In 2014, one person confirmed with Ebola set off a panic in the United States. Though 28,000 people died of heart disease while media attention focused on that outbreak, and anti-vaccine parents on the West Coast were suddenly prepared to spend any amount of money to get their kids immunized against it, what happened with pandemic preparation after the fear subsided was...not much.

The fact is, we tend not to think about disaster preparedness unless disaster is already upon us. This makes some sense, of course, because people may be hungry right now so there isn't much point to spending money worrying about a volcano - but pandemics are so devastating and so rapid in their effects that it almost demands there be some level of preparedness.
A storm has been brewing, over why in Britain women are more opposed to fracking than men.  Whether it is simply a storm in a teacup, or a mighty tornado, time will tell.  Here are three articles in succession, two from the Telegraph:

Women ‘don’t understand’ fracking, leading scientist claims

Averil Macdonald, chairwoman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, says women lack scientific understanding so follow their ‘gut instinct’.
  Nonlocality is an inherent natural feature of quantum reality described by its wave function (WF). It shows itself up not only in the widely discussed cases with two or more particles, but also with one spinless particle. The point is that the WF-Collapse (WF-C) is in general a nonlocal phenomenon. Consider for example a one particle plane wave in quantum mechanics: the particle location in one place is a WF-C that replaces the plane wave by a new WF with zero location in all other places. It means simultaneous prediction with confidence of negative search results at any other remote place where the particle could have been detected before the WF-collapse. It is not spooky; it is strange, but natural.   
If you are in Manhattan or one of the five boroughs or New Jersey or Long Island and want a free beer and to talk about science communication, you are invited to join me as guest of honor at the Science On Tap event, October 28th from 6:30-9:30 PM. 

The location is Connolly's Pub&Restaurant at 121 West 45th Street.
Oh no! I forgot to post a personal postmortem1 for the year 2014 like I did for the previous year! Oh well, here it is ten months late.

Istanbul


The sci-fi comedy "Back To The Future" is a seminal piece of modern cinema. Like "Blade Runner" (and unlike most movies of any kind, much less science fiction, where special effects are important) from the same period, it holds up really well.


There is a very little reason to think that a Dyson sphere or Dyson swarm may have been sighted in orbit of star KIC 8462852 .  Whatever it is be it natural or of intelligent design it is big enough to dim the star’s light by 22%, and is not orbiting periodically.  In the case of a Dyson Sphere or Dyson swarm this would indicate mega structures independently orbiting the star and eclipsing it along our line of sight.  They are on record as stating that their Allen Telescope Array ought not be able to detect an intelligent signal at that distance.

Headlines around the world blared the news, bad news many had anticipated since 2011: Japan confirms that a worker at the Fukushima nuclear plant got cancer from his exposure to radiation.
In Thessaloniki for a greek weekend and a wedding, I had a chance this morning to visit the city's archaeological museum. I was not expecting much, although I had a vague recollection that the area is rich with old archaeological sites and tombs, many of which were unearthed in pristine state. Hence I was extremely happy of the wealth of sculptures, jewelry, vases, and objects of all kinds, especially ones from the pre-Ellenistic period.
The collection of jewelry and gold and silver coins was impressive; by itself it was well worth the visit. But two things really made my day: some incredibly beautiful vases from Chios, and the Derveni papyrus.

The Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus euryale) is a bat species that, which the name implies, occurs in the Mediterranean region and Balkan peninsula. Unfortunately, the populations of these bats are declining. Conservation efforts have so far focused on protecting the area where the bats occur/hunt. However, Aitor and his colleges say that that will not be enough.