds for pathogens that form the vegetations. The edema, I would bet, was due to congestive heart failure secondary to mitral stenosis and aortic incompetence.

Mozart was manic- depressive (name a great composer that was not), his penury due to manic spending spells. Lithium has potent immunostimulating, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Would lithium have saved him? Almost certainly, yes. Would it have interfered with his creativity and productivity? Mogens Schou studied 24 creative geniuses taking lithium. 12 reported no impairment, 6 impairment, and 6 enhancement.

As for Don Giovanni, thank goodness M got that in before the strep got him, although some credit must go to Lorenzo da Ponte.

If ever you wish to disseminate the immunostimulating and antimicrobial properties of lithium and antidepressants, such that people take notice, let me know. Relevant not only to strep, but to HIV and HINI as well.

Julian Lieb, M.D.

From El Sharayri Ali:

Re: Light from a cosmic “dark age” (Oct. 28): I read your article about this interesting subject, and wanted to pause a comment on it.

But before that, I want to thank you for sharing this article with your members and for all the efforts you do to inform us about special and interesting subjects like these.

After I read this article, it came in my mind that if we got this light on earth only last April and that this light was produced closely after the big bang at that time … then if this light take all this period to arrive us then the universe have stopped expanding or the speed that our universe is expanding is slower than light speed or the universe is not expanding anymore and is may be regress and begin a contrast cycle or will begin a regressive cycle in the near future …

The question is ; what I’m saying have any sense ? and if yes, what would be the consequences of this on our little earth ?

From Neo Guru @ aol.c om:

Re: Distant moon may have oxygen in ocean (Oct. 9): An interesting idea, but I don’t see the source of molecular oxygen via “energetic charged particles”. Rather the speculating that such oxygen can reach the oceans of Europa, I would be more interested in seeing the mechanism for its formation.

From Robert F. Beck:

Re: “Dance restaurant” theory of water takes shape (Aug. 14): My comment on this item of 14 August 2009 is late, but I have just discovered a Russian video about water containing masses of evidence relating to the structure of water, which is highly relevant to this article, and of huge significance to ALL branches of science.

The video, which can now also be found on my own website here, is long (over 80 minutes) but I hope to soon post a summary and guide to it.

From Charles Weber:

Re: Tiny “T. rex” found (Sept. 17): I saw the portrayal of Tyrannosaur in the Science journal. They portrayed the dinosaur as holding its body horizontally and its legs vertical. I doubt very much if they were stupid enough to hold their bodies horizontally, but they could not hold their legs vertically. If they tried to do so, they would fall forward and either break their thin ribs or break their fall with that big head and extended hip bone, because their center of gravity is forward of their hips. Of course they could walk horizontally if they thrust their hips backward. You can verify this by bending forward at the hips (but I doubt if you have any intention of walking this way or that they did). I suspect that if they must fall, they would have preferred to fall back on that robust tail. If they had walked horizontally, almost certainly they would have evolved their hip bone forward of where they portray it.

You may find interesting a proposal as to why the herbivore dinosaurs declined in armor, teeth, and quite a bit in bony structure across the Cretaceous. I suggest it was due to a phosphorus famine created by erosion of the soil of the runways of plant smothering termites. You may see this discussed in more detail starting here and its links, which links explore the possible affect that ant evolution had upon them. The affects that soil phosphorus has had on Paleocene vertebrates and modern animals may be seen here.

From Mike Tryp:

Re: Other universes may be detectable, published study claims (Oct. 11, 2007): much debate is held over the thought of multiple universes but most is based upon human perception. physicists all forget that reality is wave signals interpreted by our body for our consciousness. but why? look at nature, look at everything you can possibly find and no matter how different each of these things, no matter how fundamentally opposite are created of the same substance... so are you! we are all a form of matter (or getting more advanced, matter is energy slowed to a much slower vibration & wavelength) which is the same throughout the universe matter can be altered into different matter by chemical or otherwise methods so don’t fall into the illusion everything you perceive is truly as it seems. anyway, why does a particle exhibit both matter and wave (energy) like tendencies? its proven this phenomena always occurs but scientists slapped a name on the theory and moved on... why? because no one was comfortable with the fact that the only time it would act like matter was when human/conscious interaction taking place... observation. this means everything lies in an indefinite state of probability until you define it as something (this means for the universe to work it must have consciousness to drive it). Now ive been researching this in my OFF time and with no proper schooling i find myself stumping even experienced physicists. my theory is that the universe... it is infinite but not on a physical scale... physically, reality is straight up ridiculous and holographic in nature [everything from our dna info to nebula formations are holographic and fractal in nature] Hell, go outside and look at the autumn patterns in the trees and bushes... notice how all of these “physical things” are based on fractal math sets... the same with hurricanes, seashells, bodyparts... It’s all based on very very very simple equations that create infinite possibility. this is the greatest trick of the universe, it seems so infinitely complex but it is because we are a part of it but what is outside? surely if you keep zooming out further and further you’d hit... what? empty space? no stars? the universe... is infinite in nature. if you kept zooming out passed conceivable distances you would find strings and atoms and eventually you would come upon the exact same reality you left from. its hard to fully appreciate the beauty of simplicity making complexity.

honestly there is no human way of knowing the solution except to accept the infinite (as a concept of everything) or to think about everything in new ways... reality could be the calculation of a computing program, the most intensive fractal ever devised... we could be in “the matrix” of the singularity (where technology creates itself better than we can). Look at reality and notice time/space and energy/matter are relative to concept... and nothing will be the same for you.