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Shawn otto Shawn is the screenwriter and coproducer of the Oscar-nominated film House of Sand and Fog starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. He has also written for several of film and TV’s top studios. A few years back he started Science Debate 08, an effort to get a real debate over science policy issues…

Do genes make you gay?

Of course they do. To the extent that genes make you anything in particular, though the role of genetics in human behavior is pretty limited. You’ve probably heard about the newly reported research in which a genetic link was found to homosexuality in a study of gay brothers. Kelly Servick has a good writeup on…

Trumpeter Swans At Risk

Please don’t shoot the swans. My new post at 10,000 birds is here.

Global Warming Means More Lightning

A new study just out in Science suggests that we will have an increase in lightning strikes of about 12 percent for every degree C of global warming. That could add up. From the abstract: Lightning plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry and in the initiation of wildfires, but the impact of global warming…

The Comet. It Sings!

Have you heard the comet singing? From the Rosetta Blog this press release: Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has uncovered a mysterious ‘song’ that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space. RPC principal investigator Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier, head of Space Physics and Space Sensorics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, tells us more. Sound_comet2 Artist’s impression of the…

See here to see why you might want to install the Mate flavor of Ubuntu 14.10. Then, install it and consider doing these things. Get your system up to date. Yes, yes, you just installed it but that install image was old(ish). Update and upgrade now: First, you probably want to open the Software Center,…

Sad news today: Tom Magliozzi, one of Cambridge Massachusetts greatest gifts to public radio (and Cambridge has given a LOT of gifts to public radio) died today. Car talk was, verily, one of the best things ever. I have one Car Talk story and this is as good a time as any to tell it.…

Arctic Sea Ice Extent

Arctic Sea Ice extent continues to be a problem. This year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, ARctic Sea ice reached its lowest extent this year on September 17th, which is about the sixth lowest extent on record, following a multi-year trend of decline. There is variation from year to year. This…

Sins of Our Fathers, by Shaw Otto, is coming out shortly but can be preordered. JW, protagonist, is a flawed hero. He is not exactly an anti-hero because he is not a bad guy, though one does become annoyed at where he places his values. As his character unfolds in the first several chapters of…