Last 24 Hours

I have been down the rabbit hole. I got sucked down into a prolonged web search on the matter of pre-WWII eugenics, which is more than a little squicky, but was fascinated to discover a thriving community of correspondents which reminded me precisely of the various flavors of blog commenters today — that is, opinionated,…

This is about the law suit filed by Michael Mann against the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Review, Mark Steyn, and Rand Simberg because of accusations they made that were actionable. Michael Halpern summarized: Competitive Enterprise Institute’s space technology and policy analyst, Rand Simberg, recently wrote a blog post in which he compared Penn State…

It’s the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech of Borneo! This foot long beast isn’t satisfied with merely sucking blood, it swallows its prey whole.

Do negative clinical trials change practice?

One of the central themes of this blog from the very beginning is that all medicine, regardless of where it comes from or how it was developed, should be held to a single science-based standard with regards to efficacy, effectiveness, and safety. I tend to focus primarily on “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more…

The Twitter Creationist Time Machine!

It’s reassuring to know that it’s not just other atheists who hate me, but that I also still piss off the creationists. In addition to the mob of atheist dudebros howling at my door, there has been a recent resurgence of creationist loonietarianism in my email. It seems to have been triggered by a Seventh…

How Melty Was The Arctic Sea This Year?

The Arctic Sea is covered with ice during the winter, and some of it melts off every summer. Over recent years the amount of melt has been increasing. This is the time of year we may want to look at Arctic Sea ice because by late September it has reached its annual minimum and is…

Autumn bees

Every autumn I think – too late – that its about time I looked at my bees, took off some honey, and put on the Apistan strips. Ideally this would be done in late August, I think, because the Apistan needs to come off 6 weeks later, and once you get much into October the…

“You can clean your sword as much as you want but the blood still stains it.” -Matsuro I can’t count for you the number of shirts I’ve ruined through spills and other stains. Have a listen to José González‘s song, Lovestain, while you consider what you’d do if you got a stain on your clothes. I’d…

“Everything comes at the right time, but if the right time is too late to be patient, go earlier before it becomes too late.” -Michael Bassey Johnson After another fun-and-science-filled week here on Starts With A Bang, where we’ve covered topics ranging from near-to-far, from historical to very modern, and from the beginnings of the Universe…

Creationists are much vested in the idea of “suddenly” — they love the idea of inserting the fingersnap of God into every abrupt transition. This is why they are infatuated with the Big Bang and the Cambrian Explosion, and why they flirted with the idea of renaming “Intelligent Design” to “Sudden Origins” theory. If something…

Thinking Big About Clean Energy

I want to put a solar panel on my roof so that I am releasing less greenhouse gas into the environment. But then I hear that manufacturing solar panels causes the release of greenhouse gasses, so I have to subtract that from the good I think I’m doing. But then I realize that the people…

“I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?” -Tom Hanks Imagine,…

The Death of the Aral Sea

In the 20th century, society was either ignorant of, or ignored, the consequences of bad water management. The goal was economic development at all costs. Over the past few decades, we’ve learned about the ecological and social implications of the misuse of water, and some efforts have been made to protect natural ecosystems, restore a modicum…

I read an interesting article in Scientific American that discussed the so-called Peto’s Paradox. Dr. Richard Peto (University of Oxford) came up with the idea that if every cell has an equal probability of becoming cancerous, then larger animals would be predicted to develop cancer at higher rates than smaller animals. As it turns out,…

Betting on sea ice with Crandles

Crandles kindly reminded me that I had three £100 bets with him; they’re formalised here (an earlier version at £67 each is here), as: Crandles offers 3 separate bets on the average of [2012, 2013 and 2014] (to be above/below 4.294, I take the high side), of [2013, 2014 and 2015] (4.119, ditto) and of…