You and [his son, who’s a doctor] are very big into truth, truth, truth, yes, yes, yes. But denial – respect denial. It’s very important in the human architecture. It’s what we do when we can’t face what the world throws at us. It’s what helps us get up in the morning, until enough mornings pass that we begin to walk upright in the world.
—Ron Suskind, quoting his friend Max Pluskey
From a talk at Calvin College talking about the story behind his book, Life, Animated.
(Cross-posted from my other blog.)
Gamma Ray Bursts may be limiting the evolution of life. Because of them, only 10% of galaxies, and only the outskirts of those, are hospitable to life.
That controversy about arsenic-based life that I blogged (on my other blog) back in December is still cooking. I don’t read Science so I had to learn about it in Ars Technia:
The authors have stuck to their guns, but have reiterated arguments that their critics are likely to find unconvincing. And that’s somewhat surprising; it should have been possible for them to accept at least a few of the criticisms and indicate further work was under way that would handle them.
I am curious to find out what the facts are, here. I’d be stunned to learn that DNA’s chemistry works with arsenic as well as phosphorus, or that both forms can code for the same amino acids. But stunning me is what science is all about.
Like other area ministers, I write an occasional column for the Hi Desert Star. My article “What Do You Want From Life?” appeared there today.
But if you were listening to the right radio stations in the 1970s, you know that’s not just any question. It’s also the title of a song by the Tubes. They suggest several possible answers (“To kidnap an heiress and threaten her with a knife?” or “An Indian guru to show you the inner light?”) before concluding with the unfortunate news:
Well, you can’t have that,
But, if you’re an American Citizen,
you are entitled to…
…followed by several excellent entitlements, including:
A foolproof plan and an airtight alibi
A Las Vegas wedding, a Mexican divorce
And so forth. See the whole list at the Tubes’ lyrics site.