Sometimes I’ll picture an idea in my head and it seems to work fine—in my head—but when I actually build it, it doesn’t turn out the way I planned. I wanted to try using a bevel gearbox as a pan and tilt mount for my Lego optics lab (as a pan/mount for my laser). Without the laser mounted it seems to work fine and the pan and tilt motion resembles that of a camera ball mount. Once I attached my laser, however, I found it quite difficult to aim the laser. Turning the wheels in various combinations to try to aim the laser ain’t exactly intuitive even while watching where the laser dot moves on my target.

Last week a paper in JAMA received wide attention from the media, including some decent coverage from Gina Kolata from NYT science, who wrote three separate pieces to discuss breast cancer treatment (the best of which is here).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to be sued because they have not banned fracking.

Natural Resources Defense Council and vassal fundraising groups say oil and gas companies might be dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment. Might be? They have no evidence but are suing anyway? Don't be shocked, the NRDC spends its $100 million per year primarily on lawyers and they have to be doing something with them.

When it comes to reviewing studies regarding combinations of low levels of chemical exposure and cancer risks, collaborators of the Halifax Project have raised questions that can help in the development of hypotheses – but to date, proof of cause and effect has not been presented.

I first noticed the NuVal scores in my HyVee grocery store about four years ago. My first reaction was the same as how I feel about government: I'm in full support of universal rules for long as I get to make the rules!

A decade ago, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) cared little about science. They were run by a staffer from the Democratic party who was put in the place to mobilize soft-money donations from friendly foundations and political committees. Republicans were in power - times were good for them.

Academic scientists barely noticed their partisan skew because Republicans Were Anti-Science. They accepted evolution by 9 percentage points less than Democrats, President Bush funded human embryonic stem cell research for the first time in the NIH but limited it to existing lines as a compromise, so UCS claimed he banned it. And there was that global warming thing.
Methane has 23X the short term warming impact of CO2 but, it was noted by environmentalists when they used to advocate for natural gas, methane is very short-lived and the amount released due to natural gas usage is negligible.

Yet now the Environmental Protection Agency is looking for ways to punish the booming natural gas industry and they are citing methane as a problem.

Refining oil starts with distillation

Have you ever wondered why you can't just use raw crude oil in a diesel engine or why your car won't run by filling the tank with kerosene or engine oil?  If these things could be done, then in large part, we would not need oil refineries.  Rather we could just filter the dirt out of the raw crude oil and burn that for our various energy needs.  Largely, the problem is that crude oil is a mixture of very many different kinds of hydrocarbons.  A hydrocarbon is a molecule made of only carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms.  Typically, a hydrocarbon is a chain of connected carbon atoms to which hydrogen atoms are then attached.

I tend not read the news because journalists have no clue what they are talking about, especially when it comes to science. However, I came across some controversy over giving children OxyContin, which is an opioid. The FDA has approved the use of OxyContin for 11-16 year olds because palliative care doctors were already giving it off-label to children. Palliative care doctors prescribe a lot of off-label drugs because they are dealing with sick, near death patients. Typically, these are cancer patients. Giving off-label drugs is difficult because insurance companies/Medicare/Medicaid may not reimburse the cost.

A three inch long equation (or according to Kaku one inch) is the holy grail of post modern theoretical physics.  We all want one equation from which one can derive all known physical laws. I don't have that.  What I have today is a three inch equation which goes a step towards unifying gravity and the standard model of particle physics.  It will allow one to predict the gravitational corrections to standard model interactions. Not only do I have a theory to present, but an experiment to propose which could test this theory.