Archives for February, 2013

One of the things that bugs me most in pop-sci and woo-woo science is the obsession with “boosting” the immune system. The immune system is in a constant balancing act – tip it too far one way and even normally harmless bacteria become life-threatening. But tilt it too far in the other direction, and you…

[This past fall, I taught a course at Emerson College called "Plagues and Pandemics." I'll be periodically posting the contents of my lectures and my experiences as a first-time college instructor] One of the biggest challenges in organizing this class was figuring out how to incorporate readings into the class material. Since I wanted to give the…

I spend a lot of time thinking about the scientific method. I don’t mean that thing you learned in high school, where you make an observation, form a hypothesis, design an experiment etc etc. That’s certainly part of the scientific method, but the linear formula that freshmen are typically forced to memorize sucks the life…

A “potentially historic” blizzard is barreling down on us here in New England, and is poised to drop up to two feet of snow on Boston. All of the schools in the area preemptively closed, our public transit system is shutting down at 3:30pm, and trying to buy groceries last night was bedlam. The snow is just…