Smart Kids Make Good!

HATS OFF!: The winners of the the Intel Science Talent Search have been announced, and they are awe-inspiring! Sara Volz (center),  17, received top honors for pioneering a technique to dramatically boost oil yields from algae, a crucial step in the economically viable production of biofuel from the plants. Second place went to Jonah Kallenbach (left), also 17, who developed a computer science tool that predicts interactions between two types of proteins. Third-place went to Adam Bowman (right), 17, who successfully designed and built a compact, low-energy, pulsed plasma device.

Meanwhile, in high-school sex-criminal jock news:  the pair of Steubenville, OH high-school football players who carried an unconscious 16 year old girl from party to party, sexually assaulting her and tweeting cheerily about it, have been found “delinquent” (juvenile court for ‘guilty’). More prosecutions may follow.  Strangely, CNN got all weepy for the dirty little rapist bastards. Tut-tut!

Clocking spooky action at a distance. How fast do quantum interactions happen? An experiment indicates 10,000 times faster than light.

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq the BBC’s Panorama looks at the sources of the WMD intel that proved to be a pack of transparent lies. Hans Blix, head of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq (UNMOVIC) in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, calls the whole thing a “terrible mistake”. I always equated “mistake” with “accident”, myself.

The U.N. development chief publicly slams the U.S.-led “War on Drugs” as causing more problems than it cures.

Shocking documentary asks: Was the Death Star an Inside Job?

Orange-American House Speaker John Boehner  finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week” that “we do not have an immediate debt crisis.” His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul “Cat-food Diet” Ryan on CBS’ Face the Nation. The GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends: robbing the poor and giving to the rich.

Michele (that’s one ‘L’ and two crazy eyes) Bachmann opened her mouth at CPAC and only scored four Pinocchios from The WaPo Fact Checker. Is she just not trying anymore? Is  the HPV vaccine taking effect on her? How could we tell?

The ‘nocebo’ effect and the difficulty of proving a negative: an experiment in “electrosmog” sensitivity has some interesting results that don’t necessarily paint a sympathetic narrative. An experiment is proposed to skeptically examine ‘wind-farm syndrome‘.

I pretty much skipped out on the  St. Patty’s drunk-fest this year: the weather was bad, I was light of coin and it’s not safe out there with all those part-time drunks. The Muppets always come through, though.


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