What Is And Is Not Plagiarism In Scientific Papers? Neri Oxman And Claudine Gay Did Nothing Seriously Wrong. A Basic Guide To Citation.

The online discourse of our time has come to the issue of plagiarism. Now Claudine Gay and Neri...

Asteroid 2007 FT3 Will Not Hit Us, And Other Predictions For 2024. Suppose It Did Hit Us.

In the past I have predicted certain things at the start of certain years.  This is a selection...

UPDATE: Claudine Gay Not Fired By Harvard. Claudine Gay Did Not Plagiarize. Weeks Later Resigns Due To Ongoing Pressure.

Christopher F Rufo has accused the president of Harvard of plagiarism in an effort so clumsy that...

A Personal Update: The Day To Day Work Of One Physicist.

A brief personal update as to what I have been doing.  There has been much interesting science...

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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the College of DuPage. My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and raised in Chicagoland I have lived... Read More »


A couple of weeks ago Derrick Muller of the YouTube Channel Veritasium made a video asserting that the electrical energy in a circuit does not flow through the wires but through the fields. This is true and yet also a misleading misconception. This misconception in his problem arises because it deals with a circuit loop that reaches from the Earth to the Moon and back with a one-meter gap between the wires. He also uses a definition of the light being “on” which seems to be having any minuscule amount of current flow through the bulb. Then he justifies this will completely correct classical, non-relativistic electromagnetic theory.

No one would like confirmation of the Alcubierre warp drive metric being realized in the real world more than me. However, this is a good time to remind the media and public that a publication does not mean confirmation of this or any other result. Publication in a peer reviewed journal simply means that 2-3 outside experts looked at this paper and can find no obvious reason to think it is false. Confirmation would mean an independent team of researchers trying to replicate this effect in their own laboratory. Then publishing their result. Confirmation would preferably this effect being reliably and robustly replicated in numerous independent labs.

NASA will announce its 2021 crop of astronauts which was delayed at least twice due to COVID 19.  There were around 20,000 applicants for this arduous job.  Which is surprising since the requirements while not super common are not super uncommon either.  I tried my luck at being the third astronaut from the tiny village of Bellwood IL. Maybe I still have a shot at getting to pretend to go to Mars in a ground based NASA simulation mission known as CHAPEA.  Without a doubt those who are selected are or will be in very rare air.  (rimshot)   

UPDATE: Here are NASA's New Astronauts.

Big words are scary and express ideas that are not easily understood and are not easy to be logical about. Apparently, the word neurodivergent is woke now. While the woke want to call pedophiles “minor attracted people” and conservatives are outraged by this (for all the wrong reasons). Of course, simple mathematical ideas that one would learn beyond grade school are also woke and therefore bad.

Critical Race Theory like so much science, even social science, can be used for good or evil. Physics invented the atomic bomb which can destroy the world. Physics invented the nuclear power plant which can generate carbon free energy and help to save the environment. Chemistry and biology invented medicines that can save lives as well as bio toxic and chemical warfare which can take them. Somehow “CRT” is what people want to ban in part due to a total misunderstanding of what it is and what it is not. In the end I will show how I use these ideas to be sure I am being fair to the diverse groups of students I teach math and science to.

The Pilgrims were not the same group as the Puritans who many Americans, especially but not only conservatives confuse for them. Many people left right authoritarian, and libertarian have been badly served by the cartoon of history they learned in school lest Baby Boom age parents, stepped in the cold war, be offended to hear that America was not a utopia from the beginning. Here are the facts. The Pilgrims were people who wanted to practice their reformed Christianity and be left alone. They did come to America numbering no more than 2600. They lived in relative peace with their Native American neighbors for decades. The Puritans came later, in tens of thousands.