Last 24 Hours

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” –Stanislaw Jerzy Lec You’ve heard it said many times here: the Universe, since the Big Bang, is 13.8 billion years old. But how do we know this to be true? Moreover, how many different lines of evidence do we have that leads…

I frequently discuss a disturbing phenomenon known as “quackademic medicine.” Basically, quackademic medicine is a phenomenon that has taken hold over the last two decades in medical academia in which once ostensibly science-based medical schools and academic medical centers embrace quackery. This embrace was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) but among quackademics the…

July Pieces Of My Mind #2

Jrette wandering around watching TV on the iPad, overturning and breaking things in the kitchen. *sigh* Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold. Jrette stole my zombie novel — Carey’s 2014 Girl With All The Gifts — and proclaimed it to be the best book she’s read in ages. Now I am bookless. Mistakenly…

It is a mystery no more: A physical model can explain how a bunch of ants are able, with no visible leader (or highly-developed brains, for that matter) to drag that oversized cake crumb or leaf all the way across your floor to their nest. It turns out that there are, indeed, leaders, of a…

“To be is to be the value of a variable.” –Willard Van Orman Quine Those constant, fixed points of light in the night sky — the stars — turn out not to be so constant if you looked with great precision at them. A star like our Sun varies in brightness, periodically, by about 0.1% over the…

Pluto, King of the Underworlds

New measurements from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft revealed that Pluto, named for the Greco-Roman god once called Hades, is a little more swollen with ice than previously thought, making it the biggest trans-Neptunian object—more voluminous than rival dwarf planet Eris, which is nevertheless more massive. Greg Laden explains why these orbs are not considered full-fledged…

Medicare and Medicaid turn 50

On July 30th, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Social Security Amendment Act that created Medicare and Medicaid. Today, the two programs cover nearly one in three people in the US.

A couple of weeks ago, I first took note of a new conspiracy theory that’s been brewing in the antivaccine crankosphere, namely the claim that big pharma has been systematically murdering alternative medical doctors, starting with autism quack Jeff Bradstreet, who committed suicide the day after the FDA raided his office. Of course, it didn’t…

On the Road Again

I’m writing this from my New Jersey office, which is to say that I am visiting the ‘rents. But it’s a very short visit. In fact, I’m mostly just using them for their garage. I’m stashing my car there for a few days while I go galavanting around to various math conferences, with a little…

Ugly dogs

It is that time of year again to vote for your favorite “Ugliest dog”. I have a feeling it will be a close contest. To pick your favorite contender, click here. Honestly some of them are rather cute in their own way. I am rather partial to Rascal Deux and Icky…this will be a tough decision.…

“A cosmic mystery of immense proportions, once seemingly on the verge of solution, has deepened and left astronomers and astrophysicists more baffled than ever. The crux… is that the vast majority of mass of the universe seems to be missing.” –William J. Broad When we look out at the Universe, the other things we see…

Fatal work injury that killed Timothy Winding was preventable, OSHA cites KCI Inc and Ford Motor Company

The fatal work-related injuries that killed Timothy Todd Winding, 50, could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.

Oh, joy. Deepak Chopra is mad about being called an evolution denialist, and to disprove the accusation, he fires back with a whole long letter full of misconceptions about evolution. As usual, he relies on painting himself as the brave pioneer at the very edge of science, with a hooting mob of regressive scientific dogmatists…

Antivaccine activists amuse me. Obviously, I think they are a major risk to public health. Their relentless demonization of vaccines as causing autism, autoimmune diseases, “shaken baby syndrome,” and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) serves no purpose other than to frighten parents and discourage them from vaccinating. As despicable as some of their antics…