A is for Amazon

Now that google instant search has be released on the world I was curious what my internet alphabet is, so I typed each letter one at a time to see what came up.  Here are the results.

A is for Amazon

B is for Best Buy

C is for Craigslist

D is for Dictionary

E is for Ebay

F is for Facebook

G is for GMail

H is for Hotmail (really... is that still around?)

I is for Ikea

J is for Jet Blue

K is for Kolhs

L is for Lowes

M is for Mapquest

N is for Netflix

O is for Orbitz

P is for Pandora

Q is for Quotes

R is for REI

S is for Sears

T is for Target

U is for USPS

V is for Verizon

W is for Weather

X is for Xbox

Y is for Yahoo

Z is for Zillow

Results may vary per individual.  If you find something dramatically different, I'd be curious what it was.

LA Times: Once more, no link found between vaccine preservative and autism

Quoted in the entirety from the LA Times because it is short, and important:

Maybe Study Number Ten will suffice to reassure the one in four parents who have come to fear vaccinating their babies that doing so will not raise the likelihood of the kids' developing autism. Then again, maybe no number of costly and carefully designed and executed studies will dislodge the fear of vaccines among parents that has taken root in the United States.

We'll see.

But on Tuesday, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics--called Pediatrics--released Study Number Ten anyway. In it, 14 authors tasked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate any link between vaccines containing thimerosal--a mercury-containing preservative--and autism-spectrum disorders found no link whatever.

They found none, whether a baby was exposed to a thimerosal-containing vaccine while in utero or whether he or she was vaccinated with such an agent in the first 20 months of life. In fact--and this is a bit perplexing--they found that babies vaccinated with more thimerosal-containing vaccines between birth and seven months, as well as those who got more such vaccinations between birth and 20 months, were less likely to develop an autism-spectrum disorder than those who did not.

To see the march of evidence discrediting the widely believed link between thimerosol and autism, you can check here. To see the charges by British medical authorities that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first alleged a thimerosal-autism link, conducted his research dishonestly and irresponsibly, see here. If it doesn't help to know that reputable scientists, physicians and researchers have tried and failed to find a causal--or any--link between thimerosal and autism, it might help to know that even Jenny McCarthy, the actress who has been unswervingly vocal in her belief that vaccines caused her son's autism diagnosis, is no longer so certain.

--Melissa Healy/The Los Angeles Times

Restore Truthiness, Help a Teacher

The folks over at Reddit, who got the ball rolling on trying to get Colbert to hold a Restore Truthiness rally in DC in October, found a new way to get his attention. Colbert is on the board of Donors Choose, a charity that helps get school teachers supplies for projects in their classrooms. On Reddit a thread was started to get people to donate to Donors Choose in the name of the rally.

Slightly over a day later it has pulled in slightly over $90,000 to the effort. It came in fast enough that is broke their tally system last night. So help a teach, and restore truthiness at the same time.

How Galileo proved we aren't the center of the universe

While Jupiter having moons is what most people remember from what they learned of Galileo, the observations of Venus were the ones that actually changed the way that we look at the world.  Not only does Venus have phases... but the planet dramatically changes in size over the course of them.  You can see this for yourself with binoculars or a small telescope.

For more details on the process, including some very nifty diagrams that show how that picture proves it, wander over to science blogs.

Sometimes you just need to walk away

It's an oldie but goodie, and good as a mantra when things like Galileowaswrong.com pop up on the internet (no, I'm not making that a hot link, that level of ignorance shouldn't get the google rankings).

If after 400 years there are still groups that refute centuries of evidence, it is little wonder that solid scientific findings of the last 50 years still have deniers and opponents.  Given a couple more centuries, most will come around, and the rest, well, PT Barnum had a few things to say about them.

Ars: Disruption - how one webcomic welcomes the future that so many fear

Lemley gives example after example of this trend. Broadcasters opposed those rogue cable operators when they first appeared; now they demand carriage. The VCR, opposed as a "Boston strangler" of the movie industry, became a huge cash cow, one milked for decades by that same industry. Radio's free broadcasts would destroy recorded gramophone music; except that the radio actually became one of recorded music's most important publicity machines.

Lemley isn't trying to sell anyone false comfort. Things might not be all right for many established businesses. But creativity carries on.

The content industry "has a Chicken Little problem," he says. "It may, in fact, be the case that the sky is falling. But, if you claim that the sky is falling whenever a new technology threatens an existing business model, the rest of the world can be forgiven for not believeing you when you claim that this time around it's going to be different than all of the other times. Now, let's be clear, each one of these technologies changed the business model of the industry. They caused certain revenue streams to decline. But they also opened up new ones."

The whole Ars article is great, and it plays into my personal Munroe rule, which is any presentation of that includes an xkcd comic is a winner.