The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man’s observation, not overturning it.”  –Edward Bulwer-Lytton


From today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, one more thing for which to be thankful:


The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

– F.A. Hayek

A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests that Americans really don’t know much about their own religion:

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45 percnt) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53 percent) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43 percent) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

The chart below breaks down the respondents’ accuracy on the Pew quiz:

Amazingly, atheists/agnostics scored higher than anyone but Jewish respondents.

The image at the top of this post came from the article (link below).  It reminded me of this bumper sticker that I recently saw on the web:


This is really cool: Yale Law School’s library checks out dogs for 30-minute breaks with students.

And for the students, it’s nothing short of brilliant. Just check out the rest of the entry and tell me that 30 minutes with a nice animal wouldn’t provide a welcome break during study time:

Monty circulates for 30 minute periods.
Graduate of Puppy School, 2000 (with honors), Certified Therapy Dog, 2010. Distinguishing features: white star on chest. Monty plays well with others and is fond of bacon. (Please don’t feed him hot dogs, that’s just wrong.)
Woof (unknown script).

Monty (Dog)
Therapy dogs.
Dogs in libraries.
Stress relievers for law students.

Additional author
Aiken, Julian, owner.

Title note
Full name: General Montgomery

Why do I have the suspicion that this idea came from a librarian who got tired of exercising his dog?  Even so, it’s a great idea.

I love creative ways to convey information.  Linked below is one of the cleverest I’ve seen in a long time: Maureen McKeague—a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada—turned her complicated thesis into an easy-to-follow dance routine.

After watching her video, I clearly did not understand the processes involved in “Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment”.  I did, however, have some idea of what she’s talking about, plus a smile on my face.

It’s well worth a viewing.

Via: Chemistry Ph.D. thesis explained via dance routine – Boing Boing.

A beautiful video on the theme of numbers and geometry in nature.

Nature by Numbers on Vimeo on Vimeo

via Nature by Numbers on Vimeo.

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