Science Roundup

As always, just reading the Google science news feed:

1. Study: California blue whales recover from whaling

LOS ANGELES (AP) — New research suggests there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago.

The Los Angeles Times reports there are about 2,200 blue whales swimming on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, from the equator up into Alaska.

Researchers previously assumed that the pre-whaling population was higher than that. However, the study using historical data to estimate the number of whales caught between 1905 and 1971 — when whaling became illegal — estimates the current population is 97 percent as large as it was before 1905.

The researchers at the University of Washington are calling the rebound a conservation success story.

In case you wonder if I ever notice good news.

(However, I will keep an eye out for this to be spun bad, because this represents a success achieved without establishing a new world order – and we can’t have that.)

2. People who appreciate art like this:

da Vinci.

immediately recognize the artistry in this:

Spanish Cave Art

While people who pretend to see artistry in this:

Untitled
This recently sold for about $75K, so it has to be art.

Have also got to pretend to see the artistry in this:

Neanderthal Art.

and therefor conclude that Neanderthals were way smarter than we (there’s that ‘we’ again!) thought.

If this is what a judgement is to be based on, I say – nah.

3. Scientists ‘make telepathy breakthrough’

Right. Here’s the entire article:

Research led by experts at Harvard University shows technology can be used to send a simple mental message from one person to another without any contact between the two.

Neuroscientist Giulio Ruffini told the Today programme: “You can actually transmit information directly from one brain to another brain without intervention of the senses.”

“The next step would be to try to find more powerful techniques to send more complex information,” he added.

There’s an accompanying video, which one hopes has some more detail. Another article reported: 

How did they do it? Pascual-Leone and colleagues attached electrodes to one person’s brain in India and to the brains of three people in France, and then asked the person in India to “send a message” to the others.

The researchers used an electroencephalogram, which records electrical activity in the brain, to detect the message from the sender’s brain.

Then a computer translated the message into binary code and emailed it to France, where it was converted back into electric pulses and applied to the “receivers'” brains via a process called transcranial magnetic stimulation. The pulses produced flashes of light in the subjects’ peripheral vision, which they could decode to find the original message.

Um, OK, so it’s not like Spock or anything? And you need teams of experts manning computers and translating? I think I’ll hold off the throwing a party until they tighten this experimental protocol a wee bit.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

2 thoughts on “Science Roundup”

  1. What exactly was the “information” that was sent? What if they Frenchies applied “transcranial magnetic stimulation” to three subjects without an email from India? Back in the days before Science!™, when all we had was plain vanilla science, this would have been called a “control.”

    Was the TMS applied at the same time that the guy in India was thinking real hard, or was it later?

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