A pilot Earth Index commissioned by BBC Earth using data from the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) sets a new standard for estimating pretend money. It values coral at $10 trillion for the global economy. Trees are worth even more, at $16 trillion, which means the pretend value of trees are almost as much as all of the real value of the people in the United States (GDP $17.42 trillion.) Heck, the Grand Canyon is worth $700 million and it just sits there looking stoic.

How does knowing that neutrinos have mass, and change from one kind of particle to the other kind benefit all mankind?  Why should Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald get a Nobel Prize for finding this?  What the heck is a neutrino anyway?  How does the impact of science like basic Physics or Astronomy compare to say… lung cancer research in terms of the immediacy of the impact?  In short why should the normal average person care about Neutrinos?  In a tweet, a better understanding of the basic forces particles and fields that comprise the material world will inevitably lead to numerous direct applications that will effect the daily lives of our descendants.   

G.K.Chesterton (1874 – 1936) visited the United States twice, in 1921 and 1930.  I have recently been reading Sidelights on New London and Newer York and Other Essays, published in 1932 after his second visit.

One of the essays has particularly struck my attention:

While smoking rates are rising in the Third World, and declining in America, one statistic seems immutable: EU residents have the highest smoking rates and mortality rates in the civilized world. Their solution: ban Swedish snus, the smokeless product which has kept Sweden's smoking rate the lowest in Europe; pass a revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), whose Article 20 would place major barriers for smokers seeking to quit by using reduced-harm methods such as e-cigarettes and vapor products; and do absolutely nothing effective against the real problem, lethal addictive cigarettes.  
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    The remarkable coincidence of the empirical Pythagorean equation for SM flavor hierarchy angles with the outer euclidean symmetry 3-space metric equation for constant vector direction angles is the data evidence of basic connection between flavor phenomena and

Almost as soon as the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976, the environmental movement began to complain about its shortcomings.

During the morning of last Monday (28th September) in Europe and Africa, or the evening of the 27th in the Americas, we were treated to the spectacle of a total eclipse of the Moon, a so-called ‘supermoon’ because the Moon appeared a little larger than usual near its perigee, the point closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit.  With the help of the British magazine Astronomy Now, helpful because along the with Daily Mail it was one of the few sources that gave the event timings in British time correctly, I set out to photograph it.
What can high school kids do with the Pythagorean theorem that's possibly useful AND cool? You can add in the experimental fact that the speed of light is a constant, c. Then you can derive the time dilation formula from special relativity (and this is just for starters). Here's one nice link to an online derivation with animation: link. Below is my daughter deriving the formula for herself, and it fit on her small whiteboard.

NASA has announced that there is flowing liquid water on Mars.  Where there is water there is life.  That is an old adage among astrobiologist.  We “follow the water”.  Water had lead us to be hopeful that on icy bodies such as the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and maybe even the (dwarf) planet Pluto there is life under the ice.