Evidence of Dark Matter

NASA – NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter:

Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. The discovery, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, gives direct evidence for the existence of dark matter.

These observations provide the strongest evidence yet that most of the matter in the universe is dark. Despite considerable evidence for dark matter, some scientists have proposed alternative theories for gravity where it is stronger on intergalactic scales than predicted by Newton and Einstein, removing the need for dark matter. However, such theories cannot explain the observed effects of this collision.

I find the word “proof” a little strong. Definitely its evidence.

TV Really Is Mind-Numbing

TV found to be a painkiller for children – Yahoo! News:

Sometimes the numbing effect of TV can be helpful. Especially if you’re a kid being stuck with a needle at the hospital. Researchers confirmed the distracting power of television — something parents have long known — when they found that children watching cartoons suffered less pain from a hypodermic needle than kids not watching TV.

Especially disturbing to the author of the scientific study was that the cartoons were even more comforting than Mom.

While it’s good to have a powerful distraction for children getting painful medical procedures, it is also troubling “because we have demonstrated the excessive power of television,” said chief author, Carlo Bellieni, a father of three and a neonatologist and pediatrician at the University of Siena in Italy.

Its not just kids. After my surgery last August, I found that watching TV help distract from the pain. Maybe not as effectively as the morphine, but somewhat close. The morphine could run out and TV would keep me distracted for another 1/2 before I’d notice unless there was nother distraction.


The Smalltalk Question (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought):

One of the minor puzzles of American life is what question to ask people at parties and suchly to get to know them.

“How ya doin’?” is of course mere formality, only the most troubled would answer honestly for anything but the positive.

“What do you do?” is somewhat offensive. First, it really means “what occupation do you hold?” and thus implies you do little outside your occupation. Second, it implies that one’s occupation is the most salient fact about them. Third, it rarely leads to further useful inquiry. For only a handful of occupations, you will be able to say something somewhat relevant, but even this will no doubt be slightly annoying or offensive. (“Oh yeah, I always thought about studying history.”)


I propose instead that one ask “What have you been thinking about lately?” First, the question is extremely open-ended. The answer could be a book, a movie, a relationship, a class, a job, a hobby, etc. Even better, it will be whichever of these is most interesting at the moment. Second, it sends the message that thinking, and thinking about thinking, is a fundamental human activity, and thus encourages it. Third, it’s easiest to answer, since by its nature its asking about what’s already on the person’s mind. Fourth, it’s likely to lead to productive dialog, as you can discuss the topic together and hopefully make progress. Fifth, the answer is quite likely to be novel. Unlike books and occupations, people’s thoughts seem to be endlessly varied. Sixth, it helps capture a person’s essence. A job can be forced by circumstance and parentage, but our thoughts are all our own. I can think of little better way to quickly gauge what a person is really like.

I kind of like this. Its doesn’t seem to roll off like the others, but that could be due to never having used it. The lack of effectiveness with the others means I will gladly use any seemingly good alternative. I am going to use it.