Category: Science

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This is Me Then and Now V

My past personal photo comparisons focused on a decade’s separation. Two years can make a difference, too, in terms of weight, health, and appearance. Both pics are self-portraits—the left from Jan. 11, 2015 and the other Jan. 7, 2017, shot using iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively. In the older photo, I weighed 63.4 kilos (139.8 pounds). The newer: 15 kilos (10 pounds) less, or about the same as 40 years ago, during my senior year of high school.

Occasionally, someone locally who hasn’t seen me for awhile will with concern ask if I’m ill, for being so skinny. Not at all. I tightened up my diet, cutting carb consumption by 80 percent-plus—and sugar by even more, when aware of its presence. The sweetener is in everything, and it is not so easy to expunge from the diet. Before changing my eating habits, and weight-loss was a byproduct not the purpose, I tipped the scale to 82.6 kilos (182 pounds). 

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Say Goodbye to Nature, iPad

One of the main reasons I own an iPad is the NatureJournals app. Subscription to the fantastic, scientific publication is about $35 per year—versus $200 in print—and the presentation and convenience are outstanding. But the end is nye. Yesterday an alert flashed across the home screen about Nature Publishing suspending development, so I emailed for clarification.

Response arrived today from an account rep: “Unfortunately continued development and technical support for the NatureJournals app has become fiscally unviable and we have therefore made a decision to retire the app”. Bwaaaah! I’m not exactly shocked. How many people read scientific journals in apps? Surely I’m an oddball, and how many others like me can there be? Sigh, the subscription deal was too good to last.

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Academic

My fourth installment of excerpts from ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth takes an interesting directional shift. So far we’ve met The Dark Knight, Medieval fighter, and twin-brother toy collectors. Would you believe there are people who study toys as a profession? Read on to see.

To recap: I attended San Diego Comic-Con 2013 with intention of profiling one-dozen among the 130,000 attendees. As SDCC 2015 approaches, I am posting 13 installments, after which the book will release into the public domain, on July 8, 2015, when my current commitment for Amazon KDP Select ends.

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O Canada, What Say You?

What do two forts share in common? Kaci Hickox, the 33 year-old healthcare worker from Fort Worth, Texas, taking refuge in Fort Kent, Maine. Surely you know of the so-called Ebola nurse and the legal scuffle about quarantining her. As an Aroostook County native born about 70 kilometers (okay, I rounded up) southeast of FK and having traveled widely across the Lone Star State, I know something about the character of both regions. Think independent-mindedness times two, which equals “Don’t tell me what to do”.

The simple story: She volunteered in Sierra Leone, where the disease rages. She returned to the wrong state, New Jersey, which put her in isolation. She fled to one of the most rural and remote areas of the Northeast. Maine’s governor demanded voluntary quarantine. She defied it. A federal judge ruled against the Gov. News reporters who couldn’t find Fort Kent with a Google Map ruined the autumn tourist trade by filling up the only hotel. We all wait to see if she stays symptom free through November 10. Pass the popcorn. The suspense is thicker than a horror flick. 

The Web We Weave

The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual […]

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Are Night Owls Brighter, or Just Late-Night TV Watchers?

There are some things that really go oddly together, like sleep and intelligence. This week I saw several blog posts and tweets referring to Psychology Today article “Intelligence: The Evolution of Night Owls.” That people are talking about the article demonstrates the distressing power of the social Web. The article posted on Nov. 1, 2009, so it’s not exactly new. Matthew Hutson recounts—and without substantive details—a sleep and intelligence study.

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Internet Attention Deficit Disorder

Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, may be the defining manuscript of the World Wide Web era; so far. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have followed Nicholas’ writings leading up to The Shallows. I get his point, because I’ve experienced it. He merely wraps research around the experience. The point: Interaction with the Web changes how we think, in part by rewiring how we consume information. Attention spans are shorter and tasks like reading a long magazine article or book are harder.

In June 2008, I read a short post by Nicholas linking to his Atlantic story “Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Environmental Question

I hear a whole lot of ruckus about global warming and carbon emissions spewed into the air. I have a question for the environmentalists—some of them extremists—pointing fingers of accusation: How much worse off is the planet because of you and your political maneuvering that ended US adoption of fission reactors in the 1970s?

Environmentalist FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about radioactive waste disposal was a major factor halting nuclear power plant construction in the United States. Meanwhile, many electrical facilities resorted to coal and, gasp, oil—fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide when burned.