Category Archives: Science

Science magazine conflates social movements with scientific breakthroughs

Reader Bryan called my attention to Science magazine’s contest in which readers can vote for the scientific breakthroughs of the year. As the site says (click on screenshot below): It’s that time of the year again: Science’s reporters and editors are homing in on the Breakthrough of the Year, our choice of the most significant scientific […]

Are some truths not worth knowing?

I was listening for the first time to the famous “Four Horseman” video discussion with Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, and noted that, near the end, they discuss the possibility that some scientific facts might not be worth knowing, or even be dangerous to know. (Dan mentions determinism, though he doesn’t […]

NYT article on duck hearing

This New York Times Science article discusses recent work on duck hearing, research done with the aim of creating underwater signals to keep diving ducks away from fishing nets. (The problem is that the range of duck hearing overlaps that of fish.) Click on the screenshot to read the article, but be SURE to watch […]

Shermer on consciousness, free will, and God

The latest Scentific American has a short column by Michael Shermer on why he thinks consciousness, free will, and God are “insoluble mysteries”. Click on the screenshot to read the piece.   When I read it, I jotted down some thoughts that took issue with Shermer’s notion that all three are “insoluble”, and sent a […]

Claire Lehmann and Debra Soh dismantle John Horgan’s indictment of sexism in science

The mandatory disclaimer first: I’m not claiming that science is free of sexism. No area in which men labor is, since there are always some sexist men. I would argue, though, that we’re doing our best to free the discipline of sexism (most hiring committees, for example,  have a keen look-out for women candidates, and […]

Americans want science done, but can’t name any scientists or places where science is done

A poll conducted last year and just now released by Research!America and Zogby Analytics (full results here; Zogby summary here) shows how abysmally ignorant Americans are about science, even though they trust scientists and think scientific research is important.  Here, for example, are some statistics and graphs: Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans can name […]

Trump has yet to name a science advisor

It’s nearly a year since the election, and Trump hasn’t yet appointed a science advisor. Here’s a comparative graph from the Washington Post:   There could be many reasons the appointment is taking so long, said Zuoyue Wang, a historian of science at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. “I believe that several factors are at […]

Two geographers say that academics should stop citing so much work by straight white men

My spirits continue to sink as I see both the Washington Post and the New York Times move toward the Authoritarian wing of Leftism. The latest—and this really hurts—is a piece in the “Speaking of Science” column called “Why these professors are warning against promoting the work of straight, white men“, written by general assignment reporter […]

The anti-science views of third-wave feminists

Because of its connections with postmodernism, third-wave feminism has sometimes shown a disturbing trend of doing down science. That, of course, is because postmodernism rejects objective truth, valuing feelings and “lived experience” over science, which it sees as not only un-objective, but as a tool and embodiment of the patriarchy. This attitude was, of course, […]

Science mnemonics

xkcd has presented some science mnemonics. I haven’t used mnemonics for any of these (I know the planets in order) but I did have my own for taxonomy, “King Put Cats On Fat Granny’s Stoop”.  Some of the ones in the cartoon are unwieldy, but I do like the Katy Perry one, which I might […]