31 January 2011


WAG THE DOG. With the arrival of a number of Tea Party members in the U.S. Congress, the Republican party is experiencing increasing chaos. The new, anti-establishment, and largely ungovernable TPers have their own agenda, distinct from the G.O.P., and they are insoucient when it comes to toeing the party line. In his article The Tea Party Wags the Dog, Frank Rich provides the blow-by-blow of recent weeks' events, along with some perspective on whether the party schism might lead to a complete meltdown, not only for the Republican party, but for the Federal government as a whole. In brief, "Like virtually every other week since [the 2010 elections] shellacking, the State of the Union week was another salutory one for Obama. But the state of the union itself could yet be in the hands of radicals whose eagerness to see the president fail is outstripped only by their zeal to make an ideological point, even if it forces American into default." Not a pretty picture.
MULTIVERSE. In dialogue both funny and informative, astrophysicist Brian Green (whose book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos explains the fundamentals of string theory and parallel universes) explores the fundamental importance of math to humorist and satirist Steven Colbert. The interview is six minutes well spent, for scientist and lay people alike.

PSYCHEDELIA. Just for fun, here are two links so websites which would have made hippies salivate and go "ooooo", "aaaaaahh", if the Internet had existed in the 1960s and 70s. The first link is The Most Psychedelic Images in Science, which includes fractal images, photomicrographs, and computer modeling. Click on the right-pointing arrow at the top of the gallery, to cycle through a dozen fascinating images, and note the explanation beneath each image. Links to further galleries are also included. Below is a model of a sunspot.

The second link is Introducing the Marijuana-Spiked Canna Cola (a product intended for medicinal marijuana users only). Spiked soft drinks now join tinctures, baked goods, and high-potency marijuana buds in the growing inventory at your friendly neighborhood licensed caregiver. Far out.

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