Sunday, January 08, 2006

Science Roundup: Killing Time, On the Internet

When I surf around for science news and neat stuff, if I find a site that (fairly often) seems to have something worthwhile, I put a bookmark to it in a folder named "Science Roundup."  Then, when I get a hankerin' for something scientific to read, I middle-click on that folder.  It opens a couple dozen tabs, each with the homepage of a science-oriented site.  Then I look at each tab, to see what has come up.  Of course, this only works with a tabbed browser, such as Firefox.  

It takes a while for all those pages to load, so I have to find something else to do for a minute or two.  Read email, or get something from the refrigerator, like a ham sandwich, or do some stretches.  

I have similar "roundup" folders for major newspapers, etc. for those occasions when I am in the mood for something else.  

Today, I picked out a few CDs from local musicians who played at the last Michigan Peaceworks benefit concert: Chris Buhalis, Jo Serrapere, and Dave Boutette.  I got them while I was waiting for the tabs to load.  

Upon returning, one thing that catches my eye is this:
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
2005-11 2005, Volume 29 6, Nov/Dec
That is a list of online articles in the latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer.  That evolution/creation thing again.  Won't read that now, but will add a bookmark in my Del.icio.us.  

At Sciscoop, there is a link to an article on quantum computing.  It says that a group at the University of Michigan has developed a scalable, mass-producible quantum chip.  I skim that to get a general idea of how the chip works.  I am interesting in knowing if we are any closer to having an actual quantum computer.  The answer: not very much.

Semiconductor quantum computer chip being wired up. 

On the Scientific American site, I find an article on the symbiosis between ants, bacteria, and fungi.  I read that entire article, just because.  The I see an article on the Sciencenews.org site.  That is a description of a material that can be used to trap carbon dioxide.  I notice that one because I had read about the topic before, although I can't remember where.  Then, at Biopsychology.com, I see this page, which has a link to an NYT article that I missed.  The link is dead, in that the article it points to has been put in the archive.  But it is possible to read those articles, by retrieving them from the NYT RSS feed.  It is a bit of a pain to do that, and I do it, but then I read the article and find it rather uninspiring.  A bit of a waste.  

I could go on, but nobody cares what 25 articles I skimmed tonight.  You get the idea, though; surfing is good for the brain.