Science & Society

It’s Valentine Day, and children everywhere celebrated friendship and love by giving cards and candy to their friends. In what alien observers must consider one of the most bizarre human customs, these same children were asked to draw lewd pictures of human private parts. You don’t think you or your children participated in this custom? Take a look a the figure below…

valentines heart as human rump
Blackboard qualitative proofs of the "existence" of, say, an equilibrium between demand and supply - beloved of economists trained in the maths of the department of mathematics rather than the maths of the departments of physics or engineering - are meaningless because they don't tell how big is big.
Now being at present in woolly monkey mode, I could a tail unfold about this comparison between the mathematics of mathematics and the mathematics of physics, but that would distract from the main point.
The Pragma Hypothesis

A speculation on the possibility of the accurate prediction of future, hind-sight based, historical worldviews, and the application of such prediction to the current climate change debate.

Pragma - mass noun: the practical outcome of a decision-based action as viewed from a historical perspective.  Pragma is to science and politics as karma is to spirituality.

"This is not just some intellectual argument between people who think they know the answer, we are talking about the future of the globe.

Science spectrum hard->soft: Math->Physics(->Chemistry->Biology->Medicine->Psychology->Sociology) ->Modeling->Philosophy->Opinions

Every Friday as The Daytime Astronomer, Every Tuesday in The Satellite Diaries, via Twitter @skyday

Last fall, ScientificBlogging introduced our first ever University Writing Competition. We were blown away by the quality of science articles we received, and are excited to announce that we’re doing it again this spring. This time the contest is open to ALL graduate students. The official rules are below, but the big idea is that we are inviting graduate students to write about science – on any scientific topic of their choosing. It is our hope to discover those exceptional students that not only know their science, but can also effectively communicate it to the scientific community as well as to the general public.
This morning, upon leaving Brussels to go back home after my seminar in Louvain-la-Neuve, my attention was caught by a big green banner hanging from a tall building at Place Schuman. It said "Safe Internet Day" and below, in smaller fonts, "think before you blog". I found it inspiring.

A blog, if used correctly, is a very nice tool which enhances one's possibility to express one's ideas, or to do scientific outreach, as in my case. It may also be used for self-promotion at times (and the opportunity does not escape me, although I try to self-contain these outbursts). But a blog, if it attracts traffic, may become also a dangerous instrument, which must be handled with care.
Scientific Evidence Of Your Own Awesomeness

Do you like to share awe-inspiring articles with your friends, like the many [New York] Times readers whose habits are analyzed in a new study? Or do you have other motives?

Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman, researchers at the Wharton University of Pennsylvania, have been analysing the New York Times most e-mailed articles list.  They have been trying to determine what factors contribute to making an article 'most emailed'.

It appears that NYT readers like to share news about positive, long and intellectually challenging topics.  Most of all, the study indicates that people most like to share topics that inspire awe.
Dairy Farmer Makes BS Claim

The Utah House has passed a resolution questioning the science behind global warming.

Rep. Mike Noel, the Legislature's chief climate-change skeptic, declared Thursday that global warming is a conspiracy to control world population.

The House Natural Resources Committee then approved a resolution that expresses the Utah Legislature's belief that "climate alarmists' carbon dioxide-related global warming hypothesis is unable to account for the current downturn in global temperatures."
Have you ever pondered public radio fund drives? Whether you’ve supported the station or not (I do), the drive persists; they keep asking for money the whole, dreary week. If you pay on the first day, you get six more days of pitch. If you pay on day 7, you’ve still endured the whole week of no music and no news. If you don’t pay at all, you deserve what you get, but that’s not the point.

And whenever you pay, they’re just going to do the same damn thing in a few more months.

The question of whether record snows in the Northeast US says something about climate change is a scientific question. The NY Times shows us how not to report on a scientific issue:

Skeptics of global warming are using the record-setting snows to mock those who warn of dangerous human-driven climate change — this looks more like global cooling, they taunt.

Most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events.