Pure Pedantry

Archives for January, 2007

There is no reason that you would know this (and frankly I doubt you really want to), but I have a problem when women stay over. There are hot as hell, and they always want to cuddle and make me hot as hell too. I end up scooting over to one side of the bed…

There is a big controversy among doctors and patients as to the wisdom of C-section vs. vaginal delivery. It is a complex issue. For the first birth, there is no evidence that I am aware of that C-section or vaginal delivery are superior to one another with respect to the child’s health. Still, this is…

We have had an ongoing discussion on this blog about whether the disparity between women and men in the sciences is the result of a innate difference in cognitive ability or the result of some social phenomena such as selective participation or discrimination. Unfortunately, one of the complexities of this debate is that there is…

Google’s huge book scanning plan

Jeffrey Toobin, writing in the New Yorker, has an excellent article on Google’s plan to scan all the books they can get their hands on into digital: The legal assertion at the core of Google’s business plan is its purported right to scan millions of copyrighted books without payment to or permission from the copyright…

Will we really be going Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? Michael Barone had this story in the WSJ on the emerging tendency towards political dynasty in American politics: Not that anyone assumes that family members are all alike. It would not do for candidate Bush in 2000 and for candidate Clinton today to claim to be clones of his…

Encephalon #15 is up

Encephalon #15 is up at Sharp Brains.

Virgin Birth (to a Komodo Dragon)

At a zoo in England, a Komodo dragon has laid eggs that have hatched even though she has never been exposed to a male: Scientists unveiled five squirmy black and yellow Komodo dragons Wednesday that were the product of a virgin birth, predicting that the hatchlings offered hope for breeding the endangered species. Flora, the…

Don’t eat the squirrels (regularly)

Residents of New Jersey must be warned not to eat too many toxic squirrels: New Jersey has warned squirrel hunters near a toxic waste dump about consuming the critters because they could be contaminated with lead. It is the first time the state has cautioned Ringwood residents _ many who are members of the Ramapough…

Not to suggest that Americans wouldn’t: Ignoring health warnings and threats of prosecution, hundreds of people foraged among containers washed from a stricken cargo vessel on the southern English coast on Monday, hauling off booty that included BMW motorcycles, shoes, diapers, beauty cream and carpets. The scavengers descended on beaches at Branscombe after rescue tugs…

Probabilistic Clock

When I was a kid my Mom would always set the clock in the car forward about 15 minutes arguing that if she did that she would never be late. First of all, we were always early — sometimes ridiculously so — regardless of the clock. Second, I was always a bit skeptical of this…