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.


Metaphysical thought processes are more deeply wired than hitherto suspected

In 1978, I was just beginning my career with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). I worked in the southern Sierra Nevada range as the Assistant Forest Manager at Mountain Home State Forest, a 4800 acre state forest surround by national land.
They're data mining our children, notes Politico writer Stephanie Simon. She is talking about education technology startup Knewton and their use of data analytics to find out how kids think. They want to be able to predict who will struggle with fractions next week.

Exciting, right? Obviously this can be misused and the fact that its potential problems (if they can forecast it, they can manipulate it) are so obvious is why policymakers will address that. The brilliance will be what this sort of capability can do for science. 
Many American Indians do not like "Bering Strait theory" because of how it is misused by non-native non-scientist.  This is my attempt to set the record straight.  The Bering strait migration of the paleoindians is a law of nature supported by evidence from the old and new world. It is a part of the theory of human evolution, from African hominids to Homo Sapiens Sapiens.  African H. S. Sapiens then migrated to and replaced all other species with 1 to 2.5% admixture with at least two and maybe three archaic yet closely related species [1][2].  Every shred of DNA evidence and every fossil support this statement.  This does not mean that everyone is "black", or that American Indians are "immigrants".
PNAS has issued an expression of concern about a study it published where Facebook attempted to manipulate the emotions of members by controlling their news feed (10.1073/
pnas.1320040111). But they only bothered to notice and say anything after the outrage after the fact.