This week I saw the new Jim Carrey comedy, mildly funny. But while waiting to see it I saw a new coke advertisement with polar bears and penguins hanging out together, drinking coca-cola. Wait a second, Polar bears live on the North pole, and punguins on the South.
Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, weighs in on the difference between how politicians use information and how scientists use information. And there’s that pesky word “truth” coming up again.
“I donâ€™t care if youâ€™re Republican or Democrat, whatâ€™s happening in the U.S. is a wholesale dismantling of one of our most precious resources: the scientific ability to sort truth from fiction. This ability is what my website (and blog) are all about, so I intend to be more active in this field in the future.”
Here is an excellent article by Nicholas Wade at the NYT about the differences between textbook science and frontier science, while discussing the issue of Dr. Hwang. I particularly like the concluding paragraph:
“Tightening up the reviewing system may remove some faults but will not erase the inescapable gap between textbook science and frontier science. Continue reading Claims not Truths
So Iâ€™ve decided to start a weblog. The weblog, or blog for short, has had a shaky beginning. This is largely because of the stereotype that blog authors are just bored and lonely technophiles who have nothing to say but are telling people they have never met what they had for breakfast, featuring a live mood-indicator. Or perhaps youâ€™ve thought of them as places where angry people vent their grammatically poor, factually atrocious, and ethically mal-adjusted personal views hoping that someone will subscribe to their drivel. Finally, perhaps you heard warnings about blogs through the print, radio, or television media during political campaigns as having posted dubious information and so-called anonymous â€˜expert analysesâ€™ about candidates or political issues. Yes, they can be used for that, just like the print media has its tabloids, television has its trash, and even radio has its idiotic ideologues.
But blogs as a delivery system for information have far more potential than people may yet realize. Continue reading The Mindlog Part II, Entering the Blogosphere.
Greetings and Hallucinations. And welcome to The Inoculated Mind. This is the first post of a great many to come on the Mindlog, my own little place for opining on the fuzziest of scientific frontiers and teaching about the solid foundations central to scientific pursuits.
The Scientific Life.
I have a passion for science, the methodology used around the world for â€œchipping away at the block of ignorance,â€ as physical chemist Peter Atkins would put it. The scientific method is the same wherever you go, no matter how politicians in Kansas vote every four years or so, and so the scientific community is perhaps the closest thing we have to a universal community worldwide. Scientists may speak English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, and Hindi, and thatâ€™s just one lab, but they think in terms of enzymes and substrates. Or three-letter codon triplets as in DNA, radioisotopes and silicates and microfractures, or perhaps as physicists they think in terms of the four fundamental forces of nature.
Scientists come from every political and religious flavor, and every cultural and socio-economic background, and thus come with innumerable biases and agendas. But what makes science more than just an exercise in convincing other people of your own predisposition is Continue reading The Mindlog Part I: A Mind Inoculated.
In the future, this will be my weblog, continuing the same coverage of science news, concepts, and issues that I’ve been doing in print media for the past three years. Combined with the Mindcast, this new “Mindlog” will aim to inject discussion and understanding of science into the public.Currently, the Mindlog is undergoing tweaking and testing, as I will be setting it up to suit my needs and style. Okay, so it didn’t launch on the winter solstice, it will instead launch on Sunday, January 15, 2006.
Karl J. Mogel