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      Archive of posts related to science

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

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.

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 […]

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