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Monthly Archives: June 2015

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells, and one measly petunia!”  –Curly

Curly Howard didn’t think highly of petunias, but had the Three Stooges spent more time gardening, they would have known that petunias are most fragrant at nighttime. Now, scientists have figured out the reason why. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

“[K]nowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene [Age of Humans]. A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world.”

That statement, from An Ecomodernist Manifesto, summarizes the primary guiding principle and cri de coeur of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think-tank whose mission is to simultaneously prioritize human flourishing and environmental responsibility. Who could possibly disagree with that?

Many mainstream environmentalists, apparently. Read More »

Contrary to much of the racial identity debate, race is far from a social construct. Read the rest at USA Today.

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience. It was also co-authored with Tom Hartsfield, a Ph.D. candidate in physics at the University of Texas.

Solar Impulse 2, a solar powered airplane that has enough room for exactly one person (the pilot), has made international headlines as it makes its historic trek around the planet. Media outlets from BBC News to Live Science have described the flight as a “revolution.”

Quirky, it is; a revolution, it is not. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

There was a brief glimmer of hope that Dr. Oz had changed. In response to criticism that received national attention, the dangerous, money-grubbing quack who makes a mockery of medical science and pollutes our national airwaves issued a press release stating that he has hired Dr. Michael Crupain, who will be “responsible for researching and vetting scripts, evaluating expert guests, ordering and editing medical animations and overseeing liaisons with the show’s Medical Advisory Board. He will also lead efforts to enhance the show’s ongoing dialogue with the medical community.”

That job description is essentially for a fact-checker. Finally, facts matter to Dr. Oz. Right? Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The notion that highly creative people tend to be eccentric or even a little “crazy” is not just a stereotype. New research in the journal Nature Neuroscience has shown that people who are genetically predisposed toward schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are likelier to be artists or a member of the creative professions. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Viruses are pernicious beasts. Some of them can sneakily hide inside the body, long after the initial infection has been cleared. For instance, varicella zoster virus (VZV), a type of herpesvirus that causes chickenpox, survives in an inactive state inside nerve cells for the remainder of a person’s life. Then, for unknown reasons, it can reactivate, causing shingles in old people or even healthy 30-year-olds. Other viruses may play a role in chronic conditions such as asthma or inflammatory bowel disease. Read More »