Science Joke Saturdays

In honor of Stephen Hawking, this week I wanted to share a scientist joke rather than a science one.


His appearances on shows like the Big Bang Theory always made me think that he had a good sense of humor. This story makes me believe that even more.

Favorite Invention Thursdays

Some of the best inventions are simple and elegant, and when I first heard about this I thought, why has this not been done before?


Of course it makes perfect sense. Black things, like black asphalt, absorb heat. Any of you who have been to a hot city will know the feeling of the heat baking off the street in a disgusting humid wave. So, why not combat this by painting the roads white?

They mention in the video that they are testing this in LA, and that they are using an extra special kind of paint which is quite expensive but particularly suitable to reduce the temperature in the city. Despite its cost I do think that, if it works, this cost is mitigated by the reduction of costs associated with care for people suffering heat stroke, the reduction of cost of air conditioning, and of course the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with the extra power normally used for those air conditioners.

I am very curious to see the results of this experiment. In the meantime, good on LA for trying it out.

We Have Lost A Great Mind

I was devastated to hear that Stephen Hawking died today at the age of 76. I know he was very sick for a very long time, but he also had an amazing intellect and he will be sorely missed. I always suck at what to say in these situations, and how to express my reasons for feeling so sad about the death of someone I have never met, so I will leave it and instead quote Neil Degrasse Tyson, whose tweet about Stephen Hawking‘s passing is one of the best put that I have seen.


His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018


Maybe this one is a little too soon, but I also can’t sign off completely without including the tweet from @TheTweetOfGod


It’s only been a few hours and Stephen Hawking already mathematically proved, to My face, that I don’t exist.


The Stephen Hawking that I invented in my head would have liked that.

I still have his latest book on my shelf, waiting to be opened. Maybe now is the time to find the time to read it.

Tough Questions: On Banning Circumcision

Iceland is currently discussing a bill that would ban infant male circumcision and, if it succeeds, it will become the first country in the European Union to do so. I always knew that I would eventually comment on this most touchy of subjects, and in light of this current news I guess now is as good a time as any.

I am aware that for many people, this is not a “tough question” at all. Many have very strong opinions on the subject one way or another, whereas I find myself quite torn on the topic. I am also aware that, as someone who does not own a penis my opinions on the subject are somewhat less valid than someone who has more skin in the game, so to speak, but my current dilemma is mostly based on the science and the fact that both sides often exaggerate or twist it to fit their own notion.

Before we continue yes, I made a circumcision pun. I totally meant it. I apologize… kind of. Now let’s move on.

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What A Mess

I was on a rollercoaster ride these past two weeks, and not just because I was monstrously sick.

The weekend before the elections, it came to my attention that there were massive anti-fascism protests all across Italy. In a period of time in which all I heard coming out of my country is hateful and racist rhetoric, I was overjoyed to hear that all was not lost, and that these protests attracted thousands of progressive people who still live in Italy, and who believe that racism and fascism is incompatible with our Constitution and democracy.

Then, the elections happened.

You might remember the dire predictions that I made in the run up of these elections, where I predicted the triumphant return of the Bunga-Bunga in chief. What actually happened was both better and much worse than I thought. On the better side, it looks like the country has a better memory for who was responsible for this mess than I thought they would, and Berlusconi’s party actually did quite poorly. Also on the better side Liberi e Uguali (Free and Equal), the progressive party that I supported managed to break the 3% barrier, and thus will have a spot (albeit a small one) in Parliament, and good for them.

On the worse side, the Five Star Movement is the party that got the most votes, which shows me that Italians either did not get the message of their gross incompetence, or they simply don’t care and want to burn the whole country to the ground in the hopes of stirring the pot.

On the much, much worse side, Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord had a very good showing, actually getting more votes than Berlusconi. That is worse, because Matteo Salvini is so horrifically racist that up until this recent election he was seen as a national joke rather than a serious candidate (remind you of anyone?). He also believes that the euro is a “crime against humanity”, and that douchey little neckbeards are the way to go in modern day politics. Unfortunately, the racism is still embarassingly strong in my homeland.

Of course, given the fact that there are now three major parties in Italy with one of them whose claim to fame is not forming coalitions with anyone, there is still no consensus nor acting goverment in Italy at this time. Apart from this update, I do not plan on bringing this up again. So, if you want to ask me about how it’s going, or my thoughts on the matter, or make fun of me for the shambles that my country is in, the comments section of this post is where to do that. Other than that, I plan on thinking and writing about other things, because this is just too depressing for me right now.

Happy Women’s Day

Today is the first day that I came back up for air after the worst flu of my adult life, and hey, just in time for International Women’s Day! So, Happy women’s day everyone. Take a moment to appreciate the women in your life. Take a moment to appreciate the huge strides that we have managed to make, and the strides that we still have to face.

I have tons of things to tell you about, but we can start tomorrow. For today, I’d like to have a low key celebration and be merry.