Cool Links

I have often felt that "The Economist" is one of the best-edited publications around. Since it primarily involves economics, and there is no scientific basis to it beyond supply and demand, it is easy to appreciate writing and editing, the same way I could be impressed if the world had a great magazine devoted to astrology.

Sometimes "The Economist" forgets its wheelhouse and ends up looking more ridiculous than Javier Baez swinging at something so far off the plate the catcher was lucky to grab it.
A few months ago, the Supreme Court continued to play Whack-A-Mole with the Biden administrationon's efforts to give control over US family farms to the EPA - under the guise of a Waters of the United States Act they expanded without a vote, and then the Clean Water Act, and then using an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act.

Eventually they may be forced to fall back on the CDC and say control over puddles in rural areas is needed due to Covid-19 Variant Seti Alpha V, or whatever we'll get before the election in November of 2024. 
Last century, $3 billion in environmental groups opposed 19th century technology - oil. To win their war on extinction they promoted an unscientific concept that caught on with journalists and allied academics - "fossil fuels" - and insisted alternatives were better. Alternatives like hydroelectric and geothermal and natural gas.(1) 

Today, they oppose all of those. They want to tear down all of the dams they told government to build, they claim natural gas will cause earthquakes, and that geothermal will cause earth to deflate.
We use an atomic orbital in our logo, even though it is scientifically wrong.

Scientists spend a lot of time nit-picking minutiae(1)  but sometimes you have to go with imagery the broad public understands, not try to satisfy that guy at a conference Q&A session who doesn't have a question but just wants to talk about himself.

An atomic orbital doesn't ruin trust in science, the way garbage like the manufactured 'balance of nature' or claiming sugar-free soda causes cancer or denial of agricultural breakthroughs do. What about thinking of small structures as primarily empty space?
Do you think being a barber will cause you to get cancer? Listening to the radio? Drinking from a paper straw?

If the answer is yes, you are an International Agency for Research on Cancer epidemiologist. If you know better, then you know it is safe to keep on chewing Trident gum, or any other gum with aspartame. A message that dentists are in the awkward position of having to reinforce for patients who believe that New York Times endorsements mean IARC is a legitimate force for public health.
Are universities and medical schools racist? They must be if a Supreme Court decision based on ending discrimination against Asians means fewer doctors.

Yet that is the argument in a recent JAMA op-ed; that black people won't be able to get into medical school unless a secret sauce gives them a boost. Even more, they contend, there will be more health inequity because minorities may refuse to go to a physician who is not their skin color.
The coasts of the US take a lot of criticism in the science community for being opposed to well-understood science like nuclear power, natural gas, cell phones, agriculture, and, until 2021, vaccines.

The surest sign the pandemic is in the past is that they are reverting to their old ways. A movement is on to create a clinical diagnosis of "fire brain" - psychological trauma suffered as a result of natural disasters that can be attributed to climate change.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Human Foods Program is a welcome switch from the old morass of government agencies covering food safety, chemical safety and technology, with EPA (which today is in 'everything is linked to cancer' mode), USDA ('as long as it's farmers doing the lying, we don't care what the National Organics Standards Board says about other farmers') and finally FDA, which isn't even allowed to tell rice companies they are not broccoli or a garbage whiskey company that claiming to be non-GMO doesn't make a carcinogen healthier.
Photos of the 55th Annual Butter Sculpture have been spread far and wide thanks to the New York State Fair.

It's a train, which is on brand with the theme of how dairy helps brains, bones and bodies work together grow. It's an important message; thanks to bizarre fads and activist campaigns, kids probably don't get enough food-based calcium and Vitamin D. New York, like California and a dozen other states, instead prefer pills and supplements because they think 'food is medicine' - unless it is yogurt.

The conductor of the train is, unsurprisingly, a cow.

State Fair attendees won't get to eat it, though. After the event it will be recycled.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton listened to his constituents who said Big Pharma was a corporate conspiracy and instructed the FDA to waive away any real control of the alternative-to-medicine industry. Unless they will kill someone, as long as the $35 billion industry writes a tiny disclaimer noting that there is no scientific basis for their claims and that therefore FDA doesn't agree with any nonsense on the label, they could be set free on a gullible public.

Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the Four Horsemen of the Alternative, was pleased that his future "patient" did all that for those who think powder made from endangered species has magical properties. It's Big Business now.
Do you think particles so small you need an electron microscope to view them can cause dementia? Then my guess you are a trial lawyer looking for something new to sue about, a greedy person hoping to leverage a family member's illness to get rich, or an epidemiologist trying to get an expert witness contract.
Greenpeace is a horrible organization. I used to wonder how anyone could support them, but even the KKK has 3,000 members so awful people can do awful things and rationalize why they are saving us all.

Greenpeace doesn't wear funny white hats and burn crosses, but they sure hate minorities. They hate them so much they claim brown and black people are too stupid to farm using science. Greenpeace is steadfastly opposed to all genetic engineering that could make locally grown, affordable food available to countries that are not rich - unless it is a corporate donor to Greenpeace. Like the organic food companies who use lobbyists, trade groups, and marketing reps to create an 'organic' standard that exempts anything about their products from scrutiny.
Racism has been technically banned in California higher education since 1996 but schools have routinely gone around it with a wink from a majority party that never followers voter mandates they happen not to like.
Instead of using race for admissions - but only preferred minorities determined by secret sauce, which is why racism in admissions went to the Supreme Court multiple times - they declare they're doing enrollment based on needs of the state work force. And the background of applicants, except for race.

Little surprise that ends being the same racist policy that got it banned by voters, who went around the legislature to do it. Asian heritage kids without American last names are still penalized by California.
In 950 AD, the first beekeeping document was created. An Irish monk noted their hives had mysteriously died off.

Flemming G (1871) Animal plagues: Their history, nature and prevention. London: Chapman and Hall.

Bees have been recording dying off en masse ever since. Just like they died before. What was the cause before pesticides existed? The same cause as kills bees today, except lacking $3 billion in revenue and allies in corporate journalism; parasites. 
If you have ever visited the Terracotta Army in China, you know they are guarding an old emperor. That emperor was Qin Shi Huang, from 2,200 years ago.

The tomb has not been opened. The Chinese are superstitious, they believe in acupuncture and that grinding up the bones of endangered animals gives them superpowers, but apparently even some western archaeologists believe in magic. They are worried about crossbow and mercury traps.

You know, like "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Fiction.

No bow on earth is working after 20 years much less 2,000 and detected mercury near the tomb is probably because he drank it after listening to Chinese shamen who still sell woo today.
California is having a mild summer but some regions are having their hottest season in 10 years. Scientists who used to note that weather is not climate have now retired and their Gen X and Millennial replacements know that citations aren't the road to new grants, media coverage is, so a whole lot of them will try to say any incremental finding has 'implications' for climate change or social justice.

The uncomfortable truth is that we don't know a lot of about climate, and denying the impact of the sun is weird. The good news is that modeling by academics is much better than it was 20 and certainly 25 years ago, when Frankenstein hockey sticks and hiding the decline were problematic.
The dirty secret of university admissions in the Affirmative Action era is that it was only affirmative if you matched the preference of the committee creating the secret sauce for admissions. In 2012's "Science Left Behind", written with Dr. Alex Berezow, we noted that Asian students with American last names were told to put Caucasian on the admissions box.

It was so well-known among Asians that being an Asian minority incurred a huge admissions penalty in universities that touted affirmative action that families told young people to deny their heritage. Even white kids had a better chance of getting than Asians.
It is common for internet influencers to secretly be lying about their behavior but 'fruit only diet' guru Zhanna Samsonova was actually practicing what she preached. And it killed her at age 39.

She had survived COVID-19, she claimed, thanks to 'dry fasting'- though obviously billions of people survived it on a normal diet, and refused to seek medical treatment while everyone who saw her worried she was dying from malnutrition.

Zhanna Samsonova claims people would tell her they couldn't believe she was approaching 40. Maybe she misunderstood and they thought she was approaching 80.
Harvard Humanities Academic Francesca Gino has filed a defamation lawsuit against her employer, Harvard University, and three bloggers on the site Data Colada.

Humanities academics and social scientists love to wrap themselves in the flag of culture and claim it is sexism if, for example, no evidence shows that standing with arms extended for two minutes will cause a woman to “embody power and instantly become more powerful.” The people who debunked the methodology were overwhelmingly men while social psychology itself is overwhelmingly women.
When the SpaceX Starship self-destruct system exploded it over the Gulf of Mexico in April, it's easy to imagine that Center for Biological Diversity and other predatory law groups were giddy - they had a new reason to sue someone and collect a settlement check.

That time has finally arrived, they can start counting yacht payments.

Because environmental groups have mastered 'sue and settle' agreements with prearranged outcomes, and with the Biden administration in a panic about losing the election in 2024, environmental groups know government agencies won't be allowed to alienate anyone in the tribe.