Last 24 Hours

I’ve written quite a few times, both here and elsewhere, about the sham that is known as “traditional Chinese medicine” (TCM). Basically, there is no such thing as TCM per se. There were in the distant past many “traditional Chinese medicines,” various folk medicine traditions that, contrary to what is taught now, did not form…

2014 may be the warmest year on record

In early December I wrote a post called “2014 will not be the warmest year on record, but global warming is still real.” The very first thing I said in that post is that I was going out on a limb. I also discussed whether or not one year mattered, and I discussed the nature…

We all have our own interpretation of what “the scientific method” is, but there’s always at least one thing that they all have in common: the ultimate arbiter of whether a theory or idea is valid depends on the evidence that comes back from physically observable phenomena. But not everyone necessarily agrees with this in the way…

The Big Bang for Children (Synopsis)

“To begin, begin.” -William Wordsworth Is the Big Bang the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th century? I — along with many others — would argue that it is. It’s something that even young children are curious about! Perhaps it’s in our nature to wonder about where we come from? Yet despite the fact that it’s been…

Foundation and Empire, part II

Following up on my brilliantly prescient Foundation and Empire from April, the current economic situation in Russia is worth commenting on. The Russian rouble [is] in free-fall despite [a] shock 17% rate rise says Auntie (and she really does, doesn’t she, which is silly: rates rose to 17%, not by 17%), and Timmy has some…

Patent-Violating* Chocolate Chip Cookies with Festival Speaker Jeff Potter

By USA Science & Engineering Festival Nifty Fifty Speaker Jeff Potter Jeff Potter’s Patent-Violating* Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo by Jeff Potter One of the biggest advantages that home-cooked foods have over store-bought goods is time. Commercial products have to be shelf-stable, so manufacturers have to come up with clever tricks to mimic home cooking. What…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Petrochemical companies spend millions to undermine the science on benzene; in-depth series sheds light on the horrific working conditions in Mexico’s agricultural sector; National Labor Relations Board rules in favor of worker organizing; and federal officials grilled on response to West fertilizer explosion.

“You wanted to see me, Herr Professor?” “Hans! Yes, come in, come in. Just going over the account books. Frightful amount of money going out of this place.” “Well, radium is expensive…” “Ha! Oh, and speaking of which– here’s one of the sources. Absent-mindedly dropped the fool thing in my pocket last night when I…

The Life and Death of Blog Networks

The hot topic of the day is, of course, the big shake-up at Scientific American’s blog network. The official statement is, of course, very carefully worded, but the end result is that they’re shedding a bunch of blogs and instituting a standard set of guidelines for those that remain. A more detailed breakdown of who’s…

For those that don’t know, Elizabeth May is the leader of the Green Party of Canada and one of only two Greens in the Canadian Parliament — and the only one elected as a Green. As such, you would expect that she would be a strong advocate for democracy and the environment, willing to stand…

Not being Australian and, for some reason, never having encountered her promotion of “natural health” online before, I first encountered Jessica Ainscough, also known as “The Wellness Warrior” over a year ago when I learned that her mother Sharyn Ainscough had died of breast cancer. Her mother, it turns out, had rejected conventional treatment for…

Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes (Synopsis)

“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl Sagan 34 years ago, Carl Sagan became the first person to present —…

US children have three main routes to health-insurance coverage, but the “family glitch” leaves some families without an affordable insurance option.

A Second Helping of Turkey

Are you done with your Thanksgiving leftovers yet? You might think so, but not quite. We have one more helping of Turkey for you. This is “Another Helping of Turkey,” the second of two installments of Eat This Podcast with Jeremy Cherfas: The domestication of the turkey probably first took place around 2000 years ago…

“…and take care that all the signatures go in the right way round, eh, James? I was able to soothe Mr. Dance last time, but if another copy comes back to be rebound, M. de la Roche will put you out.” “Yessir.” “A little more care, there’s a good lad. Run home, now, we’ll see…