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Wesley Dodson

Hard Numbers, Hard Living

On EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse confronts the challenge of basic math education: “we need to find a balance between hammering the basic skills, while also making it clear that there is so much more to mathematics than arithmetic.”  Rosenhouse rejects the approach of New Math, “teaching grade-schoolers about set theory and the axiomatic method,” instituted briefly in…

Discrediting Anti-GMO Propaganda

Not too long ago, when the media became excited about a study saying genetically modified corn causes tumor growth in rats, ScienceBloggers were quick to point out that the study featured some of the worst science ever.  Now the paper has been officially retracted by its publisher, but to what end?  On Pharyngula, PZ Myers…

Thankful for Industrial Poultry

Gratefulness is an important part of a happy life, but are we right to be thankful for an ill-gotten bounty?  In a country of 300 million people, a turkey on every table (or a chicken in every pot) means that many birds live hard and die fast.  They are also plucked, gutted, inspected, and packaged…

Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 7, is another sobering reminder of the severe weather we are provoking through climate change. It is unofficially the strongest recorded cyclone to ever make landfall, with wind speeds up to 195 mph, 70% stronger than Hurricane Sandy. Villages are flattened, and more than 5,000…

The wait is over, and we have a green light on posting and commenting for the foreseeable future.

Undead Science

On Aetiology, Tara C. Smith continues her series on the science of The Walking Dead, explaining how diseases spread and how they might cause zombiism. One thing that would be observed in any real contagion would be an incubation period— the time between when a virus (for example) enters your body and you start showing symptoms…

Spoiler Alert: Ender’s Game

This movie was already spoiled for me because I read the book many years ago.  But the movie can’t help but spoil itself.  It’s a great film and one of the best adaptations of a novel to ever appear onscreen, but if you really know nothing about Ender’s Game, and can read at a 9th…

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 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…