What happens when a guy married to an art historian who dislikes religion writes a book using science? "Angels&Demons", that's what. It's the book Dan Brown wrote that made even less sense than "The DaVinci Code", because it was written before that blockbuster hit, even though the new movie seems like a sequel.
Because it was written three years earlier, he had yet to refine his craft of jumbling vaguely non-specific pop social science with revisionist history - though he still knows he dislikes Catholics enough - and basically works in the expected conspiracy theory with some science as the weapon.
Scott Altman is a pretty cool guy. He's the commander of the Atlantis mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope (and, as noted previously, astronaut John Grunsfeld is also carrying along Edwin Hubble's basketball
, another level of awesome) and being commander of a space shuttle mission is nice, though I generally think NASA has lost both its way and the imagination of the public by manning a fleet of delivery trucks instead of doing actual space exploration.
No, Altman is cool because he was one of the stunt pilots in "Top Gun."
I have a confesson to make; I'm probably smarter than you. Don't take it badly, I am smarter than most people and I am not saying I am definitely smarter than you, because I don't know all of you and that would just be ridiculous hubris.
But I am smarter than most of you, yet I have been forced by societal norms to keep it quiet. Oppressed, even. Still, it comes out even if I try to hide it. I am always convinced I will be the smartest guy in every room I enter and most of the time I am right, without even saying a word.
I am part of the elite. If you are reading this, you probably are too, given our demographics.
I'm in New York City for a variety of meetings and, of course, I brought along Bloggy, the Scientific Blogging mascot. I know how popularity works. People don't concern themselves much with what I write but Bloggy is popular. Heck, there is fan fiction written about him.
He's a pretty easy travelling companion, he mostly just sits in my bag but at key moments I avail myself of his wisdom.
I took a few pictures of him in our various adventures and am posting them up here. Off on a trip of your own? Need a mascot to accompany you and criticize your every decision? We'll ship him out. Just be sure to take a swanky picture.
Jan Hendrik Schön, if you have heard the name, will either fascinate or enrage you. His ability to progress from ridiculous fibs to world-class deception as a 31-year-old physicist working at Bell Labs in New Jersey is certainly impressive.
How did fellow scientists let him get away with possibly the worst case of physics research fraud known? It deserves a whole book, and Eugenie Samuel Reich is here to help. If you can't sit through a whole book like Plastic Fantastic (out next week),
her short version is in Physics World.
I never get tired of talking about the problems with both deficit
thinking and framing
- and misguided people never get tired of doing both regardless.