Science & Society

We get a regular announcment by the bulletin of Atomic Scientists at this time of year every year. It doesn't mean anything is going to happen soon. Indeed their focus is on the long term, not the short term. For instance the Cuban missile crisis didn’t lead to a shift in the clock. It is nothing to do with any short term politics about Norht Korea or Iran. Nowadays they also include global warming as an issue and the worst effects of that will be towards the end of the century. So when it says “2 minutes” - those minutes are not an actual time period. It’s a metaphor, indeed hyperbole (exaggerated analogy for emotional effect). The Doomsday Clock is neither about Doomsday and nor is it a clock.

Science 2.0 community, it is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of long-time science journalist Greg Critser, the earliest science journalist to sign up on this site, in 2007.
Yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate which, along with the House of Representatives, form the two chambers of Congress, which are one of the three branches of government,(1) refused to fund a "continuing resolution" to essentially keep funding government as is while a long-term budget is negotiated. 

Once again, there are a few claims that this will mean catastrophe for science funding, but many are now saying shutting down government is necessary and even courageous. Yet this exact same event occurred two, four, five, seven and even 22 years ago and it was framed as reckless and dangerous and a disaster for science.

What is different? Those other times a Democrat was President and Republicans were balking.
The title of this post is the password code required to connect to my wireless network at home. The service, provided by the Italian internet provider Fastweb, has been discontinued as I moved to Padova from Venice, so you can't really do much with the code itself. On the other hand, it should give you hints on a couple of things.

North Korea is going to send a team to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The news is looking promising with a significant thawing of relations between the two Koreas in advance of the Winter Olympics. High level talks have begun already between North and South Korea. with the main focus on preprations for the Olympics. The US is behind it too. President Donald Trump said “If something good can happen and come out of those talks it would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world. Very important.”

We all pay our electric and gas bills in winter with more urgency than in summer because cold can kill you.  Without both electricity and gas modern furnaces will not function.  So we pay and think that the cold will be at bay for a month.  Then my family gets this letter which I was only made aware of by my parents yesterday.   ComEd the local electric utility and a corporate subsidiary of Exelon  is going to shut off the power for about 240 minutes between the hours of 8AM and 4PM.  When asked if they will give any warning on the day of this shut off, say a phone call alerting people, I was told no. That outage window which comprises the entirety of the winter daylight hours in Chicagoland and right no

This is awful. A science writer and video producer who decided Christmas Eve is just the right time to publish a video claiming FALSELY that a small nuclear exchange of 100 nuclear weapons would destroy all world agriculture for decades. This is based on an old paper from 1983 which was treated with skepticism at the time and now is known to be incorrect, combined with more recent research from 2014 that is disputed because of it preloads the model with high levels of soot in the stratosphere, levels which most modern studies do not support.

He claims that 2 months after the exchange, the average global surface temperature would be -25°C.

Evidence shows that banning scientific words does not stop them from being used.   Today in many reports the Trump administration banned the use by the CDC of the words or phrases, transgender, evidence based, science based, fetus, vulnerable, entitlement, and diversity.  Some individual in the trump administration made this call I'd really like to know who (Sounds like a Jeff Sessions kind of thing.  VP Pence would be too politically smart to try something so foolish.)  
ABC News recently suspended Brian Ross (four weeks without pay) for fabricating an unsubstantiated story that matched his ideological beliefs about Republicans and President Donald Trump and which caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plummet. This was not the first time he had turned his wishful thinking into action, he also blamed the Aurora, Colorado shooting on the Tea Party. It was, however, the first time ABC instituted some accountability for his work.

Once more many people are getting scared as a result of the recent North Korea test which puts the whole of the US in range.  The headlines say it puts all of US in range. You have to read carefully to discover it was probably a lightweight mock warhead. The way over hyped news stories about North Korea scare vulnerable young children and adults. So I write this to help put it in perspective. Also to explain why there is no way North Korea want to attack the US with a nuclear weapon. Nor does the US have any military options involving an invasion of North Korea, and both sides know that.