Cool Links

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a group that is basically right on a big issue - the freedom of family farms and consumers - and then takes that libertarian philosophy and does something really wrong with it: they think there is some natural right to foist off raw milk on a public which, let's face it, is not agrarian any more. Raw milk will make a lot of people sick, especially if it is embraced by the anti-science/nutritionist/fad diet segment.

But they have a funny graphic which is correct, namely that relying on mainstream journalism, with its swinging pendulum of Miracle Vegetables And Cancer Causing Products, is a big mistake.

To wit, TIME magazine:
In an Internet world where everyone is told they have to shamelessly promote and Buzzfeed and Upworthy "What I Saw Next Made Me Cry" titles are the norm, it is weird to see something like this, the self-chosen bio for the man who basically invented the World Wide Web. And that makes it even more awesome:



Yes, indeed. That is being humble
You may not know this, but there are Democrats who don't accept climate change. Quite a lot of them. Even elites in Congress.

You wouldn't know it from reading most science blogs, of course. They are firmly trapped in 2004 - and missed the 1990s, when Democrats were the anti-science party, killing the SSC and America's green energy program - and think that global warming and evolution are the only two science denial things happening in the country. Since it is election season, the first wave of 'Republicans are anti-science' articles has already hit and there will be a lull now that primary season is over, but efforts to insist that vaccine denial is not primarily Democrats are out in force.
Almost everyone agrees that the administration is engaged in a level of domestic surveillance and punitive harassment that hasn't been seen since the Nixon administration - but no one is quitting their job s over it.

And so it's easy for some of the 3,000 attendees at the Joint Mathematics Meeting — a big event for their community - to engage in some moral posturing and state that mathematicians should refuse to work for the NSA. The NSA just happens to be the biggest employer of mathematicians in the country. 
Writing in Pacific Standard, Science 2.0 fave Dr. Michael White notes something that isn't obvious to the public - if you ask most biologists to identify race, they can't do it.

If you ask anthropologists, sure. Race is an entirely social construct. There have been numerous efforts to make race scientific, based on differences in appearance and such. Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, etc. were actually not flawed science rationale hundreds of years ago but this concept of race is still perpetuated.

As he notes, biology can tell us all kinds of things about people; genes can match people to within 30 miles of their native village. But objectively, which is to biologically, races don't exist. Unless a redhead is a different race than a blonde.
American adults lead the world in science literacy, America leads the world in science output, America leads the world in Nobel prizes.

Yet once a year a survey comes out about evolution and people who hate Religion and/or Republicans use the results as a club in their culture war.

Ask the average atheist who 'accepts' evolution about adaptive radiation and most will sputter something meaningless. They know very little science, they simply have faith in what someone else wrote. How is that superior to religion. On the other side, a lot of quite scientifically literate people go to church.
Undercover journalist James O’Keefe has released a new video, this one a sting operation to expose Hollywood environmentalists.

The front for this one is an undercover journalist from Project Veritas posing as "Muhammad,” a member of a Middle Eastern oil family, who is willing to pay $9 million to American filmmakers to fund an anti-fracking movie.

O’Keefe entraps actor Ed Begley Jr., actress Mariel Hemingway, and director Josh Tickell (Sundance Film Festival Winner and director of environmental message movies Fuel, The Big Fix, and PUMP), who agree to the film while promising to hide the source of the funds.
John R. Block, U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1981 to 1986, knows a thing or two about food. And he doesn't like the "black marketing" being done by the organic industry to imply nonexistent benefits and also traditional food harm. Proponents are basically selling food homeopathy.

But it's a $35 billion a year business so their marketing machine is clearly doing something right. 
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.