8 Jars of Honey as promised

Sometimes guest think I’m joking, sometimes they are pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I have to chase them down to get their mailing addresses…

But sometimes it can mean the difference between an interview, and no invterview. Continue reading 8 Jars of Honey as promised

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Michael Pollan Panel!

Hey everyone in Davis, if you happen to have time from 4-5:30 this afternoon, or if you don’t you can make time, I’m going to be on a panel discussing Food, Farming, and Genetics with Michael Pollan. You know, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and whose name has been plastered all over Davis for the last two months. If you are not sure, then let me tell you, I’m going to be wearing something really wacky – you simply can’t pass this up! There will be no way to see it ever again!

Continue reading Michael Pollan Panel!

Shifting Focus

I talk about science on the Mindcast, and I write a bit about it here on my blog. In the last few months, I’ve been shedding my blogging timidity (strange, considering that I’ve written a weekly newspaper column), but I’ve most often been moved to write a blog post when something ticks me off, or makes me laugh. So that means a lot of stuff written about ID/Creationism. They don’t deserve that much attention from me, especially since there are many science bloggers who are really on the ball with this brand of pseudoscience.

It’s time for me to dig into what I’m really interested in. Plant genetics. There will be plenty of time for educating, debunking, and lots of Continue reading Shifting Focus

Monday Tuesday Madness: Intolerance in the air.

When I flew to Madison a couple weeks ago, one person I sat next to told me he was intolerant. Lactose intolerant. I confided in him that I, too, was unable to digest this milk-sugar, but my love of cheese made me keep lactase tablets in constant supply.

The following week, I read about a case of lactose intolerance in airplanes that got national coverage. But a different kind of intolerance. Continue reading Monday Tuesday Madness: Intolerance in the air.

It’s not fall until…

Although I like to nitpick about when the REAL [sidereal] New Year is, fall is a bit more subjective for me.

Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer pointed out when the Autumnal Equinox comes around, people call it the beginning of autumn, but he considers it to be in the middle of the season. The borders between seasons are fuzzy and vague, so for people who like fine lines in their lives, the point at which the day and night are equal in length (or technically, where the equator crosses the ecliptic) is a simple way to demarcate a seasonal transition.

Although the tilt and orbit of the Earth are the chief factors in the timing of the seasons on the Earth, there are atmospheric and biotic factors to consider. Largely due to global warming, this year spring arrived over a week earlier than it did 30 years ago. On average, 9.6 days earlier. Flowers popping up, insect larvae crawling around, and migrating birds aren’t going to wait for the vernal equinox!

So why should we call the autumnal equinox the beginning of autumn? Like for spring, we must find comparable biotic indicators to determine the most scientifically useful date or period of dates to initiate the come of the season of leaf senescense, darkening days, and crop harvests. Allow me to propose a suitable criterion:
It’s not fall until… Continue reading It’s not fall until…