Casaubon's Book

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Is the Pope Catholic?

It fascinates me that so many people in the media expected the new Pope to be a flaming American-style social liberal.  Consider the New York Times which this morning notes with surprise: But Cardinal Bergoglio is also a conventional choice, a theological conservative of Italian ancestry who vigorously backs Vatican positions on abortion, gay marriage, the ordination…

Hmmmm….

This is an interesting paper indeed – a new PNAS paper argues that before an abrupt climate change, there is a characteristic SLOWING DOWN of climate change that might be a warning sign: Putting our results in an even wider perspective, it is important that slowing down is a universal property of systems approaching a…

Liked this bit from The Onion: And it’s not like it’s actually against the law, at least I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Oh, maybe it’s against some really antiquated laws in certain old New England towns from, like, the 18th century or something. But that’s my point: Would anyone today even care if we changed…

This essay is a little different than most of my stuff. It is the result of a collaborative discussion on a foster parenting list I’m a part of by a group of foster parents.  I’ve paraphrased and borrowed and added some things of my own, but this is truly collaborative piece, and meant to be…

Big Family Rules

I get to play ringmaster to  the Greatest Show on Earth – my own personal family farm circus with at least three rings of fun going on at any given time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The circus varies a lot in size (I recently overheard myself saying that it didn’t matter…

Chances are you already have a strong opinion on this subject.  There’s a great deal of noise, mostly but not wholly on the American right about the dangers of fertility decline.  Jonathan Last’s book  _What To Expect When No One is Expecting_ and Ross Douthat’s recent lament about American women’s TFR (total fertility rate – the…

Wanna Burn Shale for the Winter?

Randy Udall at The Oil Drum puts shale “oil”  in clear perspective: Let’s try a redneck experiment. Winter’s coming, and I’m willing to pay $1,000 to the first Coloradan who decides to heat their house with oil shale. I’ll deliver it in October, free of charge. Such an experiment would teach you a lot. First,…

From Agrilife, apparently we’re going to spend 3 million bucks to confirm the obvious – if you only breed for one thing, maximum milk production, you will be casting a lot of other critical traits to the winds: “Fertility is a critical component of efficient dairy production,” Pinedo said. “Failure to attain and maintain a…

End Daylight Savings Time?

Former Scienceblogger Boris Zivkovic, now at Scientific American, has an excellent post arguing that we should eliminate daylight savings time.  Given that DST was invented to save energy, it may seem strange that I agree with him, but I do – mostly because there’s no evidence that it does, and the physiological effects don’t merit…

About five years ago a colleague of mine, Dale Allen Pfeiffer wrote an essay I can no longer locate.  At the time, Colony Collapse Disorder was just being diagnosed in bees, and one of the discussed potential causes of the problem was cell phones and cell phone towers.  Pfeiffer didn’t, as I remember, take a…