Random Thoughts

The Drudge Report is saying that "Cosmos" ratings are a disaster and, I as I discussed in Is "Cosmos" Suffering From Unrealistic Expectations? the overnights showed numbers down from the premiere, but that is hardly a disaster.



1) It's a science show. That a science show was on a prime time broadcast network - and took third place in its premiere - I would say is bordering on miraculous.
Malaysia Airlines MH370 - A Faint Trace?

Edit - please see new article -
Could A Fire Have Caused The Loss Of MH370?

The latest information coming from official sources suggests that MH370 was heading towards the Andaman Islands when last tracked by radar.  Straits Times reports:
Malaysia Airlines MH370 - Verifiable Sources

Edit
- please see new article -
Could A Fire Have Caused The Loss Of MH370?

This is a follow-up to MH370 - Pieces Of The Puzzle, in which I said:

There has been a great amount of idle speculation and misinformation about the missing flight MH370 in the media and around the web.  Much of the news story has been colored by idle speculation bordering on xenophobia regarding the stolen passports.
I play guitar but I don't play out for money. Aside from a high level of stage fright about playing guitar in public I think doing it for money would take away a lot of the relaxation.

That doesn't apply to all things. I write every day and always enjoy that. So at first blush I might be inclined to think a job tasting beer would be a bad thing, but perhaps it is just like writing and if you would do it for free anyway, you might as well get paid for it.
In The Federalist Today, I have a piece titled Five Things Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” Gets Wrong
MH370 - Pieces Of The Puzzle

Edit - please see new article -
Could A Fire Have Caused The Loss Of MH370?

There has been a great amount of idle speculation and misinformation about the missing flight MH370 in the media and around the web.  Much of the news story has been colored by idle speculation bordering on xenophobia regarding the stolen passports. 

That is no way to solve a puzzle.


Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality - Carl Sagan

I missed the big Carl Sagan thing when it happened. I was in high school when Cosmos came out, we lived in the country and if you wanted to watch a different television network, you had to go up into the attic and turn a giant antenna with a pipe wrench. Sports and girls and D&D were more of a priority than television.

Yet even though I didn't watch it when it came out, shortly afterward I could still tell you who said "billions and billions" with that special emphasis.  That and riffs on "Who Shot J.R.?" were big that year.
For THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 annual prognostication issue, predictions for the year by some of the luminaries in science media, I predicted that one of the Big 5 organs would be created.

The benefit is obvious; organs created from a patient's own adult stem cells mean no chance of rejection and no need for expensive immunosuppressive drugs. Science-fiction/ethical scenarios like raising animals or people for 'harvesting' by wealthy elites are off the table because a customized organ could be grown in the lab.
Sociologists and psychologists know how to get attention - make a crazy claim based on correlations in population data or surveys of college students, use terms like factor analysis and p-value and statistical significance, and it will get into a journal. Since mainstream media love weak observational studies over science, it will be in the New York Times post-haste.

So we have been treated to "just so" science-y claims like:
Twice a day I get an email from someone offering me the outstanding opportunity to carry their infographic, press release or puff-piece interview with someone who has invented a new Miracle Cure and if it seems like it was written by a real person, I will usually tell them I decline.

No one has ever written back and asked why.