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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

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If you hadn't noticed before today, the impact of the Gulf Oil spill may have been understated.  Sure, sure, I know what you are thinking; in the Internet-plus-24-hour-news-Age everything is overstated but just this once the mass hysteria apparently did not come close to the actual damage.

The issue still remains how to clean it up and it will involve a little bit of cutting edge technology but also a whole lot of ancient physics - and I'll even show you how to duplicate it in your house.
It almost reads like an April Fools Day article.  A new UC Davis study has found that more obese people have minimum-wage jobs by demographic, adding to growing evidence that being poor is a risk factor for unhealthy weight.
It's almost World Cup time again and the South Africa event has been plagued by problems but one thing can always squelch critics and get fans excited - a great song.   

Well, the World Cup folks messed up that one too, picking a song by South American hottie Shakira(*), despite her lack of actual singing ability, to be the 'official' song.  But it got me thinking about a good CD mix for the car and therefore past sporting songs.
I went to the Scottish Games in Woodland, California last weekend, two young boys in tow.  They weren't remotely interested in Scottish women doing traditional dances and they were vaguely intrigued by why men wore kilts.

"Papa, why is that man wearing a skirt?" Colin asked.

Being that we were east of highway 5 this was a perfectly reasonable question.   "It's a kilt," I explained.  "If he wore anything underneath it would be a skirt."

Like this fellow:



But they were incredibly interested in the very large men throwing telephone poles.  So I set out to explain how it works and give them some culture in the process.

What is a caber?
The End of the World seems to roll around every decade or so.   The last time it got a lot of press was the year 2000 A.D., a millennial event in the Gregorian calendar.   COBOL programmers were the convenient catalyst for all that, since banks would shut down due to legacy software, but the end of the world needs vassals, the more unwitting the better, so it made sense that COBOL folks would take the fall.

Next up is 2012, this time due to one Meso-American calendar, and some speculation has been that the LHC will cause it, unleashing an army of Strangelets led by ancient Mayan overlords.
You know you've lost a lot of intellectual capital when ridiculous parodies of your work generate hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube - and threatening to sue is just making the whole thing sillier.

Michael Mann of Penn State isn't happy.   Everyone who had any sort of a clue knew his hockey stick regarding global warming wasn't literal but it also wasn't unethical.  An internal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing despite the unfortunate use of the word "trick" by researchers referencing his methods and "hide the decline" has become something of a rallying cry for detractors.  But he is getting made fun of just the same and he doesn't like it.