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ATTP started it by posting on Well below 2 °C: Mitigation strategies for avoiding dangerous to catastrophic climate changes by Yangyang Xua and Veerabhadran Ramanathan. But as you can tell from ATTP’s post, the principal question – although he is far too polite to put it so bluntly – is “where’s the novelty?”1 All their…

“There’s something about sitting alone in the dark that reminds you how big the world really is, and how far apart we all are. The stars look like they’re so close, you could reach out and touch them. But you can’t. Sometimes things look a lot closer than they are.” -Kami Garcia When we consider…

CheMystery is a graphic novel

CheMystery authored by C. Al Preece is a graphic superhero novel, drawn by Josh Reynolds, that teaches — wait for it — Chemistry! A radiation accident transforms two youngsters into superheros, and simultaneously creates an evil villain for them to fight. The graphic novel covers that story and is indurated with frequent cleverly placed molecule…

Through the course of evolution vertebrates have apparently lost their gene-encoded viral defense mechanisms. These ancient defenses allow plants and insects to silence the expression of certain genes by using what is known as RNA interference. This natural defense system can be manipulated to create genetically modified crops that resist certain infections. However, a new…

Friday Cephalopod: we all float down here

Pale, drifting quietly, long grasping arms, cold and anoxic…we all float down here. Yes, I’m going to go see It this evening. It won’t be half as creepy as the reality of the dark deep, though.

More deregulation by Trump: Ditching mine safety requirements

The Trump administration’s deregulatory zeal has infiltrated the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Trump’s appointee is insisting that a safety examination performed while miners are working is as protective as one performed before miners begin their work.

Or, “world is not as I like it shocker; villain must be found!”. Again; sigh. In this case the normally sensible Graham Readfearn in the Graun has picked up the unfortunately not very sensible Nancy MacLean‘s “Democracy in chains”2 and run with it. GR is sad about cynicism about the motives of public servants, including…

Earlier this week, members of the Senate Finance Committee announced an agreement to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The announcement had been anxiously awaited by families and advocates across the nation, as the program’s federal funding expires in about two weeks. The agreement is good news, but coverage for CHIP’s 8.9 million children isn’t safe just yet.

Hurricane Harvey visited a near-biblical deluge upon Houston, dropping over 40 inches of rain on parts of the city. The situation resulted from warmer ocean waters, more moisture in the atmosphere, and Houston’s geography along with its preparedness for the disaster. Greg Laden shows hotter sea surface temperatures in the Tropics and the Gulf of…

“The bedrock nature of space and time and the unification of cosmos and quantum are surely among science’s great ‘open frontiers.’ These are parts of the intellectual map where we’re still groping for the truth – where, in the fashion of ancient cartographers, we must still inscribe ‘here be dragons.’” –Martin Rees Inside the nuclear…

The data gap problem

“The monitoring of the atmosphere, of the surface of the Earth, of what’s going on in the ocean and under the ice — all of that is overwhelmingly funded by the federal government.” — Former Obama science adviser John Holdren The other day a friend of mine who works in Beijing as a foreign correspondent…

An antivaccine blogger is amazed that big pharma has allowed its lackeys in the press to publish negative stories about the flu vaccine. Naturally, she thinks she knows why and sees a conspiracy. Not surprisingly, her conspiracy theory doesn’t make much sense.

How to do Statistics Wrong

Telling people that they are doing statistics wrong is a cottage industry that I usually want nothing to do with, for various reasons including the fact that the naysayers are often blindly repeating stuff they heard but do not understand. But, Alex Reinhart, in Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide, does not do that,…

You’ll remember that Philando Castile was killed in cold blood by a St. Anthony cop, who was later acquitted with the defense that “he was a black guy, I wuz scared.” A couple of days ago, tragically and sadly, a cop in a town near me was run over by a driver who was probably…

The policy of the Republican Trump White House is that if a reporter or commenter says something that the White House strongly disagrees with, the reporter or commenter should be fired. It remains to be seen how the Trump White House will enforce this newly articulated policy. The policy was provided as a response to…