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October 4th was the 64th anniversary of the “shock of the century”. People in the West quickly realized that the launch of Sputnik 1 also meant that the Soviets had a rocket that could be used as an ICBM. Two obscure events three days later tracking the satellite helped lead to GPS which has been […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cheer on the resolve of Taiwan’s president and people in the face of growing Chinese threats. They also have questions as Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the FBI will start investigating alleged threats made against school officials in highly charged debates around the country. And they sigh as Dr. Fauci gives contradictory answers on whether he recommends people visit with family over the holidays and the CDC comes out with absurd guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving.

 

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Schadenfreude, anyone?  It seems that the Facebook Empire was taken down today, probably by a hacker.  From this story on the Fox News web site, all parts of the company, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, were completely unavailable today, all over the world.  Rumors also have it that Facebook employees were prevented from entering their […]

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A Critique of Stephen Meyer’s ‘Return of the God Hypothesis’

 

I have struggled with writing a review of Stephen Meyer’s book, Return of the God Hypothesis, since I finished it a few weeks ago. Every time I pick it up to reread portions of it I find myself wanting to approach the work from a different perspective. The book is neither a straight popularization of science nor an attempt to frame a clear scientific argument. Rather, it’s a well-crafted work of reporting and speculation at the frothy margins of scientific theory that, combined with a few leaps of logic, is harnessed in support of a foreordained conclusion.

I suspect that the science in this book – and there’s quite a lot of it – will, despite being well-presented by an eloquent and talented author, largely elude most readers. Perhaps more importantly, the context from which the science is drawn will likely be unfamiliar to most readers, who will have little familiarity with physics and cosmology beyond what is presented in this book. If this book were merely a popularization of the science of cosmology, that would be fine: people would gain a feel for the state of the field, for its complexity and nuance, and for the remarkable accomplishments that have been made in recent years. But that’s not what this book is. Rather, it’s an attempt to support a metaphysical argument by portraying science as inadequate both in practice and in principle, and so leave no plausible alternative but the eponymous God Hypothesis. To frame that argument responsibly would require considerably more scope and rigor than this already science-heavy book offers. To do it convincingly, on the other hand, requires much less effort, particularly if the reader is inclined to be generous and knows little of physics.

It has been said of Stephen Hawking’s bestselling book A Brief History of Time that it was purchased by many and read by few. I suspect the same is likely true of Return of the God Hypothesis: for many, it will be a tough read. Yet it is an impressive book, and it has lent a great deal of talk-circuit credibility to its author and his premise. The fact that Mr. Meyer is an eloquent speaker and a clever and charming guest undoubtedly adds to that credibility, and it’s understandable why he and his book have received as much praise as they have. Nonetheless, as I will attempt to explain in this review, I think his arguments are weak and his conclusions unsupported.

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Or so said Theodore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels once. It certainly puts OJ and Dr. Kevorkian in perspective when you see what amateurs they were compared to this guy, warming up in the batting cage bat cave for the past 40 years. He may not know how to throw a baseball but if there’s one thing he […]

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Answering Cosmic Questions

 

Where did the universe come from? How does it work? When did it begin and when and how will it end? People have asked variations on these questions since people started asking questions.

“Where Did the Universe Come From? And Other Cosmic Questions,” by Chris Ferrie and Geraint F. Lewis examines those questions. They also show how the answers have changed over the last 50 years.

The pair looks at the biggest thing in existence, the universe itself. They also examine the smallest things, including subatomic particles. They explain how the largest and smallest things in the universe are interrelated and affect each other. They do so in language a layperson can understand.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” guest co-host Jason Bedrick and co-host Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Leon Kass, MD, the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kass describes the important pieces of wisdom and humanity people today can still learn from reading the Book of Genesis, the topic of his 2003 work, The Beginning of Wisdom. They next discuss his newest book, Founding God’s Nation: Reading Exodus, and general lessons about the Israelites that leaders, teachers, and students could use in addressing the challenges of modern life. They explore the influence of the Book of Exodus and the themes of liberation from captivity on the Civil Rights Movement, and several of its major leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and what teachers and students today should learn from Exodus about deliverance from life’s hardships. Dr. Kass shares why he became interested in the Great Books, and their crucial role in helping 21st-century students receive a complete liberal arts education and lead fulfilling lives. They discuss Western education’s increasing focus on vocationally oriented and often technocratic skills at the expense of humanistic education, and why we should be concerned about it, especially in our hyper-technological era. The interview concludes with a reading from Dr. Kass’s newest book on Exodus.

Stories of the Week: Co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson discuss New York Times story on the plight of America’s nine million students in rural school districts that are underfunded, disconnected, and face myriad challenges. Pioneer Institute and other organizations submitted an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin, to expand access to private and religious schools for families in Maine.

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If you wear their new AR glasses. Facebook just announced they launched new AR glasses, that will allow users to record pictures and short videos.   They also reassured the public that FB “would not access the media used by its smart-glasses customers without users consent. “ Preview Open

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The Future of Electric Vehicles (EVs)

 

Seven days ago, a Silicon Valley energy startup CEO contacted me to help write a $1,000,000 grant proposal. I worked over the weekend researching the funding opportunities at the Department of Energy and writing a first draft of the proposal. (The world of startups requires 24/7 availability and everything is due now.) We reviewed that draft together yesterday, first to align on content and second to confirm he likes my work. (I don’t come cheap. He likes it.) Since I had yet to sign an NDA, I queried whether anything we had spoken about so far was under wraps, and he said no.

So I thought I would outline for you what he aims to demonstrate through a working prototype by the end of 2022.

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It seemed to me that if I were doing nothing else, I should at least be collecting data. Of what? For what? I can answer at least the first question: affairs on my vacant lot. I still want to turn it into a mini-biological experiment station. Agriculture, horticulture, ecology: all good. I had the idea […]

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The push to reset the world’s society into a New World Order by the Davos group of Elites has employed endless propaganda to have most of us humans fear germs and viruses as though these items were alien interlopers we had not noticed prior to March 13 2020. But germs and viruses have co-existed inside […]

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Dogma Masquerading as Science Undermines Public Trust

 

“I believe in science, Donald Trump doesn’t. It’s that simple, folks,” Joe Biden tweeted during the 2020 election campaign.

Even by Biden standards, that was a deceitful remark. Not only did his opponent spearhead the unexpectedly efficient development of the Covid vaccine, which has been the cornerstone of pandemic suppression ever since, but the Biden administration has already done the most damage of any in memory by politicizing “the Science,” thus weakening its credibility.

Real science isn’t some facts approved by experts but a philosophical framework for acquiring and evaluating knowledge that originated in the Enlightenment. Science emphasizes reason, observation, and methodical analysis rather than loyalty to the teachings of authorities.

How to Build a Computer 40: Chemical Mechanical Planarization

 

If you’re making a modern computer chip you’re going to need to put layer after layer of traces down. You’re also going to need layer after layer of insulator between your metal in order to not short circuit everything. But if you start growing oxides and depositing metals and such and so forth your wafer is going to end up wrinklier than yer grandma’s keister. That’s going to cause problems. Your layers won’t have uniform thicknesses anymore. Particularly the photoresist which means your chances at making a decent pattern degrade. Assuming you don’t end up with fatal defects from underdeveloping at the very least you lose feature size precision. Oh, and you end up with the occasional smug columnist making you visualize yer grandma’s keister. Heh. 

Surely You Wouldn’t Be Bringing This Up if You Didn’t Have a Handy Gadget Solution?

Well you’re in luck Mr. Douglas. What you need is a Chemical Mechanical Planaraization rig. Or Chemical Mechanical Polishing. CMP. Whatever. (It makes a difference, but people often use the terms interchangeably.) Now, you could just deposit some borophosphosilicate glass on there and heat it up, expect the glass reflow, cover that topography like the snows o’ winter covering a shallow grave. In the olden days that was good enough; got the job done. These days the devices are smaller, the lines sharper. If you want real flatness, if you need to get down to a fifty angstrom step height over the surface of the entirety of your wafer, you want the real McCoy. CMP; accept no substitutes.

1955: The U.S. and U.S.S.R. Announce Satellite Programs

 

In 1950, Jim Van Allen had a party at his house. They discussed having an International Geophysical Year during the next solar maximum of 1957-58. The last surviving participant in the party, Fred Singer, died last year. On July 29th, 1955, the U.S. announced that it would launch a satellite during the IGY. Several days later the Soviet Union made a similar statement.

The U.S. set up the Stewart Committee to decide which proposal would be supported to launch a satellite. The major rivals were Milt Rosen from the Naval Research Laboratory and Wernher von Braun from the Army. On August 4th, 66 years ago, they selected the Navy proposal which became Project Vanguard. The Army protested and there were additional hearings which resulted in another vote in favor of Vanguard. My father worked on Vanguard;  he heard that von Braun thought that he “had it in the bag” and talked down to the committee. The Navy’s proposal was superior in its scientific aspects but the Army’s proposal required less development of the rocket. Milt said privately that, “They have a rocket and we don’t.”

Bari Weiss on Testosterone

 

Actually, it’s Bari’s guest, Carole Hooven, who is the expert on testosterone. Bari interviews her in this podcast, which I very much enjoyed.

Ms. Hooven is an evolutionary biologist who lectures at Harvard. Her views, while eminently sensible and also in accord with my own thoughts on the matter of human sexuality (but I repeat myself), are generating increasing friction among faculty and students (mostly graduate students, she’s careful to note) at uber-woke Harvard.