We are well over the one-year mark on the global COVID-19 pandemic. Progress is uneven. The U.S., for example, spent much of the last year at war with itself over basic scientific common sense. Instead of embracing cost-effective protocols like masking and social distancing, right-wing elements of the U.S. chose instead to paint measures as… Continue reading Pandemicland

Categorized as Science


Since Wednesday, I, like most Americans, have been trying to make sense of the events of that day. I find it’s usually best to begin with the facts, so that’s where I will start this reflection. Wednesday was to be devoted to proposal writing. After reading the newspaper, then eating breakfast, and a morning walk… Continue reading 1/6

Categorized as Life, Science

Muon Weather: Fun with a Muon Detector, Analysis Code, and Physics

I am spending some time playing around with the cosmic ray muon data from an instrument in the SMU Physics Department. That instrument is located in the basement hallway of Fondren Science Building. I already setup a “dashboard” of information derived from the instrument, available here: If you want to learn more about the… Continue reading Muon Weather: Fun with a Muon Detector, Analysis Code, and Physics

A little bit of math: vaccine efficacy

Illustration of the ultrastructure of the Covid-19 virus based on image released by the Center for Disease Control.

With reports from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that the preliminary analysis of their data suggests a 95% effective vaccine (one each for each company) [1], I found myself wondering about the mathematics of vaccine effectiveness. There were some small details about how numbers were calculated from the data that were lost to me. This weekend, I… Continue reading A little bit of math: vaccine efficacy

Categorized as Science

A Look Ahead: Department of Energy 2021

Sign in front of the United States Department of Energy Forrestal Building on 1000 Independence Avenue in Washington D.C.

The Biden transition team has been hard at work preparing for the first real presidency in 4 years. While there will be a lot of work to do to claw out of the abyss created by the previous 4 years of chaos, mismanagement, and willful ignorance of reality, it’s nevertheless a solvable problem. Finding appropriate… Continue reading A Look Ahead: Department of Energy 2021

Burn the house down

Hurricane Eta

In my thoughts on the close of the experiment with American Fascism, I worried at the end about the damage that would be wrought in the months before Trump is constitutionally required to leave office. Here is a good example on the scientific side of things: UPDATE: 10:46am This news comes on the very… Continue reading Burn the house down

The New Normal (C+73)

It has been 73 days since Texas, racing to reopen without first putting in place large-scale testing and tracing infrastructure, ceded the population of the state to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. That was COVID Day, or C-Day: May 1, 2020. On C-Day, Texas announced that businesses could re-open at 25% capacity; however, it did so without… Continue reading The New Normal (C+73)