"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Monday, July 26, 2004

First Words 

French linguistic anthropologists have studied the meanings of words in 1000 languages, and found that the sound 'papa' has similar meanings in most of them. This could indicate a common ancestry, dating back 50,000 years to Neanderthal proto-languages, or, that babies simply associate the first sounds they can make ('pa' is a very basic phoneme) to the first person they see. Anyone here with a linguistics background: please comment.

A senior astronomer at the SETI Institute has decided that we'll detect intelligent life in our galaxy within 20 years. This is a bloody stupid thing to say, and I assume he's just low on funding (a condition an excited public can greatly improve). As I've written before, it bugs me to no end the singularity with which people in this field seem to ignore the (overwhelmingly likely) possibility that alien life will look and act nothing like life on Earth. This article does in fact bring up that point, for which I give New Scientist lots of credit.

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