Sunday Starlinks

December 2nd, 2012

I’ve got nearly 20 NSF proposals to review by next week, and a short story to finish by the 15th, plus the end of semester crunch, so I’ll keep this short this week…I hope.

Let’s start with a scary editorial in Nature about global warming and dwindling resources.  I think there’s serious reason to be concerned and to speak out.  I’m a little skeptical of some of the generalizations about running out of resources, as similar past calls have always been quite mistaken, usually because they fail to take into account (difficult to predict) technological innovation.  The fertilizer issue advanced here is one I don’t know a lot about, so I’m loathe to dismiss it out of hand, however.

An animated open letter to President Obama about the state of science education.

Following up on the bigfoot DNA…not the only cryptid scientists and semi-scientists going after.  I’d love it to be otherwise, but most of these efforts are doomed, in my opinion.

The revenge of the reality-based community.  Yeah, you can’t pretend forever to make your own reality.  Reality will catch up and get you.  I’m talking about you, Donald Trump.  How nuts are you?  I’m also talking to you, you reality-impaired fundamentalist evolution-deniers.

A suggestion about partnering with China to advance space exploration.  But at the moment, congress has forbidden any NASA funding of any kind being spent in collaboration with China (guess which party?).  Maybe the Chinese should just blow up the moon to send us a signal, the way we once planned to do so to show off to the Soviets.

Too bad for the Chinese, because NASA is going to build a warp drive.  Or maybe an Egyptian teenager (although if her idea worked it be better as a free energy source than just for space travel, actually).  I’m skeptical about all this stuff, just like the cryptid “science” until we have peer reviewed publications to read in reputable journals.  The suggestions that gravitational wave and dark matter detections are going to happen very soon are better, but I’ll believe it when it’s done.  Plenty of theorists wrong in the past, and plenty of science journalists ready to hype predictions as news.

In any event, NASA is suffering massive budget cuts under Obama, who I otherwise regard as being pro-science.  He doesn’t seem very pro-space, however.

Here’s a great “two-minute thesis” video about understanding an important class of supernova that were used to discover dark energy:

Hmmm…a lot more science than science fiction this week. Let me finish writing my story and we’ll try to fix that next week!

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