Science

Maybe the Most Important News of the Day

Featured image It is a truism that the most important events are rarely recognized as such when they happen. While newspapers are full of reports that are mostly trivia, truly important developments are often overlooked entirely, or relegated to the back pages. A case in point: The London Times headlines: “New antibiotic promises to win war against superbugs.” The discovery of antibiotics was one of the great milestones in human history, but »

And Now For . . . Data Feminism?

Featured image Feminists were rightly annoyed a couple decades back when Mattel released a talking Barbie doll who had among its canned sound bites the phrase “Math is hard!” But does it help the cause of gender parity in math and science to propose that there is a distinct feminist perspective on data? This is the question of a recent book from MIT Press (which seems to specialize in bizarre leftist books), »

Experts, Pseudo-Experts, and Other Progressive Conceits

Featured image The downloads folder on my computer is jammed full right now with endless charts depicting data and analysis of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic shocks rolling across the world, and naturally they can tell a widely varying story depending on the data quality and, most crucial of all, the assumptions that go into any model that generates projections about the future—even the near future. Experts and models disagree! »

Against the panic (or not)

Featured image The coronavirus panic continues and deepens. It’s hard to see the story straight through the panic. It appears that things will get worse before they get better. We don’t know how much worse before the turn occurs. A wise man once observed it’s always darkest just before it’s entirely black. It’s been a long time since we heard from science writer Michael Fumento. Fumento’s journalism on the AIDS hysteria culminated »

New Social Science of Note

Featured image I try to keep up with some social science, partly for the amusement value, and partly because social science is sometimes useful for proving the obvious (which is also amusing). But I’ve been falling behind in posting highlights, so it is time to catch up. First up, do you think it is really necessary to prove that good looking people enjoy a lot of advantages in life? Apparently this proposition »

Nature Magazine Jumps the Shark

Featured image It is not secret that the wokerati are making steady inroads into the domain of the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering, etc). But Nature magazine, although left of center, might have been thought immune from the sillier aspects of the PC culture. Not so. After publishing an article recently about the coming “supremacy” of quantum computing over conventional supercomputers, Nature has published this letter, signed by 13 scientists, which I reprint »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 138: The Crisis in Darwinism?

Featured image Readers of Thomas Kuhn’s famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions will know his central thesis that when anomalies and contradictions arise in a reigning scientific theory it creates a crisis out of which new theories emerge to replace the old. We may be seeing the beginnings of such a crisis for modern Darwinism, which appears to have gaps and contradictions that can’t be explained or explained away. The rumbles about »

Steve and John Make the Climate Blacklist!

Featured image Nature Communications, a former science publication, disgraced itself this week with an article that goes to absurd lengths to indict the media for giving equal time to “climate change contrarians” (though the “denier” epithet turns up for duty soon enough) over “expert climate change scientists,” among whom they include, for example, the deranged Michael Mann. You can take in the whole article here: “Juxtaposition of Climate Change Contrarians and Scientists »

The Specter of Deep Fakes?

Featured image I have heard about the arrival of “deep fake” videos, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But then I saw the video below, which is pretty amazing. Worth watching closely, a couple times. The transitions and likenesses are stunning. I have wondered for a while when we might get to the point where digital Hollywood tech might replace live actors in films—or even be used to being back long »

It’s Official: Guitar Players Really Do Get More Chicks

Featured image From the continuing annals of social science: this time the journal Psychology of Music proves the obvious once again (which is what social science is best at when it “proves” anything). Men’s music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context Nicolas Guéguen, Université de Bretagne-Sud, France; Sébastien Meineri, Université de Bretagne-Sud, France; Jacques Fischer-Lokou, Université de Paris-Sud, France Abstract This experiment tested the assumption that music plays a »

The Moon @ 50

Featured image Lots of deserved recollections on the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing over the last few weeks and months. There’s not much need to repeat the main themes of the scientific marvel or adventurous spirit of that glorious enterprise. Some political aspects of Apollo, however, have not received sufficient attention. Specifically, the liberal attitude toward the moon landing is emblematic of how American liberalism had lost confidence in itself »

Found: The Stupidest Political Science Study Ever

Featured image You know how the left is obsessed with proving that Trump’s election is entirely owing to Russian Kallusion. Now we have empirical social science to prove it! At last! From the “peer-reviewed” internet journal First Monday (I’ve never heard of it either) comes this new study from several academics at the University of Tennessee: “Internet Research Agency Twitter Activity Predicted 2016 Election Polls.” The Internet Research Agency (IRA) is the »

CRB: Giving up Darwin

Featured image We conclude our week-long preview of the new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) this morning. I stretched our preview to from three days to five in part because of my indecision, in part because of my desire to give readers a glimpse of the many highlights on display in this issue. I think we have a good thing going. We conclude with a highlight of »

Dinosaurs and Liberal Fossils

Featured image Lots of interest right now in a New Yorker article, “The Day the Dinosaurs Died,” about a paleontological find in North Dakota that purports to encapsulate the moments and hours after the dinosaur-killing meteor struck 66 million years ago. It’s a fun read, though some scientists have been expressing skepticism—perhaps borne of jealousy? The research hasn’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal! What—do we need to replicate an asteroid »

You Think What You Eat?

Featured image Back in December I brought you the latest social science findings about the ideological meaning of . . . coffee choices. Sure enough, liberals do drink more lattes than conservatives, in part, the authors of the study speculated, because a preference for latte could somehow be connected to a more cosmopolitan, internationalist outlook, whereas the xenophobia of conservatives inclined them against liking Eurotrash beverages. Whatever. But the joke was on »

Liberal Social Darwinism In Action

Featured image I think it was our pal Charles Kesler who once remarked that “Social Darwinism” was the only kind of Darwinism that liberals oppose, though to be sure it is actually the progressive left that the label “Social Darwinism” fits most accurately. In any case, the liberals of Seattle seem determined to give Darwinian survival of the fittest a good workout. From NPR this week: Washington State Officials Declare State Of »

Why Scientists Are Distrusted

Featured image The latest issue of Nature magazine has a fascinating article that goes some of the way in vindicating Ronald Reagan’s infamous “gaffe” about how trees cause air pollution (because they do), but offers much much more about the problems of politicized and supposedly “settled” climate science. The article is called “How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change?“, and it walks through just how unsettled this question is. The subhed to »