Last 24 Hours

My title comes from a lying “letter of recommendation” for Soon, which says in part: …Willie is scrupulous in attending to the basic scientific veracity of everything that he presents in public about scientific matters. He is careful not only in that regard, but also in the attention he pays to drawing reasonable and balanced…

Eureka at BookLab

There’s a new-ish book review podcast covering pop-science books, BookLab, hosted by Dan Falk and Amanda Gefter, and their latest episode includes my Eureka as the third of three books being discussed (a bit more than 40 minutes in, though their discussion of the other books is also interesting…). It’s sort of an odd experience…

I’m rooting around in my bag for a pen, and pull out a laser pointer by mistake. Since I’d really prefer not to be grading, I flip it on and shine it on the floor next to the spot where Emmy is half-dozing. She immediately leaps up (she’s pretty spry for a dog of 12…),…

I came across this neat press release from the University of Massachusetts: AMHERST, Mass. – Researchers studying the interaction between plants, pollinators and parasites report that in recent experiments, bees infected with a common intestinal parasite had reduced parasite levels in their guts after seven days if the bees also consumed natural toxins present in…

One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky. The most massive stars — like Betelgeuse (at the upper left) — will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out.…

I’m a terrorist

Or at least, that follows clearly from the latest nonsense from Wattie-land. Greenpeace enlists Justin Gillis &John Schwartz of the NY Times in Journalistic Terrorist Attack on Willie Soon – Miss Target, Hit Smithsonian Instead. If the NYT is “terrorist” then so am I. Of course, the Smithsonian is investigating Soon, so perhaps they’re terrorists…

With the Disneyland measles outbreak still going strong and striking far more unvaccinated than vaccinated, it’s not surprising that a discussion has begun in some states about lax policies that permit religious and/or philosophical exemptions. In Oregon, for example, the legislature is considering SB442, a bill apparently originally intended to provide a technical fix to…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Poop propellors

That’s all I’ve got to say. Hippos are really into scat. Yeah, I’d hide too.

New POTW, and Funny Science Videos

The fifth Problem Of the Week has now been posted at the big website. I’ve also posted an “official” solution to Problem Four. POTW will be taking two weeks off after this one, so you will have to make this last. (Spring break is almost upon us, which seems incredible considering how cold it is…

The following statement was issued this afternoon by the Smithsonian: Smithsonian Statement on Willie Soon, researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory. The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research. The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue: Acting Secretary…

Something of a classic, from Richard Telford. He’s discussing Soon’s Heartland presentation. Here’s a screenshot: Soon is trying to point out the importance of the value of the solar insolation, which he believes needs to be heavily fiddled to make the GCMs come out right. To prove this, he’s chosen a paper about an aquaplanet…

Last week, FDA warned healthcare providers that the complex design of a piece of endoscopy eqiupment may make it hard to fully disinfect — which means that using it, even in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions, might allow dangerous bacteria to spread between patients.

“These spots have never been observed by anyone before me; and from my observations of them, often repeated, I have been led to the opinion which I have expressed, namely, that I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical… but that, on the contrary,…

The Problem with Percentages

A sort of follow-up to last week’s post about the STEM “pipeline”. In discussions on Twitter sparked by the study I talked about last week, I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of different versions of this graph of the percentage of women earning undergrad degrees in physics: You can clearly see that after a fairly…

A newly published study has identified changes in precipitation patterns in the US Northeast, which are likely caused by human pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, which has resulted in global warming. According to the study, there has been an increase in extreme precipitation events, and an increase in the clumping across time of…