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What we're talking about Monday, November 20, 2017

Donald Trump: No Saving Grace?

The data gap problem

Class M September 15, 2017

“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…

The last one of these was in mid-June, so we’re picking up all the summer stories of scientific mayhem in the Trump era. The last couple of months have seemed especially apocalyptic, with Nazis marching in the streets and nuclear war suddenly not so distant a possibility. But along with those macro-level issues, Trump and…

Apparently, Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions? was so popular that it gets a retread. Despite the original being published in 20133, we’re now being told that Researchers have for the first time tied a group of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, and their products to specific increases…

Donald Trump's distaste for science comes as little surprise considering that even his political rhetoric swings back and forth between contradictory positions. Trump is a man who eschews solid ground, flitting instead like a very bald eagle from one opinion to the next. As federal dollars continue to be drained from scientific endeavors, he puts the future of our knowledge at risk. On Class M, James Hrynyshyn considers NASA's Earth-observation satellites (known as Grace) which are decaying in their orbits bit by bit and will soon burn up in the atmosphere. James writes that "replacements are getting ready, but they won’t be launched until sometime next year." This could create a data gap that amounts to a blind spot in our attempts to understand global warming.

Meanwhile, John Dupuis updates his index of Trump's war on science, writing "as exhausting as it seems—and this is part of the plan—amongst all of us opposed to Trump, we need to keep track of a wide range of issues." And on Stoat, William M. Connolley pushes back at the vilification of Big Oil, saying "customers emit CO2, not producers. Don’t blame the people that sold you a thing for your using it. Hopefully that’s bleedin’ obvious."

Channel Surfing

Life Science

Sometime in the next day or two, Scienceblogs will shut down.  We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog here for the past 10+ years. Not to worry, @digitalbio and @finchtalk will continue blogging, but more so from their own site at Digital World Biology.  The Scienceblogs posts have been reposted at Digital World Biology’s scienceblog archive,…

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

Who could forget the second most popular blog post so far this year. Seeing an octopus walk never gets old! ——- I came across this amazing video on YouTube showing a species of octopus found in Northern Australia that is adapted to walk on land:

Physical Science

ScienceBlogs is coming to an end. I don’t know that there was ever a really official announcement of this, but the bloggers got email a while back letting us know that the site will be closing down. I’ve been absolutely getting crushed between work and the book-in-progress and getting Charlie the pupper, but I did…

What better way to say farewell than with a slew of costume pictures from this year’s (coming) Halloween? Goodbye, Scienceblogs, it’s been an incredible almost-decade. Hope to see you all in all our other endeavors!

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” -C. Northcote Parkinson Every massless particle and wave travels at the speed of light when it moves through a vacuum. Over a distance of 130 million light years, the gamma rays and gravitational waves emitted by merging neutron stars arrived offset by a mere 1.7 seconds, an incredible…

Environment

Sometime in the next day or two, Scienceblogs will shut down.  We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog here for the past 10+ years. Not to worry, @digitalbio and @finchtalk will continue blogging, but more so from their own site at Digital World Biology.  The Scienceblogs posts have been reposted at Digital World Biology’s scienceblog archive,…

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

This is my last post at Scienceblogs.com. In the future I will be blogging at Greg Laden’s blog, located at its original home at gregladen.com. I have a feeling that Scienceblogs will not last long without me. What do you think? 🙂 But seriously, I’ll be talking about the story of the current status and…

Humanities

It’s been a couple of years since we lost the Queen of Niskayuna, and we’ve held off getting a dog until now because we were planning a big home renovation– adding on to the mud room, creating a new bedroom on the second floor, and gutting and replacing the kitchen. This was quite the undertaking,…

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

Recent pieces address school segregation, sexual harassment, the abrupt removal of EPA scientists from a conference program, and more.

Education

Sometime in the next day or two, Scienceblogs will shut down.  We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog here for the past 10+ years. Not to worry, @digitalbio and @finchtalk will continue blogging, but more so from their own site at Digital World Biology.  The Scienceblogs posts have been reposted at Digital World Biology’s scienceblog archive,…

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

And the #1 blog entry published thus far in 2017 discussed whether there was an evolutionary advantage to being stupid: —- As I was looking through the scientific literature the other day, I came across an article published in 1973, “The Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid.” With a title like that, how could I not…

Politics

Well, scienceblogs is shutting down at the end of the month. I don’t want all the old posts and comments to disappear, so I’m going to move them all to deltoidblog.blogspot.com.

In more encouraging public health news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that vaccination rates among kindergarteners have remained stable, with the median vaccine exemption rate at 2 percent. Some states even reported an increase in immunization rates.

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” -Augustine of Hippo Science isn’t the easiest endeavor you can undertake. Sure, the rewards are tremendous: you can wind up understanding any phenomenon in the Universe as well (or better) than any human has ever understood…

Medicine

Today is the last day that ScienceBlogs will exist. Sometime today the site will go into read-only mode. A few days later, it will disappear completely from the Internet. It’s a sad thing to contemplate after all these years. Whatever happened later, I will always be grateful for the start in blogging I got there.…

Thank you to all the writers and commentators who contributed to this network. Happy trails. An archive of my work for ScienceBlogs exists here: 314vault.wordpress.com. If I post anything else on the internet it will be at medium.com/@k4lk1/ or twitter.com/k4lk1. In the meantime I’m getting out my ink and quill. Happy Halloween!

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

Brain & Behavior

You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…

And the #1 blog entry published thus far in 2017 discussed whether there was an evolutionary advantage to being stupid: —- As I was looking through the scientific literature the other day, I came across an article published in 1973, “The Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid.” With a title like that, how could I not…

Who could forget the second most popular blog post so far this year. Seeing an octopus walk never gets old! ——- I came across this amazing video on YouTube showing a species of octopus found in Northern Australia that is adapted to walk on land:

Technology

As several others have already noted, after almost 12 years, Scienceblogs is shutting down at month’s end. Though I’ve done most of my writing elsewhere over the last few years, I’d certainly like to keep the archives of this blog up somewhere, and maintain it as a place to post random musings that don’t fit…

@synbiobeta concluded it’s #sbbsf17 annual meeting on synthetic biology Oct 5, 2017. The progress companies are making in harnessing biology as a platform for manufacturing and problem solving is world changing. What is Synthetic Biology? Synthetic biology is a term that is used to describe the convergence of biotechnology and engineering. The dramatic cost decreases…

In every area of life, but especially in the overlapping realms of technology, science, and health, misunderstanding how things work can be widespread, and that misunderstanding can lead to problems. In the area of voting, the main problem seems to be the expenditure of great amounts of outrage and concern over things that are not…

Information Science

As of November 1st, 2017, ScienceBlogs is shutting down, necessitating relocation of this blog. It’s been over eight years and 1279 posts. It’s been predatory open access publishers, April Fool’s posts and multiple wars on science. A long and wonderful trip, career-transforming, network building and an awful lot of fun. Over that period of time,…

This post is now located in the Upside Down World, WHICH IS HERE.

In Tooth and Claw, Season 2 Episode 2 of Doctor Who 2.0, we see the formation of The Torchwood Institute and the banishing of The Doctor (and Rose) from the United Kingdom. Fat lot that does. Anyway, we also see Queen Victoria make mention of the multiple attempts at her assassination. I suppose it is…

Jobs

A celebrity chef has joined Harvey Weinstein in news headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace. A work environment that tolerates sexual harassment makes workers ill. It’s worker safety issue in need of much more attention.

As several others have already noted, after almost 12 years, Scienceblogs is shutting down at month’s end. Though I’ve done most of my writing elsewhere over the last few years, I’d certainly like to keep the archives of this blog up somewhere, and maintain it as a place to post random musings that don’t fit…

Appeals Court judges Merrick Garland and David Tatel probed and cajoled a courtroom filled with attorneys who were either challenging or defending OSHA’s 2016 silica standard. I share some of my favorite quotes from the September 26 proceeding.