Charles Hard Townes (AP Photo)

Charles Townes has a lot going for him; he just saw his 99th birthday and 500 people showed up to cheer for him. He has a Nobel prize and a younger wife - Frances is 98.

Oh, and he invented the laser, which just about everyone on planet Earth has heard of.

Why do addicts seek their drug? Why can’t they stop? The 21st century view is that an addict’s brain becomes literally hardwired to crave the drug.

If someone can use Kickstarter to raise $50,000 for making potato salad, perhaps, I can raise at least $2500 to pay publication fees on three papers.  It is a little known fact that formally publishing an article in a scientific journal cost money.

Activists unable to get the U.S.federal government to enact any law regarding labeling of genetically modified foods have successfully pushed for their own versions in a handful of states. But the resulting patchwork may create bigger headaches for the food industry.

Oregon’s Secretary of State certified a petition Wednesday to put GMO labeling on the November ballot. A similar effort is also underway in Colorado. Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have all passed GMO labeling laws over the last two years.

Science Magazine used Transwomen as props on a cover that had nothing to do with the contents. All it did was stigmatize a marginalized group of people and probably reinforce bias among members of a privileged group, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The use of the cover by a large production of that group of privileged people proves the presence of anti-transgender feelings which, like other bigotries, can hide under color of science.  I say this as one who has defended the validity of the work of various scientist in the face of activist and anti-scientific, backlashes.
Once marijuana is legalized at the federal level in 2021,following the presidential election of Chelsea Clinton and her surprising vice-presidential pick of one of the Bush twins (Mitt Romney will only serve 1 term), it will be important that people are informed about the long-term use of marijuana since all of America will need drugs to get through another terrible presidential choice (like the past 217 years wasn’t enough to drive everyone to weed).  The good news is that marijuana is not lethal like acetaminophen or opiates because activation of cannabinoid receptors does not cause either liver toxicity or respiratory depression. 

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.