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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 »

Attending the AAAS symposia on "Facing the Uncertain Future of International Science Journalism" I was stunned by something:   I am the most hated guy in every room I walk into.
Did music evolve before language?  It's not a trivial idea and there has been debate about it since literally the days of Darwin - Sir Charles himself proposed the notion in "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" that a 'musical protolanguage' model could mean that music came before language.
Day one if you missed it.  Science is sometimes about  taking a hunch and amassing data to confirm the hypothesis.  I am still amassing data but I am reasonably sure the way to know there is a convention of physical therapists nearby is to look for all the women in gym shorts who happen to be limping and follow them somewhere.   I don't have a lot of data points but, anecdotally, I think I am correct.   The APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) is next door.
It's often the case that attending a conference like AAAS means you have to choose between competing programs, like the good stuff, the fun stuff and the stuff you will make fun of.  This morning I had one of each at the same time but since I didn't get to the one I would likely have made fun of, I will leave that out.

Instead I had to make a tough call between Eugenie Scott and "How Can Scientists Support Policy Makers?" and "The Science of Superheroes" - Genie won, at least in the beginning.
In many parts of the country there is a recession but some segments are immune to the ups and downs of economic cycles.  Three are obvious; your lawyer, your accountant and hotels in towns where conventions are being held.  No matter how bad things get, they will never lower their rates.  There may be legends of them lowering their rates but, like children who look like bats, they always  seem to be in a third world country:

This is a science site and not a political or economics one and therefore we have poor grasp of things we know nothing about, like how missing cigarette tax revenue can possibly be responsible for bloated governments being unable to pay their bills.

But apparently it is and a new method of securing cigarette tax stamps from counterfeiting and falsification could save nations otherwise losing more than $50 billion annually - which, like 'jobs saved' is a number you can believe if you want, because someone said it - that's all according to a group of companies that make holograms designed to ... prevent counterfeit cigarette tax stamps.