Friday, October 07, 2005

Time Wasting

So it's Friday, you've had a long week - you need to take a websurfing-enhanced brake. Where to go?

Here are a couple of (Scientific leaning) time-wasting websites:

  • Meaning of Life TV. Several interviews of prominent thinkers (including Daniel Dennet and John Maynard Smith, who have done much to shape our knowledge of evolution). Unfortunately the interviews are conducted by Robert Wright who can get a little nutty (certain individuals have referred to him as a mysterian).
  • Evolve TV. A new website (a la ".tv" variety) - so far there are only two interviews, the last having Pharyngula's Paul Myers as a guest. Hopefully more good stuff to come.
  • And if all that wasn't enough you can read a profile of my current mentor Tom Rapoport in the latest issue of PNAS. His family's story is actually quite interesting and was the subject of a documentary aired on German TV (if you can read German click here). This film focused on Tom's parents who were quite important researchers but who were chased around the world - first out of Austria by the Nazis, then out of the US by Sen. McCarthy, then out of Austria by the CIA. They finally set up shop in East Berlin, where Tom grew up. Eventualy Tom climbed the ranks to become a Professor himself. When the Berlin Wall fell Tom could not renew his position (probably due to politics) and so fled to Harvard Medical School where he now resides.
  • Tired of the Nobels? Well if you missed it you can watch last night's Ig Nobel Ceremony. For a taste, here is the winner for the Medicine prize:

MEDICINE: Gregg A. Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, for inventing Neuticles -- artificial replacement testicles for dogs, which are available in three sizes, and three degrees of firmness.

REFERENCES: US Patent #5868140, and the book Going Going NUTS!, by Gregg A. Miller, PublishAmerica, 2004, ISBN 1413753167.