Authority appeals

How to Survive a Plane Crash (Non-survival also a possibility)

I’m travelling to China in the morning, on some university work in Hong Kong and Shantou. It takes two days to travel between here and there, and I’ll be away for 8 days. So yes, I’ll be spending half my time in transit. I’ve been doing some preparatory reading. Here’s […]

“Adultery could save your marriage”, or “How to churn out science news by riffing on Valentine’s Day”

“Could” is an awesome word. I “could” be in a position to help you. That dream job “could” be yours. Eating fish oil “could” make you smarter, or it “could” cause cancer. Or whatever. And, of course, adultery “could” make your marriage more happy. Why, yes, of course it “could”. […]

So I got this email from Noam Chomsky today, looking for my opinion…

…as did 20,000 other recipients (making their target sample an interesting n = 20,001): Dear Colleague: You have received this survey along with 20,000 other academics globally. This survey is meant to assess the attitude of the scientific community on the issue of university military research. Kindly take a moment […]

“Polar vortex”? That’s what they WANT you to believe…

Baby, it’s cold outside, what with polar vortexes and the like. Except maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s a conspiracy. Maybe it’s a left-wing conspiracy, designed to blame right-wingers for climate change. Here’s conservative US political disc jockey and padlocked-Wikipedia-biographee Rush Limbaugh: Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have […]

Favourites List (29.11.13)

The week in six bits: 1. Self-tickling is impossible even if you think someone else is doing it. Allowing me to break new ground by posting a picture of a cat on the internet. 2. Evolution Doesn’t Look Like You Think It Does. This has always annoyed me too. This, and […]

Favourites List (22.11.13)

The week in six bits: 1. What would it feel like to touch a human brain? We’re always told it’s jelly-like and yet, when I held it in my undergrad gross anatomy class, it felt like a cold cooked chicken (it was even wrapped in tin foil, I recall). Well, […]