Last 24 Hours

“Sexism was the only thing that kept Jerrie Cobb out of space in 1960, and it cannot be allowed to stand in her way now.” -Patricia Ireland It isn’t every week that you cover topics ranging from the birth of the Universe to the fundamental nature of space, and the go from sexism in NASA…

Ebola in the US Update

Of the seven Americans who have contracted Ebola, five overseas and two in Texas, all seven have survived. Comments from President Obama, focusing on how we have to be guided by the science: “Here’s the bottom line. Patients can beat this disease. And we can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant. We…

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long — and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!” -Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Blade Runner Some questions that we look at are fun to consider because of how far outside our own experience they are, but…

Problems with WiFi and Bluetooth Some problems with Bluetooth have been reported. I don’t think this is widespread, but in some cases people are experiencing lags on the order of a half second in the use of their Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. When this happens, it seems to relate to whether or not the computer…

Uncertain Dots 25: The Lightning Round

I got the time for the regular hangout wrong, and then we had some weird computer difficulties, so we only had ten minutes for Uncertain Dots this week. Which was enough time for me to say disparaging things about comic book movies, so, you know, if that interests you… Here’s the making of Interstellar story…

How Not to Hook Up; How to Love

The first time I saw myself was in a dream. I was maybe six. I was a girl, a noble leader really. I had straight dark hair that reached down to my feet. I was walking on a tightrope, toward the right, toward a handsome prince who approached me. Then I woke up.

Here is a list of things to do after you have installed Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn. There is some discussion of whether or not you should upgraded to 14.10 here, but the short version is, for most people an upgrade from 14.04 is not necessary but not a bad idea, and an upgrade from any…

While pharmaceutical companies are making billions in painkiller profits, it’s the public sector that ends up bearing the burden and cost of the fallout that accompanies skyrocketing sales of highly addictive prescription opioids. After the jump is a Pump Handle Q&A with two public health officials at the forefront of the opioid abuse epidemic within America’s big cities.

It has been a year since I last updated my chronological listing of the Harper Conservative government’s war on science. The newly updated master list is here, where you can also read more about this project in general. The previous update from October 2013 is here. Some preliminary metrics about the impact of that original…

Landsjö Castle Plan Develops

I’m giving a talk on Landsjö castle to the Kimstad Historical Society next week, and while preparing my presentation I made a sketch plan of this summer’s discoveries regarding the plan. The ruin just barely breaks the turf, so we didn’t know much about the castle’s layout beforehand except that it had a 60-metre straight…

The Discovery Institute doesn’t understand the protein folding problem. I mean that literally: they don’t understand the problem. Scientists don’t know the answer, but they have a clear understanding of the problem. PNAS published a “Perspective” article, “The Nature of Protein Folding Pathways,” by S. Walter Englander and Leland Mayne. Unsurprisingly, they try to approach…

Friday Cephalopod: Alien beauty

It’s been a bit of a depressing week. I suppose it’s not any more depressing than usual, with the usual unending stream of pseudoscience, quackery (particularly of the Ebola type), and, of course, antivaccine nonsense to deal with. Then, as I’m writing yet another in a long line of unfunded grants, I find out that…

“Our external environment no longer seems to have any firm boundaries, any limits, or any positive cues about when to stop consuming anything. I mean, there is a reason that people get fat — it’s easy and cheap to get high-calorie, tasty food.” -Bob Harper There are plenty of good things we can all do to get…

Destructive trends in workers’ compensation

Decades of business-friendly “reforms” to workers’ compensation make the bargain between employers and labor no longer a good deal for injured workers.