Browsing articles in "Science"

Space Shuttle Against the Sun

The Space Shuttle silhouetted against the Sun

Into the Sun

Space Shuttle against the sun
Just thought I’d share a couple of super-cool image of the Space Shuttle silhouetted against the sun on its way to service to the Hubble Space Telescope. The fist image shows a clear shot of the Shuttle silhouetted against the sun, and the second image shows the Shuttle (the larger black dot) as it approaches the Hubble Space Telescope (the smaller black dot). Pretty cool!

Can’t wait to see new images from deep(er) space from the upgrades performed on the space telescope by the Shuttle crew.

Images captured by award winning French astro-photographer Thierry Legault.

Day of the Dead 3-D Teslathon

Nov. 2 Day of the Dead 3-D Teslathon

6:30 pm to 9 pm
UCLA Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Tesla Exhibition

Tesla coils, UV lights, and fire.

50 science exhibits on Tesla, light, electricity, fire, 3-D and more.

Wearable light art, day glo, el wire, encouraged.

There will be a special Burning Man in 3-D show.

Contact me before Fri. at msimon@physics.ucla.edu to attend the 3-D Burning Man show and I’ll give you the details.

Up to date information at
http://www.physics.ucla.edu/demoweb/dod/

Patients Sought for Scientific Marijuana Study

Karen O’Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) assistant director of state policies:

There is good reason to believe that marijuana can boost the efficacy of opioid pain drugs, allowing pain patients to get better relief with smaller doses of narcotic medications. University of California, San Francisco researcher Dr. Donald Abrams is looking for participants to take part in an important pilot study that could lay the groundwork for critical research in this area.

Dr. Abrams is conducting a trial of vaporized medical marijuana in conjunction with opioid medications in chronic pain patients. This is an opportunity for patients to try controlled doses of medical marijuana completely legally — under both state and federal law — for five days and for researchers to collect important data about the safety of medical marijuana.

The study will assess the clinical safety of using marijuana with opioids by monitoring the short-term side effects associated with combined therapy.

Participants in the study must:

  • Have ongoing chronic pain
  • Be 18 or older
  • Be on a stable twice-daily dose of sustained-release oxycodone or morphine medication for at least two weeks before enrollment
  • Not use marijuana for a month prior to entering the study
  • Not be a cigarette and/or cigar smoker, or be willing not to smoke for two weeks before starting the study
  • Meet some additional criteria

Participating patients will:

  • Spend five days and nights in a clinical research center at San Francisco General Hospital
  • Attend a screening appointment before the study begins
  • Have blood tests and other measurements done
  • Inhale vaporized medicinal marijuana three times a day

You can receive $520 for participating. For more information, call (415) 476-9554, ext. 315, or e-mail pcouey@php.ucsf.edu . The Community Consortium Positive Health Program of the UCSF Medical Service at San Francisco General Hospital is conducting the study.

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. Please pass this on to any chronic pain patients who might be interested in participating in the study.

The Marijuana Policy Project hopes that each of the 100,000 subscribers on our national e-mail list will make at least one financial donation to MPP’s work in 2007. Please visit http://www.mpp.org/donate to donate now.

MPP will be able to tackle all of the projects in its 2007 strategic plan if you and other allies are generous enough to fund our work.

We are required by federal law to tell you that any donations you make to MPP may be used for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates for federal office.

The Loud, Proud, Ignorant, Incompetent

You might find the following study fascinating. It explains a lot. I found it out of the blue on the Wikipedia.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.

The phenomenon was demonstrated in a series of experiments performed by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both of Cornell University. Their results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December 1999.

Kruger and Dunning noted a number of previous studies which tend to suggest that in skills as diverse as reading comprehension, operating a motor vehicle, and playing chess or tennis, that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (as Charles Darwin put it). They hypothesized that with a typical skill which humans may possess in greater or lesser degree:

  1. incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
  2. incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
  3. incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
  4. if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

They set out to test these hypotheses on human subjects consisting of Cornell undergraduates who were registered in various psychology courses.

In a series of studies, Kruger and Dunning examined self-assessment of logical reasoning skills, grammatical skills and humor. After being shown their test score, the subjects were again asked to estimate their own rank whereupon the competent group accurately estimated their rank, while the incompetent group still overestimated their own rank. As Dunning and Kruger noted:

Across 4 studies, participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.

Dunning and Kruger

Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence.

A followup study suggests that grossly incompetent students improve both their skill level and their ability to estimate their class rank only after extensive tutoring in the skills they had previously lacked.

Mind States Conference, Costa Rica

Mind States Conference, Costa Rica

Mind States, Costa Rica

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 – Sunday, June 17, 2007

Featuring presentations by:

Held at an eco-resort on a 2000 acre sanctuary of virgin rain forest set at the juncture of two rivers near the town of Horquetas de Sarapiqui. Swim by natural waterfalls or in the pool, relax in a hot tub, enjoy refreshing beverages at the bar, challenge one of the presenters to a paddle boat race, marvel at the botanical gardens, or arrange a zip-line canopy tour, horseback ride, white water rafting trip, or massage through the resort.

Price includes admission to lectures and workshops, one spot in an incredibly spacious double-occupancy room, and all meals (vegetarian and vegan available).Not included in the price are airfare and transportation to the resort (about 1.5 hours outside of San Jose).

  • Space is limited–purchase your ticket soon.
  • Cost is $1,400 per person afterwards.

Payment can be made with a credit card through the Mind States site

Or you may send a check or money order to:

Mind States
P.O. Box 19820
Sacramento, CA 95819

For more information, please visit the Mind States Web site

Cosmic Event: Venus & Pleiades Converge

VENUS & THE PLEIADES

Cosmic Dance Wednesday April 11, 2007

Venus and Pleiades converge in night sky

Venus and the Pleiades are converging for a
close encounter on Wednesday, April 11th.

At closest approach, the planet and the star cluster will be about 2 degrees apart, tight enough to fit behind your upturned thumb held at arm’s length. They’re an odd couple. Venus is extravagantly bright while the Pleiades are faint and delicate, yet together they make a pretty ensemble suitable for photography, binoculars or simple naked-eye viewing.

Watch the western sky after sunset in the nights ahead to see them drawing together.

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