Last 24 Hours

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” -Laurence J. Peter This past week was a super busy one on Starts With A Bang, from dark energy to stars to a fabulous book review and more! Just in the last seven days, we’ve looked at: What if dark energy…

Sketches of Boz

In the second novel-length third of Stephen Jarvis’s hefty Death and Mr Pickwick, artist and caricaturist Robert Seymour starts in earnest to put ideas together for the Pickwick Papers. Yes, that’s right: here (as maybe in reality) it is the illustrator who comes up with the concept for the book, but being dyslexic and proud…

There has been a lot of stuff written in response to the Hugo award nomination mess, most of it stupid. Some of it is stupid to such an impressive degree that it actually makes me feel sympathetic toward people who I know are wrong about everything. One of the few exceptions is the long essay…

They know how to use gadgets!

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett If you want, you can imagine back in the Universe to a time before it looked anything like ours did. Before there…

T-Minus One Year Until the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival!

In just one year, you can attend the largest celebration of STEM for FREE! On April 16-17, 2016, the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival returns to the nation’s capital along with some of your favorite performers and hands-on exhibits! Next April, Sneak Peek Friday, open to schools, homeschoolers and military families, returns on April…

Nifty Fifty Podcast: Dr. Len Annetta On Serious Games

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Len Annetta speaking about how his background growing up poor and how he’s now creating the next generation of creative science and technology leaders through serious games.  Dr. Annetta is speaking to Center City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  Read full blog here.   

In just a year, electronic cigarette use has tripled among American teens. And considering that no one really knows what the related health impacts are and any regulatory framework is lagging far behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, public health advocates say it’s time for action.

Labor group outlines significant flaws in chemical reform bill, joins growing list of opponents

The AFL-CIO joins a growing list of organizations which have raised serious concerns—or outright oppose—the Vitter/Udall bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

SteelyKid, Galactic Engineer

“Hey, Daddy, did you know that in five or six million years the Sun is going to explode.” “It’s five or six billion years, with a ‘b.’” “Right, in five or six billion years, the Sun’s going to explode.” “Well, a star like our Sun won’t really explode. It’ll swell up really big, probably swallow…

Beautiful and terrible

This is one of the loveliest fossils I’ve ever seen. They are the bones of a Neanderthal, found in a cave in southern Italy, and although they’ve been calcified by mineral-rich water trickling through the cave where they were found, it’s an almost complete skeleton, with the bones all intact. That’s the grisly part of…

April Pieces Of My Mind #1

Been wondering about psychopaths. Having empathy of course de-motivates healthy folks from murderous cruelty. But why would absence of empathy motivate murderous cruelty? Are most psychopaths in fact not interested in such acts? This is pretty neat: I bought a hat in London and wore it for a few days, and now that I’m back…

A Note to the University of Pretoria

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

America’s quack, dissected yet again

If there’s one doctor who irritates me possibly more than any other, it’s got to be “America’s Doctor,” a.k.a. Dr. Mehmet Oz, thanks to The Dr. Oz Show. He’s been an all too frequent topic on this blog and at my not-so-super-secret other blog. Of course, I refer to him as “America’s quack,” because, well,…

“There is a voice inside of you That whispers all day long, ‘I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.’” -Shel Silverstein It’s pretty obvious that the Universe exists in such a way that it admits the possibility of intelligent life arising. After all, we’re here, we’re intelligent life, and…