Environment

Whose DNA is that?

Dr. Christopher Mason (Weill Cornell Medical College, Manhatten, NY) decided to sequence DNA found in NY subway stations…468 of them to be precise. At each station, his research team collected DNA samples by swabbing the kiosks, turnstiles, benches, railings, trash cans as well as the subway cars. Along with finding abundant Pseudomonas bacteria (also found…

March 1979 Washington Post: “Some Hair Dryers Give Off Asbestos”

Learning about a hairdresser with asbestos-related cancer made me curious about my circa 1980 hair dryer.

The Bright Side of the BICEP2 Story

I’ve done yet another piece for The Conversation, this one expanding on something I’ve been saying in interviews promoting Eureka: that knowing the process of science can help people sort good science from bad. In this particular case, I take the somewhat #slatepitch-y angle that the recent high-profile unraveling of the BICEP2 experiment’s claim to…

Boston Snow Climate Change Amplified

New England is now experiencing the fifth in a series of worse than average winter storms. So far, Winter has dumped over 60 inches of snow on Boston, and after the present storm, it will probably be possible to say that a total of 60 inches or more have fallen there in just over 2…

The latest in a series of Climate Change elevator pitches, being posted regularly at Peter Sinclair’s blog: The first pitch is here.

Andrew Weaver is a Canadian climate scientist with numerous publications. The National Post is a Canadian newspaper generally recognized as having a conservative and Libertarian leaning. Between 2009 and 2010, the Post published four articles that seemed defamatory of Dr. Weaver’s reputation as a scientist. Weaver sued the post over this, and yesterday, the B.C.…

Businessman’s problem: Workers can’t keep up with the machines

The story was about US immigration policy, but my-oh-my what it said about working conditions in poultry processing plants.

Letting Go of the Farm

Fourteen years ago, on a cold February weekend, Eric, our 10 month old son, Eli and I went driving around rural upstate New York, looking for a place to settle. We had actually wanted to stay in Massachusetts, but a combination of high land and real estate prices and Eric’s grandparents’ (who would come to…

Passing rewarming saves energy

I came across a neat study published recently in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology which examined how bats arouse from hibernation, a period during which their body temperature and metabolism are low. To minimize the high energetic costs of warming up during arousal, bats use solar radiation or take…

Face to face

From a pub conversation with Old Man Roscoe: so often, electronic communication snarls you up. Its so easy for small disagreements to blow up; for genuine disagreements to get entrenched; to lose any fellow-feeling for the people, or fleeting electronic blobs, that you’re “conversing” with. I see this at work, time and again: an email…