All entries by this author

Special Bonus Dear Science: Why is My Car Shit in Snow?

Dec 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Dear Science Column

This just in to the Dear Science SNOWPOCALYPSE 2008 ™ (Hannukah eve again, bitches) crisis center war room control: Dear Science, Do AWD or 4WD help me STOP my vehicle faster in inclement weather? I’ve always assumed that even with my extra weight and wider tires this was true… hence my absent mindedness when tailgating […]



New Milk Knowledge

Dec 4th, 2008 | By | Category: Dear Science Column

First, Science Magazine is both impressed and disgusted by the clever chemistry behind melamine finding its way into infant formula: A weeks-long investigation into China’s tainted milk scandal has left scientists astonished by the technical sophistication of those who used melamine to adulterate food products. Chinese investigators, meanwhile, are puzzling over the precise mechanisms of […]



Mutating: The Results

Dec 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: Dear Science Column

I asked you to help me with an experiment as a follow up to a recent column on mutation. Here are the results: (Click on the image for a full-sized version.) Ultimately, I decided to not filter out all of the noise comments (including my own) that weren’t attempts to copy the original. Almost all […]



Cure HIV with a Bone Marrow Transplant?

Nov 14th, 2008 | By | Category: Lit Round-up

His donor marrow was mutant for CCR5. Now six hundred days after receiving the CCR5-lacking bone marrow, his doctors cannot detect HIV virus in his blood–even though the patient is no longer on drug treatment for HIV.

I’d stick with drug therapy, if given the choice.



Witness the Magic of Regression Analysis…

Nov 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Stats

… and some damn good statistics. FiveThirtyEight’s election-eve prediction, of 349 electoral votes for Obama: Reality this afternoon, of a projected 349 electoral votes for Obama: I might start caring about baseball, just to further appreciate the awesomeness of Nate Silver.



The Climb

Nov 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Science and Society

I can’t sleep. I just crawled out of bed and sat down at my kitchen table, giving my brain an attempt at accepting all that has happened tonight. The results for the Washington State races seem almost unbelievably good–Tim Eyman destine for definitive defeat, transit for a definitive victory along with death with dignity, the […]



How to Read a Histogram

Oct 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Stats

Nate Silver, the wonky head of the mathematically rigorous election projection site FiveThirtyEight.com, has a computer model that uses all of the available polling, weighted for accuracy, demographics and the rest, to run through ten thousand possible elections every day. Each one of these simulated elections pops out an electoral vote total for Obama. What’s […]



Economic Apocalypse Data for 10/10/2008

Oct 10th, 2008 | By | Category: Economics

Ladies and gentlemen, I want metrics. In the spirit of objectively tracking the downfall of the global economy, I’ve decided to begin a semi-regular post conglomerating data on the (non-)functioning of the financial system. If I’m going to panic, I want evidence backing it up. Rather than focusing on the stock market (equity), like most […]



Credit Default Swaps: $60 Trillion of Bullshit

Oct 7th, 2008 | By | Category: Economics

The illusion of risk-free, effortless gain is unraveling. So much of the growth of the past few decades has been concentrated in this bullshit, these lies we’ve told ourselves while clutching onto our ever growing private retirement accounts. It’s done.



Margin Call: Leveraged Failure, Taxpayer Bailout

Sep 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Economics, Featured Articles

What is leveraging? Investing with borrowed money.

Can anyone tell me why highly leveraged investment schemes are in any way desirable?