Reproving the atom is not required

Yesterday, a high court in the U.S. ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of regulatory power to put constraints on greenhouse gas emission (since EPA judged them a threat to public health). The high court’s ruling [1] included this gem of a statement:

“It makes no difference that much of the scientific evidence in large part consisted of ‘syntheses’ of individual studies and research. Even individual studies and research papers often synthesize past work in an area and then build upon it. This is how science works. EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.” [1]

I like that they really punched pseudoscience and antiscience right in the nose. Science is built on all the knowledge of the past; it is not required to demonstrate the entire history of science when making a policy based on recent research. What I most enjoy here is that the law has clearly been informed by science and the process of science . . . as opposed to the other way around, where law attempts to make science.

Thanks to Joe Tuggle for bringing this excerpt to my attention.

[1] http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/52AC9DC9471D374685257A290052ACF6/$file/09-1322-1380690.pdf

The pleasures of cooking

I enjoy cooking, more for the experimental aspects than anything else. Tonight, I decided to make a lot of pasta for dinners for the week. It starts with simmering garlic and onions in olive oil. Then add peppers and tomatoes. Then add starchy water from the pasta that I’ve boiled. Then paprika and parsley. Then tomato paste, sardines, cream, and lime juice from fresh-squeezed limes. Reduce to desired thickness. Pour over pasta and mix. Eat and never have to eat again, until the next time.

Scenes from a Saturday in France

A Mt. Blanc Morning

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It’s a Mt. Blanc kinda morning – clear and blue, with an easy (if slightly hazy) view of this daunting mountain in the distance. Nibbling at my pain au chocolate from a local patisserie, sipping my cup of coffee, and surrounded by mountains – it’s Saturday morning in St. Genis.