江西男子指天發誓後遭雷擊

A good example for discussion in critical thinking classes.

明報網站 2008年10月14日

江西男子指天發誓後遭雷擊

江西一男子指天發毒誓,轉身就遭電擊。因搶救及時,男子目前已脫離生命危險。

十三日上午,吉安縣黃某找到家住井岡山大市場的男子涂某稱,三年前一名朋友結婚時,涂某曾讓他代送了三百元禮金,此後涂某將此事遺忘一直未還錢。涂某聽後稱沒有此事。於是,黃某便對涂某說,如果涂某敢對天發誓,他就不要這錢了。

涂某聽後,走到門前指天發誓說,若欠了黃某的錢,他就遭天打雷劈或觸電死,黃某見狀就走了。

但五分鐘後,當涂某洗完米用電飯煲煮飯時,因未擦乾手上的水,手剛一碰到電飯煲插頭上已老化的電線,就被電擊倒在地,不能動彈。

所幸涂某的兒子此時放學回家,發現後趕緊報警。民警趕到後,立即將涂某送往醫院。

(中通社)

2008 Ig Nobel Prize

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7650103.stm

The full list of winners:

Nutrition: Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence for their study showing that food actually tastes better if it sounds crunchier.

Peace: The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.

Archaeology: Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo and Jose Carlos Marcelino for demonstrating that armadillos can turn the contents of an archaeological dig upside down.

Biology: Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert and Michel Franc for showing that fleas on dogs can jump higher than fleas on a cats.

Medicine: Dan Ariely for demonstrating that expensive fake medicine is more effective than cheap fake medicine.

Cognitive Science: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Hiroyasu Yamada, Ryo Kobayashi, Atsushi Tero, Akio Ishiguro and Agota Toth for demonstrating that slime moulds can solve puzzles.

Economics: Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tyber and Brent Jordan for discovering that the fertility cycle of a lap dancer affects her tip-earning potential.

Physics: Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith for proving that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.

Chemistry: Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill and Deborah Anderson for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide (it was shared with C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu and B.N. Chiang who showed the opposite).

Literature: David Sims for his passionately written study “You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations.”

New book – Undercurrents

My good friend Helen Leung always has lots of interesting things to say about queer culture and HK cinema. She has just published a new book:

Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong
University of British Columbia Press, 2008

Sample chapter

A paperback edition will be available in July, 2008.

An Asian edition will be available in October, 2008 from Hong Kong University Press.

Logic Goats

Came across these logic goats at Boing Boing.

In the philosophy of mind we emphasize how computations can be multiply realized in different hardware. These are fun paper-made logic gates. The and-goat nods its head when the right button AND the left button are pressed. The or-goat nods its head if at least one button is pressed. Someone should build a general purpose computer out of these goats!

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Chicken or egg?

Philosopher David Papineau on whether the chicken or the egg came first:

From CNN:

Professor John Brookfield, a specialist in evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham, told the UK Press Association the pecking order was clear.

The living organism inside the eggshell would have had the same DNA as the chicken it would develop into, he said.

"Therefore, the first living thing which we could say unequivocally was a member of the species would be this first egg," he added. "So, I would conclude that the egg came first."

The same conclusion was reached by his fellow "eggsperts" Professor David Papineau, of King’s College London, and poultry farmer Charles Bourns.

Mr Papineau, an expert in the philosophy of science, agreed that the first chicken came from an egg and that proves there were chicken eggs before chickens.

He told PA people were mistaken if they argued that the mutant egg belonged to the "non-chicken" bird parents.

"I would argue it is a chicken egg if it has a chicken in it," he said.

"If a kangaroo laid an egg from which an ostrich hatched, that would surely be an ostrich egg, not a kangaroo egg."

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