Commentary and informative articles on science, medicine,
and technology

selected commentary

Blood-filled river
Defenestrate--or break--the Overton window
  Conservative leaders need to push the boundaries of acceptable discourse a little harder.

Privatizing science research, part 2
  We need a way to couple the production of knowledge to the market without relying on government.

Subcortical vascular dementia
Vascular dementia is the loss of mental faculties caused by a problem in the blood vessels in the brain.

Privatize science research. Here's how.
  American science funding is unsustainable. It must be freed from its dependence on government.

How cerebrovascular disease has affected American history
Two US presidents had devastating strokes while in office. Also: background on Hillary's CVST.

M33 galaxy
Science Under Siege, Part III
  Understanding what causes bad science is critical to reforming it.

Hell and Damnation
  We should interpret religious concepts as hard-earned wisdom about what civilizations need to survive.

Apple gets bit
  Apple's tax problems tell us a lot about where the EU is headed

DNA vector
Why are there still hippies?
  Risk-taking behavior violates the principles of Darwinian selection. So why haven't hippies all died out?

Ozone molecule
The ozone layer cured global warming
The 'pause' started a few years after the Montreal Protocol went into effect. Coincidence?

Sistine Chapel
The disservice-based economy
As the number of rules increases without bound, respect for them approaches zero.

Get rid of RICO laws
  As long as RICO exists, the government will be tempted to use it to suppress free speech.

Cosmic strings
Particle Religion
  Religious metaphors in science are a sign that our beliefs are changing.

Orange on beech leaves
Godwin's law and America's Orange One Revolution
As a discussion proceeds, the probability of somebody being called a racist approaches 1.

Cow fermions
Are superconductors holograms?
  A new idea from string theory finds holograms everywhere.

Globe map with dollars
The fourth law of economics
  To explain a welfare state, we need to use the law of infinite acquisition.

M5 computer from Star Trek
Will intelligent robots kill us all?
  The idea that AI will be dangerous betrays a lack of confidence in our own values.

Sonogram of bird calls
The sound of freedom
  Technological sounds are drowning out the quiet music of nature.

Jurassic Park for Humans
Manipulating the human genome would be the biggest gamble we have ever taken.

Chess pieces brawling
Argumentation in a post-logical world
We must become more analytical in detecting and refuting hidden assumptions in the debate.

  Without cause and effect, nothing would ever happen. But what actually is it?

Friends of coal
What life is really like in the ‘downscale communities’ of Appalachia—and why the critics are wrong

Protein molecule
The future of medicine
  In the future things will be ... uh, better ... mostly

Texas City oil refinery Celebrating our petrochemical culture
To the engineering mind the purpose of our chemical industry makes it beautiful.

Ligntning Atheism, Ducks and Bananas
Atheists and religious people both need to work on their sense of humor.

Thumbnail Forging the universe
  Why is there something instead of nothing? Science, religion, and philosophy have different ideas.

Barbed wire
Eight myths about libertarianism
Libertarianism is not what many people think.

science and medicine

Butter and Eggs
The Hydrogenated Bomb: Science and the Cholesterol Scandal
Saturated fat and cholesterol are now good for you again.

Infrared photo of trees
What can science learn from Paul Tillich?
  Profound ideas from a maverick theologian.

Tinnitus: Causes and Treatment

Recent research suggests that tinnitus is easier to cure when treatment is given early. In this article, I will discuss what is known about tinnitus and what tinnitus sufferers can do about their affliction.

String Theory Equations
Is the universe mathematical?
We use mathematics to deconstruct the universe. Could it also build one?

Science, Religion and Other Crazy Ideas
  What do scientists really think about religion?

Distorted image of human brain
Freud called dreams the royal road to the unconscious. But the road still has many potholes.

Diagram of brain
Is Alzheimer's disease caused by a fungus?
A possible new direction in view of the failures of antiamyloid therapy.

Ozone molecule
Rethinking ozone
Has the Montreal Protocol actually done anything? Something is not adding up.

Diagram of brain
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Politicians can be narcissistic, and so can the organizations they manage.

Does the concept of free will have any meaning?
  Free will means two completely different things.

Diagram of brain
Is Schizophrenia a Real Disease?
The idea that schizophrenia is a medical conditions is on shaky ground.

What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a devastating and mysterious illness that strikes people with increasing frequency as they age. In this article, I will discuss the current theories and epidemiological results that might explain the molecular basis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease.

Diagram of brain
Women and Math, Part 1
Scientific evidence long ago disproved the myth that the brains of men and women are the same.

Diagram of brain
Women and Math, Part 2
In the past ten years, brain research has given us a ton of new insight about gender differences in the brain.

Stopping times
How to Drive on Snow
Tips on driving on snow-covered roads and driving up hills in winter without getting killed.

Sumatriptan tablets
Bad Pharma: Fact or Myth?
Is the pharmaceutical industry dying?

What Does Science Say About Life After Death?
The Buddhists had a lot to say about the afterlife, but science is starting to catch up.

String theory equations
What's so great about Euler's formula?
What does Euler's formula tell us about the real world? How can we understand it?

Cold facts on global warming

Even though global warming has become mostly an academic concern now that the climate has moved into a cooling phase, it's still important to understand what is and is not factual about the climate.

Star fields in Apollo 11 photographs
The claim that there are no stars in the moon landing images is examined.

Little-known facts about the Moon
The Moon really does have a dark side. And an atmosphere ... sort of.

Diagram of brain
Antisocial personality disorder
What are the differences between psychopaths, sociopaths, and psychotics?

Diagram of brain
What is Depression?
  We actually know very little about it, but there are some new theories.

What is the value of computer modeling?
If mathematical models are done badly, they will discredit an entire branch of science.

Indeterminacy in Science
  Is the universe indeterminate at the smallest level? If so, what about free will?

  Molecular biology, Raelians, and the mysterious doctrine of transubstantiation

Swan Nebula
Fraud in Science
Where there's misconduct in science, there's invariably a deep reservoir of social and managerial pathology.

Breakthrough in Alzheimer's disease
  Alzheimer's disease may be an immune reaction in the brain gone haywire.

Traumatic brain injury and paroxysmal coughing
  Traumatic brain injury and paroxysmal coughing don't add up. Or do they?


UV picture of Pine cone Shortwave ultraviolet photography
Photography at short UV wavelengths (200-300 nm) opens up a new universe.

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

Or, how to take pictures of the Sun without burning up your camera sensor, blinding yourself, and setting your dog on fire

High-resolution compact spectrograph, Part 1
Design and plans for a compact spectrograph suitable for astronomy.

High-resolution compact spectrograph, Part 2
Parts and construction details.

Roof vents
How to take bad cell phone photos
Some tips on taking the worst travel photos ever.

Oslo lens graphs
Build an Ultraviolet Zoom Lens, Part 1: Design
Design and plans for a fused-silica zoom lens.

Lens diagram
Build an Ultraviolet Zoom Lens, Part 2: Construction
The gory construction details.

Tiger lily
Build an Ultraviolet Zoom Lens, Part 3: Test images
Sample UV and visible photos.

Photographing Radioactivity with a Webcam
You can use a webcam to photograph radioactivity.

UV image of sparks
Ultraviolet photography

The ultraviolet world is gloomy ... and pink.

Infrared image of tree
Infrared photography

It's not difficult to modify a digital SLR camera to take pictures in the near-infrared.

Astrophotography Without a Telescope
You don't need a lot of equipment to take spectacular pictures of the stars.

Firefly biology and tips on photographing fireflies. Movie of fireflies flashing in synchrony.

science humor and miscellaneous

Fundamentals of Reindeer Aerodynamics
How did reindeer evolve the ability to fly?

Four Movies for Dorks

These movies contain clues to hidden meanings that seem to have been missed by everyone else.

The Future of TV

What will television be like 20 years from now? We think social changes will drive the technology, rather than the other way around.

The Ten Most Annoying Science Fiction Shows of All Time

Some science fiction TV shows succeeded at creating a rich, complex universe, and some ... didn't.

An Overview of Santa's Advanced Anti-Radar Technology

According to radar experts, the inability of our most advanced radar tracking systems to detect the red-suited Christmas icon is no accident

The Cow Theory of Economics

Cow theory is a well-established tool for understanding basic economic concepts. There are many variations of this theory on the Internet. Here are some new ones.

The Tragic Story of Schrodinger's Cat

Schrödinger's cat played a critical role in the early development of quantum mechanics.

Physics envy among biologists: fact or fiction?

Physicists often state their belief that all biologists would rather be physicists, but became biologists only because they were not very good at math.

The Prophecies of Bruce de Nostradamus

Bruce Nostradamus is not as famous as his older brother, partly because his quatrains were not very good.

The Day After Al Gore The Al Gore Effect: Theoretical basis
The day after Al Gore: Where will you be? Someplace cold, probably.

What car would Jesus really drive?

The Bible describes the earliest documented case of road rage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Life in the Country

If this article can save just one person from the unending nightmare that is country living, it will be worth it.

Woodpecker How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers
  Do noise generators and reflector tape actually work?



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