Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finalists: BBC wildlife photographer of the year contest

In place of “Readers’ Wildlife Photos” today I’m putting up some of the BBC’s “Wildlife photographer of the year finalist entries,” and you can vote for the “People’s Choice” award here. The captions and credits are those given on the BBC Website, which shows 25 pictures. These are my ten favorites:             […]

On the rapaciousness of scientific publishers, and my refusal to be their slave

I’ve long complained about the bloated profits of commercial scientific publishers, which can be as high as 40%. That’s obscene if you realize that other companies which actually make a product make far less money, that the scientific publishers get that money by not only charging authors to publish there, but having their scientific papers refereed and improved by reviewers […]

Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday, November 25, 2016, and most Americans will have recovered from yesterday’s food coma. If you have, then take advantage of the fact that today is National Parfait Day. It’s also Black Friday, when, traditionally, Americans assail the stores hoping to snap up bargains, crushing each other in the process. Finally, it’s International Day for the […]

Monday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Monday, November 21, 2016, and the long descent into winter is beginning, with a predicted high temperature in Chicago of only 39°F (4°C) today. It’s both National Cranberry Day and National Gingerbread Cookie Day; I suspect I’ll eat neither for some time. It’s also No Music Day (calling attention to “the cheapening […]

A fan of homeopathy writes in

After I posted yesterday’s article about the U.S. Federal Trade commission setting stringent new standards for advertising homeopathic medicines (the FTC made the reasonable request that the manufacturers of this stuff provide evidence that it works), I got one comment from a reader named Brenda, which I decided to put above the fold. Here’s the comment […]

Winter is coming (in the northern hemisphere)

by Matthew Cobb Amazing skeins of geese over Scotland this morning: This morning I was sat having my breakfast when an approaching noise outside sent me rushing out the door to look. This is #Fife in autumn! — Ben Dolphin (@CountrysideBen) November 13, 2016 h/t @alisonatkin

A new version of the café wall illusion

by Matthew Cobb This popped in my tw*tter feed – RT’d by one of my lecturers from 40 years ago, Graham Davey… Is it just me or did my MSc student just generated an interesting new optical illusion, with the x-axis showing an upward slope? — Martijn Willemsen (@McWillemsen) November 14, 2016 I had […]

Leonard Cohen dies at 82

Truth be told, I was never a big fan of Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen. Nor did I dislike him—I was pretty much indifferent. His music simply didn’t turn me on, I didn’t care for his voice, and the only song I really enjoyed (and that to a limited extent) was “Suzanne”—but only the Judy Collins version. That […]

Obama on Trump’s victory: “Sometimes you lose an election”

God, I’ll miss this man. Always eloquent and classy, he remained so as he discussed Trump’s victory in this ten-minute video. Imagine what he could have done if the Senate and House were Democratic. The icon below may look wonky, but it should work. If it doesn’t by the time it’s posted, someone please put a working […]

Indian shooter withdraws from Iranian competition, refusing to wear hijab; a hijabi fashion blogger flaunts her makeup

Not much seems to have happened since I posted about the Iranian Women’s world chess championship next year, in which women will be forced to wear the hijab. American champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes refused to participate under those conditions, and was supported by not only other female and male players, including Garry Kasparov and Pan-American champion […]