Science & Society

Yesterday I wrote about journalist and science blogger Ed Yong's unfortunate run-in with the kind of anachronistic journalism dinosaur that will be extinct one day soon - a PIO who resents blogging.
This a double whammy, a two-for-the-price-of-one, a joint review (for some value of the word review) of two books with the same title: Kraken.



China Miéville's Kraken is a New Weird novel that tracks the adventures of London Natural History Museum curator Billy Harrow. The inexplicable theft of his prize Architeuthis specimen forces him into an other-London of magical knacks, squid cultists, gangsters, and impending Armageddon.


I'll tell you flat out, I love Public Information Officers - PIOs in journalism parlance.  Without them, I would never get anywhere near the good stuff I get to write about.   I would much, much rather deal with PIOs directly than through paid clearinghouses like AAAS Eurekalert, which seems to be run by sub-literate pygmies bent on keeping science from being written about.   PIOs, on the other hand, love to get more coverage for their researchers without having to bribe AAAS.
Online dating is mainstream big business, we all see television commercials for any number of sites catering to any number of interests - but do they work?
Nothing says science like Valentine's Day and we are positively littered with articles on neuroscience, chemistry and social aspects of romance.   Really, we cover it all.   

Not sure who to date? Garth Sundem answers it in The Valentine's Day Man-O-Meter. Be sure to take it as gospel because he never just makes stuff up.  If you need even more help than that, here is his Ultimate Valentine's Day Toolkit.
Have you ever found yourself wondering about the species identification of the molluscan muscle in your mouth? The answer can be as slippery as the animal.

Accurate seafood labeling is a constant problem, largely due to the length of the supply chain. Customers have to trust what the restaurant or supermarket tells them, and the buyers for those businesses in turn have to trust what their suppliers say. This game of fish telephone can go around the world, as globalization shuttles seafood between distant markets.

Among seafood, cephalopod labeling is some of the least informative. Often there's no attempt to get any more specific than "squid" or "octopus", and even those terms seem dubious when you realize how often people mix them up.
David Kirby, the author of Evidence of Harm, and a major promoter of the debunked idea that thimerosal causes autism, has a new article at Huffington Post, in which he commits a string a fallacious appeals and specious speculations concerning the persistence of the autism-vaccine myth. 
 Kirby closes his lengthy piece with an unjustified appeal: “The CDC estimates that there are about 760,000 Americans under 21 with an ASD. Even if just 1 percent of those cases was linked to vaccines (though I believe it is higher), that would mean 7,600 young Americans with a vaccine-associated ASD.”
This is so heartwarming. A few days ago a large cephalopod washed up on the beach in Florida, and
Beachgoers rushed to the squid's aid. It was spitting out ink and seemed weak, [Lifeguard] Gorman said. "It's used to being in places that are dark and black," he said. "To be in the sunshine on the beach was not a good spot."
Er, not to mention that between wet and dry, cephalopods have a definite preference. Here's a video of people collecting the creature into a cooler and bringing it out to deeper water:
The scientific method was formulated in the absence of Google when you needed to carry a library in your head. Now a five year old can gain access to information that was once kept hidden behind cloistered church walls and institutions that only rich men (often only rich white Christian men) had access to.  Printing hard-copies is nearly obsolete as the rate of discovery is out-pacing the rate of publishing.  Who needs an encyclopedia set when Wikipedia is updated daily and includes discussions regarding data validity, and if you really want a hard copy you can compile your own pedia on Pedia press and have it printed for less than what it costs to buy your office lattes?! Who needs a journal subscription when many researchers share their data freely on their own sites?!
Disclaimer:- This text is not meant either to question God’s existence or Religious rituals or preach Atheism (if there is such a thing). No, on the contrary, I hope, if nothing else, then this text does glorify my own personal belief that there is one Supreme Power in an indescribable form – A Force that exploded the universe into being– A Force so strong that the universe continues to expand at tremendous speeds as an aftermath of an explosion caused by The All-Conquering Force……

PROLOGUE

17th Century A.D