Science

I have written before about the cognitive and emotional (and insomniac) downsides of checking the news too often. It seems worth re-emphasizing how twitter is a worst-case scenario in this regard, at least for people more interested in developments in matters of public interest than developments in the lives of friends and acquaintances, where facebook […]

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Blair King (whose blog bio says he has an “Interdisciplinary PhD in Chemistry and Environmental Studies”) is one of the people who had sent a tweet arguing that only people who use few or no fossil fuels can call for decarbonization and who I linked to this rebuttal post. He subsequently wrote his own response […]

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Don’t you hate it when people who use fossil fuel based products for everything from travel to medicine to telecommunications criticize the fossil fuel industry or say that we shouldn’t build big new fossil fuel projects? We have a civilization that depends so much on fossil fuels, and yet these environmentalists want us to stop […]

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Another case of conspiratorial thinking, selfish politicians, and conflict threatening to make a deadly serious threat into a dire global emergency: Pockets of “reluctance, refusal and resistance” to accept Ebola vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said. “We also see a very concerning trend. That resistance, driven by quite natural fear of […]

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LOX and RP-1 never burn absolutely clean, and there is always a bit of free carbon in the exhaust, which produces a luminous flame. So when you’re looking at TV and see a liftoff from Cape Kennedy—or from Baikonur for that matter—and the exhaust flame is very bright, you can be sure the propellants are […]

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Finally somebody in authority sat down and thought the problem through. The specifications of JP-4 [jet fuel] were as sloppy as they were to insure a large supply of the stuff under all circumstances. But Jupiter and Thor [ballistic missiles] were designed and intended to carry nuclear warheads, and it dawned upon the thinker that […]

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[Calculating rocket fuel performance mathematically] gets worse exponentially as the number of different elements and the number of possible species [of reaction products] increases. With a system containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, you may have to consider fifteen species or more. And if you toss in boron, say, or aluminum, and perhaps a little […]

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A couple of days ago the New York Times published a long and controversial article by Nathaniel Rich which purports to explain why, despite decades of strong scientific consensus about the seriousness of climate change and the action needed to keep it under control, we’re still on track for catastrophic warming: Losing Earth: The Decade […]

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Slashdot reports: “Researchers at the Technische Universitat Wein have created a simulation of a simple worm’s neural network, and have been able to replicate its natural behavior to completely mimic the worm’s natural reflexive behavior.” When it comes to bodies, at least down to the level where quantum uncertainty becomes important, there seems to be […]

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Richard Dawkins’ Unweaving the Rainbow includes a great discussion of the scientific uses of the Fourier transform. Most amusingly: “The side-to-side waving of the urine trail on the road was presumably produced by the long [elephant] penis acting as a pendulum (it would be a sine wave if the penis were a perfect, Newtonian pendulum, […]

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