Last 24 Hours

Friday Cephalopod: the lonely fisherman

It’s a quiet, lonely life for a squid in the deep, just drifting along, dangling a pair of lines, hoping to snag dinner. There are two videos of this squid, one from 2014 and another from 2013.

Jihad Engineers

A disproportionate percentage of Islamist radical actors, including suicide bombers, come from an engineering background. Why? Right wing and Islamist extremism seem to share this and other traits, while left wing extremism is more commonly associated with individuals from the humanities and social sciences. This is what we learn from “Engineers of Jihad: The Curious…

A quick note about the current Atlantic hurricane season. With resect to just the US, we’ve had a fairly low level season, and it is easy to become complacent about this time, but in fact, the risks from Atlantic hurricanes rise about this time of year, so pay attention. Watch for Hermine. More on that…

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” –Alexander Graham Bell In 1859, the Sun surprisingly increased in brightness so significantly for just a brief while that it was noticeable from Earth during the day. Less than 24 hours later, aurorae were visible…

All Unconserved Finds Must Die Die Die?

Several colleagues have told me this bizarre rumour that I hope is unfounded. Contract archaeologists at two sites on Öland and in Småland have found more Medieval coins than their conservation budget can cover. So they have to prioritise which coins to conserve. So far so good, and congrats on the lovely finds. But. According to this…

EEOC sues poultry company for “screening out” injured workers

The EEOC alleges in a lawsuit against Wayne Farms, a poultry-processing company, that its attendance policy results in injured workers being fired. That’s a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I’ve mentioned on quite a few occasions that there’s a quote attributed to philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer that is much beloved of cranks: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. I also like to point out that Schopenhauer probably never said…

Cupping Just Sucks

Even as Michael Phelps piled a 23rd gold medal onto his stack, he also drew attention at the Rio Olympics for circular bruises on his shoulder resulting from a pseudoscientific medical treatment called cupping. Several ancient cultures practiced variants of cupping in order to reduce pain or heal injury. On Respectful Insolence, Orac writes “even…

Turns Out Dick Is Really Interesting.

Have you ever wondered how “Dick” became short for “Rick”? Probably not. But it turns out that the reason, if the following video is accurate, is interesting. I have two questions for the historical linguists in the room. First, is there a name for this rhymification effect? Is is common? Is it confined to certain…

The ePaper Kindle is back in my life. I started out with one (the original model), then moved on to using tablets and phones and computers and stuff to read ebooks. Then, I got a Kindle Fire (see this discussion), and that was nice. But I wanted an ePaper reading surface for all the reasons…

“Our existence in this place, this microscopic corner of the cosmos, is fleeting. With utter disregard for our wants and needs, nature plays out its grand acts on scales of space and time that are truly hard to grasp. Perhaps all we can look to for real solace is our endless capacity to ask questions…

Help Kiribati

Kiribati Support Since 2005, we have worked with colleagues in the Republic of Kiribati to understand the effects of climate change and to build local research capacity. Monitoring the coral reefs of the Gilbert Islands, the main island chain, is vital to helping the Kiribati people respond to the existential threat of climate change. It…

There’s an old saying that basically asks the question, “With friends like these, who needs enemies? or, as Voltaire (or Marshal Villars, depending on the account) said, “May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies.” The point, of course, is that friends or allies can sometimes be as infuriating…

On the question of whether a soda tax can actually reduce the amount of sugary drinks people consume, a new study finds the resounding answer is “yes.”

Another Fake Clinton Scandal

The AP is breathlessly reporting that 85 out of 154 people coming from private interests (as opposed to governmental functionaries) who met with Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State were also donors to the Clinton Foundation. The headline: “Many Donors To Clinton Foundation Met With Her At State.” Perhaps you are wondering why…