Archive of posts related to science
[Some posts pre-2008 also listed by topic at the end.]
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 […]
You don’t believe facts. You understand them. February 18, 2014
I keep seeing this stuff. So-and-so many people “believe” in evolution. Fergawdsake. Do you “believe” in carpentry? No.
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.
The only thing worse than running out of oil January 4, 2013
This is the headline of an article on CNN: “Damon’s film ‘Promised Land’ overlooks fracking’s boon to U.S.” The boon of global climate change, I guess. The boon of flammable tap water. All that, and cheap gas. Are we lucky, or what? Like I said before, the only thing worse than running out of oil is not running out of oil.
Selling life for fun and profit December 31, 2012
Maybe not so much for fun, but profit? Definitely. I’ve written about what’s really wrong with genetically modified food before, and it’s not mutant monster three-eyed chickens giving you cancer. Being a biologist, I’ve been complaining about biological problems. Monsanto creating crops to withstand its own RoundUp herbicide. More herbicide = more ecological damage + less nutritious crops. And, in a win-win (for Monsanto), it gets paid for the patented crops and the patented RoundUp sloshed on the fields. (1) The potential to cause allergies due to substances created or used anywhere in the process of production through to application […]
Women must run the world December 22, 2012
And businesses. And everything else. That is the inescapable implication of the following findings from: The Mere Anticipation of an Interaction with a Woman Can Impair Men’s Cognitive Performance, Nauts et al. 2012. Recent research suggests that heterosexual men’s but not heterosexual women’s cognitive performance is impaired after an interaction with someone of the opposite sex Karremans et al., 2009. These findings have been interpreted in terms of the cognitive costs of trying to make a good impression during the interaction. In everyday life, people frequently engage in pseudo-interactions with women e.g., through the phone or the internet or anticipate […]
I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords September 30, 2012
So long as they’re this much fun. Not otherwise. Related: Swarm of flying robots: I want.
Climate Change Bozos July 19, 2012
Remember the folks who said warming wasn’t a problem because plants use more CO2 when it’s hot? Corn field drying up in southern Wisconsin, USA, July 16th, 2012. (wxmom on flickr) How’s that working out for you?
Humans are the only thing we can’t fix July 5, 2012
So this is not actually good news: The Fukushima nuclear disaster was the result of “man-made” failures before and after last year’s earthquake, according to a report from an independent parliamentary investigation. A technical glitch, an unforeseen cascade of technical glitches, an accident exceeding design parameters, all those things can be dealt with, assuming money is no object. But even if money can be spent like water (and if you have to, why use nukes to begin with when there are cheaper, better, cleaner alternatives?), but if you can spend no end of money, you still can never fix the […]
What Really Makes Us Fat July 1, 2012
Let’s face it. People feel the fat-antifat kerfuffle is a struggle between good and evil. Gluttony is bad! It’s not gluttony. It’s a disease! It’s not a disease. It’s genetics. It’s okay. It is not okay. And so on and on. Folks, we’re talking about biology. It could be all of the above and then some. “Then some” is actually my preferred answer and I’ll discuss it in a bit. But in the meantime, it’s worth remembering that none of the above are mutually exclusive. The answers vary from person to person and there is no single thing that is […]
Swarm of flying robots: I want February 7, 2012
Continuing my must-have vehicles series … fleets of tiny drones flying in formation in a lab. I think about fifty or so would be just the right amount to fly around the house while I cackle wildly. (But, wouldn’t you know, the first thing everyone says is, “Military applications!”)
Something is happening here, Mr. Jones January 10, 2012
First you read about Nome, Alaska. It’s had such tough weather, a Russian tanker and a US Coast Guard icebreaker are painstakingly trying to deliver emergency fuel supplies. The icebreaker is facing backward because [T]he ice is under so much pressure, it closes up almost as soon as it’s broken. So the ship has to double back and re-break it. [Update: The view is from the icebreaker toward the tanker, which is facing forward. The icebreaker does double back, but that's not what the picture shows. Sorry for the brain fart.] You get the picture. Very severe winter in Alaska. […]
The only thing worse than running out of oil December 22, 2011
Is not running out of oil. This headline today is not good news: Does shale oil boom mean U.S. energy independence is near? Neither is this one that the US has a “200-year-supply” of coal. Nor these about all the fuel available in the Marcellus Shale, or the Canadian tar sands, or the Green River oil shale. At this point it’s obvious to the meanest intelligence that burning fossil fuels adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which causes climate change, which causes floods, fire, famine, pestilence, and war. It will kill billions of humans. I’ll repeat that. It will kill […]
Science-related, at least to me (pre-2008 list)
- Nukes can never be the answer. Nuclear plants can't supply enough energy to stop global warming, but they can kill the planet. Also posted at Shakesville, with lively comments thread).
- Profits cost us cures
- Stem Cells: science and ethics. Also posted in three parts at Shakesville, Part 1, with links to 2 and 3.
- Female genital mutilation
- Tuberculosis: the problem we could have avoided
- When is a drug not a drug?
- Science Goes to the Movies. Rant against unnecessary stupidity in fiction.
- pitfalls of Windows, including MS ability to shut down your computer. ubuntu as an alternative.
- Global Warming
- You can't believe in evolution
- A Choice or a Child?
- Aug. 28, 2007, Lunar Eclipse as seen from my garden.
- Meet the relatives: sea squirts
- Global warming: links to rebut deniers
- Hero Rats. There are times when I think people really will make it.
- Our Government (Not) At Work Substituting people-destroying methyl iodide for ozone-destroying methyl bromide as an agricultural fumigant. Those are not our only choices!
- Germs taken to space come back deadlier
- Zombie (amoebae) like global warming
- Paper Stirling engine
- Carbon nanotech paper batteries
- Bush admin is for fraud. Really.
- Russians boast about a "Father of all Bombs".
- Taleban pulls ahead of US Their leaders seem to be capable of using solar technology. Ours ....
- Genetics may explain 3 IQ points of intelligence.
- Now I've heard everything (About re-shaping genitalia).
- Ten minute cancer test
- Old signs of life on Mars? (Not, as it turns out.)
- Science-ish links, 2007-09-20 Fossil evidence that warmer bogs exhale methane, another greenhouse gas. Chronic fatigue syndrome may be caused by an intestinal virus. A different white blood cell may be effective against cancer.
- Links to interesting data on the physics of levitation, on dinosaurs, and on muscle wasting disease.
- Science links, 2007-09-03 RFID chips in people. Sharpening telescope pictures from the OWL (Overwhelmingly Large Telescope ;-))
- Science links, 2007-09-01 Storing data on a single atom. A possible vaccine for multiple sclerosis. Engineered cells destroy amyloid plaques in mice. And finally, a cosmic crochet project.