“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” - George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain (1835-1910)

The Fallacy:

The so-called “Greenhouse effect” is one of the most persistent fallacies in popular science. It is a flawed speculation left over from the late 19th century, when it was first entertained by such scientific luminaries as Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall, and Svante Arrhenius.

In fact, however, the so-called “greenhouse gases” do not “trap” infrared energy radiated from the surface of the Earth, as proposed; they merely slow its inevitable return to outer space.
Being back in blogging mood, I decided I would make a poll among the most affectionate readers of this column - those who will come here to read "blog" pieces and not only "articles which are sponsored on the relevant spots in the main web page of the Science20 site.
The idea is that I have a few topics to offer for the next few posts, and I would offer you to choose which one you are interested to read about. Of course, you could also suggest that I write about something different from my proposed topics - but I do not guarantee that I will comply, as I might feel unfit to the requested tasks. We'll see, though.

Here is a short list of a few things I can spend my time talking about in a post here.

- recent CMS results
- recent ATLAS results
When a system is well understood, a well-constructed mathematical model of that system can make realistic predictions based on the data sets fed into it. However, when a system is not well-understood, but one insists on making a mathematical of it, anyway, the holes in the database and the gaps in our knowledge must, necessarily, be filled with assumptions and estimates, instead of established principles and actual data.

The poorer our understanding of the system, the greater the impact of those simplifying assumptions and arbitrary estimates on the modeled results.
Sexual Harassment in federally funded research should be considered a federal crime.   This blog post originates as a comment on this blog at Forbes  "Advice For The Reformed Harasser On Rejoining The Scientific Community" by Janet D. Stemwedel.  

Her third point is way off and looks really bad in light of the fourth point.  I want to say I agree with the spirit and intention of this article and most of the points made within it.    (You know what's coming next.) 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist I and many other astrophysicists look up to has been accused of rape by Tchiya Amet  who was a student at UT Austin at the time that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was a graduate student TAing her Astronomy 101.  As if that wasn’t awful enough Tchiya Amet lived with it for 30 years.  Then when she comes forward with a blog post about it her story is met with over a year of solid deafening silence.   That this has occurred, and that the response to it has varied from very little support to outright hostility is what I find most disturbing.

How do you know the paper claiming GMO toxicity is in a journal that isn't very reputable? They don't have $9 to renew their domain.

At all levels of academic science men outnumber women by a great deal.  Whites outnumber black by a even larger margin regardless of sex or gender.   Out LGBT are outnumbered by an even larger margin.  Without loss of generality I hypothesize that MOST of the sexual, racial and other tensions in the science lab is at root caused by this lopsided representation of people.


TL;DR: Male behavior + few females = Sexually Hostile astronomy workplace for women. That is the real #astroSH.  The court of law can help with this.


I live north of Harbin Hot Springs, a "health resort," which catered (it burned in the 2015 Valley Fire) to new-age types  who have yet have to find an alternative-anything that they don't like. Alternative medicine. Alternatives to clothing. They distrust modern technology (except computers and mobile phones, which they use to complain to their friends about how awful modern technology is), especially biotechnology.

New-agers will name their child Raspberry.
I don't like using the term "consumer" because it implies an economic function of the searcher.  There is certainly an economy (exchange of value) in the Searchable Web Ecosystem but "consumers" are really "searchers".  I say "consumers" because people identify with that word more readily than they do with the word "searcher".  A "consumer" is someone like you and me: we consume things.  A "searcher" is someone who is statistically measured in a more clinical environment.


Jan 18 2016 | 7 comment(s)

The few of you who regularly follow this blog may be rightly wondering why I have not published new posts in the last two weeks. The reason is overload. I have a few deadlines on January 31 that I need to meet, and several other errands to attend in the meantime. Hence I have decided to leave the blog behind until the end of this month.