• Science Stuff

    Novel Coronavirus Update

    Stats and graphs are from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ The novel coronavirus statistics are still very worrying, with more than 31,000 cases now and more than 630 fatalities. There is some reason for hope, though: have a look at the slope of each of these curves. The deaths curve seems to have gone…

  • Religion - Science Stuff

    Evolution and entropy

    The claim is sometimes made that entropy, or the laws of thermodynamics, prohibit the possibility of evolution. The laws of thermodynamics can be stated in a number of ways in words, and more precisely in equations, but here is one way of stating them: Energy cannot be created or destroyed…

  • Climate - Science Stuff

    Up Here’s For Thinkin’

    Here’s a graph I made and posted here a while ago: The post in question is here: http://www.bravus.com.au/blog/?p=1911 Sorry about the lack of labels – x-axis is years, y-axis is million square km of Antarctic sea ice. These data are for Antarctica, but the Arctic picture is similar. Why do…

  • Philosophy - Science Stuff

    Science and Morality

    P Z Myers is almost always worth reading. I disagree with him on many things, and agree on many more, but a blog is not worth reading only based on agreement – no doubt many who read my blog also disagree with me on some things. A blog is worth…

  • Science Stuff

    Science!

    So, I got my lab book – the crucial and closely-guarded document in which working scientists record their experiments each day to establish who got there first – this afternoon, and spent the whole afternoon working in the lab. Nothing particularly security-conscious today, but in these social media days, in…

  • Science Stuff

    Literature Reviews

    I’m working on the literature review for my Masters of Philosophy (Physics) (henceforth to be known by the more familiar title ‘M Phil’ – sounds French!). I’m writing something that will end up being (much tweaked near the end) a chapter of the thesis, but I also have to present…

  • Science Stuff

    Chemophobia

    Great little article on the ways words and language can confuse us in relation to health – if we let them. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/02/curing_chemophobia_don_t_buy_the_alternative_medicine_in_the_boy_with_a.single.html#pagebreak_anchor_2

  • Science Stuff - Teaching

    Science: The New Crusades

    OK, it’s not quite on the scale of the famous Billy Graham crusades in Melbourne in the 50s, which packed out the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but An Evening With Brian Cox in Melbourne sold 1800 tickets in one evening yesterday. The fact that women tend to think he’s dreamy (pic…

  • Science Stuff - Teaching

    Phj34r teh Mighty Ducks!!!1!

    I’m not posting this in relation to creationism and evolution, nor homosexuality and homophobia, although it touches on all those issues. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/10/13/the-ducks-are-gonna-get-you/ It’s about science education… which is what I do. Students don’t have to ‘believe in’ evolution: but they do have to understand it. And, honestly, they are in…

  • Politics - Science Stuff

    Science and Politics

    It’s not *necessarily* the case that those on the right politically have to be anti-science: indeed, conservatism has typically supported science. This is a very disturbing trend. http://www.salon.com/2011/10/15/the_republican_war_on_science_is_un_american/

  • Science Stuff

    Weak Measurements

    Only for the very brave. Here’s a paper I wrote for my course, about the concept of ‘weak measurement’ in quantum systems. http://www.bravus.com.au/weakmeasure.pdf In that paper I mention an objection to the original paper by Leggett. That would be Nobel Prize Winner Sir Anthony Leggett. Here’s a lecture by him…

  • Science Stuff - Teaching

    Parabens

    I wanted to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to a couple of good friends, and since I’m in Portugal I looked up how to do it in Portuguese1. One way to say it is ‘Parabens!’ – and my chemistry ears pricked up a bit. In chemistry the parabens are a family of…

  • Philosophy - Science Stuff

    If you could, would you?

    Hack your mind, that is. http://www.salon.com/books/neuroscience/index.html?story=/news/david_sirota/2011/05/31/memory_mechanics_science_fiction I’m ambivalent about the whole thing. My worst memories are pretty mild… just embarrassments and stupid things I did. Without a ‘do-over’ that would change the memories of other people or, say, the financial consequences in the real world, just getting rid of the…

  • Religion - Science Stuff

    Praying for the sick simply does not work

    I probably shouldn’t have to make the disclaimer after all this time, but it seems I do: I’m not attacking religion, Christianity or God. I’m challenging our (necessarily, inevitably) limited understanding of those things. Here’s a big analysis of the research evidence: http://www.springerlink.com/content/ql345l2h434666l5/ It’s pretty conclusive: praying for the sick…