what i learned last week

1. although about 50% of americans believe that god created humans in their present form, and therefore do not believe in evolution, the united states ranks #1 in nobel prizes (including, but not exclusively prizes in the sciences).

2. if you put someone in an fMRI and ask them to imagine playing tennis, a different area of the brain will light up than if you had asked them to imagine walking around their house. further to this: a researcher has put a number of patients who are in a long-term (or maybe permanent) vegatative state (and are therefore completely uncommunicative in any way) in an fMRI and asked them to imagine these two scenarios. at least two of these patients have exhibited exactly the same brain activity as the typical subjects, meaning that it is likely that these people are awake and aware, but trapped inside an immovable body.

3. the book of revelation in the christian bible mentions a star or angel called “wormwood” in the following verse: “and the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” (revelation 8:10, 11 – KJB). interestingly,  “wormwood” in ukrainian is “chornobyl”.

4. i was surprised to find that i was in good company in my opinion that the european union’s decision this week to ban canadian seal products is annoying stupid.

5. if you go to kenya and travel to the equator, you can find a person who will demonstrate the coriolis effect. he will walk a couple of steps north of the equator and show that water draining out of bowl with a hole in the bottom swirls counter-clockwise. he will then walk a couple of steps south of the equator and show that water draining out of the same bowl swirls clockwise. finally, placing the bowl directly on the equator, he will show that it doesn’t swirl when draining.

6. the television program that showed the fellow discussed in #5 was taken in by a charlatan. the coriolis effect cannot be seen to be that dramatic when you are mere steps from the equator.

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