Politics

Category archives for Politics

Comments of the Week #141: Christmas edition

“I think that Walter Schirra aboard Mercury 8 was the first of the astronauts to use the code name ‘Santa Claus’ to indicate the presence of flying saucers next to space capsules.” -Maurice Chatelain Well, here we are: December 25th, Christmas day, here at Starts With A Bang! Whether you’re a Santa, a Scrooge or anywhere in…

“When a scientist says something, his colleagues must ask themselves only whether it is true. When a politician says something, his colleagues must first of all ask, ‘Why does he say it?’” -Leo Szilard There are claims flying around all the time that science is corrupt, politicized, and that the robust scientific conclusions reached about…

“Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge.” -Nate Silver When you take a poll, you survey a number of people with an opinion about something in an attempt to predict the behavior of a much larger number of people. If you increase the number of people you poll, your poll…

Science is what made America great (Synopsis)

“Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson hated each other so much. But that hate that they had for each other did not come before the love of their country.” -David Scott You can’t make America great ‘again’ without looking at what made us great in the first place. It wasn’t industry or manufacturing or our morals…

“I’m not a natural leader. I’m too intellectual; I’m too abstract; I think too much.” -Newt Gingrich When an issue comes up, and it can be decided based on facts — on data, on evidence, on things you can measure and quantify — is it ever okay to decide that issue based on your feelings…

“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” -J. Robert Oppenheimer The nucleus of the atom holds many secrets, not the least of which is the key to the release of energy hundreds of thousands-to-millions of times more efficient than any chemical means known. In order to build and develop the first atomic bomb, a…

“[T]he coin of life has meaning and value no matter what side it lands on. It’s each individual’s choice whether to bet on the outcome or not, but ultimately your coin of life will be spent somehow.” -Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache Coin flips are traditionally the way to settle disputes with two choices and equal…

“We cannot be vengeful. We need to find pono [righteous] solutions. We need to find good things for astronomers. Cooperation is, I think, really the true part of our human nature, not competition. I think we have to go back to cooperation to survive the future.” -Kealoha Pisciotta, president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou If you…

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” -Leonardo Da Vinci There’s an attitude that’s very, very common in America: the notion of the rugged individualist. Part of that ethos is the idea that, “if I use my…

Dear Ben Carson: an open letter (Synopsis)

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change…