Sunday 8PM

Posted: July 25, 2010 in Science
Tags: , ,

is an outstanding album by Faithless. It’s a great album to listen too on a Sunday, which is what I’m doing now. Melancholy, hopeful, exuberant and just downright enjoyable – it’s the perfect thing to have with coffee and fruit and your lover on a lazy Sunday.

Be careful this week. There’s #science after the fold!

Apparently, some people still don’t get that there is a massive problem with the earth’s climate. Of course there’s nothing to see here, and I’m sure this isn’t going to have any effect on our oceans. I wonder what this will mean for the extreme environments surrounding hydrothermal vents. These places are really important for understanding how life can develop in extremely hostile environments. Also, Giant Tube Worms are just plain cool.

A similar idiocy behind climate change denial is behind the recent anti-vaccine movement. These people need to be locked up as threats to public health. Of course their lunacy has spread far enough that now we have an epidemic on our hands. Vaccinate your kids. Now. Children are dying in AMERICA because of this entirely preventable disease. These idiots are trying to turn us into a third world country and need to be stopped.

Quantum mechanics is still going strong. It’s nice to know that the experimentalists still haven’t broken the Schrödinger equation. This is actually a really interesting idea testing the ideas behind quantum interference. I’m not going to try to explain Born’s Rule to you, but the important point is that it’s not broken in single photon three slit experiments. Experimental physicists can be pretty impressive sometimes.

Salamanders are cool. But 100 year old salamanders are really cool. Especially when we don’t know why they live so long. I’m sure that this species is going to change the way we think about how the process of aging works (as well as what we can do to prevent it). I’ve always been a fan of longevity research, and I can’t wait to see what new results come from studying this species.

I can’t believe that any real scientist would agree to this. I don’t care how much money BP is willing to throw at you. Of course, my opinions about people who go into industry clouded by my inner hippie, but I’m always more than extremely skeptical of any scientist that’s working for a company with a financial incentive to get particular results. The fact that BP won’t let scientists publish or even discuss their data and results for three years makes my skin crawl. BP needs experts to shore up their defense in the face lawsuits to recover what I’m sure will be billions of dollars of damages. I’m sure that they’re willing to pony up piles of money for people to shill for them. How much is your scientific integrity worth?

In a similar vein, there was recently a big issue at ScienceBlogs involving Pepsi. I don’t blog there, so I can’t comment on the details, but it’s resulted in a non-trivial number of great scientists and bloggers leaving the platform. PZ Myers went on strike over this and many other issues surrounding SB, but has since gone back to blogging, so maybe things have settled down a bit over there. However, I haven’t seen any of the bloggers that left coming back, so take that for what you will.

The point is that these types of sticky issues are cropping up more and more frequently, and highlight the fact that there is a genuine public interest in funding truly independent research. Personally, I can’t trust anything that RJ Reynolds says about tobacco, or Pepsi says about the wonders of high fructose corn syrup, or BP says about what’s going on in the gulf. They have an overriding interest in suppressing or misdirecting research that would undermine their business or *GASP* reduce their profits.

Finally, apparently there’s a job opening at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It’s an intense job – but you get to live and work in the Museum 24/7 for an entire month. That’s pretty bad ass. I can’t apply, what with already having a job and all, but the rest of you science types should go for it. I’ll look forward to reading about your experience.


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