“Anti-vaccers, climate change deniers, and anti-GMO activists are all the same”

An excellent discussion of why anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers and anti-GMO activists (not be mention Darwinian evolution denialists) really are all the same.


“Less than a year to develop a COVID vaccine – here’s why you shouldn’t be alarmed”

An excellent article that explains why the fact that a COVID-19 virus has been developed, tested and (in the UK) approved in a matter of months is not, in and of itself, a cause for concern.


I suppose that I should state the obvious: life is not without risks. There is no guarantee that any approved vaccine will not harm anybody. What we do know and should take to heart is that the COVID vaccines which are ultimately approved by major regulators have been studied and deemed to be sufficiently safe for use by the population as a whole.

Also, anyone who refuses to take any risks at all when it comes to vaccines should ask themselves why they routinely take risks in their day-to-day lives: crossing at a traffic light, flying, riding in or driving an automobile, eating a meal which (for a variety of reasons) might contain dangerous bacteria or other substances, getting out of bed in the morning (obviously, the risk of falling and breaking your neck is much lower if you just stay in bed), etc, etc, etc.

P.S. I fully intend to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when my cohort becomes eligible, and getting vaccinated becomes feasible and relatively hassle-free. My current best if somewhat wild guess is that this will happen sometime in the spring or summer of 2021.

“The Spectacular Science Behind Puddle Stomping”

A look at the importance of puddle stomping and other forms of play as children learn how to use their bodies.

The article also mentions our eight senses and then proceeds to explain the ones beyond the five (taste, touch, smell, vision and hearing) that most of us already know about:

  • the sense of knowing where our bodies are in space (aka sense of balance or vestibular sense)
  • the sense of knowing without looking where our limbs and body parts are (aka proprioception sense)
  • the sense of knowing what his going on within our bodies (aka interoception sense)


“Why the right’s usual smears don’t work on Greta Thunberg”

Greta Thunberg’s position is that (heavily paraphrased) the science of climate change has been settled for decades* and the time has come to deal with it. That the science really has been settled for decades is demonstrated in various ways including the simple fact that the core climate change science has not changed in decades and we really are running of time to get serious about the climate crisis (see the various IPCC reports).


* For examples of core climate change science that has been settled for decades, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy (1998), https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/06/26/james-hansens-climate-warning-30-years-later/ (describes 1988 research and controversy), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExxonMobil_climate_change_controversy (late 70s).

“The Tiny Fish That Break a Fundamental Rule of Vertebrate Life”

The story of cryptobenthics – a category of fish that is literally the fast food of coral reefs. They fulfil this role by having roughly 70% of their population on a typical coral reef eaten every week. In a (very real?) sense, the only reason that these fish are not extinct is that they reproduce, hatch and grow quickly enough to replenish their numbers as fast as they are being eaten.


P.S. They “break” the fundamental rule that vertebrate spend most of their life as an adult. Cryptobenthics barely make it to adulthood before they are eaten.

“Just what is science anyway?”

This 1999 essay by Roger Bradbury is an intriguing answer to the question posed by its title.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a particularly clean version of the essay on the ‘net. What is available (as of 2019-05-21) is a readable if somewhat grainy PDF of the essay which can be found by Googling for

"just what is science anyway" "Bradbury"

If you get the same results that I got, the second hit will be a link to the PDF file for Roger’s essay.

Regardless of whether or not the above search works, Roger expanded on his answer in what became chapter 2 of the 2006 book Complex Science for a Complex World published by the Australian National University (ISBN 1 920942 38 6). That book is online at the URL below. While the entire book is likely to be an interesting read, Roger’s contribution is chapter two which is titled “Towards a New Ontology of Complexity Science”.


“Why this stunning dinosaur fossil discovery has scientists stomping mad”

A March 29, 2019 New Yorker article titled “The Day The Dinosaurs Died” describes the discoveries of a palaeontologist, Robert DePalma. In the article, DePalma claims to have found fossils from the first hour after the asteroid strike that ended the era of the dinosaurs (here’s the link to that article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/08/the-day-the-dinosaurs-died).

DePalma’s first scientific paper describing his discoveries fails to describe many of the claims made in the New Yorker article. Needless to say, this has the palaeontology community more than a little riled up for at least a couple of reasons – that failing to describe some of the discoveries in scientific terms makes it very difficult for other palaeontologists to vet the claims, and announcing scientific discoveries in non-scientific media is just not done.

Here’s the link to a Macleans’s article describing the controversy: https://www.macleans.ca/society/science/why-this-stunning-dinosaur-fossil-discovery-has-scientists-stomping-mad/