Misc

Page 3.14

Category archives for Misc

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…

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…

The U.S. “war on drugs,” besides failing to meet its goals, has demonstrated a stubborn ignorance of the effects that different drugs have in the human body. Granted, some drugs cause degeneration and are properly outlawed. Opiates such as heroin and stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine take a harsh physical toll and leave users…