Archive for July 15th, 2011

July 15, 2011

Grey Goo


Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves, a scenario known as ecophagy (‘eating the environment’).

Self-replicating machines of the macroscopic variety were originally described by mathematician John von Neumann, and are sometimes referred to as von Neumann machines.

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July 15, 2011



Lysenkoism [li-seng-koh-iz-uhm] is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives. The word is derived from a set of political and social campaigns in science and agriculture by the director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Trofim Lysenko and his followers, which began in the late 1920s and formally ended in 1964.

In 1928, Trofim Lysenko, a previously unknown plant scientist, claimed to have developed an agricultural technique, termed vernalization, which tripled or quadrupled crop yield by exposing wheat seed to high humidity and low temperature. While cold and moisture exposure are a normal part of the life cycle of fall-seeded winter cereals, the vernalization technique claimed to enhance yields by increasing the intensity of exposure, in some cases planting soaked seeds directly into the snow cover of frozen fields. In reality, the technique was neither new (it had been known since 1854, and was extensively studied during the previous twenty years), nor did it produce the yields he promised.

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July 15, 2011

Near-Death Studies


near death by Scott Brundage

Near-death studies is a school of psychology and psychiatry that studies the phenomenology and after-effects of a Near-death experience (NDE). The NDEs are reported by people who have come close to dying in a medical or non-medical setting.

Some researchers try to study the postulated role of physiological, psychological and transcendental factors associated with the NDE. These factors come together to form an overall pattern when numerous NDE reports are considered together. It is this pattern that is one of the main objects of interest for Near-Death studies.

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July 15, 2011


Blinders by Alejandro Gonzalez

Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi

Antiscience is a position that rejects science and the scientific method. People holding antiscientific views are generally skeptical that science is an objective method, as it purports to be, or that it generates universal knowledge.

They also contend that scientific reductionism (reducing complex things to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things) is a limited means of reaching understanding of the complex world we live in. Antiscience proponents also criticize what they perceive as the unquestioned privilege, power and influence science seems to wield in society, industry and politics; they object to what they regard as an arrogant or closed-minded attitude amongst scientists.

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