As the Aquarium Turns

My adventures with a 5-gallon fish tank turned into a drama I didn’t expect. I purchased a Fluval Spec V with the intention of keeping a betta (Betta splendens, Siamese Fighting fish). I bought live plants and a piece of wood to set up some fancy landscaping. When I went to purchase the fish at…

Earthquake hazard area from injection wells expands with evidence for additional mechanism

This is a fascinating new study of the earthquakes in Oklahoma related to fluid injection. I have not seen it out in the media yet. The 2016 Mw5.1 Fairview, Oklahoma earthquakes: Evidence for long-range poroelastic triggering at >40 km from fluid disposal wells T.H.W. Goebel, M. Weingarten, X. Chen, J. Haffener, E.E. Brodsky. Earth and Planetary…

Why the Darwin Awards Should Die

A recent tragic story in the news reminded me once again that people can be callous and unthinking in reaction to others’ misfortune. A 19-year old girl shot her boyfriend by his request with the goal of making a viral YouTube video showing how a book can stop a bullet. It didn’t stop it. He’s…

Astrophysical comedy and education

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson paid a visit to Hershey, PA this week. It was a packed house, which was encouraging to see. All ages, from kids as young as 6 to elderly folks, were in attendance. That’s pretty remarkable. Hershey is an upper middle-class area with many professionals employed at the large teaching hospital, Penn…

John Oliver f**king skewers media science

John Oliver skewered pop media “science” coverage on his recent show. It wasn’t all that funny but it was true. And depressing. What has our society become? So smart, we get stupid. As an observer of the relationship between science and the public, he’s totally right for pointing out disturbing trends of morning news shows…

Cryptozoology and Myth, Part 1: The Illusion of Facticity in Unknown Animal Reports

What can we make of folklore tales that cryptozoologists use to support claims that an unknown animal has been historically reported and remains to be identified? Cryptid researchers say that modern reports of Bigfoot-Sasquatch, lake monster, sea serpents, giant flying animals, and elusive land creatures are supported by the stories of native people, legends or…

Defending the faith of cryptozoology

My latest post, regarding the rational vs non-rational response to the new cryptozoology book by Loxton and Prothero, Abominable Science, went live on Huffington Post yesterday. Cryptozoology Gets Respect While Bigfooters Behave Badly. When critical thinkers approach the subject of Bigfoot (or cryptozoology in general) with a focus on the evidence, they are met with…

Science appreciation class

Several years ago, while learning about the problem of science illiteracy, I discovered something of critical importance: You can’t get people engaged and enthusiastic or even respectful about a subject if they don’t see any value or connection to themselves. Kids aren’t going to do well in high school science classes (or even choose to take those…