Claim assessment: the Daily Mail’s “Global Cooling” nonsense

The Daily Mail claims in their science section that the 60% increase in arctic ice extent comparing August of 2012 to August of 2013 means “global cooling” is happening. But is this bad science reporting? Yes. This claim cherry-picks data, comparing only August of 2012 to August of 2013. The article ignores absolute numbers over… Continue reading Claim assessment: the Daily Mail’s “Global Cooling” nonsense

Texas Science Textbook Adoption: A Glimpse into Anti-Science Forces in Texas

  What is science and why should I care about it? Science is a reliable, reproducible, and verifiable process by which facts, and explanations of those facts, are established. The outcome of the scientific method is a useful and universally applicable framework of knowledge about the natural world. Knowledge gleaned from the scientific method has… Continue reading Texas Science Textbook Adoption: A Glimpse into Anti-Science Forces in Texas

A scientist in pseudoscientist’s clothing

This morning, I was sent a direct notice on Twitter indicating that something called “FoodIDTheft” had aggregated one of my tweets into some automated news feed. I was intrigued – since “FoodIDTheft” sounded like an inflammatory name intended to convey that this site helps people keep their food’s identity from being stolen. I checked out… Continue reading A scientist in pseudoscientist’s clothing

What’s that whining?

The Discovery Institute posted a long and painful defense of Intelligent Design as a “scientific idea” today [1]. It was painful because it seemed based on a pre-college level of understanding of the scientific method. Their primary defense was founded on shoe-horning intelligent design into a scientific method-looking structure, but evidence of their misunderstanding and… Continue reading What’s that whining?

Getting the “science” right in “science policy”: labeling food as “GMO”

I’ve been engaged in a small conversation on a social network regarding the labeling of food as “genetically modified.” I’ve written specific thoughts about the scientific problems with that labeling recently in this blog [1]. I thought it might be useful to explain here how I got engaged in this most recent conversation, which is… Continue reading Getting the “science” right in “science policy”: labeling food as “GMO”

Claim Assessment: Does an iPhone need more power in a year than a refrigerator?

Editorial Note (9/1/13): The program “Marketplace” recently looked into Mr. Mills’ claim. They found it to be nonsense. See: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/no-your-phone-doesnt-use-much-electricity-refrigerator. I like that they put the answer right in their headline: NO. Editorial Note (8/23/13): since originally posting the article, a commenter (“Jay”) pointed out that the number I pulled from the article was off by… Continue reading Claim Assessment: Does an iPhone need more power in a year than a refrigerator?

The Physics of an Electric Car – Cost per Mile and Other Questions

After owning a Honda Civic since 1998 that was new in 1998 – the only car that persisted in my household after my 2002 marriage to Jodi – Jodi and I decided last year to start saving for a new car. After checking out a Chevy Volt at the Texas States Fair, we made the… Continue reading The Physics of an Electric Car – Cost per Mile and Other Questions

Why you believe what you believe

Why people think what they think is just as important, if not more so, that what they think. The time when I resume teaching, after a one-semester leave from teaching to focus on research, is rapidly approaching.  I’ve started paying closer attention to material that might be useful as supplementary material to the critical thinking… Continue reading Why you believe what you believe

FUDWatch: HPV vaccination

Three pin pricks from a vaccination injection before you become sexually active, or the risk of contracting a cancer that will require drugs, radiation, or surgery to control? What would you choose, for yourself or your child? The FUD over the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has been high, so let’s look at the science… Continue reading FUDWatch: HPV vaccination

How much do you know about science?

I saw an article from National Geographic entitled “How much do you really know about science?” The article contains a quiz to test your science knowledge. However, the author of this article makes a typically fatal mistake: mistaking facts about the natural world obtained through the scientific process with the process of science itself. Science… Continue reading How much do you know about science?