April 17, 2008

Links for 2008-04-16 [del.icio.us]


Cliff said...

I've got some quibbles on the science in two of these articles.

In the BBC article on vitamins, they say "the researchers linked vitamin A supplements to a 16% increased risk of dying, beta-carotene to a 7% increased risk and vitamin E to a 4% increased risk."
It'd be nice if they explained the cause of death, or if they mean dead before a certain age. As it is, this invites me to point out that statistically there is a 100% chance of death for everyone.

For the Science & Spirit article, the author writes that stars will cease to form when the universe is 1012 years old. I'm sure he meant 10 to the 12th (maybe he wrote that and the editor changed it), but it seems like a poor reflection on the publication. Other than that, the article raises some good points, that philosophy and religion might mitigate depression about the end of the universe.

George said...

My sentiments exactly re: the vitamin study; the jury is still out on that one, and clarification is certainly in order.

The Science & Spirit typo is unfortunate -- they're usually pretty good about that sort of stuff. Given their readership, it will most assuredly throw some people off; hopefully it'll be corrected.

It's an interesting journal, mostly because of all the rationalizing that goes on with those religious folk who are desperate to reconcile their faiths with their rational brains and the presence of so much empirical evidence.

That said, I do appreciate the larger existential and 'spiritual' perspectives that are put forth. It provides an interesting forum for these overarching issues. A lot of this gets lost in traditional transhumanist, humanist, and scientific discourse.

Cliff said...

I'll probably check the Science & Spirit site out some more, since it is extremely relevant to my interests. It seemed to have a Christian bent to it, but I sympathize with the motivation.

I mean, how else are we supposed to react to the idea that the universe is a purposeless heat sink? It's only human to want to ascribe purpose to everything we see.