Daily Archives: June 25, 2008

Some Nature and Science News

NASA warming scientist: ‘This is the last chance’ from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

Some searchers still expect to see rare woodpecker from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — For the last three years, researchers in camouflage and waders have slogged through the east Arkansas woods hoping to spot a rare bird that so far seems unwilling to be seen.

Canadians argue for polar bear hunt from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Officials from northern Canada were in Washington on Monday to make an unpopular argument: Let U.S. hunters continue to kill polar bears for sport.

Celestial clues hint at eclipse in Homer’s Odyssey from PhysOrg.com
Among countless other debates about Homer’s Odyssey — not the least of which is whether the entire poem can be attributed to Homer himself — is whether Odysseus returns home to experience a total solar eclipse. But a Rockefeller University scientist and a colleague from Argentina believe they have found astronomical references in the Odyssey that provide corroborating evidence of this celestial event. The finding is reported in this week’s online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jennifer assures us we will not be sucked into a tiny black hole later this month.

Given the limited and limiting nature of the discussion of the Large Hadron Collider firing up in a very short time, which could then destroy this corner of the solar system according to some, I have been hoping that blogger Jennifer Ouellette would chime in and make sense of it all.And she certainly has taken a stab at it.Go read this now!!! Before it is too late!!!!!

Optical Character Recognition in Linux

I don’t think Optical Character Recognition (OCR) works that well, frankly. But it can be done and it can be better than retyping piles of text.It does seem to work nicely when the text is nice and clean on nice clean white paper with a good contract between ink and background and no garbage on the page. But in my experience, when I have those conditions, it is because i have an electronic version already! When I have a PDF file that consists of scans of photocopies, OCR tends to see flecks of yeck as accents (or entire letters) and things get messy. Continue reading Optical Character Recognition in Linux

Evolution Fight in Texas School Board Expected Shortly

This summer, in fact.Don McLeroy, dentist and chair of the Texas School board (a state-wide elected body) is a creationist. Of evolution, he says “I just don’t think it’s true or it’s ever happened.”The 15 member board is stocked with seven creationists. It could have been worse, but the outcome of recent elections was slightly favorable. The governor of Texas is a creationist. Hell, most Texans are creationists.The most likely creationist effort will be to insert a “strengths and weaknesses” clause … an academic freedom provision, into the language.Here is a current PDG essay on the situation by Joyce Anderson writing for the Jewish Times.Here is a recent post on the academic freedom issue, and here is Mike and me talking about it on the radio.