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      Archive of posts related to science

 
[Some posts pre-2008 also listed by topic at the end.]

Main routes of covid-19 infection      May 2, 2020

I’ve been leaving this comment everywhere I can think of, because I’m impressed with this article by a reporter who looked at superspreader data very carefully. Jonathan Kay writing in Quillette. The main groups of infection arise from places where people are in close proximity, indoors, and talking, laughing, singing loudly. That fits a pattern of mainly airborne infection by large droplets. Being in close proximity for extended periods, such as members of the same household, is also very good at spreading it. But in terms of people you’re less close to, it seems to do best in enclosed areas […]

News you can use on covid-19      March 12, 2020

  Update, May 3, 2020 The indications — not proof yet! — are that larger-droplet infection is the main route of transmission. Probably not the only one, aerosols (small, floating droplets) and surfaces still require caution, but larger droplets seem to be the main one. In news-you-can-use, that means physical distancing and masks, any masks, including folded tea towels, are the two most important preventive behaviors.   1) The importance of social distancing, self-quarantining, self-isolating, and the like: Shows how Hong Kong and Singapore — both with very dense populations! — slowed the spread of covid-19 to about one tenth […]

Denial, Inequality, and Ignorance, Oh My      December 24, 2019

Denying biological reality is more la-la than being a Flat Earther. At least a Flat Earth *looks* plausible if you’re completely ignorant. Denying biological sex is denying how babies get made and that is something all of humanity is rather clear on.

The world’s most taboo subject      September 8, 2019

He makes it sound as if this doubling is a great force beyond human influence, like a solar storm or a meteor strike. It’s not. It’s human reproduction. We’re helpless only because the subject is so untouchable it can’t even be said out loud. What’s up with that?.

Women’s physical and athletic abilities      August 13, 2019

[This started as a comment on a post about this topic. It’s since expanded.] One of the side effects of all the discussion around including transwomen in women’s sports has been the regular repetition that women are slower and weaker and can’t compete with the male-bodied. I wanted to add a biologist’s view on that and then mention something I saw about ultramarathoners. So I’ll start with women being smaller, weaker, and all the rest. When I was young and foolish I once asked my biology teacher why it was that way. It seems to cause nothing but problems. She […]

Fighting the weather      June 4, 2017

So, this is a thing Tomi Lahren (Ph.D. Bobblehead Studies) twittered in ref to the latest London attack. (No link to source. Search for it if you need to.) Hey liberals, this is what we are fighting against while you fight weather. Since you don’t get out much, let me show you the sequence. Climate change → drought in Syria → some people ruined → some of the ruined young men join angry groups → Daesh (=ISIS or whatever they’re calling themselves today). It’s not even many steps. Maybe you could follow them. So I’ll fix your tweet for you. […]

The multiverse seems to be an excuse      November 9, 2014

If modern physics is to be believed, we shouldn’t be here. The meager dose of energy infusing empty space, which at higher levels would rip the cosmos apart, is [much] tinier than theory predicts.

The worst news about Ebola so far      September 19, 2014

Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is hell.

Gay gene: it’s not what you think –part 2      June 9, 2014

There are a whole range of traits commoner in males than females, so there must be some unstraightforward factor that affects males more than females. And there’s one very obvious prenatal difference between males and females: all mothers are female, so female fetuses are likelier to have a hormonal environment aligned with their own than male ones.

Gay gene: it’s not what you think –part 1      June 7, 2014

Who said there’s a gene? They’ve never managed to find one yet. Probably for the obvious reason that there have to be hundreds for any complex trait.

You don’t believe facts. You understand them.      May 25, 2014

I keep seeing this stuff. So-and-so many people “believe” in evolution. Fergawdsake. Do you “believe” in carpentry? No.

Gently shout disaster      April 13, 2014

I don’t envy the IPCC. The International Panel on Climate Change studies looming calamity, and has to talk about it in polite, soft, encouraging tones. Otherwise they’re called “alarmist.” “Unrealistic.” Or (eeeek) “pessimists.” So we’re facing flooding over coasts where billions of people live, people who won’t be able to farm any more so they and others will starve, people who will move to higher ground where nobody will want them and will try to push them out. We’re facing droughts and floods and freezes and fires due to climate forcing. We’re facing pests and diseases moving into new areas […]

This is how our world ends      February 7, 2014

Weather across the south of the U.S. has raised a controversial (“controversial”?!) question online: was it just a light snow, or a nefarious government conspiracy?

Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough’      May 14, 2013

Inventor Ronald Ace claims a solar energy breakthrough. His solar collector is said to absorb nearly 100% of the sun’s energy without any significant loss. Mind-boggling, if true.

The frankenfood alarmists were right — again      February 3, 2013

The treehuggers turn out to be right about GMO foods, and the respectable scientists in the white lab coats were wrong. The scientists assumed that the viruses ferrying the DNA-of-interest into cells were just doing what they were told and disappearing afterward. Wrong.

One people, one planet, one pollution      January 24, 2013

I was hiking yesterday and looked out to sea. This is what I saw. An orange-brown band of dust? smog? all of the above? stretching over the whole horizon. I’ve lived here for years and never seen anything like it.

Science-related, at least to me    (pre-2008 list)