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Archives for October, 2013

I was talking with a friend the other day about the environmental benefits of keeping capitalism on a tight leash with a choke chain.  Yes, the best established company can make the most money, but when profit becomes the only merit, it tends to come at someone else’s expense.  These are called externalized costs, like…

The Public Downfall of Bora Zivkovic

While it’s tempting in any scandal to pathologize the perpetrator and banish him from town, the recent revelations about Bora Zivkovic better serve as a reminder of human frailty. But Bora’s actions are still inexcusable in a professional and perhaps a wider social context, and an especial shock considering his advocacy for women in science.…

As anti-vaccinationists, global-warming denialists, and young-earth creationists know, it’s not too hard to fool the public with bogus science. But a new exercise by John Bohannon of Science suggests it’s not too hard too fool professionals either. Bohannon used a computer program to generate unique iterations of a purposely flawed paper, playing Mad Libs with…

Confidence on Warming from IPCC

The fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released last week, saying that global warming is occurring without a doubt, and human activity is extremely likely to be the cause.  Greg Laden shares a number of graphics from the report, summarizing “It is getting hotter. It is getting wetter, or dryer,…

Making Cancer, and Making It Worse

On Pharyngula, PZ Myers says that cancer, unlike an infectious bacterium or virus, is not the product of millions of years of evolution. Instead, PZ writes, “Cancer misuses and perverts existing processes in your cells to send them out of control.” But what causes cancer? Well, it happens about 20,000 times a day in your…