Monday, February 24, 2014

Bits and Pieces - February 24, 2014

A bunch of science stuff:

Obesity and smoking are more dangerous than radiation.

This is why diversity is important in science. And that would include socioeconomic diversity, all kinds of diversity. People who come from outside the usual suspects might even think that science is the pursuit of truth and might pursue it strongly. They might not have surrendered to the conventional wisdom.

The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen.

The storms in Britain uncover a prehistoric forest in Cardigan Bay.


And today is Estonian Independence Day. Ninety-six years since Estonia won its independence from the Russian empire. Head Iseseisvuspäev, Eestimaa!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bits and Pieces - February 19, 2014

Ukraine links (a little more than in the MSM):

Yanukovych’s gamble and Kiev’s burning

How western Ukraine is driving a revolution

Russia's covert role in the Ukrainian crisis


The real story here is that banks trade in all sorts of physical commodities now. The headline about Iran? Oh yeah, long before Goldman Sachs, long before the Iranian revolution, the company they bought sold uranium to the Shah. But anything for clicks, I guess.

I'm not sure this is a good way to sell science or that it even makes much sense. What do you think?

Coming a little late, but well worth it: How Sid Caesar learned double-talk. With a great video.

Another woman's scientific contributions usurped.

Internet trolls are just your everyday sadists.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Doctor Atomic - A Review

Two weeks ago, I saw “Doctor Atomic” in Los Alamos’s Fuller Lodge. It was the Metropolitan Opera’s performance, from a DVD. I am accustomed enough to attending events in Los Alamos that it took a while to hit me: “Doctor Atomic” in the same Fuller Lodge where the Manhattan Project held dinners, dances, and convocations. I even slept and ate there on an interview trip, when it still was the only lodging in town.

This was my first viewing of the opera; perhaps surprising for someone whose interests include both the Manhattan Project and music. I thought, however, that it might be a screed on the evils of nuclear weapons. I was wrong.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Bits and Pieces - February 7, 2014

Still having problems at Nuclear Diner. So Phronesisaical links first, then Nuclear Diner links. There's always some overlap.

Patrick Rael on the Long Death of Slavery in the United States, 1777-1865

The DC snowy owl who was hit by a bus is doing better. Did you know that it is this year's young snowy owls who migrate south for the winter? Their elders stay in the dark Arctic.

'Animal Pompeii' wiped out China's ancient creatures

Marc Lynch tries to explain social media to those who eschew it. It ain't going away.

Zach Messitte on the value of a college education. 

Nuclear vs. renewables: Divided they fall. There are those in both communities who don't understand that the real problem is fossil fuel.

Sigrid Kaag, who is in charge of the operation to remove chemical weapons from Syria, says she doesn't think Syria is stalling.

Here is the State Department daily press briefing from yesterday, mainly on the tapped Nuland telephone call about Ukraine. Is it just me, or do some of these reporters sound like idiots?

Some counterintelligence thoughts on that phonecall.

Deterring Iran. It can be done. And, I would add, we're doing it now.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Bits and Pieces - February 5, 2014

Nuclear Diner is down, so I'll post here the links I ordinarily would have posted there.

A good summary of the pros and cons of the Joint Plan ofAction with Iran. Bonus: explains why Fareed Zakaria’s “train wreck” is nonsense.

Russia says Syria will get their chemical weapons moving. Before that happened, Charles Duelfer, who was in charge of looking for WMD in Iraq, speculated that Russia couldn’t be too pleased about the slowdown, which is what I thought too. Imagine chemical weapons in Sochi. Russia is learning the downside of being a big internationalplayer.

Experts believe that more public outreach is necessary in the Mediterranean region about the chemical weapons recovery and disposal mission.

A science chat on Twitter. 6:00 PST on Twitter. Hashtag: #sciencechat

Snowden Stuff: