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Monthly Archives: July 2014

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The history of science is populated with three types of ideas.

First, there are the great ideas. Peter Atkins counts ten of them, in his book Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science. Evolution by natural selection, the heritability of genetic information, the conservation of energy, and an expanding universe are among those ten ideas.

Second, there are the fascinating-but-wrong ideas, such as alchemy, phlogiston, and spontaneous generation. All of those ideas seemed reasonable in their day, but subsequent investigation proved they were incorrect.

And then there are the stone cold crazy ideas. This is a post about those. Read More »

This article was originally published at RealClearScience.

With so much turmoil going on in the world, it is nice to get some good news for a change. The CDC has reported that teenage (15-19-year-old) birth rates are at historic lows for all races. See graph.

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This article was originally posted at RealClearScience.

My best friend from childhood had two beautiful dogs, a German shepherd named Sari and an Australian shepherd named Chloe. Living on a large pasture in the Midwestern countryside, the dogs were both mellow and incredibly well-behaved… that is, until my friend and I decided to mess with them. No, we didn’t engage in dog shaming (see photo above); instead, we did something much more ruthless. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The American media is widely perceived to lean to the Left. Though most journalists won’t openly admit the fact, it is indisputably true. As reported in the Washington Post, a 2014 study showed that among journalists Democrats outnumber Republicans by four to one. (The exact numbers were: 28.1% Democrat, 7.1% Republican, 50.2% Independent, and 14.6% “other” — whatever that means.) It is impossible to know exactly what to make of the roughly 65% of journalists who refused to put a label on themselves, but it is perhaps safe to assume that Left-leaning independents outnumber Right-leaning independents by the same margin. After all, about 93% of DC-based journalists vote Democrat, and 65% of donations from journalists went to Democrats in 2010. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

A substantial proportion of Americans reject evolution. This is perhaps partly due to evolution not being terribly intuitive. Life began over 3.5 billion years ago — a timespan that is simply incomprehensible to our puny minds. If a species evolves over the course of 100,000 years, that is considered “quick” by evolutionary standards. Yet, most of us cannot get a mental grip on 100K years, either. Read More »

This article was originally posted at RealClearScience.

What could be more relaxing than hanging out with a few buddies and smoking 40 cigarettes in a single night? Possibly smoking 40 joints, but most people don’t do that. On the other hand, 18% of high school seniors have reported engaging in behavior that is equivalent to smoking 10-40 cigarettes in a single sitting, and then kissing everybody as well. Read More »

This article was originally posted at RealClearScience.

There are certain types of drivers that we should always strive to avoid. The speeders, the chronic lane changers, the texters, and the elderly — who spend most of their time driving 40 mph in the fast lane with their left turn signal flashing — are easy enough to identify. But, there’s another group of drivers that also poses a threat, but is much harder to recognize: Night owls on the morning commute. Read More »