Thursday, May 01, 2003

Parallel Universes Fascinating article from Scientific American about parallel universes. Once the domain of science fiction, the idea of an essentially infinite number of universes is one that is looking increasingly plausible to many physicists. And it seems the theory that the universe as we know it is only one small part of a larger multiverse may even have some useful consequences for modern cosmology. Read the whole article here.

An interesting side issue here is that if parallel universes are real, then creationist arguments based on probability theory are effectively blown out of the water. It has recently become fashionable to argue that certain "anthropic coincidences" in the fundamental constants of our universe point to some intelligent designer responsible for our existence. But if our universe is only one of many universes, then every combination of fundamental constants will eventually be achieved just by chance alone.

Banfield Fallout Last week I reported on Ashleigh Banfield's presentation at Kansas State University. Apparently the people running the show at MSNBC did not take kindly to her criticisms of the cable news biz. Read more about it here.

The hypocrisy of MSNBC is astounding. Shock-radio host Michael Savage is given carte blanche to say whatever he pleases from MSNBC's platform, including personal attacks against Banfield herself. But Banfield's eminently reasonable criticisms come in for condemnation.

MSNBC has been veering hard to the right in recent months, but their ratings continue to plummet. Banfield is the one touch of class remaining at that miserable channel, so it is unlikely that she has much of a future there.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The Fruits of Anti-Tax Zealotry Excellent column from Bob Herbert in The New York Times today. Apparently a school district in Oregon will have to end the school year seventeen days early due to lack of funds. An emergency tax increase put before the voters in January to prevent this eventuality was voted down. Even deeper cuts are planned for next year. Incredible.