New dinosaur fossils found

The discovery of the fossils on a new dinosaur has created quite a stir. This one looks very different from the other ones we are familiar with. Back in 1960, paleontologists had discovered the fossils of two huge dinosaur arms but not the rest of the animal and couldn’t figure out what the rest of the animal might have looked like. But in Mongolia two nearly complete fossils have been found that complete the picture. And it is pretty strange. (The Nature article on the discovery can be see here.)
[Read more...]

America’s enemies have taken over the Pentagon

Climate change skeptics have suggested that those who warn about it are engaged in some diabolical plot to foist changes in the US that are harmful. The fact that there is a worldwide overwhelming consensus within the scientific community that this is a real danger and that we are already past the time when we could reverse the effects and now must settle for limiting the damage does not faze them in the least. They have pooh-poohed it as alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering. The more who warn of it, the wider the conspiracy is in their minds.
[Read more...]

Freezing eggs to delay having children

The period in their twenties and thirties is where men and women establish their career paths and this often requires hard work and long hours. But women have to negotiate an especially tricky path because this is also the peak childbearing years and they have to face hard choices about what to do. Should they short-change their careers to better care for their children? Keep on the career path and forego having children or feel guilty about leaving the care of their children in the hands of others? Try to do both and end up exhausted and feeling a failure at both? Even with the most supportive partner, women still bear the brunt of this problem.
[Read more...]

Protons are forever?

The proton has never been observed to decay into other particles. So it is possible that it is an absolutely stable particle and will never decay. However, there are some grand unified theories that argue that the proton does decay and physicists have been carrying out experiments to detect them decaying. The catch is that these theories predict an extremely long lifetime for the proton, greater that 1031 years! How does one do such an experiment?
[Read more...]

E. O. Wilson’s strange attitude to religion

The renowned biologist and environmentalist E. O. Wilson wrote a book Consilience in which he argued for the unity of all knowledge. There is a chapter towards the end where he compares the transcendental view of morals and ethics and compares it with his own view, that of an empiricist. In describing his own view, he says (p. 246-247)
[Read more...]

CFI conference on the science of the future

Last Saturday’s Northeast Ohio Center for Inquiry conference was excellent. It is impressive how the volunteers who organize these events manage to put it together. The key people were Mark Tiborsky and Brian Harrington who are in charge of programming for the Cleveland and Akron areas and Monette Richards who is the president of the Cleveland chapter, and they and the other volunteers deserve congratulations.
[Read more...]