I’ve been wondering what the inputs and outputs are of my home energy usage. For some months now, I’ve used a CurrentCost Envi to track my house’s energy usage, so I know the numbers in kilowatt hours: 8,166 kWh in the past 12 months, an average of 680 kWh/month, with a low of 454 kWh […]
Bob McDonnell just doesn’t think that people have anything to do with global climate change, and the AP’s Bob Lewis asked him some hard questions about it. Climate scientists are unanimous: the temperature is going up, and human are doing it. But McDonnell says he merely “thinks” that global climate change is real, but says […]
We’ve got some giant puffball mushrooms growing here. Here’s a photo of a cluster of them with a penny set on top for scale. When I saw them, I wondered why there were a bunch of volleyballs scattered around. Calvatia gigantea turns out to be relatively common and, according to several sources, edible and tasty. […]
The big mystery of evolution is how it all began. We know how life got more complex, but how did it start? An English chemist appears to have figured that out, having demonstrated how a base, ribose, and a phosphate group would join together to form RNA. The key appears to be exposure to ultraviolet […]
During WWII, the U.S. government tried to train pigeons to guide missiles. The pigeon trainer was none other than B.F. Skinner. He was successful in his training, but the problem was human: who would trust a pigeon to guide a missile? See also: bat bomb, anti-tank dog.
It’s not entirely clear why moths are attracted to lights. Who knew?
Oil companies concluded in 1995 that “the scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” but decided it was best to ignore conclusions and continue to claim that there was no correlation. Many of those […]
For the New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope explains that friends are good for your health: Last year, researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants […]
Astronomy photos on Flickr are automatically being analyzed and labelled with constellations, planets, and other objects. The group doing the IDing then has a big corpus of astronomical images, which has got to be valuable. Man, that is so cool. The physical coordinates and the timestamp go a long way towards providing the basic data […]
In the New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope looks at the (possible) false hope of vitamin supplements. Vitamins are essential—we’d quickly die without them. But it’s looking increasingly likely that vitamin supplements—vitamins in pill form—are significantly less effective than vitamins that occur naturally, in food. Vitamins may be what allow our bodies to avoid the sorts […]