Last 24 Hours

“I told my father that someday when I grow up and become an astronomer ‘I’m going to discover something.’” -Thomas Bopp But who ever would have imagined that a kid with an armchair interest in astronomy, one who as an adult didn’t even own a telescope, would stare into a friend’s one fateful night at…

The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr.…

Everything is different now (Synopsis)

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.” -Milan Kundera Many of you have been along on this journey with me for years…

I’ve been on hols, so allow me to be a little behind the times. The EU is proposing to ban vacuum cleaners of more than 1600 watts. If you follow that link you’ll find a fairish discussion of whether this matters or not: its easy enough to argue that no-one needs more than 1600, and…

My TED@NYC adventure last fall didn’t turn into an invite to the big TED meeting, but it did lead to a cool opportunity that is another of the very cool developments I’ve been teasing for a while now: I’ve written some scripts for lessons to be posted with TED-Ed. The first of these, on particle-wave…

Amputations, hospitalizations the subject of new OSHA reporting rule

Beginning January 1, 2015, employers in the 29 states covered by federal OSHA will have new requirements for reporting work-related hospitalizations and amputations.

A request for Skepticon 7 from Orac

I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but I will be speaking at Skepticon in November. (Holy crap, that’s just over two months away. I’d better get my talk ready.) In any case, now’s crunch time, the time of year when Skepticon’s fundraising needs to go into high gear, given that the bills are…

Intelligence vs. Priorities

Steven Pinker has a piece at the New Republic arguing that Ivy League schools ought to weight standardized test scores more heavily in admissions. this has prompted a bunch of tongue-clucking about the failures of the Ivy League from the usual suspects, and a rather heated concurrence from Scott Aaronson. That last finally got me…

September Pieces Of My Mind #1

Why you should never get a tattoo: it’s a fashion item that can never be upgraded. Imagine being forced to wear 1979 glasses all of your life from age 18 on. So boring to proofread hyphenation. Artists referenced in the sleeve notes to Goat’s first album: 1. Dan Andersson, 2. Boubacar Traoré. Jrette has excellent…

This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Richard Evan Schwartz’s Really Big Numbers has a great premise. A kids book that takes some fairly advanced mathematical concepts and presents them in a lively, engaging and understandable format. So far, so good. Schwartz does a commendable job of taking the concepts surrounding Really Big Numbers and…

Pterosaurs by Mark Witton

Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy by Mark P. Witton is a coffee-table size book rich in detail and lavishly illustrated. Witton is a pterosaur expert at the School of Earh and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. He is famous for his illustrations and his work in popular media such as the film “Walking…

According to data just updated by NASA, last August was the warmest August for the entire instrumental data record, which begins in 1881. This has been something of a mixed year but overall warm. Of the 134 years for which there are data, the coolest month this year so far was February, at 17th place,…

In a past life, before I became so specialized, I was a general surgeon. Like all surgical oncologists and even breast surgeons, before I became a specialist, I had to do a general surgery residency. In addition to the usual cancer problems a general surgeon faces, the two most common being breast and colon cancer,…

Sunday Chess Problem

This week I want to build on something I discussed near the end of last week’s problem. I mentioned that a problem’s genre should in some way complement its theme. So, if your problem is a selfmate, it is better if the theme employs logic that is specific to the selfmate genre. If your idea…

New POTW Posted

The title pretty much says it all. I have a new teaser for you, along with some discussion of palindromes that you might enjoy. The solution to last week’s problem has been posted as well. Let me know what you think!