BuzzFeed News article on Neil deGrasse Tyson

Most readers of this blog would likely have heard about the charges swirling around Neil deGrasee Tyson about his behavior around women. Azeen Ghorayshi has a long piece about the allegations made against Tyson, including new claims by a fourth woman. It goes into great detail, provides a great deal more background on the rape accuser Tchiya Amet than I had seen before, and has accounts from many people other than the four women.
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Was Benjamin Franklin a serial killer?

When in 1998 an organization called the Friends of Benjamin Franklin House decided to restore the house that Franklin had occupied while he was the American ambassador to England, workers discovered a trove of about 1200 human bones buried in the basement.

Initial reports said the bones were from the remains of more than 15 bodies — six of them children. Some of the bodies were dismembered, or with trepanned skulls (skulls with holes drilled through them).

The bones were dated to be just over 200 years old, which would mean they were buried around the same time Franklin lived in the house. So where did the bones come from? Did Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, kill people and hide their remains in his London basement or could there be another answer to this creepy story?

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More gravitational waves detected

The first detection of gravitational waves was in November 2015, a century after Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity predicted their existence. It was a discovery of such importance that the Nobel prize for physics was awarded for it soon after in 2017. But since then there have been a flurry of such waves that are caused by the collisions of massive stellar objects.
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Science, schmience

Earth scientist Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, reveals how she was recently invited to appear on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show to talk about climate change and then her taped segment was omitted altogether to give more time to stupid former senator Rick Santorum to bloviate once again about how it is all a hoax manufactured by greedy scientists. She said that this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened to her. It shows how these so-called news shows, even those that claim to be pro-science, would rather have an ignorant famous person than a knowledgeable expert.
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“There is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong”

I like to keep the above quote by H. L. Mencken always in mind because it is a useful caution whenever one is weighing in on weighty issues on which one is not an expert. Like pretty much everyone else, I sometimes have a brainwave about some deep or complex problem (usually in a field that I am not that familiar with) in which a simple solution suddenly stares me in the face. I then wonder why no one else has thought of this ‘brilliant’ solution before and the usual answer is that people who do know a lot more about this topic are well aware of this proposed ‘solution’ and also know why it will not work.
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Why do news shows invite non-scientists to talk about science?

Trevor Noah asks the right question but the answer is obvious. These shows are not interested in informing the public but in pleasing their sponsors and getting ratings and they know that stupid people who reinforce ignorant views draw audiences, Donald Trump being the prime example. It is just a human version of David Letterman’s ‘stupid pet tricks’ segment on his former show.

The ethical dilemmas posed by immortality technology

The idea of immortality has had great appeal since time immemorial but was thought of in terms of creating some elixir with the property of bestowing it. But more recently some people have started to think that technology may be able to actually achieve it. This article looks at the ethical implications of two of the proposed methods: rejuvenation and mind uploading.
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