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What do Americans Believe?

The American Association of Physics Teachers just published a study of 1,000 likely U.S. voters about science, religion, evolution, and creationism. The results are frightening. Here are some of the “highlights” of their study: 38% of Americans are in favor of the teaching of religion in public school science classrooms. 65% of Americans do not…

Grow a Spine!

Old man Dave writes to me about his back problems: The spine. I want to know about the spine. I know you are not that kind of PHD but still……. I’ve had back problems most of my adult life. It seems to me if we were “intelligently” designed that we might have a more efficient,…

The Earth is More than 6000 Years Old!

Even creationists have said that if you find something that’s alive now that’s over 6000 years old, it would prove to them that the Earth is at least that old. Previously, the oldest tree in the world was thought to be a Bristlecone Pine in California, known as the Methuselah tree, at 4,840 years old…

Someone Hates Inflation!

Warning: Crazy talk ahead. Some of you may remember that I wrote about inflation and why its alternatives fail awhile back. Apparently, Louise Riofrio didn’t get the memo. When there’s misinformation about cosmology out there, it’s up to me to set the record straight. (And I am not alone.) Let me first remind you about…

On String Theory from a String Theorist

Bret Underwood, a friend of mine from my time in Madison, WI, saw my post on String Theory, and took issue with my statement that it wasn’t testable. I’m still standing behind what I said, but let’s address what Bret has to say. I don’t understand your argument above for why string theory is untestable.…

Why are Brown Dwarfs so Dim?

Ahh, stars. Giant furnaces of nuclear fusion. Doing the stuff our Sun does, burning hydrogen fuel into helium (among other things) and emitting lots of visible light and energy in the process. But when we take a look at brown dwarfs, they aren’t like normal (i.e., main sequence) stars like our Sun. Instead of burning…

Telescopes 100 Years Ago: A Story

I was doing a little research into the history of telescopes, and it was about a century ago that they finally realized how much more potential light-gathering power reflecting telescopes had as compared to the older refracting telescopes. On Mt. Wilson in California, astronomer George Ellery Hale and optician George Willis Ritchey (back then everybody…

Q & A: On String Theory

Over the past few months, I have been asked a number of questions about String Theory and the Universe, including from readers Benhead and Mastery Mistery. But now Jamie, whom I’m going to marry later this year, has been asking me about it, and so it’s time to write something about the scientific topic of…

A new view on the Horsehead Nebula

Ever seen the Horsehead Nebula? If you look at the easternmost star in Orion’s Belt through a telescope, you’re likely to see something like this (the star is just off the image to your left): A pretty little nebula, to be sure, but it doesn’t look all that spectacular. I mean really, there’s a fancy…

The youngest planet ever discovered?

Starts with a bang reader Dumb Ass Dave points us to this BBC article about the discovery of a planet that’s only just forming around a new star. The planet is surely less than 100,000 years old, although the 1,600 year old figure quoted in the article is probably hogwash. How do you find it?…