Humanities

The Great Human Race: How to survive

The Great Human Race is a new production of National Geographic, in three parts. I recently viewed the first episode, “Dawn” which comes with this description: All people can trace their roots to the savanna of East Africa, the home of one of the first members of the human species — Homo habilis. Archaeologist Bill…

The spread and toll of Zika

Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly (infants born with abnormally small brains and heads) and is spreading throughout the Americas.

It’s been nearly two decades since the last publication of a nationwide survey on the distribution of blacklegged ticks — the primary transmitters of Lyme disease. That survey, released in 1998, reported the tick in 30 percent of U.S. counties. Today, a new study using similar surveillance methods has found the tick in more than 45 percent of counties.

Quantum Short Fiction, Voting Open Now

The Center for Quantum Technologies is running a “Quantum Shorts” contest, where they solicited short stories exploring some aspect of quantum physics. They cut their large number of applicants down to two short-lists of ten, one for the “Open” category, and one for the “Youth” category. They’ll be giving out a “People’s Choice Award” based…

The United Methodist Church has denied an application from the Discovery Institute to set up a table at their upcoming general conference. As you can imagine, the ID folks and their fellow travelers are having a collective freak out about this. Click here for a representative post about the sheer injustice of it all. The…

Advice to the Past

Over at Scientific American, Amanda Baker has a story about what scientists say they would tell their younger selves. I reached out to eight of my colleagues who are currently in STEM fields and asked them a series of questions about their childhood interests in science, school experiences, and roadblocks that they faced on their…

141/366: Holes

As mentioned last week, SteelyKid is doing Odyssey of the Mind this year, and her team has elected to build a balsa wood structure. The goal for these is to support the maximum possible weight, and the first step of the testing is to put a “crusher board” on top. This is a couple of…

140/366: Dog and Volcano

When I arrived to pick SteelyKid up the other night, she and her friends were light-saber fighting with long balloons, which is fairly typical of that bunch. While I gathered her stuff up, though, she stopped and twisted her balloon into an animal shape: She got a “How to Make Balloon Animals” kit a few…

Science and Religion, Again

In a post from 2012, I wrote the following as part of a discussion about reconciling science and religion: Too often the defender of reconciliation acts as though his job is done as soon as he has tossed off a logically possible scenario that includes both God and evolution. This was specifically in response to…

Recent stories address the Zika virus, which is linked to babies born with small heads; a reporter with advanced cancer covering the assisted-suicide movement; and more.