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Scripturient: Hypergraphia

An article in the September, 2016, issue of Doctor’s Review looks at the curious, compelling affliction called hypergraphia: the obsessive need to write. I never knew before this that there was an actual illness of this sort. As someone who is often driven by a deep compulsion to write, I am both curious and a . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Hypergraphia

Scripturient: Neanderthals: a love story

Squat, hairy, broad shoulders, a big nose, beetle-browed with a low forehead. As Blind Willie McTell wrote in his classic song, Statesboro Blues, “I know ain’t good lookin’, but I swear I’m some sweet woman’s angel child.” That line might have been written for early Neanderthal cousins. First described as dim-witted and brutish, our more … Continue reading “Neanderthals: a love story” . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Neanderthals: a love story

Scripturient: Transcendance

It’s not surprising that AI replaced the biological form in the popular Frankenstein monster trope. In fact the smart-evil-machine scenario has been done so often this past decade or so that I’m more surprised any film writer or director c… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Transcendance

Scripturient: Architeuthis dux redux

Imagine swimming beside a giant squid. That’s what happened recently to some Japanese divers, on Xmas eve, who happened to have the presence of mind to film this extraordinary event. The video, above, shows the animal in its glory. Stunningly bea… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Architeuthis dux redux

Scripturient: The birth and death of privacy

I was in a local grocery store recently and it was my misfortune to enter, and walk most of the same aisles at the same time as a voluble woman shopper. She spent her entire time there on her cell phone. From before she entered, through the time she … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The birth and death of privacy

Scripturient: Why Do We Make Music?

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak. I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d, And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d, By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound. What then am I? Am… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Why Do We Make Music?

Scripturient: The Mouse on Mars

No, that’s not the title of a 1960s’ sitcom or a 1950s’ movie. It’s what some conspiracy theorist thinks he found in a NASA photograph taken by the Curiosity Rover on Mars, in late 2014. The story was posted on the IFL Science w… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Mouse on Mars

Scripturient: Climate Change and Collingwood

Climate change is arguably the single most pressing, most important, most challenging issue to affect governments at this time. Our world is suffering and weather is getting extreme in many parts. It’s affecting crops, wildlife, safety, water… everything. But what are Canadian municipalities doing to combat it, to reign in their use of fossil fuels, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Climate Change and Collingwood

Scripturient: What KIC 8462852 Says About Us

KIC 8462852. Hardly a household name. But it may be, one day soon, or at least when it garners a more prosaic name. It’s a star and it sits rather forlornly in space in the rightmost edge of the constellation Cygnus, almost 1,500 light years away. And although it’s too dim to be seen by . . . → Read More: Scripturient: What KIC 8462852 Says About Us

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Fishy Thoughts

Canadians, the headline reads, now have shorter attention span than goldfish thanks to portable devices. The story in today’s National Post underscores a growing problem that is fuelled by technology: our dwindling attention spans. The Microsoft study of 2,000 Canadians found our collective attention span has dwindled to a mere eight seconds, down from an . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Fishy Thoughts

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Worm Turns

This morning when I was doing my regular news search online, I came across two stories that stopped me cold: we’re being invaded. By worms. Yep. Worms. Not the slimy invertebrates who write scurrilous, defamatory self-aggrandizing blogs and whine about free speech when they are taken to court over their lies, but actual earthworms. Nightcrawlers. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Worm Turns

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: It’s Official: Homeopathy is Bunk

“Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report finds,” reads a headline in The Guardian this week. Well, that’s hardly news. But it repeats saying anyway. It’s a story about the latest in a series of studies that again and again debunk homeopathy as a treatment and conclude it is useless. Australia’s National Health . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: It’s Official: Homeopathy is Bunk

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Smoking = Stupidity

I don’t know how to sugar coat this in some politically-correct, sensitive, caring way that doesn’t overtly offend anyone, but if you haven’t already figured this out by now, here it is: smoking is stupid. Really stupid. Even worse, smoking makes you even more stupid while you do it: Researchers tested the IQs of more . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Smoking = Stupidity

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Robocalls from Real Robots

“mmm…buzzz…. click…. This is your friendly….buzzz…. automated calling device…click…hummmm… reminding you that….mmmm….buzzz…..click… there are only three days left to…. zzzzz…. take advantage of the Black Friday sales at…. mmmm…. buzzzz….. your…. zzzz… Collingwood…..insert box store name…. mmmm…buzzz…. click….thank you…” Well, maybe robotic telemarketers won’t sound like the solenoid robots on Roger Ramjet, but within the . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Robocalls from Real Robots

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Comets, Aliens and Conspiracy Wingnuts

The European Space Agency has accomplished one of the greatest engineering and scientific achievements in human history this past week. Not only did it get a space vehicle into orbit around a comet travelling at more than 55,000 km/hr (34,000 mph), it landed a probe on the very rough surface of that comet. Outstanding, brilliant, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Comets, Aliens and Conspiracy Wingnuts

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Crazy Cats and Brain Parasites

It reads like a script for a scary movie: an alien parasite invading our brains, taking control of our minds, changing our behaviour silently, secretly; making us do what it wants. And it’s happening now, in homes across Canada and the USA. Alien puppet masters over-running the nation, one household at a time. But it’s . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Crazy Cats and Brain Parasites

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Timothy Leary Was Right. Maybe.

This is your brain on drugs. Or rather, the right-hand image is your brain on psilocybin. The other side is your brain on a non-psychedelic drug. Researchers recently discovered some amazing facts about how our brains work on some chemicals. And some psychedelic drugs prove to have pretty amazing effects. But don’t try this at . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Timothy Leary Was Right. Maybe.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

An intriguing possibility was reported on Science Daily this morning: Earth’s last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years — roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet’s magnetic field . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gut instincts

A story on Science Daily says research suggests our so-called “free will” may be less free than we ever imagined. We may, instead, be meat puppets ruled by the desires and cravings of the smallest symbiotes we carry: our gut bacteria. The story opens: It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gut instincts

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The First Dark Age

The causes of the first “Dark Age” have long been the topic of debate among historians and archeologists. Many ideas and theories have been put forward; none have found universal agreement. It’s commonly referred to in scholarly circles as “The Catastrophe.” Earthquakes, drought, migrations (or the more popular single-people migration theory), volcanoes, barbarian raiders, climate . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The First Dark Age

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Testing a Homeplug-Powerline Network

I’ve had some wireless issues for quite some time now. There are dead spots in the house – a central wall has metal ducts and a gas fireplace, which are beside the laundry room with its metal-enclosed washer and dryer. About 5-6m of metal interfere with the wireless signal. The modem is attached to the . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Testing a Homeplug-Powerline Network

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Chasing storms on Saturn

There’s a beautiful video about the Cassini mission and its images of the storms on Saturn at the New York Times website. It’s amazing to see what images and information science has given us about a planet 886 billion miles (1.4 billion kms) away and its odd collection of rings and 60 moons. Saturn’s storms . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Chasing storms on Saturn

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Neolithic site dig uncovers sophisticated structures

A Neolithic site in the Orkney Islands shows our ancestors had sophisticated building skills more than 5,000 years ago. According to a story in The Scotsman, A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought. The archaeological . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Neolithic site dig uncovers sophisticated structures

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gangs of Feathered T-Rex

Imagine, if you will, an early morning scene in the late Cretaceous. The air is quiet as the day warms. At the edge of a large forest a plain of ferns ripples in the light breeze (grass would not evolve for another 20 or so million years). Under the canopy of the ancient beeches and . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gangs of Feathered T-Rex

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: When good people do bad things in groups

The headline is taken from a piece on Science Daily on a study about how groups change personal behaviour and morality. The study is reported on the MIT website. I’ve seen that change myself, many times over the years, and most recently locally. The study adds intelligence on the neurology of how such group activity . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: When good people do bad things in groups