Cool Links

Did you know that “nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese,” and that gay males are not? I confess I didn't, though it may be because, outside a relative, I am not sure I know any lesbian women, due to my "I don't give a crap" policy which causes me to forget to assume two women together are lesbians and wonder what it has to do with their waistlines. 

Dr. Anne Glover, chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission,  was a welcome event for the science community when she got that job. Perhaps Europe would finally revisit the Science Enlightenment, and stop finding experts to endorse whatever polls say science policy should be.

It hasn't been easy. She has been targeted by both Greens and her boss for supporting the overwhelming consensus on biology. Her boss even publicly said when it comes to science, she is speaking her opinion - it's weird when a scientist only has an opinion...unless it matches political beliefs.


You'd think Hawaii would be really supportive of science.

Without genetic modification and the GMO Rainbow papaya crop, papaya on Hawaii would be extinct due to the ringspot virus, but everyone in Hawaii hates science. Naked girls sell calendars of cheesecake under the pretense that it will save Hawaii from science, a politician drafted a bill to ban all GMOs except the GMO Rainbow papaya.


Pacific Research Institute Fellows Dr. Wayne Winegarden and Dr. Marc Miles have created the 50 State Index of Energy Regulation, which covers the various regulatory climates for energy consumption, production and distribution. 

It's no secret that energy is the great equalizer. We have written numerous articles showing that with clean energy - not by penalizing everything but the pet projects of politicians and the lobbyists paid to support some schemes - everything is possible. Cheap energy is the road from poverty and makes everything else possible.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to rage and has now claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people. Is that a lot? It depends. In context, that is 10 percent of the lives France lost during a heatwave in 2004 while they protested American foreign policy in the streets, so clearly it is a matter of priorities. Unlike France, Africa regards preventable deaths as a priority but there are lessons for developed nations in there also.

First, and most importantly, is that American health care is quite good. Yes, it's expensive, but this outbreak really can't happen here, no matter how much the instant news cycle wants to hype it up.


The University of Tokyo and Keio University have unveiled the world’s fastest camera - its Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography makes it 1,000 times faster than other cameras. So fast it can catch catch the conduction of heat as it happens.

That's a speed equivalent to one-sixth the velocity of light.

World’s Fastest Camera Captures Chemical Reactions in Single Shot By Megumi Fujikawa, Wall Street Journal


Way back in the early days of Science 2.0, we carried an interview with journalist Gary Taubes in which he said the best way to weed out bad scientists was to let them chase something fashionable for attention.
Police know that when a mysterious death of a married woman or man occurs, look at the spouse first. That apparently applies to beekeepers too. 

A lot has been made of colony collapse disorder and despite science studies showing it can't be the modern neonicotinoids that were invented to replace pesticides the last time they were blamed for bee deaths, activist groups have made a lot of money and gotten a lot of press promoting that bees are dying due to chemical corporations. 



Big Data And The Internet Of Things are all the rage, to such an extent they have become anything people want them to mean - they are becoming Smurfs of the technology lexicon. 

Luke-Kristopher Davis. Credit: wales Online

College students in a porn film? Nothing special about that.

Actually, it is when the college student is a man. Adult films are all about hot young women but it's not easy breaking in if you are a guy. Usually it happens because you show up with a hot young woman.

Brainbox Swansea University physics student Luke-Kristopher Davis was on holiday in Barcelona when he was approached by director Erika Lust. Lust says she and her firm XConfessions are pioneers of so-called “feminist porn.”


Green Mountain College students care so much about the environment and freedom of choice they have forced a ban on bottled water on the Poultney campus.

"The more we buy and sell bottled water, the more we engage in a culture of treating water as a commodity, incentivizing businesses to extract it from the ground in one community and selling it elsewhere, with little benefit to the people or ecosystem in the community from which the water was extracted," says the College's sustainability coordinator Aaron Witham.


I was not on the Nate Silver fan train the way many people are, I thought it was wishy-washy to predict a presidential race with 68 percent confidence in October of 2012 when I called it 100 percent in July. His stats averaging led him to be no more accurate than a European betting service using nothing but money and every other statistical modeler was correct also, so technically he was nothing special. In this segment, he was latched onto by people who were just looking for new ways to affirm their political bias, a common plight among science media.


While the University of Texas at Austin spends a lot of money in court defending racism in its college admissions policies, Big Data may help solve the real problem in colleges: not who they exclude in their secret admissions sauce but the two-thirds of freshmen students that will not graduate because admission department methods are trapped in the past.


Impact factor, the relative authority of a journal based on article quality, is maligned by people who can't get into top-tier publications but though it was originally created to help libraries know which journals are worth paying for, articles in high impact factor journals are now considered a barometer of quality for government funding agencies, who can't be tasked with analyzing the merits and editorial policies of 25,000 different publications.


Yelp, a local business review site, has released an updated API which increases the number of data calls to 25,000 per day, a big switch from an earlier 100 cap. 

And it's free. Why the change of heart? They have been burned in the past, notably by Google, which used Yelp review content without attributing it. but they seem to no longer be afraid a competitor will scrape its data and grow larger. 
New York environmental activists, including those employed by the state of New York, said Indian Point nuclear power plant should close for 42 days this summer to protect fish.

Since New York is already concerned about brownouts and blackouts, closing a reliable source of clean energy is one of the stranger environmental plans this year. 

Nuclear plants recycle water, of course, and environmentalists are worried fish will die in warm water. Engineers proposed putting up screens to keep fish away but that made too much sense for the Department of Environmental Conservation, which thinks overpaying for fracking-derived energy from neighboring Pennsylvania at high spot market prices is better for its citizens when they run out of electricity.
Germany has said it will double power output from renewable electricity by 2035. It's a noble goal but for industry it has been a bit of a headache.

Because solar and wind are sporadic, there are a lot of drops and surges in electricity and to moderate that the German government has to pay power companies to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable. Businesses do not want their computers all shutting off while people are working.


55 million years ago when the Earth was in a near-runaway climate state, dangerously overheated by greenhouse gases, the Arctic Ocean was a large lake connected to the greater oceans by the Turgay Sea.

Then 50 million years ago, the channel was blocked and that body of water suffered from a lack of exchange with outside waters and became a hot lake. But its waters were also then loaded with excess nutrients and that became the perfect habitat for a small-leaved fern called Azolla

Vani Hari. The Food Babe hates science 
so you don't have to. Credit: Food Babe LLC


Vani Hari, the self-styled Food Babe and chief science expert at Food Babe LLC, has become a celebrity with mainstream media TV because she is thin and pretty and says things with a lot of earnest belief. Sometimes she is more kooky than others, like when she insisted she never uses a microwave oven because no one ever thought to test them and they 'create severe health issues'.