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As former NSA director Michael Hayden learned on an Amtrak train last year, anyone with a phone can become a livetweeting snoop.

But why use a person when you can use a lamo? 

Two artists, Kyle McDonald and Brian House, have built Conversnitch for less than $100. It resembles a lightbulb or lamp and listens in on nearby conversations and posts snippets of transcribed audio to Twitter.

In the Wall Street Journal, Science 2.0 columnist Amir Aczel tackles the biggest question of all; how to reconcile religion and science when people on the fringes of each are doing the best to declare war on each other.

He notes that 51% of Americans don't believe in the Big Bang. Startling, yet if we ask that 49% that do believe in it how it actually worked, they have no idea. They just have faith in science.
Teaching is somewhat of a thankless job. One group tells you not to 'teach to the test' while another blames you when international test scores show American kids are in the middle of the pack.

Well, American kids have always been at the middle of the pack, for as long as there have been international tests. And yet those apparently dumb kids from the first test in the early 1960s, who were almost last on standardized tests, have led the world in Nobel prizes and science output. Those kids grew up to be the people who now lead the world in adult science literacy.

So it's time to give teachers a break this Teacher's Week.

Do you have what it takes to be one? Here is how to find out.
Academics share one thing with the corporate world - most people want to climb the socio-economic ladder.

A post at an elite university like Oxford or Caltech is the crowning achievement of a career — but some believe it will also improve the quality of their work, by bringing them together with other top-flight researchers.

Plausible, but Albert-Laszlo Barabasi shows in a study published in Scientific Reports it isn't the case. He's not green with Ivy envy, he is from Harvard.
Nothing brings out woo speculation like health issues.

Health books and fad diets are easy sales because everyone wants a short cut and, on the other side, pundits can engage in some causalation and insist they can cure those things you already have.

Diet faddists insist, for example, that no one had heart disease or cancer way back when. It was a reasonable guess. Even with the prevalence of guns you are far less likely do die a violent death than at any time in world history, which means you are more likely to die from something else.

Yet ancient Egyptians had cancer, they had heart disease - nothing modern at all about that.It may be time to stop looking for magical bullets in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup or vegan diets or going gluten-free.
Despite the rarity of celiac disease, a growing number of people in the Western world are adopting a gluten-free lifestyle. In Australia, for example, for every person who's diagnosed with celiac disease, there are 20 others eating gluten-free food. 

Many of the people who pursue a gluten-free diet out of choice believe themselves to be gluten-sensitive.
The Johnstown Flood was such a monumental, yet often forgotten, event that when Bruce Springsteen referenced the song "Night of the Johnstown Flood" in a song on his 1982 "Nebraska" album, fans scrambled to find out what the song was. It didn't exist, but Springsteen felt like it should.

In 1968, David McCullough, soon on his way to two Pulitzer Prizes and a place as America's foremost modern historian, wrote a book about it.

In 1966, Murray Leinster's "The Time Tunnel" left his adventurers unable to convince the Johnstown population of the coming disaster in 1889. The deaths from the flood were at September 11th 2001 Twin Towers levels, yet Alex Berezow at Real Clear Science found it isn't in many history books today at all.
Doggerland, a low-lying landmass in the North Sea, could have been Atlantis just as easily as anything else might have been, and it may have been abandoned after being hit by a 15 foot high tsunami generated by a subsea landslide off the coast of Norway 8,200 years ago. 

During the last Ice Age, sea levels were much lower; at its maximum extent Doggerland connected Britain to mainland Europe. It was possible for human hunters to walk from what is now northern Germany across to East Anglia. But from 20,000 years ago, sea levels began to rise, gradually flooding the vast landscape.

You've heard that dollar bills can harbor trace amounts of drugs. If only that were the worst of it.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are also teeming with life. Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is making you a walking petri dish. And currency may be one way antibiotic-resistant genes move around cities, says biologist Jane Carlton, who's leading the Dirty Money Project at the New York University.
Oh Chipotle, you will a hard time not looking silly when you step into science.

No one is believing your cheese is more ethical than anyone else's cheese.
Is La Cosa Nostra running food safety summits? 'If you don't pay us, you will have an "accident"' messages were sent and the administrators forgot to grease the wheels?

Or a secret conspiracy, poisoning themselves so they would have casus belli to declare war on gastroenteritis?

We may never know but it's certainly funny - an almost 'flying all over the Eastern seaboard for a week to raise Earth Day awareness' the way the head of the EPA did level of hilarity.
Real, fake, real, fake, a little scrap of papyrus written in Coptic has Jesus Christ, who made bachelorhood cool long before George Clooney, referring to “my wife”. That's a big deal.

In 2012, a respected Harvard professor, Karen King, brought the papyrus to worldwide attention.

It is certainly old, and written badly enough that it seems authentic, but that doesn't make it authentic. Lots of texts written outside canon make for all kinds of conclusions. But a lack of lineage is a bad sign in archeology and history.

And other documents also supposedly found along with it have turned out to be forgeries. 
Almost two decades ago, the Sokal affair occurred. A physicist tired of philosophical pseudoscientific gibberish and set out to write a paper of barely comprehensible jargon and get it in a peer-reviewed journal. It dutifully espoused philosophy as superior to science and then used science terminology for legitimacy. It was, in short, the perfect example of what was wrong.

Paul Feyerabend is dead and so is postmodernism, now you can just generate rubbish in an automated postmodernism generator and dispense with being creative, but its techniques are still with us. In psychology, Feyerabend's belief that any crazy thing is possible is being shown true. 
What was the line between being a Buccaneer and a Pirate?

It was fuzzy, but it mostly seemed to involve having a royal charter from some seafaring nation or other, and an agreement not to sack their ships - everyone else was fair game.

But just like modern online video technology was spurred by porn and our efforts to improve online privacy have been spurred by the Obama administration, in order to stay one step ahead of a well-armed navy, swashbucklers had to use the latest advances.

And they did. From current, wind, and reef patch information to new species size, coloration, behavioral patterns, and most importantly, edibility, pirates did a lot
Smoking cigarettes is bad because of, you know, smoke. Right?

So why are e-cigarettes, which are not smoking, facing the kind of social authoritarian ban hammer usually reserved for Happy Meals and golf and Big Gulps while those same people are gushing all over marijuana, which is smoking?

After all, it's not third-hand cigarettes epidemiological woo that is the latest front in the health war, it is third-hand smoke.

While any mention of the health detriments of smoking marijuana gets hippies with pitchforks out in force, they are happy to let Democrats (naturally) promote made-up stories like that e-cigarettes cause cancer, nicotine addiction and don't help smokers quit. 
Imagine what the reaction would be if it were 2006 and President George W. Bush had an environmental report on his desk from government scientists and chose to ignore the data and stall in order to placate his entrenched constituencies.

Well, we do know, because that's exactly what happened. What is different in 2014 is the reaction from all of the people who insisted Bush - and all Republicans - must hate science. It is an ethical ghost town when President Obama does that same thing, just like there was scant reaction when President Obama edited science reports to match his agenda, about Deepwater Horizon.
Recently, President Obama made a clear endorsement of biotechnology.

That's good, right?

Maybe. He has also made clear endorsements of nuclear science and vaccines, yet his actions in five years have been anything but clear. His administration consistently opposes inconvenient science that disagrees with the beliefs of his base - and nothing offends a giant swath of Democrats like nuclear energy, GMOs and vaccines. 
Vani Hari, the Foodbabe, promises that if you follow her diet you will look pretty like she does - and to bolster her case she trots out the naturalistic fallacy and a healthy dose of chemical illiteracy, the most famous of which is 'if she can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it'.

As Josh Bloom has noted on Science 2.0, she is missing out on delicious chemical-laced treats like Tris-(9-octadecenoyl) trigyceryl mixed esters and  (2E)-3-phenylprop-2-enal. And no science at all would get done without 3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dion. 
Airplane food tastes bad, right?

It depends. Before our somewhat dopey security efforts turned flying into a third-world experience, I have had some pretty good meals. 

But efforts to create gourmet meals fall pretty flat - and there is a science reason why.

The Fraunhofer Institute did a study on why delicious food on the ground tastes dull in the air. In a mock aircraft cabin, researchers tried out ingredients at both sea level and in a pressurized condition—and the differences in taste were startling.
Take a look at this 300 foot high wall in Bolivia, which has over 5,000 dinosaur footprints.

3 miles from downtown Sucre, Bolivia is Cal Orko, a limestone slab 0.9 miles long and over 328 feet high. On this steep 73 degree face can see tracks from 68 million years ago. 

Cal Orko has 462 distinct dinosaur tracks from at least 8 different species - 5,055 individual dinosaur footprints. So how do thousands of dinosaur footprints end up on a vertical rock face hundreds of feet high?