Featured Articles

Wind Power

Jul 23rd, 2008 | By | Category: Energy, Featured Articles, Lead Article

For wind power, consistency is everything. The rub is, all of the pollutants we’ve added to the atmosphere are changing how the atmosphere interacts with sunlight in difficult to predict ways. Our continued belching out of greenhouse gasses makes building a wind farm increasingly risky (and therefore less attractive) than building a fossil fuel plant.

Carbon-Free Energy

Jul 18th, 2008 | By | Category: Energy, Featured Articles, Lead Article

If we’re going to replace fossil fuels, we should understand why they’ve become such a central part of human life and civilization. Because, fossil fuels are pretty damn amazing.

What Bush Got Wrong on Stem Cells

Jul 17th, 2008 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Featured Articles


Congratulations, Taxpayer, On Eating That Shit Sandwich For Us.

Jul 16th, 2008 | By | Category: Economics, Featured Articles, Lead Article

The bailout of Bear Stearns was a mere appetizer to the cliff we’re falling over now.

Market theory would tell us the government should not intervene–these institutions should be allowed to fail, the unwise investments allowed to collapse and the money to be lost. At the last height of Laissez-faire economic policy, in the 1920’s, that was the plan. The institutions were allowed to collapse one-by-one, causing the Great Depression.

That didn’t work out so well. In the 1930’s, sifting through the rubble of the US economy, the next plan was regulation.

We’re now left in the worst situation: Propping up failing deregulated markets with taxpayer dollars.

For Bill Gates on his Last Day at Microsoft

Jun 27th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Public Health

Dear Bill, Congratulations on your last day at Microsoft and welcome to the world of biomedical research! Everyone I know who endured a ‘billg’ review agrees—you’re apparently a bit of an ass. Quick to question and call bullshit, to point out errors or inconsistency, and to demand the best, willing to yell if yelling is […]

Living and Working Energy

Jun 25th, 2008 | By | Category: Energy, Featured Articles, Transit

Adjusting to higher energy prices? You aren’t the only one. The insanity of shipping even the cheapest goods around the planet, to save a little on labor costs, is finally being recognized as insane: As the cost of shipping continues to soar along with fuel prices, homegrown manufacturing jobs are making a comeback after decades […]

How to Read a Poll

Jun 18th, 2008 | By | Category: 2008, Featured Articles, Stats

As we approach November, I anticipate a tidal wave of blog posts on polls. Reading the polling data improperly is hazardous to your health. The disconnect between the polling and the 2004 election results nearly resulted in my death. Avoid my mistakes. 1. Remember that polls are always of a population that may or may […]

Show Evolution of a Complex Trait? Ok.

Jun 13th, 2008 | By | Category: Evolution, Featured Articles

No one really argues about the validity of natural selection. Only the most hardened of young Earth creationists contest that organisms with more adaptive traits will preferentially survive and reproduce. The Intelligent Design crowd tends to wave this off as a trivial truth. Of course, they say, better traits are selected for. They instead claim […]

Nuclear Power: What’s Next.

Jun 6th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Nukes

Nuclear power plants were first proposed at the dawn of the cold war. It was assumed the best fuels–enriched the most for atoms releasing the most neutrons per fissioning–would forever be reserved for military use. We had bombs to build. Hundreds, thousands, millions–enough to scare the Soviets (and the Soviets to scare us.) Military first, […]

Top Five Nuclear Weapons of All Time.

May 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Nukes

My week is ending poorly. Rather than go into a lengthy whine about crappily designed and maintained websites, the evil of both the SAX and DOM XML parsers in Python and “what, you can only do one miracle at a time” management, I’d rather present you with an appropriately glum bit of my knowledge. Thus, […]