Random Thoughts

In the mood for some science on Thanksgiving? 

Me too, science is the one thing that has not been steamrolled by Christmas. Instead, Thanksgiving is arguably the most scientific holiday, because it involves agriculture, chemistry and physics.

If you are worried about chemicals, for example, there is good news on Thanksgiving: You can buy a 100 percent organic, shade-grown, no-GMO meal AND IT WILL BE 100 PERCENT STUFFED with cancer-causing carcinogens.

It's Halloween and I am in New York and I wanted to do something local. But since Sleepy Hollow does not have a way to get there by subway (I don't even know where I would rent a car in Manhattan, I suppose I could get there by bus, but even using a subway is a populist stretch for me) I instead decided to get up and create a Ghostbusters tour.  Why? Because even though only three actual weeks of filming took place here, it is strongly associated with the city.

Fortunately I am just a few blocks from Spook Central where all of the real action takes place, and almost all of it was on a subway line, minus some technology hiccups.(1)
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.


Last week, the Western Plant Health Association, which represents California, Arizona and Hawaii companies involved in plant nutrients, soil amendments, agricultural minerals and crop protection products (basically, technologies such as fertilizer and pesticides), held its annual meeting in Maui and I was invited to speak about the issues involved in bringing agricultural science to a public that is increasingly removed from its food.

G.K.Chesterton (1874 – 1936) visited the United States twice, in 1921 and 1930.  I have recently been reading Sidelights on New London and Newer York and Other Essays, published in 1932 after his second visit.

One of the essays has particularly struck my attention:

When we think of science today, we think of Big Science, like the Large Hadron Collider and the Human Genome Project.

That makes sense, Americans like big and bold, but that was not always the case. It used to be thatg science was a lonely occupation and asking for money was a negative. There was one man who turned science from being a solitary, somewhat modest endeavor into Big Science. His name was Ernest Lawrence and he was a nuclear science researcher at Berkeley. Yes, Berkeley, arguably the most anti-science town in America now, was put on the map by nuclear power. He created the cyclotron, the ancestor of today's modern accelerators.
Science 2.0 family, it is with great pride that I announce I have been named the president of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). 

Following my Ten Commandments for Tech Companies – which changed their behavior not one whit – I offer these shalt-nots for US airlines.

When Seattle man, Jason Padgett, walked into a bar for a drink a few years ago, he was an ordinary man with seemingly average intelligence leading an unremarkable life. He worked contentedly in his father's furniture shop and had never done well academically or ever cared to do so. On exiting the bar that night, he was viciously mugged, hit on the head and knocked out.

Recently two Transgender women were shot to death because they made a wrong turn and did not listen to or possibly did not understand the commands of the guards at the gate of the NSA.*  That was unfortunate.  The tragedy is in a day and age where the non PC complain that people are too PC and the PC proclaim that they are sensitive major media continue to identify those two as "men dressed as women".  With the notable exception of Reuters, all other media did not even mention the chance they were trans.