Home > Friday, Science & Technology > Science Friday: a great resource, notes from all over, and a think-piece

Science Friday: a great resource, notes from all over, and a think-piece

October 19, 2007
Department of unintended consequences:
Ban complex drugs for children, official says.  The idea is that multi-symptom OTC cold-meds are inappropriate for the under-six set, because they can cause liver damage and have been implicated in several deaths.  A big problem to be sure, but if the kid-dosed cold medicines are banned, how much you want to bet parents will start trying to measure out adult meds for their sick kids, and even more kids will die?  I’m not suggesting a course of action, only predicting a likely outcome.
Bookmark this: Basic Concepts In Science
John at Evolving Thoughts is keeping a totally bitchin’ List of basic concepts in science covering a range of topics from statistics to chemistry, molecular biology to astronomy – just about everything imaginable.  Written by a growing cast of science bloggers, it’s a fantastic resource for teachers and for any interested person.
Computer evolution: say goodbye to desktop boxes
I’ve been saying for a while, computers that sit on desks while we sit in front of them will eventually be an anachronism.  Instead of us going where the computer is, the computer will go where we do.  The The Nokia N810 is a step in that direction.  It’s only a matter of time before devices like this let you take a large subset of your computing environment with you as a portable utility.  For serious large-scale input, expect wireless contact with full-size keyboards, or even non-physical ‘projection’ keyboards.  Then a roll-out screen of any desired size.
And a trip to the bookstore is in order…
I am so getting Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters, maybe for Christmas.  Geologist Donald Prothero is author, and oh-happy-day, Carl Buell is the illustrator – check out his blog for an amazing sample of his work.
“Hey, stop worring, it’ll be fine” dept:
NASA says no delay in shuttle launch despite recommendations from an independent safety group that damaged panels on wings’ leading edges should be replaced.  Sure, whatever, guys.  One question: is “O-rings” one word, or two?
Think-piece of the week
Can science save the planet?  Previous theoretical modelling has been pretty much single-phenomena modelling, like gravity and insulin.  Now we’re trying to model planetary systems in which every component is interrelated to every other.  This is not exactly a new idea; Thoreau understood it back when.  But stakes are too high to shy away from the hard problems.
  1. October 19, 2007 at 10:52 | #1

    The problem with OTC cold meds is that they don’t do anything about the cold, they just make you not care and lighten your wallet. As far as I know, there have already been fatalities resulting from parents giving their kids the wrong doses of OTC stuff like Benadryl.

    With regards the Nokia N810, we’ve been there before. I miss the clam shell PDAs of old. More than ten years ago, I was often sitting in a cafe of the London Science Museum next to the big honking steam engine with my Zaurus ZR-5800 PDA and hooked-up cell phone. I was typing letters to my lawyer and faxing them off right then and there, digitized signature and all. When I was done with that, I checked my CompuServe account from the same gizmo combo. You’re telling me that I’ll be able to buy a phone that allows me to do the contemporary equivalent again? Oh, and did I mention that data access on the cell was charged by airtime and not some arcane pay-through-the-nose tariff and that I got two additional numbers included, one for incoming fax calls, one for incoming data calls? I still have the Sharp PDA…

  2. October 19, 2007 at 12:02 | #2

    That basics concept is huge. I have only skimmed the surface with just reading one post on evolution. I will get through more of them but it will certainly take some time.

  3. October 19, 2007 at 12:34 | #3

    There have been fatalities, but a ban on the kid-dose sizes won’t stop them.  It’s a problem without any ready solution.

    The Zaurus must have really rocked… I have heard so many great stories about it.

    Actually the N810 isn’t a phone, it’s just a GPS-enabled computer that (when connected to a network) will allow free phone calls through a number of IP phone services.  Call it a transitional evolutionary form.

  4. james old guy
    October 19, 2007 at 12:36 | #4

    I am not sure that any OTC’s are any worse than that cod liver oil mess I given as a child. The interesting part was one side’s claim that they did no good but they couldn’t explain why people keep buying them.

Comments are closed.