Science Park: A Last Look Around Pau

Pau is a small provincial city, it has long been a haven for the British wanting to escape Blighty for the good of their health. There are many spas in the area and the climate is reputed to be good for your health. The older architecture is a mix of “alpine’ grand villa and a good dose of British garden. There is a cathedral and a university and the small provincial airport is now opening up to fulfill Pau’s emerging status as the gateway to the Pyrenees.

The airport’s development and the expansion of the scientific departments at the University have led to the development of a science park on the outskirts of the city.  I have, on past visits, caught tantalizing glimpses of some of the buildings and was determined to explore further before we left Pau for good.

After one particularly frustrating afternoon, I declared a time out and went exploring and headed straight for the science park.

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Celebrating Canadian Space Oddity Commander Chris Hadfield

I have been following Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s journey in space for some time now, and on May 13th, he stepped down from his command of the International Space Station. He has been on the artificial satellite since December 2012, when he arrived as part of Expedition 35, a six-person crew.

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When Religion tries to Become Science, Bad Things Happen

There’s a lot of righteous arguing on The Internets recently concerning the way religion and science are cleverly being mashed up by fanatical Christian fundamentalists to create a whole new anti-science, anti-reality, anti-educational rhetoric that is being fed to our children as something real and true and factual when it is not.  The monsters behind this religious terrorism of the mind are the same evildoers who invented the “Creation Museum” where they argue that people walked the earth with the dinosaurs even though there is a 65 million year gap between the last dinosaur and the first human.

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Living 200 Years and Knowing the Date of Your Death

If you had the choice to live to age 200, would you take up that blind offer?  My beloved wife Janna would not.  She’s perfectly content with her life and, if she died today, she would feel satisfied with the accomplishments of her life.  I, on the other hand, would love to live to age 200 if, of course, there were no sort of Twilight Zone curse involved where I was confined to a bed in a coma for 125 years, or I became a pack mule in the Himalayas for a century, or if I had to live in an active sewer and never see the light of day for 110 years.

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The Respect Owed to Military Dogs

Once in awhile I will be on the subway and I will see a person entering the subway station with a dog walking in front of them and just as I am about to think to myself that it seems odd that the person is bringing a dog with them in a place where dogs usually are not allowed, I see that the dog is wearing a jacket that marks it as a service dog, meaning that the dog is being useful in some way to that person — we called them “Seeing Eye Dogs” when I was growing up.

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Long Live Your Bloodstream

Our blood knows our secrets and foretells our health.  Sometimes we’re told the now of the being of our bloodstream — high cholesterol, bad thyroid, liver complications — but what if our blood could tell us today, how we’ll end up in the future?  Would you want your blood to tell your longevity status?  Or would you prefer to live only in the now?

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In Utero: Getting Reprimanded for Science in Florida

As a relatively new parent, I have to cringe a little bit when other parents ask me certain questions about parenting. Specifically, when they ask me how I am going to approach “potty training” — that term just puts me into a bit of upset. I have yet to find any person who can give me a solid reason why a silly childish term had to be created when a real term — toilet — was already there.  In Florida, the equivalent of the “potty training” substitution is happening on the House floor. State representative Scott Randolph, in part of his argument against union dues being deducted from the paychecks of state employees, used the word “uterus” — and apparently it upset a few people in the House. Randolph was asked to kindly not discuss body parts while on the floor of the House.

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