Last 24 Hours

A year ago, the entirety of the intertubes were rocked to their foundations by a post of epochal proportions – me taking the piss out of AW’s “paper”. And now, I’m rather distressed to see, the anniversary of this anniversary has passed unnoticed by everyone. When your major “paper” is so contemptible that people don’t…

Baby on board–in a BSL4 lab

I’m happy to welcome Dr. Heather Lander to the blogosphere and Twitterverse. She’s a virologist who has done work with some of the world’s deadliest pathogens in a high-security biosafety level 4 laboratory. This is the type of lab where one must wear “space suits” to work with organisms. You’ve probably seen in dramatized in various movies and…

BLS4 entry/exit procedures

The first person to enter the lab in the morning, has to complete a check of all equipment that makes the lab operational. There is a checklist and you go through all floors of the facility and document the status of every piece of equipment and levels on every pressure gauge. Then you do a…

Why do cavefish lose their eyes?

It’s another Dawkins question! Why do cave-dwellers lose their eyes? They’re useless, but are they harmful? Costly to make? Or eroded by rain of uncorrected mutations? I thought I’d already addressed this in a blog post long ago, but I searched, and I didn’t — it was my inaugural column in sadly defunct Seed magazine,…

To continue the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science theme, I present the text of a recent open letter I signed to the AAAS concerning their new journal Science Advances. Thanks to Jonathan Tennant for spearheading this effort. You can read more about the rationale behind writing the letter and the process involved…

About five weeks ago a month ago, I finally wrote the post I had been promising to write for months before about medical marijuana. At the time, I also promised that there would be follow-up posts. Like Dug the Dog seeing a squirrel, I kept running into other topics that kept me from revisiting the…

Ophelia has summarized a series of science questions Richard Dawkins asked on Twitter. Hey, I thought, I have answers to lots of these — he probably does, too — so I thought I’d address one of them. Maybe I can take a stab at some of the others another time. I like this one, anyway:…

“I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, ‘Hey, the sign says you’re open 24 hours.’ He said, ‘Yes, but not in a row.’” -Stephen Wright It seems like there’s a sign for everything, from warnings to advisories to just plain…

The climate change documentary, “Years of Living Dangerously” was nominated for two Emmy Awards. That was well deserved and fantastic news. But, frankly, with Cosmos also nominated for the same categories, no one really expected more than the nomination. But, while Cosmos dis win in the “Outstanding Writing For Nonfiction Programming” category, and good on…

“When a star goes supernova, the explosion emits enough light to overshadow an entire solar system, even a galaxy. Such explosions can set off the creation of new stars. In its own way, it was not unlike being born.” -Todd Nelson Did you follow all the action this past week over at the main Starts With A…

It’s the Little Things…

Small observations of things that have struck me as weird during our UK stay to this point: – There is no alarm clock in our hotel room. – There are no drinking fountains in public spaces. – The travel-on-the-left thing would be easier if it were consistently applied. About one stairway in three asks people…

“Es ist immer angenehm, über strenge Lösungen einfacher Form zu verfügen.” (It is always pleasant to have exact solutions in simple form at your disposal.) -Karl Schwarzschild The Universe is a vast and complex place, full of a diversity of structure from the smallest scales to the largest. And yet, by many accounts, it’s a…

Jasen Sokol show appearance

Next time someone asks you what exactly public health does, repeat this number: 4.3 million. That’s the number of women — mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, daughters and friends — who might have otherwise gone without timely breast and cervical cancer screenings if it weren’t for public health and its commitment to prevention.

First Second Books has done it again! They’ve published another wonderful science-themed graphic novel that belongs on every bookshelf. (Of course, they publish tons of other non-science themed graphic novels too. One of my particular favourite recent ones in the biography of Andre the Giant. The Zita the Spacegirl series is also wonderful beyond words.)…