We know the effects of childhood traumas like abuse and neglect on later substance abuse. But what impact does second hand trauma have? A study published in the August issue of the journal Addiction shows that when a child under age 15 is exposed to a family member’s trauma (e.g.

As a consumer of science who is not a scientist how can you know if a theory is legitimate or simply crakcpottery.  Here are some easy to understand signs that an alternative theory is legitimate science.  

A blog about spam by Tommaso Dorigo ( The Spam Of Physicist Mailboxes ) got me thinking about this issue.  How can one know if a theory which is less favored or "alternative" to the accepted "standard model(s)" is legitimate science? These points will apply to any area of science, but I know astronomy and astrophysics the best.  So, I will use an example from that area of science. 
A few days ago I started thinking about abstractions whilst reading Surfaces and Essences, a recent book by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander. I suspect efforts like Surfaces and Essences, which traverse vast and twisted terrains across cognitive science, are probably underrated as scientific contributions.
Last Friday a group of researchers announced their findings ahead of their report on the nutrition of organically produced food to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition.


At a secret enclave in the San Francisco metropolitan area, synthetic biologists and DIYBio tinkerers have been hacking nature up to fix the one thing about the vegan diet that would be difficult for many Americans: going without cheese.

iGEM - the 10th international Genetically Engineered Machine competition - is tackling expressing casein proteins in yeast to make cheese. Not a cheese substitute, real cheese, without milk from a cow or a goat.  
A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, received rather a lot of comments.  Among these were a few about the place of women in the world: however these tended to be lost among the welter of other comments.  Indeed, the article seemed to attract a large number of orcs.  Now in some ways I am a highly discriminatory sort of person, and here I am discriminating between trolls
I guess every profession has its own kind of personalized spam. Here is a couple of recent samples from my own:

  • From a Fermilab address: "According to the TRAIN database training for course FN000508 / CR - Workplace Violence and Active Shooter/Active Threat Awareness Training expired on 07/01/2014. Please make arrangements to take this class. If this training is no longer required then you or your supervisor should complete the Individual Training Needs Assessment [...]"
Note that
(1) I am not a user any longer, so their database is at fault. They still send out these notifications anyway.


In America, radical environmental groups get something of a cultural free pass. 

It's understandable, because America is a two-party country. Due to that, otherwise scientifically literate Democrats will rationalize the anti-vaccine, anti-GMO and anti-nuclear members under their umbrella as being 'anti-corporate' while scientifically literate Republicans don the same blinders about climate science and denial of evolution.


"Going Deep" With David Rees premieres tonight on National Geographic Channel and if you have little time to decide whether or not to watch it, you are in luck because I can be brief - it's a good show.

"Going Deep" is fun for all ages and levels of expertise because he starts into the concepts and then really goes deep, just like he says he will.

When people use heroin, their brains become physiologically dependent on the drug and the behavioral patterns of use become written alongside this need.

That’s addiction: both behaviorally and biologically, heroin addicts need the drug. When they don’t get it, they crave it, even though they may no longer like it and know the drug is bad for them. If the drug is withheld long enough, the addict experiences symptoms of withdrawal.