Random Thoughts

Tomorrow I will be eating and science will barely be on my mind.

It will be on some minds. Some people will be trying to find a creative way to make vegan turkey, or free-range stuffing, and generally avoid all chemicals. Good luck with that.

Thanksgiving is Hell for chemophobes, though so are the other 364 days when they get hit with the scientific mic-drop notion that every food on earth contains a carcinogen known to cause cancer in rats

Labels won't save you, it's all stuffed with chemicals, we just don't get told about them on labels if a chicken craps them out:

Jacob and Wilhelm were Grimm. Wikimedia Commons

By Marguerite Johnson, University of Newcastle

Fairy tales have a tumultuous and fragile history. They originated as tales told by “folk”. They were passed down over generations to while away long winter nights, to provide entertainment at special occasions and for simple enjoyment.

Inevitably, as more people became literate and scholars began to record fairy tales, they were published. And then, with a wave of a magic wand, they entered the canon of European literature.

Wired magazine devotes a special issue each November to a "What's Next?" for the upcoming year - and that means it is time to think about what will happen in the world of science in 2015.

Wired asked me to make a solid prediction, kind of like Jeane Dixon, except actually right about the future. Nostradamus, without all of the meaningless mumbo-jumbo.
Open access journals charge a fee to publish an article and make the content free to read. Traditional journals charge a subscription - they say the cost is needed because of 'added value' and that open access publications like PLOS One are not doing peer review of 30,000 articles a year, they are doing "editorial review", a peer-review lite where a reader looks the paper over and checks off 4 boxes.

Ready, set, type! Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock

By Sally O'Reilly, The Open University


Shia LaBeouf, Brad Pitt and more less cramped outside their tank in Fury. image by Sony Pictures

By Clifford Williamson, Bath Spa University

The latest corner of World War II to be dramatized for the big screen is small. Cramped, even. In Fury, starring Brad Pitt and Shia leBeouf, we follow the story of five American soldiers, a crew serving in one tank in Germany, 1945.


Credit: mikecogh, CC BY-SA

By Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki

In my latest attempt to debunk some of the nonsense that passes for analysis among Internet marketers I decided it might be worthwhile to talk about large systems theory.  The problem, of course, is that there really is no "large systems theory" (or a universal theory of large systems).  At least, we are still searching for the theory that will universally explain all large systems regardless of what field of thought in which we are discussing them.  We know that large systems exist and we intuitively feel that there is something characteristic about large systems which makes them large.
Credit: Millionaire Chess tournament

When I was a kid, no one outside Texas played Texas Hold 'Em. We played Stud, we played Draw, we played Liar's, but not Hold 'Em.

Like Esther Williams movies and organic food, some things just make their way into pop culture and there is no rational reason why. Texas Hold 'Em is now the most popular card game in the country, every month or so our neighborhood gets together at one of our homes and puts in 20 bucks each and we go at it.