Physical Science

The second one of the TED-Ed lessons I wrote about quantum physics has now been published: What Is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is, again, very similar to stuff I’ve written before, specifically this old blog post and the relevant chapter of How to Teach [Quantum] Physics to Your Dog. As usual, I tried but…

Odile was the strongest hurricane to strike the Baja Peninsula during the period of available data, roughly similar to Hurrican Olivia (1967). The storm reached Category 4 strength but was then weakened because of interaction with the effects of a prior hurricane in the area (Norbert). At the moment, Odile is a tropical storm and…

“I told my father that someday when I grow up and become an astronomer ‘I’m going to discover something.’” -Thomas Bopp But who ever would have imagined that a kid with an armchair interest in astronomy, one who as an adult didn’t even own a telescope, would stare into a friend’s one fateful night at…

The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr.…

My TED@NYC adventure last fall didn’t turn into an invite to the big TED meeting, but it did lead to a cool opportunity that is another of the very cool developments I’ve been teasing for a while now: I’ve written some scripts for lessons to be posted with TED-Ed. The first of these, on particle-wave…

Intelligence vs. Priorities

Steven Pinker has a piece at the New Republic arguing that Ivy League schools ought to weight standardized test scores more heavily in admissions. this has prompted a bunch of tongue-clucking about the failures of the Ivy League from the usual suspects, and a rather heated concurrence from Scott Aaronson. That last finally got me…

According to data just updated by NASA, last August was the warmest August for the entire instrumental data record, which begins in 1881. This has been something of a mixed year but overall warm. Of the 134 years for which there are data, the coolest month this year so far was February, at 17th place,…

The Age of Radiance

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson (author of Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon) is a well done history of the atomic age. If you are a bit squeamish (justifiably I’m sure) about the nuclear industry or nuclear…

Fight to save world’s rarest fish

Conservationists are trying hard to save the Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) from extinction. With less than 100 animals remaining, a captive breeding program was started at the University of California, Berkeley. As you can imagine from the image below, the geographic range of this fish is smaller than other wild vertebrates. They are only found…

Don’t forget to look up tonight!

Auroras are amazing sites because they are, of course, impossible. When Amanda and I got married a year or so ago in northern Minnesota, there was an amazing Aurora, surpassing what anyone at the wedding had ever seen in the state. Big colored curtains of light. Tonight, and over the weekend, the northern lights will…