Category Archives: Science

Michael Crichton’s war on bs

Science fascinates me. Not real science like goes on in a lab. More the kind you might catch on PBS’s Nova. I tend to interpret the world symbolically so I’m not much good at the practical. Additionally, I’m mathematically challenged, and like all math challenged people, I’m locked out of the world of the hard sciences almost completely.

I like Michael Crichton. His books don’t do anything for me. Neither do his movies or television shows. Periodically, though, I’ll catch him on Book tv or elsewhere on cable, and I always enjoy his talks. Yes, he’s supercilious and a little weird. He’s wry, though, and I like that.

Crichton seems to hate bullshit even more than I do. He calls clowns — be they scientist, journalist, or congressman — on their crap and that’s pretty damn cool. He doesn’t have to do it. He just does. He graduated from Harvard Medical School so he has the background to digest real science. Additionally, I tend to trust him because he’s already rich and doesn’t have any reason to manipulate me. (Unlike, say, someone who is jockeying for grant money or running for office.)

Anyway, if you hate bullshit and are frequently bored, make an effort to catch Crichton on cable sometime. Better yet, click over to his site and read a couple of his speeches. “Aliens Cause Global Warming” is pretty good.

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Filed under Celebrities, Politics, Science

What do you see?

Dan Goodman has posted some interesting optical illusions and linked to many more. If you like that sort of thing, click over and have a look.

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Filed under Science, WordPress.com Blogs

Around WordPress.com – 12/6/06

Here are a few more posts I found interesting, amusing, whatever.

Slide by and leave a comment. You don’t have to agree with ’em. It’s just blogging.

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Filed under Economics, Medicine, Military, Music, Pets, Politics, Science, Sociology, Sports, WordPress.com Blogs

Around WordPress.com – 12/5/06

Here are a few posts from around WordPress.com.  I’m linking to them because I enjoyed reading them and thought maybe somebody else would too. They aren’t in any order, other than how they popped up in my aggregator , or the order I found them via their tags.

That I liked something doesn’t mean I agree with it, believe it, or anything else. It just means I liked it.

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Filed under Economics, Medicine, Movies, News, Politics, Science, Sociology, WordPress.com Blogs

Censorship 101: Polonium 210

If you need to shut somebody up, and duct tape is too short-term, consider Polonium 210. What is Polonium 210? Click over to A Quantum Diaries Survivor for the nasty facts.

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Filed under News, Politics, Science, WordPress.com Blogs

Rebuilding New Orleans?

New Orleans has big problems. If you keep up with the news, you’re doubtlessly aware of their moronic-racist mayor, their rampant criminals, and their monumental struggle to recover from Hurricane Katrina. What hasn’t been in the news since the storm, however, is what I find interesting.

Before Katrina, New Orleans was on borrowed time. The wetlands to the south of the city are disappearing at a breath taking rate. The Gulf of Mexico is claiming tens of thousands of acres of Louisiana every year. It’s just a matter of time, and maybe as little as a hundred years, before the sea is actually encroaching on what’s left of New Orleans.

Additionally, New Orleans is sinking at the rate of three feet a century. This is an unintended result of the levies that protect the city. The flooding Mississippi once replenished the silt the city is built upon, but no longer. As the sea continues to claim land south of the city and as the city itself continues to sink, it’s a safe bet that what’s left of New Orleans will be underwater, and probably in the not-to-distant future.

Considering the monumental cost of trying to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, does it make any sense to pour untold billions of federal dollars into a doomed city? Even if it is technically possible to save the city, is it worth the astronomical price?

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Filed under News, Politics, Science

Global warming, radical climate change, and mass hysteria

Climate change, radical or otherwise, is one of the many areas outside my area of expertise. Maybe I’ve read 100 articles on the subject, usually under the guise of global warming, in the last 17 years of so, but only a couple of them were in Nature or Scientific American. Is it getting warmer? You can’t prove it by me. Even if it is, proving man is the culprit is quite a stretch, even for people who couldn’t get into the physics graduate programs at whatever schools they attended. There’s no denying it’s awful damn hot right now, but it’s August, and I suspect that’s got a lot to do with it.

The pin-heads that call themselves “climate scientist” insist that it is easier to predict long-term climate trends than say, the weather. Maybe, but that doesn’t make much sense to this layman. Hurricane geeks originally predicted we’d get x number of named storms this year, where x is an integer > 0. A few weeks later the predicted number changed to x – y, where y is an integer < x but > 0. To me, it seems since the “climate scientist” like to cite more and more-powerful hurricanes as evidence in their crusade for grant money, their inability to forecast hurricanes even a few weeks out is in fact indicative of their lack of ability to see into the relatively long-term future. Sister Rose the Gypsy fortune teller probably has at least as good a shot at foretelling what will be.

Michael Crichton isn’t my favorite author. His prose is painful and subject matter too silly for my taste. Nevertheless, he was making the rounds last year promoting his novel, State of Fear, and I caught a couple of his talks on cable. Crichton may be a lot of things, but a dumb-ass isn’t one of them. The big guy has a big ole brain in his head, and it’s equipped with a first-rate cerebral cortex. In a word, Crichton says that the hoopla over global warming is bullshit. (My word, not his). His talks, where he makes use of actual evidence, as opposed to the anecdotal variety, went a long way toward convincing me to find something other than radical, or rapid climate change to worry about. Pick up State of Fear. Like all his books, it’s a painful process to read it. Just skip to the notes in the back. If you’re not a true believer, you’ll almost certainly come away a doubting Thomas. And remember, Crichton sure as hell doesn’t need grant money, and he’s not trying to push an ideological agenda by scaring the shit out of the simple!

Al Gore is pretty much the opposite of Michael Crichhton. Gore is so stupid that he actually managed to loose an election that he won! He’s a walking, talking brain stem with the ability to tell lies, and to tell them badly, and that’s one of his better qualities. Gore says it’s getting warmer. That’s good enough for me. It’s not getting warmer. We’re on a greased rail to hell but we’ll almost certainly kill ourselves off in a more direct manner than ruining our habitat.

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Filed under News, Politics, Science