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I just watched, at a the Twin Cities Science Film Festival, a film called Nzara ’76, which is about the first known Ebola outbreak, the one that gave it its name, in southern Sudan. That’s about 150 miles, as the Mvo-Mvo flies, north of my long term project area in the Ituri Forest, an impassable…

Dragging America Into the 20th Century

“?There are two types of nation” a recent Nature editorial begins; “…those that use the metric system and those that have put a man on the Moon.” Such a pro-American jingoistic statement must be deep British irony. Anyway, the editorial continues … The reliance of the United States on feet and pounds, along with its…

Grunt: The science of humans at war

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach explores, from a scientific perspective, the gear, technologies, and methods used to keep soldiers alive, or at least less injured, overheated, starved or thirsted to death, killed by gasses, and so on. Roach is a well known and quite funny science writer who also…

There was a dead rabbit in the middle of the road today. I suspected such a thing, nearby, just out of sight, and edible, because I noticed some crows taking off whenever a car went by. Then, when I went over, I could see the rabbit that they were feasting on between drive-bys. I had…

Update: From WCCO: An Islamic State-run news agency claims the man who stabbed and wounded eight people at a mall in Minnesota before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer was a “soldier of the Islamic State.” Original Post: We know nearly nothing about the Saint Cloud attack, but I’m going to offer some…

Back to school special: I’d like to note that not every teacher who “moves to a school in the suburbs” does so for bad reasons. Some of them do so after being handed a $10,000 per annum pay cut and a contract with zero chance of a raise for the indefinite future or something else…

Pluto Has Tail, X-Rays

Did you ever notice that Pluto doesn’t have much of a tail? No, not that Pluto! This Pluto: This has been known for a while. NASA noted this last year: New Horizons has discovered a region of cold, dense ionized gas tens of thousands of miles beyond Pluto — the planet’s atmosphere being stripped away…

Reductionism in Art and Science

In the old days, the words “art” and “science” did not mean the same thing they mean today, at least in academia. Today, unfortunately, they have almost come to mean opposites. You can’t be doing both at once. Or, at least, that’s what people who haven’t thought about it much may think. Art can be…

The 176 #Deplorable Things

Watch this video on The Scene. Here’s the text. Keith Olbermann is back.

“After years of peddling a false conspiracy theory that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States, Donald Trump — just 53 days before Election Day — now says he believes the president was born in the U.S. “President Obama was born in the United States. Period,” Trump said at a campaign event in a…