The amazing geography of Eastern Washington

…is the result of periodic epic catastrophes like the eruption of the hotspot that is now under Yellowstone but used to be under Idaho, as well as (millions of years later) multiple stupendous floods from Lake Missoula. Imagine a volume of water equal to Lake Michigan suddenly being disgorged into eastern Washington in the space [Read More…]

Certainly not a Terminator or anything

The joke used to be that Shakespeare’s plays were not written by Shakespeare but were in fact written by another poet of the same name. “We are not creating a terminator but artificial intelligence which will have a great practical importance in various fields,” he added. Yeah, like shooting people. Which is totally different than [Read More…]

Everybody’s excited about “earthlike” planets this week

Cuz of this discovery. Now “earthlike” has a huge amount of squish to it (Earthlike how?  Size? location? having water? having  a moon to drive tides? Similar age?). So I want to know a lot more.  Of course, the quickest and dirtiest thing to do is check for the presence of chlorophyll via spectrographic analysis. My [Read More…]

Total Sci Fi Nightmare Scenario

What could possibly go wrong? “[S]cientists have discovered life trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old. . . . The life forms – 40 different strains of microbes and even some viruses – are so weird that their nearest relatives are still 10 percent different genetically . . .” “Though it was presented [Read More…]

Little Boy Born without 98% of His Brain

Can now speak, count, and attend school. It’s not the first time this has happened. A French civil servant lived an entirely normal life–speaking French even–with virtually no brain. Another guy who was missing most of his brain had an IQ of 126. Mike Flynn has a typically interesting take on the question of how [Read More…]

New Planet Found…

in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri. The reason that’s a big deal is that a planet needs to be in the sweet spot, temperature-wise, for there to be liquid water on its surface.  And liquid water is kind of important for life. I assume the next thing they will do is see if Hubble [Read More…]

You can make Giordano Bruno a free speech hero…

…if you like.  Certainly, burning people alive for dumb opinions is bad. But for the love of Pete, don’t hail him as some kind of scientist silenced for speaking the truth.  He was a quack. [Read more…]

Well there goes my day…

If you can’t even trust your proton’s charge radius, then what is the point? [Read more…]

Curiosity and I have the same birthday

Here is the most adorable and depressing thing you will hear today: [Read more…]

The History of Cosmology

HT: Mike Flynn, whose Great Ptolemaic Smackdown series on how we got from geocentrism to heliocentrism is one of the most fun science series you will ever read. I’m currently in the middle of Up Jim River, the second of Flynn’s Spiral Arm novels (the first being The January Dancer).  Great, great writing. [Read more…]