Top Ten Tweets; October 7, 2010

By | October 6, 2010

…where Stephen chooses ten of his recent tweets and writes further.


    For the first time a sewage treatment plant will start producing “biomethane” that will be placed into the gas grid in England.

    Energy experts believe that 15 per cent of all gas consumed could come from human waste, sewage slurry and food thrown away by households and supermarkets.

    At least one critic has argued that this biomethane will be more expensive than gas obtained by drilling. But that’s not the point. It will be a plus as long as the value of the gas is equal to or greater than the cost of producing it. Until now Sewage treatment has not been a profit center – it costs money. If these plants can produce anything of value, it will a net savings for tax payers. Plus other gas sources can be conserved.

  2. Alexander Kruel: The Singularity Hypothesis: Questions

    The first two questions are:

    1. What is the singularity hypothesis? What exactly is being claimed?

    2. What is the empirical content of this conjecture? Can the it be refuted or corroborated empirically, and if so, how?

    Answering these sorts of questions is a purpose of the Singularity Institute. We look forward to their response.

  3. Sydell Laura: The winners of the Nobel prize in Physics used scotch tape 2 to get thin carbon flakes off a pencil Science is marvelous!

    Its reassuring to know that not all great science requires billion-dollar funding.

  4. Another example of how to do science on the cheap: hobbiest space exploration.

    Father/son homemade space probe. An HD video camera, an iPhone, and handwarmers were the bulk of the equipment.

    Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

    This is just so cool.

  5. When complex trade started – trade with more nodes than any one person could keep track of – we experienced an ancient Singularity. This rise of a collective greater-than-human intelligence has been an engine that has modernized and civilized humanity ever since.

    …A note I wrote while reading Matt Ridley’s “Rational Optimist.”

  6. June Cohen: Are mushrooms the new plastic? Wonderful, forward-looking #TED talk on new green materials for architecture.

  7. “The whole point of astrobiology is figuring out whether Life As We Know It is the same thing as Life.”

    It may be that life will be found only in conditions similar to Earth (maybe Gliese 581g will be one of those places), or it may be that life can be found many strange environments – including the atmosphere of gas giants. We just need to know more.

  8. @nytimesscience: Neanderthal extinction may have more to do with volcanos than homo sapiens.

    Neanderthals may have just had the bad luck of living close to major volcanoes. The replacement stocks may not have been sufficient after these disasters.

  9. New Scientist: Poverty, disease, women’s rights – we have to tackle then all, says Earth Institute

    Why all at once?

    Poverty is multidimensional – it involves hunger, disease and all the other things, and because of that the goals are synergistic. Every target benefits when other goals are achieved. To get children into school in poor villages, you not only need to build the schools and train the teachers, but also make sure the children are healthy and well fed enough to go to school.

  10. Roger Ebert: “The Day the Saucers Landed,” a poem by Neil Gaiman.

  • Phil

    That home-made space probe is one of the coolest things ever. How long berfore hobbyists can send something into low-earth orbit? (I don’t know how they would do it; I’m just asking.)

    From there, how long before hobbyists can send something to the moon?