Why we have eyelashes

Scientists have discovered why we, as well as all mammals, have eyelashes. [Read more...]

What else Turing did

The movie The Imitation Game focused on how mathematician Alan Turing broke the German “Enigma” code, a major contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.   Those interested in artificial intelligence talk about the “Turing test,” the goal of making it impossible to tell whether a machine or a human being is responding to questions.  But  Turing’s most enduring contribution is not known so much.  He wrote a paper about 0′s and 1′s and computable numbers that basically invented the concept of software. [Read more...]

Magic, science, & religion

Charles Lane discusses the big dietary reversal on cholesterol, in the course of which he recounts a hilarious scene in Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper and cites anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski on the way people tend to confuse science with religion (they put their faith in it) and magic (it can do anything), making it really disorienting when science changes.  Go to the link for the joke, but I quote the anthropology part after the jump.
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Anti-science liberals

Democrats are reviving the notion that “conservatives are anti-science!”  But what about the anti-science stance of liberals when it comes to abortion, genetically-modified foods, fracking, and environmental apocalypse?  And did you know that far more Democrats than Republicans believe in astrology, flying saucers, fortune telling, and New Age medicine?  David Harsanyi and Ian Tuttle both make that case, after the jump. [Read more...]

Marijuana without the high

Lots of people have been hailing the medical uses of marijuana, leading a number of states to legalize the drug if you have a prescription.  Now Israeli researchers (Israel being the world’s leader in research into medical marijuana) has developed a strain that gives the medical benefits without that unfortunate side effect of the “high.”

Do you think this product will catch on in medical marijuana circles?  I say, NO, are you kidding?  Except, perhaps, as a medicine for children that doctors might prescribe, I’m pretty sure that the high is what users find so thereapeutic. [Read more...]

Two more planets in our Solar System?

Pluto has been demoted from its planet status, though some dispute that.  But astronomers have found evidence that there may be two actual planets beyond Pluto.

If they are definitively discovered, what should we call them?  The names should be classical to fit with the others.  I say name one Athena, after the goddess of wisdom, since wisdom is also elusive and hard to detect.  And let’s  name the other one Pluto, so that we’ll once again have a planet named Pluto. [Read more...]