Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: April 2014

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Most Americans don’t think twice about workplace safety. Perhaps they should. In newly updated numbers for 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 4,628 Americans met their demise while on the job. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Ebola is one of the scariest viruses on Earth. Along with Marburg and a few other lesser known viruses, it is a member of the Filoviridae family, a nasty group of microbes that causes hemorrhagic fever. Like most viral diseases, patients with hemorrhagic fever will first present with flu-like symptoms. As the disease progresses, patients often bleed from their body orifices, such as their eyes and ears. Death, however, does not result from blood loss, but from shock or organ failure. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

It has been long thought that one of the characteristics that makes humans unique is our ability to learn and manipulate symbols for communication. However, this notion is starting to slowly unravel. Koko the gorilla knows sign language, and Alex the parrot was probably the most well-spoken bird to have ever existed. Also, a chimpanzee was trained to use Arabic symbols to add up sums as large as 4, and monkeys were taught to add dots together. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Back in the 90’s, Keystone Beer ran a very popular commercial warning against the dangers of “bitter beer face.”

Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The entire idea of democracy rests upon the notion that large groups of people will, more often than not, make prudent decisions. In theory, all the stupid voters will cancel each other out, and society’s collective intelligence will result in the best candidates getting elected. However, American voters, particularly since 1992, have almost single-handedly challenged the idea of the “wisdom of crowds.” Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Europeans are rather proud of how environmentally superior they believe themselves to be. For instance, Europeans were indignant when the U.S. decided to not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. In Germany, environmentalism is trendy, and the Green Party is actually a viable political organization, holding 10% of the seats in Parliament. Europeans also unscientifically (and ironically) reject nuclear power and GMOs, all over supposed concern for the environment. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Prior to the election last November, our assistant editor Ross Pomeroy reminded voters, before they pulled the lever to legalize marijuana, to consider the negative effects that pot has on animals. Many people did not listen to his advice. A recent article in USA Today reports that incidents of dogs suffering from marijuana toxicosis in Colorado are on the rise. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

It’s dangerous being a zebra. These ungulates, which graze on the plains (as well as mountains and grasslands) of Africa, face many existential threats. For instance, the very act of eating grass can be lethal, as anthrax spores reside in the soil. Ingesting these spores can lead to a deadly gastrointestinal infection. Zebras must also avoid human hunters. And they need lots of water, so they must never wander very far away from waterholes. However, the waterhole is deceptively tranquil; simply taking a quick drink can result in being eaten by a lion.

Fortunately for the zebras, they have evolved white and black stripes as camouflage to confuse lions. That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. But, as is so often the case, the conventional wisdom appears to be wrong. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

You might recall from high school biology a scientist by the name of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He proposed a mechanism of evolution in which organisms pass on traits acquired during their lifetimes to their offspring. The textbook example is a proposed mechanism of giraffe evolution: If a giraffe stretches its neck to reach higher leaves on a tree, the giraffe would pass on a slightly longer neck to its offspring. Read More »