Technology

By Shawn Flaherty What is the universe made of? What does science have to do with extreme sports? And how would you survive a zombie invasion? The answers to these questions and more are at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, hosted by founding and presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin. Designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, the Festival Expo is a free, family-friendly expo that allows kids and adults to participate in more than 3,000 hands-on activities and see more than 100 live stage performances. “Science is amazing…that’s our message to kids…
Over at Backreaction, Bee takes up the eternal question of scientists vs. journalists in exactly the manner you would expect from a physicist: she makes a graph. Several of them, in fact. It's generally a good analysis of the situation, namely that scientists and journalists disagree about how to maximize information transfer within the constraints of readership. That's a very real problem, and one I struggle with in writing the blog and books, as well. Lots of people will read content-free piffle, but if the goal is to convey good, solid science to as many people as possible, well, that's a…
I don't say this lightly, but Saletan is one of the more dishonest pundits out there -- I've read multiple columns by this guy where he lies with numbers and fudges the evidence to fit his preconceptions, and this is no exception. He's once again arguing that creationism is compatible with science, and he has to make some dodgy claims to do so. Look here: And what about the engineers in Ken Ham’s videos—the guys who made demonstrable contributions to science and technology while declaring themselves young-Earth creationists? Those men are what a good social scientist would call “evidence.”…
The last couple of weeks, I've made allusions to the "Bat Signal" (or, as I called it, the "Cancer Signal," although that's a horrible name and I need to think of a better one). Basically, when Bat Cancer Signal goes up (hey, I like that one better, but do bats get cancer?), it means that a study or story has hit the press that demands my attention. It happened again just last week, when stories started hitting the press hot and heavy about a new study of mammography, stories with titles like Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms and Do Mammograms Save Lives? ‘Hardly,’ a New Study…
See the link? It is pretty obvious to me. It seems that terrorists who are really serious, reasonably numerous, presumably well funded, and certainly experienced have threatened to attack the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (both of them). The fallback plan, it is assumed, is that they can't attack Sochi so they pick some other random locations, maybe in Russia, maybe not, and attack them. (That is the part about terrorists being cowards, I assume.) The Russians have security that is probably second to none in the world, or at least on par with the countries that have a lot of…
First, a word to my fellow Minnesotans. Go the the damn caucus tonight! For the rest of you, please become aware of the political process where you live and get involved. Science-oriented people, people who understand that climate change is real and important and that we need to develop a green energy economy (with our without nuclear, that's a separate issue not an alternative) need to become more involved in the political process. Support candidates who understand these things and who will work towards saving us from driving of the cliff we are heading rapidly towards. Also, keep…
The year 2013 finished with serious setbacks for Stanislaw Burzynski and his unproven cancer treatment that he dubbed "antineoplastons" (ANPs) way back in the early 1970s. As you might recall, in November, two things happened. First, the FDA released its initial reports on its inspection of the Burzynski Clinic and Burzynski Research Institute (BRI) carried out from January to March 2013. They were damning in the extreme, pointing out the shoddy operating methods of the institutional review board (IRB) used by the BRI to approve and oversee Burzynski's "clinical trials" (and I use the term…
Amazon Prime Air might want to pay attention to this research. Scientists have studied the flight patterns of albatrosses to understand how the animals are able to sustain flight with minimal energy expenditure.
By Lisa Matthews Bladensburg High School and the biomedical sciences program welcomed Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, on Wednesday January 15th as a Nifty Fifty Speaker, sponsored by InfoComm International.  She was honored with a color guard, musical presentation and was presented by the Mayor of Bladensburg with a proclamation honoring her accomplishments.  She reciprocated with a compelling and interesting discussion of her career path and opportunities with the FDA, and a message to the student of Bladensburg to continue on the path they have taken that focuses on math and…
NOTE: Because I've been (kind of) relaxing over this holiday period, this is not an entirely new post. It is, however, a significantly expanded and reworked version of a post from nearly four years ago. So if you haven't been reading four years, it's new to you, and if you have you might or might not remember it.(Who remembers a blog post four years later? I'm not that good—usually.) Those who know me and/or follow me on various social media know that I'm a big Doctor Who fan. I have been since the 1980s. So the last two big events of the year, the 50th anniversary special in November and the…
Image from National Academy of Engineering This past week, the USA Science and Engineering Festival lost a dear friend and advisor —and America lost one of its true visionaries in education, engineering and technology.  Dr. Charles M. Vest was a tireless advocate for research and science in roles as President of the National Academy of Engineering and President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He passed at home of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72. Dr. Vest was best known as the 15th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  serving from 1990 to 2004. He led…
Welcome to the rebooted science interview series here at Confessions of a Science Librarian! The previous incarnation mostly concentrated on people in the broadly definined scholarly communications community, like Mark Patterson of eLife, Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt of PeerJ or author Michael Nielsen. The series has been lying fairly fallow for the last few years so I thought my more recent involvement with Canadian science policy advocacy presented an interesting opportunity to start over. In particular, my participation in the recent iPolitics science policy series presented itself as a…
As hard as it is to believe, I've been blogging nearly nine years. Indeed, my nine-year anniversary is coming up in just over a week. It's been almost a decade! Early on during near-decade that I've been laying down bits of Insolence, Respectful, and Not-So-Respectful, I developed an interest in the antivaccine movement. Antivaccinationism, "antivax," or whatever you want to call it, represents a particularly insidious and dangerous form of quackery because it doesn't just endanger the children whose parents don't vaccinate them. It also endangers children who are vaccinated, because vaccines…
A marriage of public health science and civil rights is one way to describe the lifework of John Froines, PhD, professor emeritus at UCLA School of Public Health. After a 50-year career in academia and public service, and the untolled contributions from it, Froines was recognized this week by the internationally renowned Collegium Ramazzini. The nomination letter submitted to the Collegium by his colleagues captures many highlights of Froines’ impact over several decades, such as: His high-profile role in the 1960’s anti-war and civil rights movements His position with the Vermont State…
Of the four new articles online on our website, three happen, purely by accident, to be on physics research. The three are very different, and yet each is an illustration of the ways that basic physics research changes our world – in small and large, practical and enlightening ways. And each is situated at a different intersection between the technological and the theoretical – a technological breakthrough that resulted from a successful attempt to provide proof for a theoretical construct, new inventions based on elementary physical principles of light, and a theory substantiated through a…
By F. Mark Modzelewski World's Largest STEM Event to Excite and Inspire Educators, Administrators, Students & Families The USA Science & Engineering Festival (www.USAScienceFestival.org), supported by presenting host sponsor Lockheed Martin, is pleased to join forces with the U.S. News STEM Solutions (http://usnewsstemsolutions.com/) to host their National Conference April 23-25, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The combined Festival and Conference will bring together educators, scientists, performers, business and government leaders -- as well as…
Here we go with another one. Three weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that the week of October 7 to 14 was declared by our very own United States Senate to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, which I declared unilaterally through my power as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (for what that's worth) to be Quackery Week. One wonders where the Senate found the time to consider and vote for S.Res.221, which reads: S.Res.221 – A resolution designating the week of October 7 through October 13, 2013, as “Naturopathic Medicine Week” to recognize the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe…
Things have been a bit too serious around here lately. After all, yesterday I wrote about obesity and chemotherapy, while the day before that I did an even lengthier than usual deconstruction of some claims by anti-Obamacare activists, which seemed particularly appropriate to me given that a group of wingnuts has just succeeded in mostly shutting down our government because they are opposed to Obamacare. Come to think of it, given the nastiness that's going on in Washington right now, I could use something light, an easy target even. And who better to serve that role than everyone's favorite…
By Jeff Wilcox, Lockheed Martin Vice President for Engineering   Planning for the third USA Science & Engineering Festival is well underway, and I couldn’t be more excited. As the vice president for engineering at Lockheed Martin, and the father of three sons, I’m proud to be part of a company that serves as the founding and presenting host of this Festival, which will inspire our youngest Americans with the power of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We have a vested interest in STEM—not just because it’s critical to the future of our company, but because it’s critical to…
Nearly 50 billion pounds of chicken (about eight billion chickens’ worth, or 37 billion pounds of poultry products) were processed in the United States in 2012 by about half a million workers, many of whom handle more than 100 birds per minute. This labor involves standing in chilled processing plant facilities, cutting, gutting, scalding, defeathering and hanging birds as they speed by on automated machinery, often at more than one bird per second. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), since 1975,workers in this industry have consistently suffered injuries…