Science

When “science” follows the left

Featured image Vaping is an alternative to smoking. It’s a way in which nicotine addicts can access that drug without exposure to the harmful tars and chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer, heart disease, and other maladies. It therefore presents the possibility of saving millions of lives. However, much of the left hates vaping. So it’s not surprising that “science” has been marshaled against it. Last year, the Journal of the American »

The Geek in Pictures

Featured image I’ve got a large backlog of interesting charts, graphs, and tables that I haven’t had a chance to offer up with analysis or commentary, so today I’m going to do a Friday Afternoon Chart Dump just for everyone’s edification. Most of these I’ll post without comment, because you can figure them out for yourselves. Or think of this perhaps as “The Geek in Pictures.” I’ll show myself out. Two more »

The Biggest Defect of the Left [with comment by Paul]

Featured image When asked to name the single greatest defect of the left, I usually answer quite narrowly: an inability to think in terms of tradeoffs. This is why liberals, owing to a Kantian-inspired disposition that favors intentions above consequences, tend always to utopianism, to the view that we if we just have good will and another tax increase, we can have the best yearbook ever! As Thomas Sowell likes to say, “There »

Science!—They Say

Featured image News item: Scientific American magazine has made its first ever endorsement for president. You’ll never guess who they have endorsed. I know the suspense is killing you: Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly. The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he »

What Next in 2020?

Featured image I’m going to get the drop on Glenn Reynolds with this item. . . Back in February, I’m sure most people took no notice about this news from the famous and massive Arecibo radio-telescope observatory in Puerto Rico: Arecibo Observatory Discovers Moon Orbiting Near-Earth Asteroid Scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have discovered a moon orbiting the near-Earth asteroid 2020 BX12. . . Arecibo radar images released Feb. »

Latest Social Science: Better Looking People Are Conservative

Featured image Regular readers know that one basic problem with social science is that often it spends time proving what is obvious to any alert eight-year-old, though social scientists sometimes strain to defy common sense. So in the past, we’ve reported on social science studies that prove conservative politicians are better looking than liberal politicians, that conservatives smell better than liberals (it’s called “bathing,” libs), and that conservatives are “better groomed” than »

Social Science: The Boss Hogg Hypothesis Confirmed

Featured image You know how political cartoons and other stylistic portrayals of political corruption often depict the offending office holders as fat? (It’s the only kind of “fat-shaming” still allowed, I think.) Well, some social scientists got to wondering, and came up with the following article—which I swear is for real—published last week in the journal Economics of Transition and Institutional Change: Obesity of politicians and corruption in post‐Soviet countries Pavlo Blavatskyy, »

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 »