Random Thoughts

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.
Given the flakiness and rush of shipping at this time of year, if you intend to order something online, you really need to do it today. Sure, you can take a flyer on next week but if you have Amazon Prime and its two-day free shipping, today is the way to go and remain drama free. 

With that in mind, here are some cool science gifts, if you are still stumped:
Zombies are really popular - "...and zombies" attached to the end of well-established works of fiction have become a common trope and once they began to swarm over the literary canon, it was only a matter of time before English Lit academics began to overthink the phenomenon.
"In God we trust, all others bring data"

William Edwards Deming