Archives for May, 2013

Horror Writers on God

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for a long time, so you can imagine my excitement at the fact that he has two books in the queue over the next few months. His novel Joyland will be available next week, while his Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep comes out in September. I’ll be reading both of…

A while back P. Z. Myers wrote a snotty, obnoxious post about how much he hated the big Les Miz movie. Now, I happen to be a bit protective of Les Miserables. I regard the original novel as the finest ever written, and I think the stage version of the musical does a good job…

A while back I engaged in an exchange of blog posts with paleontologist Robert Asher. It started with an essay Asher wrote for HuffPo, extolling the virtues of reconciling science and religion. I felt his arguments were insufficient, and said so in this post. Asher eventually replied. I felt his arguments were still insufficient, so…

A while back I did a post about counterintuitive math problems. However, I deliberately held one back, since I was using it as my Problem of the Week for that week. So here it is: Suppose a steel beam, one mile long, is fastened securely to the ground at each end. As the day heats…

Number theory is chock-full of easily stated problems that are very difficult to solve. One such is the twin primes conjecture, which asserts simply that there are infinitely many twin primes. I’ll assume you know what a prime number is. Twin primes are primes that differ by exactly two, such as 3 and 5, 5…

Can Atheists Be Redeemed?

Pope Francis said some interesting things at mass yesterday. From the Vatican Radio website: Wednesday’s Gospel speaks to us about the disciples who prevented a person from outside their group from doing good. “They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good.…

The Ball State Kerfuffle

Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of physics at Ball State University, has come under fire for an honors course called, “Boundaries of Science.” The problem: the course appears to be little more than thinly veiled Christian evangelism. From The USA Today: “BSU appears to offer a class that preaches religion, yet gives students honors science…

A Lesson in Applied Probability

Nate Silver provides the antidote to some dubious statistical reasoning on the part of certain conservatives. He was replying in particular to this column from Peggy Noonan. A column, mind you, that opens with, “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate.” Goodness! Then she presents evidence like this: The second…