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Go away, cold fusion

A guy named Andrea Rossi has been promoting this device call the E-Cat that produces huge amounts of energy by nuclear fusion: specifically, that it fuses hydrogen and nickel to produce copper and energy. And now there is a claim that this amazing result has been verified, in a remarkably gushing and credulous review. I…

Whoa…ScienceOnline has gone and died

They announced their decision to shut down the organization and cancel future conferences yesterday. This is sad news — it has always been an innovative, interesting event, but they faced a terrible hit when one of their founders, Bora Zivkovic, was slammed with charges of harassing women, and they’ve been struggling to get donations to…

Dang good paper

All right, Larry Moran, why did you post about this paper now? I finished the unit on the origins of life in my cell biology class over a week ago, and this summary of the metabolism first model of abiogenesis would have been very helpful. I first gave them a review of redox reactions in…

Dembski: Still wrong

William Dembski spoke at the University of Chicago in August, and a video of the talk is available. I tried to watch it, I really did, but I ended up skipping through most of it (one of the advantages of seeing it on youtube!). Here’s my rather stream-of-consciousness monolog as I was flicking like a…

Darwin, sexist asshat

That same bozo who sent me the Hitler quote sent me another image in reply: Fair enough. Darwin got a lot of things wrong. I’m actually going to be lecturing my intro biology students on where Darwin screwed up in a few weeks, focusing mainly on his bad genetics, but I’ll toss that quote into…

Chocolate brains

The ever-charming Sam Harris has smarmily connected me to Deepak Chopra, so now I’m getting a flood of both smug, superior cluelessness from the Vulcans of Planet Sam, and the spacey vacuous nonsense of the Chopralites. Thanks, Sam! Although, I must say, so far Chopra freaks are doing a better job of actually saying something.…

Chatbots are boring. They aren’t AI.

You know I’m a bit sour on the whole artificial intelligence thing. It’s not that I think natural intelligences are anything more than natural constructions, or that I think building a machine that thinks is impossible — it’s that most of the stories from AI researchers sound like jokes. Jon Ronson takes a tour of…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Thrippy

You’ve just got to love the word “thrip”.

JBS Haldane is said to have responded to a question about how evolution could be disproved by saying, “A Precambrian rabbit”. What was meant by this, of course, is any substantial discovery that greatly disrupted the evidence for the chronological pattern of descent observed in Earth’s life. That pattern of descent is one of the…