Random Thoughts

The Dolomites are a mountain range in north-eastern Italy. They take their name from the mineral called dolomite, a carbonate rock which gives these mountains a characteristic pale pink colour, especially notable at sunset. Their composition is also responsible, at least in part, for their shape.

Most of the peaks are in the 2500-3000 meters of height above sea level, the tallest being mount "Marmolada", at 3342 meters. Despite being less tall than other mountain ridges in the Italian Alps, the Dolomites are reknowned for their breathtaking landscapes, as well as for the ski slopes they offer, especially -but not only- in the region around Cortina d'Ampezzo.
9-year-old Carissa Yip is probably better at chess than you. She is certainly better than me and already better than 93 percent of the 51,000 plus players registered with the U.S. Chess Federation.

She has set a goal to reach 2,100 this year; an Expert is anyone ranked over 2,000 while at 2,200 you are considered a Master. She also wants to one day become the first female to win the overall championship — not just in the female category, her father told The Boston Globe.
Last year, Julie Stitt offered to donate a kidney to her husband, Chuck, who was in kidney failure.

Julie wasn't a match for Chuck but they entered the Paired Kidney Exchange (PKE) program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, which would move Chuck higher up on the transplant list and enable him to get a kidney from a matching living donor; in return, Julie would donate her kidney to a stranger that she matched.

Chuck got his kidney transplant courtesy of an unknown donor in December of 2012. Julie, had just started a new job as a 2nd grade teacher so asked to wait until the summer break in 2013 to have her kidney donation surgery for a stranger.
Backwards is a nicely fitting description for how I have come to be who and what I am. This is my story.

Many scientists go the traditional route of undergrad > master's/TA > Ph.D. > postdoc/adjunct > TT > tenured > retired, all the while gathering publications, students, teaching awards, and of course, prestige.
"Sharknado" Is Pure Liberal Propaganda. But Is It Also Scientifically Possible?" went the title of a Mother Jones article before a sensible editor considered the possibility that there might be 5 people in the world who aren't aware that Mother Jones loves liberal propaganda and changed it to the more sensible "Can a "Sharknado" Really Happen?"
There is an interesting series of articles published by the Guardian discussing various aspects and opinions regarding the precautionary principle.  It has certainly been invoked sufficiently on this site to warrant some independent reading, so have a look.

The precautionary principle is a blunt instrument

What's all the fuss about the precautionary principle?
Perfect Rebuttal

  Wouldn't it be nice if you could find a perfect rebuttal, a perfect test of truth, a piece of evidence which perfectly, completely and utterly negates what a witness has said in court.  I have found such a rebuttal.  It is a litmus test for perjury.

  I have recently discovered a most peculiar fact of law which has been staring me in the face for very many years.  The reason, perhaps, that I did not notice it before is that my focus was more on the forensic scientific methods, rather than the lawyerly methods of proving that there has been a miscarriage of justice.

Big data is the current trendy phrase that covers many different areas.  Big data describes equally well having a huge volume of data generated in a short period of time (like molecular simulations of DNA), having a huge volume of data that needs to be indexed and archived (like PubMed or Web of Science), or wanting to analyze different types of data that wasn’t collected for a given purpose (the CI-BER project uses a variety of data types collected over the years to study a neighborhood in Asheville, NC).

When the members of a choir sing their heart beats are synchronized, according to a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg.

The pulse of performing choir members tend to increase and decrease in unison. 

In the research project "Kroppens Partitur" (The Body's Musical Score), researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy are studying how music, in purely biological terms, affects our body and our health. The object is to find new forms where music may be used for medical purposes, primarily within rehabilitation and preventive care and the research group says they were able to show how the musical structure influences the heart rate of choir members.


Speaking With a Forked Tongue

My regular readers will likely have noticed that I thoroughly enjoy chasing down the truth behind things which are commonly accepted as facts.  I am fortunate to have the gift of being able to spot cracks in arguments as well as glaciers.

I am currently heavily engaged in a legal matter concerning a witness in court who, shall we say,  seems to have been somewhat uninterested in assisting the court in its determination of the true facts.

There is a phrase about not telling the truth, not now so common as when I was a child, but still in frequent use: "he speaks with a forked tongue".