Author={Roth, Annie},
Title={Sharks on a Golf Course Made a Watery Grave Unlike Any Other},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Lake sharks are real.},
category={Science, sharks}

Author={Overbye, Dennis},
Title={Don’t Expect a ‘Theory of Everything’ to Explain It All},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Even if physicists can come up with a theory that explains the behavior of both elementary particles and interstellar objects (a long shot at best at this point), gaining the ability to \emph{describe} the behavior would not grant us the ability to \emph{predict} future (or maybe even past) behavior. This is because of chaos: there is not enough computing power in the universe to model even simple objects. Tiny discrepancies turn into huge errors when magnified across time and space. There is no way to ever create models that will predict behavior accurately.},
category={Science, Criticality, physics}

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={Blood of Young Mice Extends Life in the Old},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Scientists stiched together an old mouse and a young mouse for three months and found the old mouse had all the markers of a younger mouse, while the younger mouse had markers of being older. After separation the younger mouse returned to markers of a younger mouse.},
category={Science, superscience, aging, mice}

Author={Preston, Elizabeth},
Title={Orca Moms Pay a High Price to Feed Large Adult Sons},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={In the Pacific Northwest orca group, mother orcas will catch, cut food, and share it with their sons – for the entire life of the son. A genetic preference for males, possibly because a male can spread genes to dozens of babies whereas a female can only spread genes to a few. Males may also be too big and bulky to catch their own food (salmon) in the particular region these killer whales live in.},
category={Science, killer whales, orcas, Criticality}
% Not mentioned explicitly in the article, but pretty clearly implicit, is the suggestion that a preference for male offspring may not be cultural – after all it’s almost certainly not just killer whale culture (not that there isn’t such a thing) that is causing these mother orcas to put so much effort into caring for their sons. Instead, it’s suggested, that caring for sons gives the genepool a better chance of propagating since males can father far more children than females can mother(?), so they evolved to care for sons. (I just realized how different the verbs ‘father’ and ‘mother’ are! Perhaps for the reasons discussed here.) Why would this not be true for humans too? One of the few other species (as the article points out) that share menopause with killer whales. Also interesting considering that killer whales are a matriarchal species. But perhaps humans also \emph{evolved} a cultural preference for male children, and the cultural preference is just a reflection of genetics.

title={On Food and Cooking: The Science and lore of the Kitchen},
author={McGee, H.},
comment={The giant classic reference book on the science and history of food.},
category={Science, food, cooking}
% Page 47: McGee points out that commercial yogurt is made from only two specific strains of bacteria that are added after pasteurization – so those two strains are ALL that’s in regular yogurt, and those strains have been developed to maximize yogurt-making capabilities and not easily picked up by the human gut. Additional probiotic strains are simply dumped in after the yogurt is made. This contrasts to traditional yogurt making where heirloom strains of bacteria were used to make the yogurt (with raw milk traditionally) yielding a wide variety of bacteria that was good (and probably sometimes bad) for the human gut. Kimchee and other pickled vegetables are still made this way.
% see also: \url{}
% Page 60: awesome chart showing the basic differences in making that lead to differnt types of cheese.

author={Lopez, B.H.},
series={A Barzoi book},
publisher={Alfred A. Knopf},
comment={A series of essays about Lopez’s travels to science camps around the world, and his reflections on the meaning of what is found and what is happening in the landscape around them.},
category={Science, science writing, essays}
% Two words kept running through my head reading this: insufferably pretentious.
% I couldn’t read the whole thing. I just read a few sections on the arctic and antarctic and a camp in Africa. % He is given to nickle words, scientific terms, and general prolix. His observations are shallow but at the same time couched in inflated notions of high-minded philosophy about the meaning of things.
% There is little to no humor because of the supposed deep significance of what he writes.
% More than anything else, I have this sense of jealousy and annoyance reading this book that this dude could be so privileged to travel to all these amazing places and basically turn out nothing significant as a result. I am shocked at how little I learned from this book. He doesn’t give much in the way of new information about the work the scientists are doing, instead just giving you obvious conclusions and some airy description of the landscape around.
% Eat, Pray, Love for the science-minded set.
% I will say that he can’t be so off-puttingly pretentious in real life. He must be a nice and fun guy to be around or he wouldn’t be invited (and invited back) to all these places. But that aspect of his personality barely, if at all, comes through in his writing. Studs Terkle or EO Wilson or Stephen J. Gould this guy ain’t.
% Page 304: He claims that many scientists now believe that the development of information systems for exchanging information that whole classes of people don’t understand will lead to evolutionary changes among humans, and perhaps a breaking of of a separate species over a short time period. To which I say: show me the proof on that! Sounds like total bullshit to me, and I would question any scientist proposing this theory. The internet might cause terrible class stratification, but how is it supposed to keep poor people from having babies? So effin’ stupid.
% Somewhere in the artic chapter: he goes off on a tangent about how we need to be more like certain people, and lists Aung San Suu Kyi – a particularly ironic gaff, since about the time this book was published she was being accused of persecuting journalists. (Lopez was a journalist.)
% Page 488: he talks about how there is often conflict in science camps between the scientists and the working-class people who support them. And points out that that conflict is rarely reported. I’ve always thought this to be the case too. Though he doesn’t go as far as I do, where I argue that there must be TONS of fieldwork that could be done by a working-class person with good training, that the scientists insist on doing themselves. I feel like this is a serious loss off opportunity to engage working class folks in science and better use human resources. In this case, Lopez is talking about a helicopter pilot – a “working class” (usually, I believe in the military helicopter pilots are officers) job that requires intense training and demandingly precise skills. If we can train “working class” people to be pilots, surely we can train them to also be doing scientific fieldwork. Make the scientists could can crunch numbers stay in the lab and do that, is what I say.

author={K{"a}rcher, Bernd},
title={Formation and radiative forcing of contrail cirrus},
journal={Nature Communications},
abstract={Aircraft-produced contrail cirrus clouds contribute to anthropogenic climate change. Observational data sets and modelling approaches have become available that clarify formation pathways close to the source aircraft and lead to estimates of the global distribution of their microphysical and optical properties. While contrail cirrus enhance the impact of natural clouds on climate, uncertainties remain regarding their properties and lifecycle. Progress in representing aircraft emissions, contrail cirrus and natural cirrus in global climate models together with tighter constraints on the sensitivity of the climate system will help judge efficiencies of and trade-offs between mitigation options.},
comment={Airline contrails might contribute to global warming even more than airline carbon does.}, category={Science, Criticality, airplanes, contrails} }
% The contrail conspiracy theorists were right about contrails being dangerous, just wrong about why. What does that say about the wisdom of the crowd?

Author={Crew, Bec},
Title={The Legend of Old Tom and the Gruesome “Law of the Tongue”},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={In the early part of the 20th Century, on a remote whaling station, Killer Whales herded baleen whales into a bay and notified whalers they were there to be killed. In exchange the whalers left the lips and tongues for the killer whales.},
category={Science, killer whales}

Author={Castello, Jay},
Title={The art behind NASA’s scientific space photos},
journal={The Verge},
comment={How the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) photos are colorized. It’s an interesting blend of using color to represent data, and at the same time making aesthetic choices that could be legitimately and widely varied.},
category={Science, The Art, jwst, photography}
% On the one hand, the photos HAVE to be colorized to create images – otherwise it’s really just data. It’s dumb to dismiss them as “false color” and act like the photos are meaniningless and really just a way to prop up science funding with public support. The colors have meaning, even to real scientists.
% On the other hand, the primary use of those prretty photos probably is to prop up science funding with public support, and you can say that without being cynical about it.
% But there is also this unwritten sense when they publish these photos that this is what our universe looks like. Some people compare the processing to the way phones process photos – but that’s actually a good example: phone photos are not what the world/universe looks like either. The truth that almost all things in the sky are fuzzy white dots remains. THAT is what our universe actually looks like. As scientists we should be able to hold these two truths in our head at the same time: the universe is fucking boring to look at; but there’s lots of interesting stuff out there to gather data on. Let’s not (essentially) lie to the public that the universe is beautiful. The images we create in our computers – derived from real data – can be beautiful, but that’s NOT what the universe looks like.

Author={Sokol, Joshua},
Title={Ant Milk: It Does a Colony Good},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Ants are among other unexpected creatures like pigeons, spiders and beetles that feed each other milk-like fluids.},
category={Science, ants, milk}
% See note in Jerusalem about pigeon milk

author = {Fabio Falchi and Pierantonio Cinzano and Dan Duriscoe and Christopher C. M. Kyba and Christopher D. Elvidge and Kimberly Baugh and Boris A. Portnov and Nataliya A. Rybnikova and Riccardo Furgoni },
title = {The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness},
journal = {Science Advances},
volume = {2},
number = {6},
pages = {e1600377},
year = {2016},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1600377},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
abstract = {The world atlas of zenith artificial night sky brightness is modelled with VIIRS DNB data and calibrated with more than 35,000 observations. Artificial lights raise night sky luminance, creating the most visible effect of light pollution—artificial skyglow. Despite the increasing interest among scientists in fields such as ecology, astronomy, health care, and land-use planning, light pollution lacks a current quantification of its magnitude on a global scale. To overcome this, we present the world atlas of artificial sky luminance, computed with our light pollution propagation software using new high-resolution satellite data and new precision sky brightness measurements. This atlas shows that more than 80% of the world and more than 99% of the U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies. The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of Europeans and nearly 80% of North Americans. Moreover, 23% of the world’s land surfaces between 75°N and 60°S, 88% of Europe, and almost half of the United States experience light-polluted nights.},
category = {Science, Criticality, Urbanism, dark skies, light pollution}
% Also talks about how the increased use of LED lighting will vastly increase the light pollution of urban areas.

Author={Bittel, Jason},
Title={The Shakespearean Tall Tale That Shaped How We See Starlings},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={While there was indeed an eccentric dude in the 19th Century who released a bunch of starlings in central park, he had no (documented) interest in Shakespeare, and his starling release was likely part of a few released across the country around the same time. The tale that he was interested in Shakespeare originated in a mid-century essay by Edwin Way Teale and was never fact-checked even though it was cited ad infinitum afterwards. Starlings are also not documented as having much impact on local bird species, through they do eat cattle feed and have caused an airplane crash (‘snarge’ is what bird experts call the bits of bird that come out the back end of an airplane engine.) Overall starling populations are declining, and it is debateable how much damage they cause},
category={Criticality, Science, birds, starlings, shakespeare}
% See also these awesome photos of starling mumurations: \url{}

Author={Gross, Rachel E.},
Title={Why Have Female Animals Evolved Such Wild Genitals?},
journal={Smithsonian Magazine},
comment={Covers some of the 20 year history of learning that some small percentage of birds evolved giant penises and countervailing vaginas to rape on the one hand and control paternity on the other. Also covers the pleasures of dolphin sex and some of the strange shapes evolved for sea creature genitalia. Argues that for too long the study of genetalia has be distorted by Darwin’s victorian mores and male perspective.},
category={Criticality, rape, sex, genitals, evolution, ducks}

% This is a great article, but it seems a bit dissonant to me that the whole latter part of the article is suggesting we can learn lessons about the falsity of our preconceptions about human sex from the variety of sex in the animal world when the first part of the article is discussing how rape is common with ducks. Seems to me that the real lesson to learn is that we should neither apply our preconceptions about sex to the animal world NOR try to take away lessons about human sex from the animal world where rape (and hey, cannibalism) is as common as homosexual masturbation.

Author={Imbler, Sabrina},
Title={In the Ocean, It’s Snowing Microplastics},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Microplastic may make up a significant portion of marine snow. Contrary to its inherent buoyancy, 99.8 percent of plastic that has entered the ocean has sunk below the first few hundred feet of the ocean and 10,000 times more microplastics have been found on the seafloor than in contaminated surface waters. Microplastics are quickly colonized by bacteria and sink, becoming “food” for creatures in the deep like vampire squid.},
category={Science, microplastic, oceans, marine snow, plastic}
% While it’s hard to believe that this could ever end up being a good thing (particularly for the vampire squid), it does seem like the unwritten possibility in this article is that microplastics are capturing and sequestering carbon out of the ocean. What if it turns out that not only does the ocean floor represent a good place for long-term landfilling of our plastic problem, but it also de-carbonizes the ocean on its way down? We couldn’t possibly get that lucky…

Author={Rabin, Roni Caryn},
Title={In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human — and It Worked},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Doctors attached a pig kidney to a brain-dead human’s leg — and it started processing urine. Also includes good history of xenotransplants.},
category={Science, Health, superscience, transplants, xenotransplants, pigs, vegans}
% And… then another mad-doctor super-scientists was like, “pig kidney? Psh. Hold my beer.” % \url{} % And the Frankensteinien superscience with pigs continues. Now they can bring pigs back from the dead: \url{}

Author={Brown, Claire},
Title={Attack of the Superweeds},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Weeds are evolving faster than the chemicals designed to kill them. The poster child of GMOs, “Roundup Ready” crops, became a total catalyst to making Roundup useless. “Monsanto began selling a new generation of genetically modified seeds bred to resist both glyphosate and dicamba. By 2020, scientists had confirmed the existence of dicamba-resistant Palmer amaranth. The agribusiness giant took a decade to develop that product line. The weeds caught up in five years.” ““Palmer amaranth may have evolved resistance to weed killers that have yet to be invented.” “ “When Monsanto submitted its 100-plus-page application for Roundup Ready soybean approval to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1993, just two paragraphs were devoted to the possibility that weeds might evolve to resist Roundup. (It was called a “low risk” prospect.) An appendix included letters of support from university-affiliated scientists, who all assured the agency that such an outcome was unlikely.” “The No. 1 reason organic food is so expensive is the time and energy spent on weed management.”},
category={Science, Criticality, superweeds, pigweed, monsanto, bayer, roundup, gmos}
% Genetically modified crops may have had no known health impacts, but that hasn’t stopped them from bringing about a crisis in agriculture. It just wasn’t the one either the boosters or naysayers were talking about. % Palmer amaranth (pigweed) is the weed that is best at evolving to beat pesticides. It is edible itself… the solution seems obvious. Though: “We have this plant that’s kicking our butt. How can we get it on our side? Of course, we’re going to try and grow it for a food crop — then it’s not going to grow.” % See also article in Health about gmos not producing higher yields as was claimed they would
% Once again, someone owes the old hippies railing in the early days against GMOs an apology.

Author={Preston, Elizabeth},
Title={Staghorn Ferns Act Like Bees in a Hive},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Staghorn ferns have been documented dividing up labor like a eusocial insect like ants or bees. The ferns are living together as colonies.},
category={Science, ferns, eusocial, plants}

Author={Lidz, Franz},
Title={How the World’s Oldest Wooden Sculpture Is Reshaping Prehistory},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={iThe Shigir Idol has been recently dated to 12,500 years old — far older than previous estimates. It contains complex imagery signifying abstraction of thought and belief. Archeologists are using it to challenge the notion that philosophy and complex thought came into Europe only from the settled agricultural civilizations in the Fertile Crescent. The argument is that those cultures simply used more archaelogically visible materials (stone, ivory) while hunter-gatherers would have made their art out of wood, which almost always disappears from the archaeological record.},
category={Criticality, Art, Science, history, archaeology}

Author={Ferreira, Becky},
Title={Mythical Beings May Be Earliest Imaginative Cave Art by Humans},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, cave art was discovered dating back nearly 45,000 years — among the oldest known cave paintings. The figures painted there include therianthropes, characters with a mix of human and animal features like tails and beaks.},
category={Science, indonesia, cave art, therianthropes}
% See also this article about an even older image of a pig discovered on the same island: \url{}
% That article includes discussion that the images might be by species other than modern humans.

Author={Kumar, Hari and Gettleman, Jeffrey},
Title={Man-Eating Tiger Is Shot Dead in India},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A Tiger that killed 13 people and learned to be very smart at avoiding hunters and capture because of all the missed attempts at her, was lured to her death by a bottle of Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume. Cats are attracted to the scent of the perfume. The tiger was known to have killed a man standing in the middle of a herd of cattle — and not touched any of the cattle. Wildlife activists were dismayed at the killing of the tiger. Local villagers rejoiced.},
category={Science, tiger, calvin klein, obsession, perfume, man-eater}

Author={Jabr, Ferris},
Title={The Social Life of Forests},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A recounting of how Suzanne Simard developed and proved the idea of the Wood-Wide Web: that fungus connect trees in a forest and the trees share resources among each other, even among many different species. Simard does good science, but also puts forth a public narrative akin to hippiedom: that all the woods are connected and cooperating to survive by sharing resources in an almost socialist way. This notion of cooperation instead of competition goes against most basic tenets of Darwinism, though it is of course acknowledged that certain species benefit evolutionarily from social cooperation. What is less well accepted is that a whole broad range of communities of species would benefit from cooperating together. This is the idealistic view that Simard proposes. Briefly mentioned in the article is an opposing view (that seems a little more clear-cut and simple to me): the network of fungus is not just unthinking infrastructure, in fact the fungus are the one making all these decisions about how to share resources, and they are doing it purely for the selfish reason of their own survival. The science that shows this is pretty convincing.},
category={Science, wood-wide web, forests, fungus, trees}
% So really, if you read between the lines of this article, you find % that while the hippie scientists want the forest to be one big magical % connected place, what they are actually finding is that the trees % might be just dumb reservoirs of resources for the fungus. The fungus % might well be the major players in the forest, not the trees. The % network is what matters, not the nodes. This doesn’t jibe with the % lens the hippies want to bring to it, and doesn’t read as well as % a pop news article (at least not at just this moment, it might after % the Wood-Wide Web becomes more widely distributed as a meme, and the % entertaining part is poking holes in it).
% See also this article that raises the debate among scientists about the extent and reality of the wood-wide web; \url{}
% Another all-time great quote here: “Scientists,' Dr. Karst concluded in her presentation, have become vectors for unsubstantiated claims.’”

title={The Right Stuff},
author={Wolfe, T.},
comment={The classic “new-journalism” book covering the attempt to break the sound barrier with experimental jets, and the early days of the American and Soviet space age.},
category={Science, space, rocket planes, sound barrier, hypersonic, chimpanzees, john glenn},
% (I think I took notes on the first half of this book on my phone. I don’t know where they are now.)
% Page 142: A paper is presented saying the sole purpose of having a human on board the spacecraft was biomedical research.
% Page 143: The Mercury rocket-capsule vehicle was a fully automated system in which “the astronaut does not need to turn a hand.” They would say, “The astronaut has been added to the system as a redundant component.”
% Page 152: The original design of the Mercury capsule had no window. The astronauts demanded that one be put in.
% Page 154: Description of the chimpanzee training program, begun at the same time as the training program for the men, the chimps had nearly the same capabilities and reaction times as the humans, and were just as grumpy about being test subjects, and constantly tried to escape.
% Page 161: The J.C. maneuver: take your hands off the controls and put the mother in the lap of a super natural power.
% Page 175: The story of chimp Number 61 who did the first ape flight. Through training, he remained completely calm throughout the flight — just like the humans. And because of his training did all the things he was required to do in the cockpit (to avoid being electrically shocked).
% Page 178: Number 61 flips out when confronted with the press.
% Page 245: ‘operant conditioning’ — the training that the apes and the astronauts went through — gave chimp Number 85 high blood pressure.
% Page 256: fuel is burned at one ton per second.
% Page 300: Scott (picked up after his flight by the aircraft carrier Intrepid) was proud to have figured out a weird little scientific mystery while in space, and more importantly created the role of scientist in space, kind of an upgrade from test pilot.
% Page 304: Carpenter was very serious about doing the science experiments. AS a result he fell behind in his flight checklist and then started to panic because he had been messing around with other people’s priorities for science rather than focusing on operational flight priorities.
% Page 306: the secret of a successful mission lay in a simplified checklist with white space between tasks. The fewer tasks you had, the better chance you had for 100 percent performance. If you could control the checklist, then you could give your flight a clear-cut goal that everyone could immediately appreciate, and respond to.
% Page 324: Gordo falls asleep while strapped in on top of the rocket waiting for launch.
% Page 339: Wolfe’s telling of how Ed Dwight, who would have been the first African-American astronaut, was held back by Chuck Yeager.
% Page 349: Meanwhile while Americans became obsessed with a moon landing, the Soviets put the first woman into space in 1963. (See wikipedia for more about how the Soviets also put the first black man into space, and achieved many many other milestones ahead of the Americans.)
% Page 351: Wolfe claims the cold war ends with the Kennedy Assassination “as anyone could plainly see.”

Author={Giaimo, Cara},
Title={How Suckerfish Surf Across Blue Whales Without Falling Off},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Remoras (suckerfish) have the ability to move around on the surface of blue whales, eating parasites, dead skin, and leftovers. Part of this is done by sticking close to the body, where there is a zone of slower-moving water the remora can hang out in.},
category={Science, remoras, suckerfish, fluid dynmaics}

Author={Sokol, Joshua},
Title={Sharks Wash Up on Beaches, Stabbed by Swordfish},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A half dozen or so sharks have washed up on beaches in the Mediterranean killed by being impaled on the broken-off swords of swordfish. Previously this behavior was only the stuff of fishermen’s tales.},
category={Science, sharks, swordfish, mediterranean}

Author={Kornel, Katherine},
Title={Footprints Mark a Toddler’s Perilous Prehistoric Journey},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={More than a mile of tracks found in the White Sands area of the US show a young woman carrying a toddler through a Pleistocene-era landscape. The tracks are cross by mammoth tracks and giant sloth tracks.},
category={Science, pleistocene, white sands, prehistoric, mammoth, giant sloth, footprints, prehistoric}

Author={Wu, Katherine J.},
Title={How Ultra-Black Fish Disappear in the Deepest Seas},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Deep sea fish have been found to have ultra-black qualities — that is, their skin absorbs 99.9 percent of light. Comparable with synthetic ultra-blacks like Vantablack.},
category={Science, black, ultra-black, vantablack, deep sea, fish}

Author={Munroe, Randall},
Title={What’s the World’s Worst Smell?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An amazing article from the xkcd guy about what the worst smell is. A strong candidate for worst smell ever created is “U.S. Government Standard Bathroom Malodor,” created and used by the military for testing cleaning products. Vanillin is one of the most easily detectable odors — theoretically one or two oil tankers of vanillin could give the entire earth a slight sent of vanilla.},
category={Science, xkcd, smell, odor, vanilla, vanillin, superscience}

title={Apollo 13},
author={Jim Lovell and Kluger, J.},
series={Nonfiction / [Pocket books]},
publisher={Pocket Books},
comment={Houston, we have a problem.},
category={Science, space, apollo 13, disasters}
% 141 - the nightmare of having to do basic math under presure

Author={Whang, Oliver},
Title={The Thinnest Paper in the World},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={On the thinnest paper made, used only for paper conservation.},
category={Science, paper, books, conservation, preservation, archives}

Author={Ojo, Tim},
Title={What Is P-Value (in Layman Terms)?},
comment={A nice (rare) plain-language explanation of p-value.},
category={Science, statistics, p-value}

% To understand what p-value is, you first need to understand what a null
% hypothesis is. When running a hypothesis test/experiment, the null hypothesis
% says that there is no difference or no change between the two tests. The
% alternate hypothesis is the opposite of the null hypothesis and states that
% there is a difference between the two tests. The goal of the experiment is
% usually to disprove the null hypothesis, and to prove/test the alternate
% hypothesis. Let me illustrate this with some examples.
% If you are trying to test whether a new marketing campaign generates more
% revenue, the null hypothesis is that there is no change in the revenue as a
% result of the new marketing campaign. And the alternate hypothesis is that the
% new marketing campaign performs better (or worse) than the previous campaign.
% If you are trying to prove that a new drug lowers cholesterol, the null
% hypothesis states that there is no difference in cholesterol between the group
% with the drug and the group without, while the alternate hypothesis states that
% the new drug does have an effect on cholesterol levels. If you are trying to
% test whether a new server version has better or worse performance than the
% previous version, the null hypothesis is that both server versions have equal
% performance. And the alternate hypothesis is that there is a meaningful
% difference in the performance of the old and new server.
% So what is the simple layman’s definition of p-value? The p-value is the
% probability that the null hypothesis is true. That’s it.
% In the example where we are trying to test whether a new marketing campaign
% generates more revenue, the p-value is the probability that the null
% hypothesis, which states that there is no change in the revenue as a result of
% the new marketing campaign, is true. If the value of the p-value is 0.25, then
% there is a 25% probability that there is no real increase or decrease in
% revenue as a result of the new marketing campaign. If the value of the p-value
% is 0.04 then there is a 4% probability that there is no real increase or
% decrease in revenue as a result of the new marketing campaign. As you can
% surmise, the lower the p-value, the more confident we are that the alternate
% hypothesis is true, which, in this case, means that the new marketing campaign
% causes an increase or decrease in revenue.

Author={Tingley, Kim},
Title={When You Wear Sunscreen, You’re Taking Part in a Safety Study},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Due to the vagaries and inefficiencies by which the FDA regulates the drugs and chemicals in our lives, there is NO scientific evidence that chemical sunscreen prevents skin cancer — it may even cause cancer. (Mineral-based sunscreen — like zinc — is perfectly safe and effective.)},
category={Science, Criticality, sunscreen}

Author={Preston, Douglas},
Title={The Day the Dinosaurs Died},
journal={New Yorker},
comment={The story of the guy who discovered a deposit of dinosaur fossils from the very day the asteroid impacted the Earth.},
category={Dinosaurs, fossils, asteroid, apocalypse}
% I feel like I had some other thoughts on this article written down somewhere, but I can’t find them.
% Might be worth re-reading this at some point

Author={Klein, JoAnna},
Title={Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? Scientists Camouflaged Horses to Find Out},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The latest zebra research suggests that the stripes on zebras confuse the depth perception of biting flies like horseflies making it difficult for them to land on the animals.},
category={Science, zebras, horseflies, stripes}

Author={Carey, Benedict},
Title={Can Big Science Be Too Big?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Researchers who study the “science of science” find that smaller teams are move innovative than larger ones. Big teams are important, but they are better suited to confirming and consolidating novel findings rahtter than generating them. The relationship holds no matter how big the group is: 10 is more innovative than 20, 1 is more innovative than 2. Sometimes even an individual’s work is clearly more innovative when it is by themselves rather than with a partner. People working in larger groups generate fewer ideas than smaller, and less receptive to ideas from the outside. When brainstorming people generate fewer ideas than working alone. Groups are good at helping people learn from each other, and incorporate knowledge — they just aren’t very innovative.},
category={Science, Humanity, groups}

author = {Carys E. Bennett and Richard Thomas and Mark Williams and Jan Zalasiewicz and Matt Edgeworth and Holly Miller and Ben Coles and Alison Foster and Emily J. Burton and Upenyu Marume },
title = {The broiler chicken as a signal of a human reconfigured biosphere},
journal = {Royal Society Open Science},
volume = {5},
number = {12},
pages = {180325},
year = {2018},
doi = {10.1098/rsos.180325}
URL = {},
eprint = {},
abstract = { Changing patterns of human resource use and food consumption have profoundly impacted the Earth’s biosphere. Until now, no individual taxa have been suggested as distinct and characteristic new morphospecies representing this change. Here we show that the domestic broiler chicken is one such potential marker. Human-directed changes in breeding, diet and farming practices demonstrate at least a doubling in body size from the late medieval period to the present in domesticated chickens, and an up to fivefold increase in body mass since the mid-twentieth century. Moreover, the skeletal morphology, pathology, bone geochemistry and genetics of modern broilers are demonstrably different to those of their ancestors. Physical and numerical changes to chickens in the second half of the twentieth century, i.e. during the putative Anthropocene Epoch, have been the most dramatic, with large increases in individual bird growth rate and population sizes. Broiler chickens, now unable to survive without human intervention, have a combined mass exceeding that of all other birds on Earth; this novel morphotype symbolizes the unprecedented human reconfiguration of the Earth’s biosphere. },
comment = {Chicken bones will define the fossil record of our age.},
category = {Science, chickens, fossils}

Author={Hansen, Mark},
Title={To Reduce Privacy Risks, the Census Plans to Report Less Accurate Data},
tournal={The New York Times},
comment={The Census is introducing “differential privacy” into its data for the 2020 Census. This is a mathematical confusion of data to make it more difficult to reconstruct true Census data as gathered from real life. The problem is this does make the data more inaccurate in exchange for the privacy. Includes a good plain-language explanation of how differential privacy works, it’s risks and benefits.},
category={Science, Politics, census, differential privacy}

Author={Change, Kenneth},
Title={A Metropolis of 200 Million Termite Mounds Was Hidden in Plain Sight},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Termites in Brazil have built 200 million termite mounds, some of which are nearly 4000 years old, across an area the size of Britain. Some of the mounds are 10 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Unlike termites in other places where the mounds are used for ventilation, these mounds are just excavated dirt from vast underground colonies.},
category={Science, Urbanism, termites, Brazil}

Author={van der Linden, Sander},
Title={The Science Behind Dreaming},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={Current state (as of 2011) of dream science - ``Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are. Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active. This mechanism fulfils an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety. In fact, severe REM sleep-deprivation is increasingly correlated to the development of mental disorders. In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories.’’},
category={Science, Health, dreams}
% There is no current science on dream interpretation:
% \url{}
% Despite the fact nearly all humans share dream themes, and there IS science supporting dream analysis for therapy:
% \url{}
% See NY Times article on dreaming, with link to increased prevalence of weird dreams, and tips on programming your dreams:
% \url{}
% And yet more long-form article from the Times that has zero new information or understanding of dreams in it: % \url{} % And still there is no proposed explanation for dreaming from science that even comes close to explaining why so many people have dreams about tsunamis or teeth falling out or demons outside the windo or other common motifs that are basically NEVER experienced in real life, but show up in dreams all the time.

Author={O’Connor, Anahad},
Title={More Evidence That Nutrition Studies Don’t Always Add Up},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Reflections on the fall of Brian Wansink, formerly a food scientist at Cornell who did research on different factors that affect how people eat (like the size of the plate and branding). An investigation found that he was guilty of cherry-picking results from large datasets and p-hacking and pushing for results that are more likely to go viral. This is particularly a problem in nutrition science.},
category={Health, Science, data dredging, p-hacking, food science}
% I’m just waiting for someone to prove similar criticisms for “cognitivie dissonace” types and all those “statiscally valid” finding about human behavior Eagleton cites in Icognitio. Food science is not the only area plagued with bad science like this.

Author={Dell’Amore Christine},
Title={“Tyrant King” Leech Discovered, Attacks Orifices},
journal={National Geographic},
comment={The Tyrannobdella rex is a 3 inch long leech discovered in Peru in 2010 with very large teeth, and very small genitalia (for a leech). If feeds on mammalian mucus membranes.},
category={Science, leeches, peru}

% On the list of animals of evil that should be wiped out mercilessly, along with the mosquito and the dreaded candiru.

Title={Damn Bugs},
comment={This episode of Radiolab covers the moral question of if it would be ok to wipe out mosquitoes. Interesting arguments are provided on both sides: some scientists say that mosquitoes are so dangerous (spreading malaria) and provide such a small amount of protein that basically nothing makes them a staple of their diet, and so they should be wiped out. Other scientists argue that the mosquito keeps humans out of jungles by making those places too dangerous or uncomfortable for humans, and therefore serve to protect those places.},
category={Science, bugs, mosquitoes, malaria}

Author={Taft, Dave},
Title={Cicada Killer, Qu’est-ce Que C’est},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={About the cicada killer wasp, the giant yellow-jacket looking wasp that takes down cicadas and buries them alive and lays her eggs in its body for her larva to feed on. Basically harmless to humans.},
category={Science, wasps, bugs, cicadas}
% Funny that when I saw one of these it was loudly munching on the
body of a cicada, and had half consumed it. That behavior doesn’t fit
anything described in this article. I have a photo somewhere.

@article {Johnson20181019,
author = {Johnson, Marc T. J. and Prashad, Cindy M. and Lavoignat, M{'e}lanie and Saini, Hargurdeep S.},
title = {Contrasting the effects of natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow on urban evolution in white clover (Trifolium repens)},
volume = {285},
number = {1883},
year = {2018},
doi = {10.1098/rspb.2018.1019},
publisher = {The Royal Society},
abstract = {Urbanization is a global phenomenon with profound effects on the ecology and evolution of organisms. We examined the relative roles of natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow in influencing the evolution of white clover (Trifolium repens), which thrives in urban and rural areas. Trifolium repens exhibits a Mendelian polymorphism for the production of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), a potent antiherbivore defence. We quantified the relative frequency of HCN in 490 populations sampled along urban{\textendash}rural transects in 20 cities. We also characterized genetic variation within 120 populations in eight cities using 16 microsatellite loci. HCN frequency increased by 0.6% for every kilometre from an urban centre, and the strength of this relationship did not significantly vary between cities. Populations did not exhibit changes in genetic diversity with increasing urbanization, indicating that genetic drift is unlikely to explain urban{\textendash}rural clines in HCN frequency. Populations frequently exhibited isolation-by-distance and extensive gene flow along most urban{\textendash}rural transects, with the exception of a single city that exhibited genetic differentiation between urban and rural populations. Our results show that urbanization repeatedly drives parallel evolution of an ecologically important trait across many cities that vary in size, and this evolution is best explained by urban{\textendash}rural gradients in natural selection.},
issn = {0962-8452},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences},
comment = {In urban areas, the primary driver of evolution is natural selection, and it is more powerful than in the same species in non-urban areas, as seen in the white clover.},
category = {Urbanis, evolution, white clover, natural selection}

Author={Carey, Benedict},
Title={Psychology Itself Is Under Scrutiny},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The field of psychology has been going through a process of trying to replicate many of its major studies — and finding poor results. The Stanford Prison Experiment, the marshmallow test, and the idea of ego depletion are all suffering from deep attacks on their credibility and replicability. It seems that human behavior is simply infinitely more variable than studies of physics or cardiology. Effects that might have been meaningful in the past may not remain meaningful. Small changes to how a study is done might have big impacts on outcomes. And most importantly these effects might be real, but they are likely MUCH smaller than the science backing them up suggests they are.},
category={Science, psychology, replicability, stanford prison experiment, marshmallow test, ego depletion, willpower, Humanity}
% I really hope these people get around to all those social science and economics studies that are the basis for books like Incognito.

Author={Engber, Daniel},
Title={Everything Is Crumbling},
comment={The idea of “ego depletion” or that you have a limited reserve of willpower had been well-established in psychological study literature. But it turns out that more rigorous analysis of that research suggests that not only are many individual studies poor, but the whole idea might be wrong — even though it has hundreds of different experiments supporting it. It isn’t clear exactly why they are all so bad, or that ego depletion is completely false (it might just be much less dramatic than the current research suggest, or just insanely more difficult to test for than anticipated.) Many of those experiments have turned out to be unreplicable, and there are other bias problems that are likely coming into play. Even the venerable “meta-analysis” of these studies are coming into question — if you do a meta-analysis of 100 poor studies you get a poor meta-analysis.},
category={Science, psychology, replicability, meta-analysis, ego depletion, willpower}

title={Benefits of size dimorphism and copulatory silk wrapping in the sexually cannibalistic nursery web spider, Pisaurina mira},
author={Anderson, Alissa G and Hebets, Eileen A},
journal={Biology letters},
publisher={The Royal Society},
comment={Male nursery web spiders tie up females before copulating to avoid being eaten. This research tested that idea, by blocking some males from using their spinnerets to tie up females. They were eaten. Larger males did better than smaller ones.},
category={Science, spiders, nature, sexual cannibalism, bondage, sex}
See nytimes coverage here: \url{}

Author={Klein, JoAnna},
Title={Stick Insects Are Easy Bird Food, and That Might Help Them Reproduce},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Stick insect eggs look like seeds to entice birds to eat the insects and shit out their eggs in a new location. These wingless insects make use of the same mechanism to spread that plants do.},
category={Science, stick insects, reproduction, seeds, eggs}

title={Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain},
author={Eagleman, D.},
publisher={Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group}
comment={Surveys the current neural science research to draw conclusions about how the brain works.},
category={Science, mind, brain, Humanity}
% This book is very much in that category of pop-sci, where it draws on
% research results to suggest interesting counter-instinctual conclusions.
% It’s very similar to this social economics books like Traffic or The
% Paradox of Choice. In all these books a wide-ranging survey of basic
% science (simple studies, with statistically significant findings)
% are used to try to suggest something about human behavior, often
% counter-intuitively to what people THINK they know about human behavior.
% But to use findings from small studies, even widely sampled, to talk
% about things as complex as social behavior or how the mind works
% is really just SLIGHTLY better than total junk science. Any truth
% suggested by most of this science are small truths at best, and at worst
% reflecting nothing more than current cultural conditions - which can not
% only change, but might change DELIBERATELY because human culture works
% that way. The social economics books at least are saying that humans
% don’t apply the rationality of economics (and maybe they should) but
% Eagleman (and presumably other neural scientists studying these kinds of
% things) are trying to generalize truths about humanity from their weak
% little studies - like saying that people are more attracted to paler
% women because it’s easier to see if they are diseased — ignoring not
% just the racist implications of a study like this, but also that while
% they might have a statistically significant finding, that finding might
% leave a HUGE number of people who feel the exact opposite, and it is
% pretty easy to imagine the whole culture shifting to preferring women
% with darker features — if we wanted to. Human minds are just that
% plastic. Basing your sense of what the brain IS on findings from simple
% studies (no matter how well conducted — some of this stuff is likely
% junk science, but some of it is probably excellent, in practice) is a
% fallacy that will prove you wrong in the long run. This book is kinda
% terrible.

Author={Crew, Becky},
Title={Eunice aphroditois is rainbow, terrifying},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={The bobbit is a meter long worm, about an inch wide, that buries itself in the mud at the bottom of the ocean with just it’s razor sharp scissor-like pincers exposed. When a fish comes along it snaps onto it and drags it under the mud to consume it. It was nicknamed the bobbit after Lorena Bobbitt in the early 1990s.},
category={Science, ocean, worms, superscience}
% As seen on Blue Planet II, Episode 3. Strongly resembling the sarlacc.

Author={Charles, Dan},
Title={Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don’t Help The Environment},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A scientist argues that honeybees are an agricultural animal, and they compete with native wild bees for resources. Perhaps we shouldn’t be putting so much energy and money into protecting them.},
category={Science, honeybees, Criticality, endangered species, invasive species}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Swatting at Mosquitoes May Help You Avoid Bites, Even if You Miss},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={It is true that mosquitoes perfer some people more than others. And the probably decide who they like based on a person’s looks, smells, and behaviors. This includes how often you try to kill them. A mosquito will learn to avoid people who swat at them in favor of an easier meal.},
category={Science, mosquitoes}

Author={Engber, Daniel},
Title={Wind Chill Blows},
comment={Why wind chill is a meaningless number. The initial experiments that led to wind chill calculations were grossly wrong. Around year 2000 some scientists tried to update it, but still made assumptions that apply to almost no one: ``Osczevski and Bluestein made a set of new assumptions to determine wind-chill-equivalent temperatures. Namely, they geared their calculations toward people who are 5 feet tall, somewhat portly, and walk at an even clip directly into the wind. They also left out crucial variables that have an important effect on how we experience the weather, like solar radiation. Direct sunlight can make us feel 10 to 15 degrees warmer, even on a frigid winter day. The wind chill equivalent temperature, though, assumes that we’re taking a stroll in the dead of night.’’ But even if they created a more accurate model, wind chill doesn’t really tell you how cold your skin will get - that is air temperature alone - just the RATE at which your skin will reach air temperature. You’ll feel colder FASTER in a stiff wind, but it isn’t actually any COLDER. -40 with still air is far far colder than -10 with -40 wind chill. Argues that the best way to understand how weather will affect us is to simply look out the window. Weathermen can give us data, but each of us as individuals have to understand how that affects us alone.},
category={Science, wind chill, weather, cold, temperature, Criticality}
% See this updated and somewhat more scientific explanation: \url{}

Author={Lehrer, Jonah},
Title={The Truth Wears Off},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={Covers the scientific phenomenon of “the decline effect” (a term re-coined in this article). This is where in some cases rigorous scientific study shows a declining effect over time, the more studies are done or replicated about a given finding. Recounts the story of Jonathan Schooler (also told in a RadioLab short) where his finding that the more people try to put a memory into words, the less accurate they are about the memory. (He calls it “verbal overshadowing”.) But his findings were less robust the more he studied the phenomenon. Various explanations are floated, including regression to the mean (but it doesn’t explain linear decline, it only explains a single extraordinary finding), and publication bias, where scientists tend to publish only positive findings (though this doesn’t explain Schooler and a few other’s rigorous findings.) It could also be perception bias - where even good scientists make mistakes that trend positive because they are human doing very very complex measurements. Scientists are also affected by cultural factors: in Asia 47 studies of acupuncture all found it effective, while of 94 studies of acupuncture in Western countries only 56 percent found it effective. This article also quotes John Ioannidis, who describes “significance chasing” where scientists try to find ways to get their findings over the 95 percent significance boundary. (A boundary which this article claims was basically an arbitrary boundary.) He says the pursuit of replicability distracts from the real problem: faulty experiment design.},
category={Science, decline effect, replicability, verbal overshadowing, regression to the mean, publication bias, selection bias, acupuncture, significance chasing}
% According to Wikipedia this article caused a lot of controversy because the ending might suggest the scientific process doesn’t work: “Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.”
% Lehrer responded to these criticisms by reinforcing that theories like evolution and global warming are real. The scientific method works - when enough studies are applied to it.
% RadioLab and On The Media covered this, and raised the possible explanation as some larger problem with the universe in general - maybe something like the act of observing phenomena actually changes the results. This of course is only a theory, that could only be a real possibility if the other explanations are more firmly eliminated.
% Wikipedia covers some of the controversy around this article, pointing out that most of the studies showing the decline effect are in areas of social science, that involve humans - who are notoriously more complex to study. Harder sciences, like physics, have less of this issue.
% There is little follow up to this article and criticism that I can find 8 years later. It seems like this blew up as a controversy for a short while, and then most people forgot about it.

title={More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas},
author={Hallmann, Caspar A and Sorg, Martin and Jongejans, Eelke and Siepel, Henk and Hofland, Nick and Schwan, Heinz and Stenmans, Werner and M{"u}ller, Andreas and Sumser, Hubert and H{"o}rren, Thomas and others},
journal={PloS one},
publisher={Public Library of Science},
comment = {Using data from insect traps in nature reserves, this paper estimates a 75 percent loss in biomass of insects since the 1980s. Cause is not known, but it is likely pesticides and loss of wild areas plays a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changets to landscape in the reserves as causes.},
category = {Science, insects, germany}
% See article about this paper: \url{}
% The article also talks about the anecdotal evidence that people report remembering much higher insect deaths on their car windshields in the past.
% More on this in this long Times Magazine piece: \url{}
% Which talks about how hard it is to find this data because it’s just baseline data that nobody would ever have been excitedly collecting. Sources include “amatuer” collectors who just happened to run collecting experiments where they kept everything.
% Also talks about how there’s nine giraffes for every sophie sold in France, and the total weight of vertebrates would be 94% human, an 6% everything else.
% Also discusses “shifting baseline syndrome” where humans don’t notice (particular from one generation to the next) sometimes major changes in the environment around them. Gives the example of fishermen in Florida who are equally happy from one generation to the next to catch the biggest fish, even though the biggest fish is much smaller in every generation.

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={The Dirty Secrets Saved in Dead Birds’ Feathers},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={In collections of dead birds at universities, it was noticed that birds from the earlier part of the 20th Century were dirtier. This turned out to be because of particles of air pollution caught in their feathers. Since birds molt every year this could be used as a record of air pollution year-by-year.},
category={Science, birds, pollution, feathers}
% What’s really amazing to me is that this is yet another case where the effort NOT to prepare the samples by cleaning them yielded a valuable data resource 100 years later.
% It makes me wonder about what things we do now that might impact future archival efforts.
% Or maybe it just isn’t something you can plan for? Maybe if they HAD cleaned the birds it would have been a useful record of 20th Century cleaning chemicals instead?
% Or maybe there’s a lesson about not trying to do TOO much work. Or a lesson about leaving the patina of things alone?
% So many possible directions here. Who knows.

Author={Angier, Natalie},
Title={Birds Beware: The Praying Mantis Wants Your Brain},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Mantis are predators that show some practices that are more like vertebrate predators. They have been seen capturing small birds, like hummingbirds, and eating their brains. They appear to know to crack through the bird’s skull to get to the brains for the most nutritious part. Sometimes they eat the carcasses while copulating. Their closest relatives are cockroaches.},
category={Science, mantis, insects, hummingbirds}
% See awesome photos of hummingbird’s brain being eaten by a mantis accompanying the article.

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={Climate Change Threatens the World’s Parasites (That’s Not Good)},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Much like top predators, parasites help keep prey animals in check and so are an important part of the food web — in many cases the part of the web with the most connections. In some environments they make up the majority of the biomass. New research shows that climate change may reduce the number of parasites in the environment dramatically, and that could have negative consequences on other species.},
category={Science, parasites, food web, environment, climate change}

title={Project STORMFURY: A scientific chronicle 1962–1983},
author={Willoughby, HE and Jorgensen, DP and Black, RA and Rosenthal, SL},
journal={Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society},
comment={In the 1960s scientists thought they could reduce the power of hurricanes by cloud-seeding storm around the outside of a hurricane so they grew in size enough to take over the center eyewall of the hurricane. Turns out this is precisely what hurricanes do naturally as part of getting stronger so even if this cockamamie scheme had worked, it probably would have only fed the hurricane strength.},
category={Science, superscience, eyewalls, hurricanes, cloud-seeding}

Author={Gillis, Justin},
Title={Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Reporting on the latest thinking in the ongoing scientific debate over whether to let forest fires burn or not. Upshot: sounds like mostly letting them burn is the right thing to do, but there are many social and pragmatic reasons that get in the way still.},
category={Science, forest fires}

author={Cardinale, Massimiliano
and Kaiser, Dominik
and Lueders, Tillmann
and Schnell, Sylvia
and Egert, Markus},
title={Microbiome analysis and confocal microscopy of used kitchen sponges reveal massive colonization by Acinetobacter, Moraxella and Chryseobacterium species},
journal={Scientific Reports},
abstract={The built environment (BE) and in particular kitchen environments harbor a remarkable microbial diversity, including pathogens. We analyzed the bacterial microbiome of used kitchen sponges by 454{^a}??pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes and fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled with confocal laser scanning microscopy (FISH{^a}??CLSM). Pyrosequencing showed a relative dominance of Gammaproteobacteria within the sponge microbiota. Five of the ten most abundant OTUs were closely related to risk group 2 (RG2) species, previously detected in the BE and kitchen microbiome. Regular cleaning of sponges, indicated by their users, significantly affected the microbiome structure. Two of the ten dominant OTUs, closely related to the RG2-species Chryseobacterium hominis and Moraxella osloensis, showed significantly greater proportions in regularly sanitized sponges, thereby questioning such sanitation methods in a long term perspective. FISH{^a}??CLSM showed an ubiquitous distribution of bacteria within the sponge tissue, concentrating in internal cavities and on sponge surfaces, where biofilm{^a}??like structures occurred. Image analysis showed local densities of up to 5.4{^a}??*{^a}??1010 cells per cm3, and confirmed the dominance of Gammaproteobacteria. Our study stresses and visualizes the role of kitchen sponges as microbiological hot spots in the BE, with the capability to collect and spread bacteria with a probable pathogenic potential.},
comment={Sponges are gross},
category={Science, kitchen sponges, bacteria}
% See NY Times article here: \url{}

title={Zealandia: Earth’s hidden continent},
author={Mortimer, Nick and Campbell, Hamish J and Tulloch, Andy J and King, Peter R and Stagpoole, Vaughan M and Wood, Ray A and Rattenbury, Mark S and Sutherland, Rupert and Adams, Chris J and Collot, Julien and others},
journal={GSA Today},
comment={Off the east side of Australia is a submerged mass that these guys are arguing qualifies as lost contienent. It has all the characteristics that scientists ascribe to continents. It’s called Zealandia.},
category={Science, superscience, zealandia, continents}

title={Body heat storage during physical activity is lower with hot fluid ingestion under conditions that permit full evaporation},
author={Bain, AR and Lesperance, NC and Jay, O},
journal={Acta physiologica},
publisher={Wiley Online Library},
comment={Research into whether drinking hot beverages in hot weather cools you down, as is suggested by legend in hot places around the world. Finds that indeed it does, by causing you to sweat more — but obviously this only works in places with a dry heat, so that evapoative cooling from sweat cools you down. Otherwise, the added heat of the hot beverage just warms your body a little bit.},
% See plain-language article here: \url{}

title={West Antarctic ice sheet and CO2 greenhouse effect: a threat of disaster},
author={Mercer, John H},
comment={An early classic paper that predicts global warming would cause the melting of the ice shelves in West Antarctica, which hold back the land-based glaciers of West Antarctica. (East Antarctic glaciers are not going anywhere any time soon because they are firmly planted on land.)},
category={Science, superscience, greenhouse effect, global warming, antartica, ice shelf, glaciers}
% As more time passes this paper seems more and more the work of an old-school biblican prophet.
% See pdf here: \url{}
% Referenced by the NY Times today in article about the calving of the massive iceberg from the Antarctic Penninsula.

Author={Preston, Richard},
Title={Climbing The Redwoods},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={About scientists who climb 300 feet up into the canopys of coastal redwoods — the tallest trees on earth, and before logging there were probably redwoods with more mass than the giant sequoias so they were the biggest trees on earth too — and what they find there. Redwoods grow straight up without any branches for 200 feet, and then in the canopys start splitting off into many different trunks and branches, which then fuse back together in places. Soil and plants collect on the branches and in the crevises in the canopy. Sometimes up to 3 feet thick. Worms and salamanders live up there. Other tiny trees and bushes grow in the soil. Some of the branches and trunks are dead making the climbing very dangerous. There can be dead wood sections the size of cars that can be knocked free by a climber. Sometimes redwoods drop whole section of themselve, which one scientist calls calving — dropping a woodberg. },
category={climbing, Science, trees, redwoods}
% Online version posted here:

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Waves Above the Earth May Have Once Caused a ‘Nocturnal Sun’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Ancient reports of bright nights with a ``nocturnal sun’’ by which people could see stumped scientists. Now they think they have a theory about how waves of molecules activated by ultraviolet light in the atmosphere may occassionally had made for nights that were bright enough to see well by. This is harder and hard to experience due to light pollution.},
category={Science, nocturnal sun, bright nights, light pollution}

Author={Povoledo, Elisabeth},
Title={Can Animals Predict Earthquakes? Italian Farm Acts as a Lab to Find Out},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Some scientists in Italy are using acclerometers attached to animals to find out if the ancient idea that animals can sense when an earthquake will happen is true. Early results (from a small study) are promising. The scientists say its important to track multiple types of animals, and then looking at the patterns in the data, they have begun to see the possibility that the animals know something beforehand. They call this network of animals the ``internet of animals.’’},
category={Science, earthquakes, italy, animals, superscience}

Author={Fountain, Henry},
Title={On Nuclear Waste, Finland Shows U.S. How It Can Be Done},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Contrasts Finland’s process for building a nuclear waste storage site with the US’s efforsts to build one at Yucca Mountain. Focuses on how Finland’s success was early recognition that they needed to communicate with the community, and make sure they had community buy-in before proceeding. Doing this they found a community that actually WANTED the storage facility. Also, Finland established that the companies creating the waste were responsible for storing it, while spent fuel in the US became the problem of the federal government. ``“When you look at the Finnish repository, it’s natural to admire the technical accomplishment,” said Rodney C. Ewing, a professor at Stanford and former chairman of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency that reviews Energy Department programs, including Yucca Mountain. “But of equal importance has been the social accomplishment.”’’},
category={Science, superscience, nuclear waste, finland, yucca mountain}
% They may have gotten the community buy-in to carry out the project, and that’s great.
% But whether the waste will actually be SAFE for 10,000 years is totally up in the air.
% And how do you get community buy-in from a community 10,000 years in the future?

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={How Pasteur’s Artistic Insight Changed Chemistry},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Talks about how Louis Pasteur’s early experience with art may be the reason he was able to propose the idea of molecular chirality (or handedness) before the makeup of molecules was even understood.},
category={Science, chirality, handedness, pasteur}
% The explanation of chirality here is not very good. I would love to see someone explain it in a way that actually makes some kind of sense.
% This article does not cover the fact that all living materials have left-handed chirality. But this article does cover thalidimide and other drugs that have different affects depending on chirality.

Author={Marchetti, Damiano},
Title={The Sludge at the Bottom of the Sea},
comment={In the 1980s and 90s NYC was dumping it’s sludge left over from water treatment plants, slaiming it would disperse in the sea before reaching bottom. Scientists eventually went down in the submarine Alvin and found a 100 mile patch on the bottom of the ocean covered in the sludge. The city eventually stopped dumping.},
category={Science, Urbanism, sludge, waste water treatment, submarines}

Author={Perlroth, Nicole and Sanger, David E.},
Title={Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Using an exploit stolen from the N.S.A. hackers encrypted computers around the world and held them for ransom. The attacks on Friday appeared to be the first time a cyberweapon developed by the N.S.A., funded by American taxpayers and stolen by an adversary had been unleashed by cybercriminals against patients, hospitals, businesses, governments and ordinary citizens. Something similar occurred with remnants of the “Stuxnet” worm that the United States and Israel used against Iran’s nuclear program nearly seven years ago. Elements of those tools frequently appear in other, less ambitious attacks.'' The attacks on Friday are likely to raise significant questions about whether the growing number of countries developing and stockpiling cyberweapons can avoid having those same tools purloined and turned against their own citizens. They also showed how easily a cyberweapon can wreak havoc, even without shutting off a country’s power grid or its cellphone network.’’ Microsoft had released a patch for this, but while they usually credit the person who found the exploit, in this case it was anonymous, leading people to point the finger at the N.S.A. itself revealing the exploit to Microsoft because they knew it had been stolen from them. ``Privacy activists said if that were the case, the government would be to blame for the fact that so many companies were left vulnerable to Friday’s attacks. It takes time for companies to roll out systemwide patches, and by notifying Microsoft of the hole only after the N.S.A.’s hacking tool was stolen, activists say the government would have left many hospitals, businesses and governments susceptible.’’},
category={Science, Economics, superscience, hacking, ransomware, nsa}

Author={Carrington, Damian},
Title={Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts},
journal={The Guardian},
comment={There was flooding in the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard after an unusally warm spring melted permafrost around the vault entrance. The whole purpose of putting the seed vault in Svalbard was that if the refridgeration equipment dies, the natural cold will preserve the seeds. This event raises questions about whether that is even possible.},
category={Science, global warming, climate, svalbard, arctic, global seed vault, apocalypse, superscience}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Genetic Tidying Up Made Humped Bladderworts Into Carnivorous Plants},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The humped bladderwort has few to no roots to hold it down. It floats in water eating tiny crustaceans (water fleas) to get the nutrients it needs. It also has an extremely efficient and small genome. Originallu they were carnivorous as a defense mechanism, digestive enzymes were produced to deter animals from eating the plants (which is how caffiene evolved too). Eventually those enzymes evolved into a kind of mouth and stomach.},
category={Science, carnivorous plants, genetics}

Author={Nyhan, Brendan},
Title={When Beliefs and Facts Collide},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={New research shows that people often understand the science around things like climate change, but choose not to believe it because it conflicts with their beliefs. The problem isn’t a LACK of information, it’s people CHOOSING not to believe it. more people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views. This finding helps us understand why my colleagues and I have found that factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines. With science as with politics, identity often trumps the facts.'' One possible solution is to try to break the connection between identity and factual beliefs --- so a Republican might still believe in climate change. But also there is a need to reduce incentives for elites to spread misinformation to their followers. Once people’s cultural and political views get tied up in their factual beliefs, it’s very difficult to undo regardless of the messaging that is used.’’ ``The deeper problem is that citizens participate in public life precisely because they believe the issues at stake relate to their values and ideals, especially when political parties and other identity-based groups get involved – an outcome that is inevitable on high-profile issues. Those groups can help to mobilize the public and represent their interests, but they also help to produce the factual divisions that are one of the most toxic byproducts of our polarized era.’’},
category={Science, beliefs, identity}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Broken Tulips: ‘That Last Gasp of Beauty Before Death’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Broken tulips carry a virus that causes them to streak with color. Unfortunately it also causes them to die early. ``The virus that creates these blazing beauties also kills them. The flowers wilt early, leaving behind little energy for the bulbs to use to develop, multiply or blossom. Broken tulips produce fewer bulbs that carry the virus from one generation to the next. And over time without care, the flowers disappear.’’ They were one of the drivers behind Tulip Mania in 1637 when the price for tulip bulbs inflated to insane prices and then collapsed.},
category={Science, flowers, tulips, tulip mania, netherlands, dutch, Economics}

Author={Angier, Natalie},
Title={As Rains Ease in the West, Cactuses Shine Brighter Than Ever},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={All sorts of weird facts about cactuses, including the fact that a bunch of species produce nectar to feed ants that in turn protect the cactuses from insect predators.},
category={Science, plants, cactus, desert}
% Apparently the NY Times prefers cactuses to cacti

@article {Branstetter20170095,
author = {Branstetter, Michael G. and Je{\v s}ovnik, Ana and Sosa-Calvo, Jeffrey and Lloyd, Michael W. and Faircloth, Brant C. and Brady, Se{'a}n G. and Schultz, Ted R.},
title = {Dry habitats were crucibles of domestication in the evolution of agriculture in ants},
volume = {284},
number = {1852},
year = {2017},
doi = {10.1098/rspb.2017.0095},
publisher = {The Royal Society},
abstract = {The evolution of ant agriculture, as practised by the fungus-farming {\textquoteleft}attine{\textquoteright} ants, is thought to have arisen in the wet rainforests of South America about 55{\textendash}65 Ma. Most subsequent attine agricultural evolution, including the domestication event that produced the ancestor of higher attine cultivars, is likewise hypothesized to have occurred in South American rainforests. The {\textquoteleft}out-of-the-rainforest{\textquoteright} hypothesis, while generally accepted, has never been tested in a phylogenetic context. It also presents a problem for explaining how fungal domestication might have occurred,
given that isolation from free-living populations is required. Here, we use phylogenomic data from ultra-conserved element (UCE) loci to reconstruct the evolutionary history of fungus-farming
ants, reduce topological uncertainty, and identify the closest non-fungus-growing ant relative.
Using the phylogeny we infer the history of attine agricultural systems, habitat preference and
biogeography. Our results show that the out-of-the-rainforest hypothesis is correct with regard
to the origin of attine ant agriculture; however, contrary to expectation, we find that the transition from lower to higher agriculture is very likely to have occurred in a seasonally dry habitat, inhospitable to the growth of free-living populations of attine fungal cultivars. We suggest that dry habitats favoured the isolation of attine cultivars over the evolutionary time spans
necessary for domestication to occur.},
issn = {0962-8452},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences},
comment = {Ants figured out how to farm fungus millions of years ago, including weeding, watering, and chemicals.},
category = {Science, ants, farming, agriculture, fungus}
% See this Times article coverage: \url{}

author={Brown, Caitlin
and Balisi, Mairin
and Shaw, Christopher A.
and Van Valkenburgh, Blaire},
title={Skeletal trauma reflects hunting behaviour in extinct sabre-tooth cats and dire wolves},
journal={Nature Ecology & Evolution},
publisher={Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. SN -},
pages={0131 EP -},
comment={Paper on the damage ambush hunting did to the bodies of Smilodons.},
category={Science, saber-tooth cats, smilodons}
% See NY Times coverage here: \url{}
% Times article includes an awesome drawing of a smilodon fighting a dire wolf over a mammoth carcass in the tar pits.

Author={Taft, Dave},
Title={The Turkey Vulture Is So Clever, and Stinky},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Turkey vultures are one of the few birds with a good sense of smell - the better to find rotting meat with. They also have a defense mechanism where they projectile vomit at threats. They also pee on their feet to help cool their blood.},
category={Science, birds, turkey vultures}
% This reminds me of the David Attenborough special where he puts a piece of raw meat under forest folliage and it attracts turkey vultures from miles away.
% Not mentioned here is that carrion eaters have no feathers on their heads to keep themselves clean when picking at carcasses.

Author={Wade, Nicholas},
Title={Shaking Up the Dinosaur Family Tree},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Covers research by a young scientist that suggest the dinosaur evolutionary tree should be completely rearranged from the traditional two categories of lizard-hipped and bird-hipped. He built a database and used software to find a grouping that makes sense, which divides dinosaurs into three big familes, of which bird-hipped and theropods are groupped on the same branch.},
category={Science, dinosaurs}
% If I’m reading this right, I think this proposal fixes that annoying thing in the history of dinosaur classification where actual birds evolved from the “lizard-hipped” side of the dinosaur tree. This doesn’t put birds back in bird-hipped, but moves theropods, from which birds come (I think) out from lizard-hipped to be closer to bird-hipped.

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={A New Form of Stem-Cell Engineering Raises Ethical Questions},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Talks about the ethical implications of the development of “synthetic human entities with embryolike features” or Sheefs. Currently they are very simple, but they point the way for the development of things like growing a heart attached to a brain in a test tube. There is general agreement than scientists should not develop an entity that can feel pain - but how would you know?},
category={Science, superscience, sheefs, embryos, stem cell, in vitro fertilization}

Author={Moskowitz, Clara},
Title={Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={Summary of the talk where Neil deGrasse Tyson put our odds of living in a simulator at 50%. The strength of the argument comes from the fact that the universe SEEMS to be based on mathematical principles. Covers most of the things you would want smart people to say about this topic, including: if we are, so what?; resorting to IT solutions could easily just be the current fad of the thinking of the times we live in; how is a simulator any different than a god? Also points out that it could be PROVEN we live in a simulator by finding evidence of the limitations of computational power.},
category={Science, simulator, universe, neil degrasse tyson}
% In many ways this is a pretty ridiculous argument, and I come down on the who cares? side of things.
% But some interesting tangential points arise. See tait2016shazaam.
% Also just because the universe SEEMS to be based on mathematical rules doesn’t mean it IS.
% Time and again, despite our best efforst by our smartest people, scientists continue to think we are getting closer to finding the true maths of the universe, and yet it always continually recedes.
% My belief is the next serious Einstein-like genius will mathematically prove that you can’t find the maths of the universe. Ala Goedel.
% Also, there’s Matt’s theory that it does FEEL like a simulator: think of the Trump election, how is that better explained than by the simulator runner saying, “let’s see how they react to this!”
% A simulator is one thing. Someone with the power to push the “unleash disaster” button, just for their entertainment, is terrifying. This is not addressed in the talk.

Author={Katz, Josh and Lai, Rebecca},
Title={When Blizzards Go Bust: How Recent Snow Forecasts Have Fared},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Big snow forecasts are consistently for much more snow than actually arrives in NYC and Washington DC. However in Boston they are equally wrong in both directions.},
category={Science, weather, boston, nyc, snow, blizzards}
% I would be interested in seeing how often NYC gets a forecast for a major storm that instead impacts upstate NY much more heavily.

Author={Cardwell, Diane},
Title={The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Reviews the current state of nuclear power plant building. Talks about how modern reactors with failsafes designed not requireing power have simply proved too complex and expensive to build, so companies are pulling out of the nuclear plant game. Some countries are still building old models of power plants, because they know how. Until a bunch of modern plants are built that prove reliable, other people are unlikely to start building more of them.},
category={Science, nuclear power plants, water cooled}

Author={Holmes, Bob},
Title={Invasive earthworms threaten growth of new North American trees},
journal={New Scientist},
comment={Earthworms are an invasive species in North America, imported from Europe. Native worms were wiped out in the last ice age, leaving North America worm free for tens of thousands of years before humans brought them over from Europe. They are extremely damaging to forests, and even eat the seeds of some plants.},
category={Science, invasive species, earthworms}
% See this update that talks about the worm speading northward:
% \url{}
% Earthworms - an invasive species brought to North America by European settlers
% - are spreading further north as the climate warms. Because they eat forest
% leaf litter and turn it into carbon, and because the northern forests never had
% earthworms before, its possible the worms will turn into a major global source
% of carbon as they consume centuries of leaf litter waitin for them in the north
% and turn it into carbon.

title={Silent Spring},
author={Carson, R.},
series={Edition 001 Series},
publisher={Houghton Mifflin},
comment={The classic that started the environmental movement. Most of this book is simply lists of places inseticides had been applied, and the resulting fish or bird die-offs. The chapter on Gypsy Moths and Fire Ants is pretty good. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that you can see the beginnings of distrust in government in this book. E.O. Wilson, in the afterword, makes this more explicit. He also discusses a plan to use nuclear weapons to clear a waterway paralell to the Panama Canal.}
category={Science, environmentalism, pesticides, insecticides, fire ants, gypsy moths}
% “Up to 1953 I had regarded as gospel everything that emanated from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the agricultural colleges” - A beekeeper in upstate NY after his bees died from insecticide spraying. Page 160
% In this you can kind of suspect that the left is just as, if not more, to blame for the distrust of government than the right. You can see the seeds of NIMBYism, and the governmental paralysis that it would eventually spread.
% Carson does not make a very convincing case for the application of insecticides having impacts beyond the insects and the animals that eat them directly. (at least, as of page 160)
% She lays out a compelling case against broad-spectrum insecticides. But offers no real solutions other than importing predator insects from other places to eat pests. She suggests this multiple times throughout the book. As we know, that can be a really BAD idea.
% The real lesson, which she does eventually get to (Page 260) is that you can’t just scale up a small technological solution and expect it to work and not have negative consequences. Humans LOVE to do this, because it’s an easy way to put a lot of people to work without having to do much research or educating the users. (Think of the ancient methods of slash-and-burn farming for instance.)
% The problem is this is the brute-force solution, whether it’s chemicals, or importing predators, or getting trains to run on time (see comments in article about subway countdown clocks (somerssubwayclocks) about management through understanding problems, rather than willpower.)
% The best solution is to take the time to deeply understand a problem, and always ALWAYS apply the MINIMAL amount of work necessary to fix it. Educated, targeted solutions. This doesn’t go well with democractic governance though because it not only can save money, but puts fewer people to work.
% See this Times Retro Report that reviews the anti-DDT movement: \url{}
% It’s conclusion is that Rachel Carson was right - mosquitoes evolved to be resistant to DDT anyway, so continueing to spray it wouldn’t reduce malaria any further.
% A scientist in the Retro Report says there is a report that finds vector-born diseases (mostly through mosquitoes) have killed half the humans who have ever lived. It is far and away the most dangerous animal on the planet, as far humans are concerned. Even more dangerous than other people.

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Open Wide: Deep-Sea Fishes That Are Built to Eat Big},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Barbeled dragonfishes have a unique adaptation where their head is not directly connected to their spine (by bone) which allows them to open their jaws 120 degrees. This means in the deep parts of the ocean where they live they can consume very large meals (which can be rare) that will last them a long time. They also have a second pharyngeal jaw like a moray eel to pull prey down their throat.},
category={barbeled dragonfish, Science, pharyngeal jaw}

Author={Wade, Nicholas},
Title={New Prospects for Growing Human Replacement Organs in Animals},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Scientists have managed to grow human stem cells in pig embryos, bringing us a step closer to being able to grow human organs in pigs. ``Creating chimeras, especially those with human cells, may prove controversial, given the possibility that test animals could be humanized in undesirable ways. One would be if human cells should be incorporated into a pig’s brain, endowing it with human qualities. Almost no one wants a talking pig. Another untoward outcome would be if human cells should come to compose the pig’s reproductive tissues. Few people want to see what might result from the union between a pig with human sperm and a sow with human eggs.’’},
category={Science, superscience, chimeras, pigs, organs}

Author={Philipps, Dave},
Title={Troops Who Cleaned Up Radioactive Islands Can’t Get Medical Care},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={In-depth report that describes how the military sent troops with no protection to clean up pacific islands in the 1970s which had nuclear tests exploded on them. The government now refuses to cover the medical expenses of these men, who face cancer and other long term radiation impacts. Contains a nice detailed description of the giant dome on Runit island covering radioactive waste, and how that came to be.},
category={Science, superscience, military, radioactivity, nuclear tests, radiation cleanup}

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={North America’s Geographical Center May Be in a North Dakota Town Called Center},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An amusing article about the battle to define North America’s geographical center in North Dakota. Discusses map projections and how geographical centers are calculated. (Originally by balancing a carboard cutout of the area on a pin.) Concludes that the most likely geographical center of North America is in a town called Center, ND.},
category={Science, mapping, map projections, gis, geographical center}

Author={Williams, Wyatt},
Title={When the National Bird Is a Burden},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Talks about one natural-foods farmer’s battle with bald eagles against his chickens. Includes discussion of how the farm bill treats non-factory farms like his, and the protections for the eagles.},
category={bald eagles, farm bill, natural foods, farming}
% Does not talk about how much of a problem bald eagles might be nationwide these days. Though it does talk about some of their history as pests.
% The funny thing is this farmer’s solution would be so simple if it were legal: just shoot the birds.

title={Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather},
author={Sloane, E.},
publisher={Dover Publications}
% He claims that because colder air is thicker and heavier, early pilots used to take off only in the morning and evening, when it was cooler. Also that land-speed records are set in the desert not only because it’s flat, but also because the hotter thinner air allows the vehicles to go up to 100 mph faster.
% Which suggests that maybe it actually IS harder to push my bicycle through the air on a cold day.

Author={Lewis-Kraus, Gideon},
Title={The Great A.I. Awakening},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A fascinating long-form article about the story of Google’s development of neural networks and their application to Google Translate. Neural networks were such a quantum leap forward that they changed everything. Practically nobody today, however, would bestow upon Google Maps the honorific “A.I.,” so sentimental and sparing are we in our use of the word “intelligence.” Artificial intelligence, we believe, must be something that distinguishes HAL from whatever it is a loom or wheelbarrow can do. The minute we can automate a task, we downgrade the relevant skill involved to one of mere mechanism. Today Google Maps seems, in the pejorative sense of the term, robotic: It simply accepts an explicit demand (the need to get from one place to another) and tries to satisfy that demand as efficiently as possible. The goal posts for “artificial intelligence” are thus constantly receding.'' For math and chess it [the old-fashioned AI approach] worked great, and the proponents of symbolic A.I. took it for granted that no activities signaled “general intelligence” better than math and chess.’’},
category={Science, neural networks, google, google translate, cats}
% This Harper’s article has a nice overview of the current state of the ethics of neural networks:
% \url{}

Author={Robbins, Jim},
Title={An Ecosystem’s Lifeblood, Flowing Through Gravel},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Most of the water in a river actually flows through the ground of the river valley, not the river itself.},
category={Science, rivers, water}

@article {Ishiyama757,
author = {Ishiyama, S. and Brecht, M.},
title = {Neural correlates of ticklishness in the rat somatosensory cortex},
volume = {354},
number = {6313},
pages = {757–760},
year = {2016},
doi = {10.1126/science.aah5114},
publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
abstract = {What is the neural correlate of ticklishness? When Ishiyama and Brecht tickled rats, the animals produced noises and other joyful responses. During the tickling, the authors observed nerve cell activity in deep layers of the somatosensory cortex corresponding to the animals{\textquoteright} trunks. Furthermore, microstimulation of this brain region evoked the same behavior. Just as
in humans, mood could modulate this neuronal activity. Anxiety-inducing situations suppressed the cells{\textquoteright} firing, and the animal could no longer be tickled.Science, this issue p. 757Rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations in response to tickling by humans. Tickling is rewarding through dopaminergic mechanisms, but the function and neural correlates of ticklishness are unknown. We confirmed that tickling of rats evoked vocalizations, approach, and unsolicited jumps (Freudenspr{"u}nge). Recordings in the trunk region of the rat somatosensory cortex showed intense tickling-evoked activity in most neurons, whereas a minority of cells were suppressed by tickling. Tickling responses predicted nontactile neural responses to play behaviors, which suggests a neuronal link between tickling and play. Anxiogenic conditions suppressed tickling-evoked vocalizations and trunk cortex activity. Deep-layer trunk cortex neurons discharged
during vocalizations, and deep-layer microstimulation evoked vocalizations. Our findings provide evidence for deep-layer trunk cortex activity as a neural correlate of ticklishness.},
issn = {0036-8075},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Science},
comment = {Turns out, rats enjoy being tickled.},
category = {Science, rats, tickling}
% Covered by the Times here: \url{}
% Which mentions the bizarre fact that you can’t tickle yourself, and that tickling is little understood.
% It does not mention the film Tickled or its weird rabbit hole of tickling as a sex-related thing.

Author={Wollan, Malia},
Title={Brand New Hue},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An interesting look at the history of color science in the context of Mars search for a natually'' color blue for blue m\&ms. Briefly covers some interesting aspects of color research, like the discover of mauve, and distilling colors from coal. Also mentions how artificial blue is the only dye that crosses the blood-brain barrier and how color impacts taste, including the phenomenon of sensory-specific satiety’’ where a multi-colored plat of food will make you feel less full than one of a single color.},
category={Science, superscience, blue, m&ms, candy, color, mauve, food}

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={On Epic Spawning Migration, Eels May Travel at Their Own Pace},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A short description of the epic migration of eels from their continental freshwater to secret spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea (where they die after spawning). New research shows they hide from predators at depths of half a mile, and individual eels take different lengths of time, from months to years to reach the spawning ground.},
category={Science, eels, sargasso sea, spawning}
% Another study on eel navigation based on magnetic fields: \url{}
% If I remember correctly, the mystery of eel migration and the discovery of the secret eel spawning grounds was covered first covered in a book form the 1960s call The Eels. But I’ve never been able to find it.
% In some ways it’s depressing that most of the mystery has been solved by science.
% In others it’s impressive that there’s still so much mystery left to eels.

Author={Dean, Cornelia},
Title={The Tardigrade: Practically Invisible, Indestructible ‘Water Bears’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Pop science coverage of the famous Tardigrades. Explains how the way they survive extreme environments is hibernating with the ability to lose almost all of their body water, at which point they become something called a ``tun’’ which can be reconstituted (with water) more than a century later having withstood any extreme conditions thrown at it.},
category={Science, tardigrades, extremophiles, tuns, water bears, moss}
% See this project where Google wanted to put water bears in a smartphone aquarium: \url{}

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={In the Wild, Goldfish Turn From Pet to Pest},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Goldfish released into the wild turn into giant monsters (the size of a 2-liter bottle) that eat everything in sight and reproduce ferociously.},
category={Science, invasive species, goldfish, carp, superscience}

Author={Overbye, Dennis},
Title={The Flip Side of Optimism About Life on Other Planets},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Explains the rationalist argument that if there is life on other planets it should have visited Earth by now. The argument follows from there that there must be a Great Filter that eliminates technological life before it can interact with other technological life. By this reasoning, there are two possibilities: we’ve either made it past the Great Filter and therefore won’t see anyone else. Or if we find life, it means the Great Filter is ahead of us, and our doom awaits us. It talks about how to understand why the sky is dark at night, is to understand that there was a beginning of the universe. The Great Filter argument may be us understanding the END.},
category={Science, astronomy, aliens, great filter, ufos, life}

Author={Johnson, Steven},
Title={Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.)},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A good overview of the current philosphical and technological thinking about the implications of listening for extra-terrestrials, and/or broadcasting to them. Covers how the Drake Equation works, and its implications. Addresses the risk of contacting hostile aliens who might come to conquer or destroy the earth. Argues that there should be a level of decision making around actions that could result in the extinction of the human race that demands concensus from the worldwide general public.},
category={Science, superscience, astronomy, aliences, life, drake equation, extra-terrestrials}
% This article basically covers everything I learned in the “Life in the Universe” class back in college.
% Some interesting thought experiments are included. And it optomistically argues that decisions about human-threat actions should involve worldwide concesus from nonexperts. WHY he thinks that possible isn’t clear to me. “Experts” and politicians have been making decisions with possible community-extinction threats for all of history. Think of all the decisions to go to war. Dynamiting the Levees of NOLA in 1927. DDT. etc.

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={The Accidental Plagiarist in All of Us},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Research shows that people are constantly stealing stuff from sources they’ve seen before and misremembering it as their own idea. Oddly, this article is fairly light in tone for something that suggests that much of our sense of intellectual property is flawed. This article offers no good solution to that problem.},
category={Science, copyright, cryptomnesia, plagiarism}
% What if we lived in the world that folk musicians wanted us to be in originally - where EVERYTHING is stolen/shared by everyone else? Why do we (as a culture? as a species?) just naturally seem to shy away from that, and find it abhorrent?
% Much of the trick to becoming famous in our culture is to carve out your own niche that is obviously your own creative product. Think of Edwand Gorey.
% If you can create a whole body of work that has it’s own style/art/thinking then you OWN that. Even if someone else steals it, other people will notice and point out how you got there first.
% But if your work is just a slight tangent of the cultural body of work, it might be important but it is easy for someone to misremember it as their own.

Author={St. Fleur, Nicholas},
Title={Meet the Greenland Shark. It Could Be the Longest-Living Vertebrate.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Scientists studied the slow-moving, deep-cold-water dwelling Greenland Shark using a statistical method to find that Greenland sharks could be living as long as 300-500 years. They can reach 13 feet long and sexual maturity at 150 years.},
category={Science, greenland sharks, age}

title={The Sting of the Wild},
author={Schmidt, J.O.},
publisher={Johns Hopkins University Press},
comment={This book contains an index of the different pain levels of stinging insects.},
category={Science, stinging, insects, pain}
% See this NY Times feature about the guy: \url{}

title={A century of innovation: twenty engineering achievements that transformed our lives},
author={Constable, George and Somerville, Bob},
publisher={Joseph Henry Press}
comment={Has content about refrigeration and air by Donald E. Ross available online here: \url{}. That essay suggests that air conditioning allowed architects to build much bigger floorplates, since interior offices didn’t need to be near windows. In addition air conditioning allowed building to be built less efficiently since the architects could count on the building heating and cooling systems to maintain temperatures.},
category={refrigeration, air condition, architecture}
% And obviously it led to the loss of openable windows and the demise of a daily relationship with outside. Also, got rid of the need for paper weights, since those were only needed when an open window might blow away your papers. (And obviously computers haven’t done away with paper.)
% Thie Times article raises some of the same issues: \url{}
% As well as pointing out that AC makes it possible for southern cities to have office work, and for people to endure long commutes (in their air conditioned cars).

Author={Dunlap, David W.},
Title={Pier 57 Goes Down in History as a Place Where Concrete Floats},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={About how Pier 57 floats atop giant concrete caissons.},
category={Science, superscience, construction, architecture, pier 57, caissons, hudson river}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={How Sunflowers Follow the Sun, Day After Day},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Young sunflowers turn during the day to track the course of the sun across the sky by growing faster on one side than the other. Then at night they turn to face east to wait for the morning sun. Old sunflowers just face east all the time. A combination of following light and the plant’s internal clock.},
category={Science, sunflowers, heliotropism, circadian rhythm}

Author={Kolata, Gina},
Title={So Many Research Scientists, So Few Openings as Professors},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {The US produces far more research scientists than academia can handle. This depends on the field though. Some fields like environmental engineering, biology, and medical sciences have more than 80% of people in the fields unable to get tenure track jobs in academia. We are just producing too many postdocs and with labor in so much supply those postdocs have to work cheap. In addition they spend a huge amount of their lives getting special training that they end up not using in their careers. And they feel like failures because they are trained to believe that academia is the only thing that matters. Explains the concept of R0 — about replacement rates.},
category = {Science, academia, r0, biomedical, phds}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={How to Talk to Fireflies},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {New devices allow you to lure in fireflies by blinking the way they do. Also talks about why fireflies blink, and, briefly, firefly synchonicity.},
category = {Science, fireflies, blinking, sex}

Author={St. Fleur, Nicholas},
Title={A Roller Coaster in the Sky for Frigatebirds},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Frigate birds weigh 2 pounds, have a 7 foot wingspan, can fly 2 miles high, and stay aloft for weeks at a time.},
category = {Science, frigate birds}

Author={Schiffman, Richard},
Title={The Great New York Whale Census},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Seven species of whales have been sighted off Rockaway, Fire Island, and New York City, including blue whales and humpback whales. Nobody knows why there are so many more moving through New York waters now.},
category = {Science, whales, rockaway, fire island}

Author={Klein, Joanna},
Title={Studies of Moth and Butterfly Genes Color In a Scientific Classic},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Recaps the classic science story of the black peppered moth, which evolved into a coal-black color during the Industrial Revolution in England. New research pinpoints the genes responsible.},
category = {Science, color, moths, industrial revolution, england}

title={The Mystery of The Moon Illusion: Exploring Size Perception},
author={Ross, H. and Plug, C.},
publisher={OUP Oxford}
% I haven’t read this book, but it looks like an interesting account of the Moon Illusion — the fact that the moon appears larger at the horizon than higher in the sky.
% It is proved that we are not ACTUALLY seeing a larger image of the moon (this can be proven with photographs) but it is in fact our brain’s perception that is doing it.
% However, nobody has a good explanation for why that is: \url{}
% See also the article about ``persistence of vision’’.

Author={Koerth-Baker, Maggie},
Title={Tornado Town, USA},
comment = {Article that looks at the statistical probablity of Moore, Oklahoma being more likely to be hit by big tornadoes than anywhere else. Finds out that there are hot spots in the region of ``tornado alley’’ where tornadoes are even more likely. Moore is in one of those hot spots, but so are a bunch of other towns. Mentions the concept of pareidolia — human tendency to see patterns where there may not be any.},
category = {Science, oklahoma, tornadoes}

Author={Bidgood, Jess},
Title={Island Rattlesnake Colony Gives Small-Town Massachusetts Jitters},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A proposal to introduce Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes to an island in the Quabin Reservoice faces strong community opposition, despite science. ``Mr. French has said repeatedly, at public hearings and in the news media, that the rattlesnakes would be unlikely to leave the island, which is full of food. And they would die if they did not return to their dens, he said. A state fact sheet said the last recorded human fatality from a rattlesnake in Massachusetts was in 1791. But no one is listening, Mr. French said. “I can show you the scientific journal article. I can say it over and over,” he said. “And people will say, ‘Sorry, I just don’t believe you.’” This has left Mr. French in a quandary. “I can hear somebody’s concern, and I can empathize with it,” he said. “But if I know the concern is a false worry, I don’t quite know what to do with it.”’’},
category = {Science, easter timber rattlesnakes, massachusetts, quabin reservoir, community engagement}

Author={Broad, William J.},
Title={The Hiroshima Mushroom Cloud That Wasn’t},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {The most famous photo of a giant ``mushroom’’ cloud over Hiroshima is just smoke from fires. The actual nuclear mushroom cloud was much smaller and less impressive.},
category = {photography, Science, hiroshima, nuclear bomb}

Author={St. Fleur, Nicholas},
Title={Lyrid Meteor Shower Is Spectacular, Albeit Obscured},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Talks about how unspectacular the Lyrid Meteor Shower is, particularly this year. Mentions that it is speed not size that causes brigter flares, and the rocks can be the size of a pebble. Also a ``meteor monsson’’ is 200 to 250 flares an hour, expected for the Perseids this year.},
category = {Science, meteor showers}
% So… even a really “amazing” meteor shower would come in at 3 a minute. That’s hardly overwhelming, and really doesn’t deserve the term “shower” if you ask me.

Author={Stack, Liam},
Title={How Do You Move a 70,000-Pound (Dead) Whale?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Southern California is dealing with how to get rid of a dead whale washed up on the beach. They can’t bury it or drag it out to sea on this beach (the preferred method) and obviously aren’t going to try blowing it up again (link included to the most classic of internet memes, the exploding whale). And they have to be sensitive to the nutjob whale lovers in CA: ``“It’s sensitive because it’s such a majestic creature and people have very fond ideas about whales and their beauty, so for people to see one dead on the beach, it’s a very nostalgic moment,” Mr. Pearsall said. One onlooker, Cynthia Stern, told The Associated Press she had driven 75 miles to lay an orchid by the whale and to rub its rotting flesh with homeopathic balms. “You could start to feel the positive energy as you walked down the beach,” she said. “Even though it’s a carcass, it’s profoundly positive — and anyone who went there is blessed.”’’ So they are going keep people away while they cut it up and haul it away to a dump.},
category = {dead whale, Science, exploding whale, beach, california}

author={Crowther, T. W. and Glick, H. B. and Covey, K. R. and Bettigole, C. and Maynard, D. S. and Thomas, S. M. and Smith, J. R. and Hintler, G. and Duguid, M. C. and Amatulli, G. and Tuanmu, M.-N. and Jetz, W. and Salas, C. and Stam, C. and Piotto, D. and Tavani, R. and Green, S. and Bruce, G. and Williams, S. J. and Wiser, S. K. and Huber, M. O. and Hengeveld, G. M. and Nabuurs, G.-J. and Tikhonova, E. and Borchardt, P. and Li, C.-F. and Powrie, L. W. and Fischer, M. and Hemp, A. and Homeier, J. and Cho, P. and Vibrans, A. C. and Umunay, P. M. and Piao, S. L. and Rowe, C. W. and Ashton, M. S. and Crane, P. R. and Bradford, M. A.},
title={Mapping tree density at a global scale},
publisher={Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.},
abstract={The global extent and distribution of forest trees is central to our understanding of the terrestrial biosphere. We provide the first spatially continuous map of forest tree density at a global scale. This map reveals that the global number of trees is approximately 3.04 trillion, an order of magnitude higher than the previous estimate. Of these trees, approximately 1.39 trillion exist in tropical and subtropical forests, with 0.74 trillion in boreal regions and 0.61 trillion in temperate regions. Biome-level trends in tree density demonstrate the importance of climate and topography in controlling local tree densities at finer scales, as well as the overwhelming effect of humans across most of the world. Based on our projected tree densities, we estimate that over 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and the global number of trees has fallen by approximately 46% since the start of human civilization.},
comment={How many trees are there in the world?},
category={trees, Science},

Author={Chabris, Chistopher and Hart, Joshua},
Title={How Not to Explain Success},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Scientists do quantitative research to debunk the idea put foward two years ago in a book by a pair of lawyers that there’s a triple package'' of traits that are found in successful people: a belief that their group was inherently superior to others; a sense of personal insecurity; and a high degree of impulse control. Rather they found that the traies of higher cognitive ability, more educated parents, and better impulse control are better indicators for success, as demonstrated by decades of social science. Also insecurity actually detracted from success while emotional stability increased success. And there's no synergy’’ between the traits of the trple package. This op-ed also addresses whether it is appropriate for scientists to engage with a pop-culture theory, and argue that they should. ``Professors Chua and Rubenfeld created a provocative theory, and they spun around it an intricate web of circumstantial evidence, but it did not stand up to direct empirical tests. Our conclusion regarding “The Triple Package” is expressed by the saying, “What is new is not correct, and what is correct is not new.”’’ },
category = {Science, Economics, triple package, success, personality traits}
% It was interesting for these guys to take up the challenge of a psych-pop theory, and debunk it. I like that they address this issues of science’s role in culture. Not fully addressed here is the fact that so much of science IS influenced by pop culture. Not just through pop culture putting forward theories that need testing (which probably actually get the smallest amount of scientific testing) but more from the influence of pop VALUES on what scientists decide to study.
% But really, is there any difference between a scientist writing a white paper to suggest something that should be studied, and some smart people putting out a book that suggests something that should be studied? I think the only problem really is that I’m sure the book is framed as something that is true, whereas it really should be framed as something that should be studied. But the scientists could be doing that work for pop culture. Engage with theories out there, and say, ‘hey, that’s interesting, we need to study this.’

Author={Gillis, Justin},
Title={Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A new climate model predicts that ice shelfs holding back the Antarctic ice sheets could collapse in the next few decades allowing a worst-case scenario of the Antarctic ice sheets to drop off into the ocean. Previously the models used didn’t reflect the melting seen in past ages unless Earth temperatures were raised ludicrously high. Modelling the collape of the ice sheets made the models much more accurately reflect historic melting. Asking this model about the future, shows the possibility of ice sheet melting and many feet of sea-level rise by the end of this century.},
category = {Science, antarctica, ice sheet, ice shelf, melting}
% Download the actual study here: \url{}

title={Darwin’s legacy: an evolutionary view of women’s reproductive and sexual functioning},
author={Harris, Amy L and Vitzthum, Virginia J},
journal={Journal of sex research},
publisher={Taylor & Francis},
comment={This article seems to be about all sorts of evolutionary aspects of women and sex. But wikipedia cites it as the latest paper to conclude that menstrual synchrony is probably not true. This paper, quoted in Wikipedia: ``In light of the lack of empirical evidence for MS [menstrual synchrony] sensu stricto, it seems there should be more widespread doubt than acceptance of this hypothesis’’ (pp. 238–239).},
category={menstruation, menstrual synchrony, women, Science, mcclintock effect}
% This is a paper I don’t have access to and can’t read. Praise be to wikipedia
% for having better ideals than the academic paper industry. This is one of
% those things where the science doesn’t back up the experience of many MANY
% people (for a very long time, dating back to pre-history). The paper cited
% here is careful to not say that it isn’t true, but should be doubted. As I
% say elsewhere, scientists should be DAMN sure before they go claiming things
% they find in their labs are counter to the experience of vast numbers of
% people. Collective intuition is pretty accurate. On the other hand, you
% could see this idea, the McClintock Effect, as an example of something that a
% scientist studied because it was popular in the culture (1970s feminism / the
% McClintock paper was published in the 1970s) and got
% well-known because it reached conclusions that reflected the popular culture.
% In other words it fit the popular STORY of what women at that time wanted to
% believe. Later research that tended towards debunking it didn’t, and has
% largely been ignored. This could be an interesting case-study for someone
% looking at the way popular culture reflects and is reflected by what science
% is done.
% NY Times piece again reiterating the myth of menstrual period synchronicity:
% \url{}

Author={Murphy, Kate},
Title={Should All Research Papers Be Free?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A look at the problem (and frankly, absurdity) of the research publishing paper industry, and efforts to make papers free and open access.},
category = {open access, research papers, Science, journals}

Author={Ferdman, Roberto A.},
Title={Scientists have figured out what makes Indian food so delicious},
journal={the Washington Post},
comment = {Scientists do an analysis that shows how Indian food is delicious because it has vastly divergent flavors. ``Chefs in the West like to make dishes with ingredients that have overlapping flavors. But not all cuisines adhere to the same rule. Many Asian cuisines have been shown to belie the trend by favoring dishes with ingredients that don’t overlap in flavor. And Indian food, in particular, is one of the most powerful counterexamples.’’},
category = {indian food, science}

Author={Wines, Michael},
Title={Oklahoma Puts Limits on Oil and Gas Wells to Fight Quakes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Oklahoma is taking steps to ban injection wells in an effort to stop earthquakes.},
category = {injection well, fracking, earthquakes, Science, oklahoma, superscience, disposal well}
% The oil and gas companies are literally pumping pollutants into the earth, and lubricating vast blocks of the prairie until they slip off each other. It’s like a scene from a movie where humankind’s own economic hubris leads to our downfall.
% 30 earthquakes in 2001, 6000+ in 2015, mapped almost exactly to the disposal wells.
% Think about the enormity of the waste products. What would they do with them if they didn’t inject them? Where does all that shit go?
% The article rightly points out that fracking doesn’t cause the earthquakes, but the earthquakes corelate with the rise of fracking. This is because fracking DOES produce massive amounts of waste often disposed of in injection wells.
% This article DOES correlate earthquakes with fracking itself: \url{}

@article {aac4716,
author = {,},
title = {Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science},
volume = {349},
number = {6251},
year = {2015},
doi = {10.1126/science.aac4716},
publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
abstract = {Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects were half the magnitude of original effects, representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had statistically significant results. Thirty-six percent of replications had statistically significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.},
issn = {0036-8075},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Science},
comment = {Paper that finds that only 40% of pyschology studies were reproducable.}
cateogyr = {Science, pschology, reproducibility}
% See this article in the Times about recent research that challenges this study: \url{}

title={Don’t judge species on their origins},
author={Davis, Mark A and Chew, Matthew K and Hobbs, Richard J and Lugo, Ariel E and Ewel, John J and Vermeij, Geerat J and Brown, James H and Rosenzweig, Michael L and Gardener, Mark R and Carroll, Scott P and others},
publisher={Nature Publishing Group}
url = {},
comment = {Now (in)famous article that suggest invasive species aren’t all that bad.},
category = {Science, invasive species}
% See also this article in the Times, \url{} which includes this quote: ``It’s almost a religious kind of belief, that things were put where they are by God and that that’s where they damn well ought to stay,” said Ken Thompson, an ecologist and retired senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England, who wrote the 2014 book “Where Do Camels Belong: Why Invasive Species Aren’t All Bad.”’’

Author={Dreifus, Claudia},
Title={In ‘Half Earth,’ E.O. Wilson Calls for a Grand Retreat},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {In E.O. Wilson’s new book called ``Half Earth’’ he calls for half of the Earth’s surface (both land and water) to be protected from human use in order to preserve biodiversity. Also see his op-ed piece in the Times: \url{}},
category = {eo wilson, biodiversity, Science, interviews}

Author={Holekamp, Kay E.},
Title={Male or Female? Good Question!},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Spotted Hyenas are incredible difficult to sex because the females have ``psuedopenises’’ — female genitalia that has evolved to look uncannily like male genitalia. Along with this they evolved a female-dominated society.},
category = {spotted hyenas, Science, pseudopenises}
% See this follow-up article about how spotted hyenas have sex: \url{}

Author={Gorman, James},
Title={The Venus Flytrap, a Plant That Can Count},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Venus fly traps count the number of times their trigger hairs are hit. Interestingly, not only twice to close the trap, but also all the times the insect hits them struggling after the trap is closed — and uses that count to decide how much digestive juice it needs to digest that insect.},
category = {venus fly traps, counting, plants}

Author={Johnson, George},
Title={Unraveling the Ties of Altitude, Oxygen and Lung Cancer},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Apparently, the data supports the idea that oxygen causes cancer.},
category = {cancer, oxygen}

Author={Nuwer, Rachel},
Title={Old Nuclear Fallout Proves Useful for Sea Turtle Clues},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Scientists are using the technique of tracking deposits of fallout from nuclear test to learn more about endangered sea turtles.},
category = {turtles, fallout, nuclear testing, superscience}

Author={Yong, Ed},
Title={Inside the Eye: Nature’s Most Exquisite Creation},
journal={National Geographi},
year = {2016},
month = {02},
comment = {A look at the evolution of the eye. Including why Darwin’s was NOT completely puzzled by its evolution, and the fact that there are three stages, and two branches to the development of complex eyes. Also that eyes can evolve relatively rapidly, and evolve away if they are not used. ``The weirdest lenses in nature don’t have crystallins at all. They belong to chitons—a group of marine mollusks that look like ovals adorned with armored plates. These plates are dotted with hundreds of small stage-three eyes, each with its own lens. The lenses are made of a mineral called aragonite, which the chitons assemble from calcium and carbonate molecules in seawater. Simply put, this creature has evolved a way to sharpen its vision by looking through rocks. And when their rock lenses erode, the chitons just fabricate some new ones.’’},
category = {eyes, evolution, rock, mantis shrimp}

Author={Gitlin, Johnathan M.},
Title={Dear Mr. President: Please stop with these science “moonshots”},
journal={Ars Technica},
comment = {Argues that government should not inject large amounts of money into particular project, especially ones with ill-defined goals. Science will work better if dedicated budget growth is directed at fields that could yield the goals the politicians look for. A large cash injection distracts from the work currently being done, doesn’t allow for long-term planning, and often funds dry up in the future.},
category = {science, funding, moonshots}

Author={Price, Huw},
Title={The cold fusion horizon},
comment = {There has been some promising results in the pursuit of cold fusion recently. But cold fusion suffers from a ``reputation trap’’ — it is so disreputable that few people will even look at the evidence, because taking it seriously is considered contagious to one’s own reputation. The impact of this, especially if cold fusion turns out to be viable, are disastrous.},
category = {lenr, cold fusion, philosophy of science, reputation trap}
% See also this article on hot fusion, and how far away, expensive, and difficult it is: \url{}
% Quotes a director making an interesting point about how because it requires very high quality in order to function, it is going to take a long time.

Author={Levenson, Thomas},
Title={Epic Fails},
comment = {How do you know when to stop looking for proof of a theory that might be wrong? This essay looks at examples like the Higgs bodun, the search for big bang evidence in cosmic background radiation, and the theory that there should be another planet between the sun and mercury called Vulcan.},
category = {mercury, vulcan, einstein, theory, big bang, cmb}
% Almost all theoretical science is just people doing math and their equations suggesting that they should look for some physical phenonmenon. Science reporting tries to give the impression that science is some smart person sitting around daydreaming about what something should look like or how it works. But in fact the daydreaming is about numbers, and the numbers suggest something works or looks a certain way.
% This is similar to the relationship between engineering and mechanics.

Author={Requarth, Tim},
Title={Out Chemical Eden},
comment = {The latest thinking on the origins of life suggest that it started in high temperature volcanic rock formations on the bottom of the sea and life derives from the easy availability of energy, rather than chemistry. some of the few proteins shared by all living things, from microbes to mammals, contain tiny clusters of minerals at their core, implying that early life had an intimate relationship with rocks.'' Schrödinger pointed out that life survives by ‘continually sucking orderliness from the environment’’’ ``Russell’s energy-driven model helps to explain where that complexity came from in the first place. Nearly a century ago, scientists began to realise that non-living systems could behave as self-organisers that ‘suck orderliness’ from their environment. That notion was formalised in the 1960s by the Russian chemist Ilya Prigogine, who called such self-organising systems dissipative structures. Such structures are easy to find: simply pull the plug in a bathtub and watch a whirlpool form. Driven by gravity, the water molecules spontaneously swirl into a pattern that is more ordered than their previous haphazard collection. Because it makes the water drain more quickly, the whirlpool increases global entropy by making a lower-entropy local structure. If the tub is continually filled at an equal rate – say by running the shower – the whirlpool will persist indefinitely. When energy can continuously flow through a system, interesting things begin to happen.’’},
category = {life, atp, geology, entropy}

Author={Frolich, Joel},
Title={Scale Invariance: A Cautionary Tale Against Reductionism},
journal={Knowing Neurons},
comment = {Explains why understanding the brain can’t be reduced to understanding a single component like neurons. Uses an example of how the smaller the scale of your measurements, the longer Britain’s coastline becomes. Like the coastline the brain has a power law distribution, not a normal distribution, which means that is has no average (or specific thing) that could be the most powerful part or root of how it works. If power law distributions are so common in the brain, they must be telling us something about how it operates. Why does the brain transcend bell-curve averages? One possible explanation is that the brain lacks a privileged scale because its functioning cannot be reduced to component parts (i.e., neurons). Rather, it is the complex interactions between parts which give rise to phenomena at all spatial and temporal scales. If this hypothesis is true, it does not bode well for the Blue Brain Project. Like averages, reductionism is deeply ingrained in our scientific thinking. Water is explained in terms of molecules, molecules in terms of atoms, etc. If the brain is reducible to simpler parts, it should also exhibit a privileged scale of organization.'' A unifying mechanism for power law behavior in the brain and other systems is that of self-organized criticality (SOC). According to this model, systems such as the brain operate on the brink of instability, exhibiting slow processes that build energy and fast processes that dissipate energy. In such systems, small causes have effects of many sizes.’’},
category = {scale invariance, brains, self-organized criticality, normal distributions, statistics, power law distributions, 80-20 rule, reductionism}

title={Pandaemonium 1660–1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers},
author={Jennings, H. and Boyce, F.C. and Jennings, M.L.},
publisher={Icon Books}
comment = {A collection of short entries of contemporary takes on various aspects of industrialization},
category = {industrialization, history}

title={A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from Southern Patagonia, Argentina},
author={Lacovara, Kenneth J and Lamanna, Matthew C and Ibiricu, Lucio M and Poole, Jason C and Schroeter, Elena R and Ullmann, Paul V and Voegele, Kristyn K and Boles, Zachary M and Carter, Aja M and Fowler, Emma K and others},
journal={Scientific reports},
publisher={Nature Publishing Group},
abstract = {Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs were the most diverse and abundant large-bodied herbivores in the southern continents during the final 30 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Several titanosaur species are regarded as the most massive land-living animals yet discovered; nevertheless, nearly all of these giant titanosaurs are known only from very incomplete fossils, hindering a detailed understanding of their anatomy. Here we describe a new and gigantic titanosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani, from Upper Cretaceous sediments in southern Patagonia, Argentina. Represented by approximately 70% of the postcranial skeleton, plus craniodental remains, Dreadnoughtus is the most complete giant titanosaur yet discovered, and provides new insight into the morphology and evolutionary history of these colossal animals. Furthermore, despite its estimated mass of about 59.3 metric tons, the bone histology of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen reveals that this individual was still growing at the time of death.},
comment = {biggest dinosaur ever. And they have most of the skeleton.},
category = {Science, dinosaurs}

Author={Markoff, John},
Title={A Learning Advance in Artificial Intelligence Rivals Human Abilities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Description of a breakthrough in machine intelligence that uses Bayesian Program Learning. ``“With all the progress in machine learning, it’s amazing what you can do with lots of data and faster computers,” said Joshua B. Tenenbaum, a professor of cognitive science and computation at M.I.T. and one of the authors of the Science paper. “But when you look at children, it’s amazing what they can learn from very little data. Some comes from prior knowledge and some is built into our brain.”’’},
category = {artificial intelligence, superscience}
% Maybe another thing contributing to the lessening of signifcance of big data?

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={Parents May Pass Down More Than Just Genes, Study Suggests},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {There is some (very preliminary) evidence that other factors beyond genetics, including life experience, can be passed to offspring.},
category = {epigenetics, DNA, sperm}

Author={Carey, Benedict},
Title={Can We Really Inherit Trauma?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The idea of “epigentics” — that there are traits that can be passed down from one generation to the next that are NOT expressed in genes — is under debate. Some people think there is evidence that this is happeneing, others think it is junk science and the popularity of the idea expresses how science is broken ``This is a malady in modern science: the more extraordinary and sensational and apparently revolutionary the claim, the lower the bar for the evidence on which it is based, when the opposite should be true.’’},
category={Health, Science, epigentics}

Author={Markoff, John},
Title={Data Storage on DNA Can Keep It Safe for Centuries},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Apparently DNA can be used to store vast amounts of data for very long periods of time. (Writing and retrieving is of course very slow.) ``Computer scientists say they believe that as costs of sequencing and creating synthetic DNA continue to fall, it will soon be possible to create a new class of hybrid storage systems.’’},
category = {DNA, data storage, superscience, archiving}

Author={Geden, Oliver},
Title={The Dubious Carbon Budget},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Op-ed arguing that the idea that the world could meet the demands of a carbon budget'' to reach UN carbon goals is based on the assumption of a massive roll-out of technology that barely even exists yet. Climate scientists and economists are betting primarily on a new technology called bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or Beccs. This involves cultivating fast-growing vegetation, or biomass, to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees or energy crops would then be burned in power plants, and the emissions would be captured and pumped underground.’’ `` To achieve the negative emissions that are an essential component of the I.P.C.C. models, we would have to plant around 500 million hectares of biomass crops — an area one and a half times the size of India.’’},
category = {carbon budget, Beccs, carbon sequstration, negative emmissions, superscience}

title={Pathways to deep decarbonization 2014 Report of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)},
author={Sachs, J and Tubiana, L and Guerin, E and Waisman, H and Mas, C and Colombier, M and Schmidt-Traub, G},
url = {},
comment = {Report from project to figure out just what would have to happen exactly in order to achieve mitigation of significant climate change. Covered in this NY Times article: \url{}. ``Perhaps the single most crucial finding of the project is that the technologies available today, while good enough to get a running start on the transition, are probably not good enough to finish it. That means experts who have long argued for a more intensive research program on clean energy have a point.’’},
category = {climate change, environment, carbon, power}

Author={Markoff, John},
Title={Fearing Bombs That Can Pick Whom to Kill},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {``In a directive published in 2012, the Pentagon drew a line between semiautonomous weapons, whose targets are chosen by a human operator, and fully autonomous weapons that can hunt and engage targets without intervention. Weapons of the future, the directive said, must be “designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force.”’’},
category = {superscience, autonomous weapons}
% “He often speaks of the coming war between man and the brotherhood of machines.”

Author={Twilley, Nicola},
Title={Accounting for Taste},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment = {Change the sound of food affects people’s perception of the flavor.},
category = {food, science, sound, pringles}

title={The role of auditory cues in modulating the perceived crispness and staleness of potato chips},
author={Zampini, Massimiliano and Spence, Charles},
journal={Journal of sensory studies},
publisher={Wiley Online Library},
comment = {Famous study that began the science of how sound and color impact the flavor of food. Referenced in the Twilley article in the New Yorker.},
category = {food, science, sound, pringles}

author = {Meijer, Johanna H. and Robbers, Yuri},
title = {Wheel running in the wild},
volume = {281},
number = {1786},
year = {2014},
doi = {10.1098/rspb.2014.0210},
publisher = {The Royal Society},
abstract = {The importance of exercise for health and neurogenesis is becoming increasingly clear. Wheel running is often used in the laboratory for triggering enhanced activity levels, despite the common objection that this behaviour is an artefact of captivity and merely signifies neurosis or stereotypy. If wheel running is indeed caused by captive housing, wild mice are not expected to use a running wheel in nature. This however, to our knowledge, has never been tested. Here, we show that when running wheels are placed in nature, they are frequently used by wild mice, also when no extrinsic reward is provided. Bout lengths of running wheel behaviour in the wild match those for captive mice. This finding falsifies one criterion for stereotypic behaviour, and suggests that running wheel activity is an elective behaviour. In a time when lifestyle in general and lack of exercise in particular are a major cause of disease in the modern world, research into physical activity is of utmost importance. Our findings may help alleviate the main concern regarding the use of running wheels in research on exercise.},
issn = {0962-8452},
journal = {Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences},
comment = {Mice like to run on wheels. See also coverage in NY Times by James Gorman: \url{}},
category = {mice, exercise, wheels, running, health}

Author={Comte, Michel and Lemieux, Jacques},
Title={World’s biggest beaver dam discovered in northern Canada},
comment = {Beavers in a remote part of Canada built a damn a half-mile long. It was found on sattelite photos. They are reengineering the landscape.},
category = {beavers, dams, space, sattelites, Canada}

Author={Tierney, John},
Title={The Reign of Recycling},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {There is little evidence to suggest that recycling has any environmental benefit, except for paper and aluminum. It is indeed mostly a religious ritual practiced by a certain class, which is fine except that they want to impose their religion on everyone. The optimal recycling rate is likely far below what politicians have been calling for. ``He concludes that the social good would be optimized by subsidizing the recycling of some metals, and by imposing a 15 tax on each ton of trash that goes to the landfill. That tax would offset the environmental costs, chiefly the greenhouse impact, and allow each municipality to make a guilt-free choice based on local economics and its citizens’ wishes. The result, Dr. Kinnaman predicts, would be a lot less recycling than there is today.’’ Tierney also wrote this article on the subject in 1996: \url{}},
category = {recycling, science}
% See this response piece in Crain’s: \url{} Which seems to make the assumption that it costs nothing to collect recyclables and that we couldn’t be landfilling locally (as we did in NYC right up until the end of the 1990s.) When responses are this weak, it really just strengthens Tierny’s argument, I think.
% Also see this recent article about how the low cost of commodities is making recycling unprofitable and uneconimical: \url{}
% And this article about how the rise of home delivery might be increasing emissions and the amount of cardboard: \url{} (Though the scholarly evidence is mixed, and this is one of those “What do you think about this?” articles.
% An update on the recycling rates in NYC from the IBO: \url{}
% More on the problems with recycling: \url{}
% About 1/3 of all recycled materials are shipped overseas. China has stopped accepting most foreign trash recently, which has caused havoc with the recycling companies that sell their materials to China. Without China accepting this stuff, there is no market at home, and more of it ends up in landfills.
% And that’s before contamination. About 25% of all materials the company Waste Management picks up are contaminated and sent to landfills.

Author={Prasad, Vinay},
Title={The Folly of Big Science Awards},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {``If we keep giving prizes, let’s award them to experiments with rigorous methods — large sample sizes, representative populations, appropriate controls and blinded experiments that eliminate subconscious bias — instead of ones that achieve headline-grabbing results. Great scientists can control all these things, but they can’t control the outcome. Or we could break up big prizes and give out many smaller awards.’’},
category = {awards, science}

Author={G., Michelle},
Title={Picture yourself as a stereotypical male''}, journal={MIT Admissions}, date={2015-09-03}, comment = {Covers the research that shows that the culture itself impairs the ability of women, people of color, and low-income folks to perform well on tests. But the gap can be engineered’’ away with different reinforcements before putting those people into situations where they need to perform.},
category = {equality, race, testing}

Author={Gills, Justin},
Title={Study Predicts Antarctica Ice Melt if All Fossil Fuels Are Burned},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {If we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate, sea levels will rise 3 feet in the next 100 years, and 200 feet in the next 1000 years as large scale melting happens. ``Human civilization is built on the premise that the level of the sea is stable, as indeed it has been for several thousand years. But the deeper history of the earth reveals enormous shifts, on the order of a hundred feet or more within a few thousand years.’’},
category = {global warming, climate change, sea level rise, cities}

title={Man-computer symbiosis},
author={Licklider, Joseph Carl Robnett},
journal={Human Factors in Electronics, IRE Transactions on},
url = {},
comment = {Classic essay proposing the integration of robots with man.},
category = {computers, artificial intelligence, robots}
% I haven’t actually read this yet. It was mentioned in an article about robot co-pilots in the Times.

title={Orientation by means of long range acoustic signaling in baleen whales},
author={Payne, Roger and Webb, Douglas},
publisher={New York Academy of Sciences},
comment = {Paper about how fin whales use the SOFAR channel to communicate over very long distances. The SOFAR channel is a region of the water column in the ocean that happens to be perfect for long-range sound travel and is importan to whales and dolphins — and submarines.},
category = {fin whales, submarines, sonar, sound, SOFAR channel}

Author={Marks, Paul},
Title={How Do You Dismantle A Nuclear Submarine},
journal={BBC Future},
comment = {Covers the basics of how most nuclear subs have their reactors removed with welded airtight compartments on either side. But also gets into Russia’s insane leftover piles on the bottom of the Arctic ocean, and liquid-lead cooled reactors. There is a theme that (like all nuclear infrastructure) these things are \emph{really} hard to get rid of, and perhaps we should consider that before making more. But that is not something military planners consider at all.},
category = {nuclear waste, submarines}

Author={Fackler, Martin},
Title={Japan’s ‘Hail Mary’ at Fukushima Daiichi: An Underground Ice Wall},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={At Fukushima, they are trying to build a wall of frozen ice to contain the water leakage both from and into the destroyed power plant. 40,000 gallons of water a day continue to flood the buildings. 5 robots have been lost inside the building searching for the nuclear fuel in the basement - which still no one knows the location of. Meanwhile, the entire property is filled with 95 foot water tanks to hold contaminated water.},
category={Humanity, Science, superscience, fukushima, nuclear power plants, disasters, ice walls}
% The Japanese government predicts it will take 40 years to clean up the plant. And Revkin thinks nuclear power is a viable option because…?
% Robots finally find the fuel: \url{}
% See also the aversion of a 2nd meltdown after a rat chewed the cables to a cooling system: \url{}

Author={Santora, Marc and Kramer, Andrew E.},
Title={In Ukraine, a Nuclear Plant Held Hostage},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine came far closer already to being set on fire when a shell exploded near flammable cooling oil (and luckily didn’t ignite). Workers are now working at literaly Russian gunpoint in long round-the-clock shifts. And the plant is again threatened by fighting nearby. Every pillar of safety for the plant is being violated.},
category={Criticality, Science, superscience, ukraine, nuclear power, russia, war}
% Yet another reason nuclear power is a ridiculously dangerous method of generating power: would ANY other means of generating power be so dangerous that it would threaten an entire continent if it were (accidentally or deliberately) bombed? Can ANYONE guarantee an are free from conflict for the next hundred years that a plant is likely to operate? (Not even counting the 10,000 that it might have to have spent fuel on site). Would never happen in the US, you say? Oh, so you’re absolutely SURE the south won’t try to secede from the union in the next 50 years? And that the North won’t once again try to force them to remain through force?
% See: \url{}
% “If you get hit near a populated area, you’re talking about huge evacuations and salting the earth for 20 or 30 years,” said Henry D. Sokolski.
% Yet, nowhere in this article does anyone suggest that this should go on the list of reasons to not build nuclear power.
% Nor does it discuss that Russia’s move against Ukraine’s plants has DEMONSTRATED to the world the value of regarding nuclear plants as tactical targets.

Author={Sim, David},
Title={Inside a top secret underground Cold War nuclear facility in Chongqing, China},
journal={International Business Times},
comment={In Chongqing China, the Chinese built the world’s largest network of manmade caves as part of a Coldwar project.},
category={Science, superscience, coldwar, nuclear, china}

Author={Parkin, Simon},
Title={Killer Robots: The Soldiers That Never Sleep},
journal={BBC Future},
comment = {Addresses a number of aspects of automated weaponry (including a reference to the Trolley Problem and self-driving cars). Asks whether auto-pilots should lock out humans. And whether robots should develop a sense of ethics to know when to kill. ``Regardless of what’s possible in the future, automated machine guns capable of finding, tracking, warning and eliminating human targets, absent of any human interaction already exist in our world. Without clear international regulations, the only thing holding arms makers back from selling such machines appears to be the conscience, not of the engineer or the robot, but of the clients. “If someone came to us wanting a turret that did not have the current safeguards we would, of course, advise them otherwise, and highlight the potential issues,” says Park. “But they will ultimately decide what they want. And we develop to customer specification.”’’ Also, currently robots can’t tell an enemy from a friend. But the manufactures predict the robots will be able to distinguish uniforms in 10 years. I ask if that is even what they will want? Wouldn’t the future “uniform” be an encoded transponder that tells the robot not to shoot the bearer?},
category = {Trolley Problem, weapons, robots}

Author={Schulz, Kathryn},
Title={The Really Big One},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment = {Explanation of the Cascadia subduction zone, how it is overdue for a very big earthquake, and how it could wipe out most of the West Coast.},
category = {earthquakes, Science, pending disasters, earthquake, pacific northwest}
% “Nor will it be made only of water—not once it reaches the shore. It will be a five-story deluge of pickup trucks and doorframes and cinder blocks and fishing boats and utility poles and everything else that once constituted the coastal towns of the Pacific Northwest.” % See also: \url{} % About preparing for the giant tsunami that would follow the earthquake % Also see this article about how LA is threatened in a similar way by dam breaks during a huge storm or atmospheric river: \url{}

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={Scientists Demonstrate Animal Mind-Melds},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Scientists link monkey brains together to control robot exo-skeletons. No Joke. For the past 25 years, Dr. Nicolelis and his colleagues have been designing devices that decipher signals recorded by electrodes implanted in brains. With these instruments, monkeys can learn to control robot arms and even entire robotic exoskeletons.'' Dr. Nicolelis speculated that our brains can naturally join together when we share the same experiences. “When people are watching television — millions of people watching the same images — we may be synchronizing millions of brains,” he said.’’ ``Already, scientists have developed powerful tattoo-like EEG devices that can stick to the skin and pick up brain activity. It’s also possible to deliver magnetic pulses to different regions of the brain through the scalp with a technology known as transcranial magnetic stimulation.’’},
category = {superscience, mindmelds, animals}
% It’s funny how often new technology that clearly has a military application is justified by it’s potential medical applications.

Author={Nickisch, Curt},
Title={Why Your Dog Can Get Vaccinated Against Lyme Disease And You Can’t},
comment = {There was an effective Lyme Disease vaccine for humans, but anti-vaccine groups created such a controversy around it that it was pulled. Now it seems that it is economically improbable that it will be offered again.},
category = {lyme disease, vaccines, Health}
% A new vaccine is in the works.
% more recent update on this topic, basically same info:
% \url{}
% Also: \url{}
% …Though I think the history of this vaccine’s failure is much more accurately described by the failure of the capitalist health care system, rather than the now-vogue bogeyman of anti-vaxxers that the author blames it on.

Author={Broad, William, J.},
Title={An Ocean Mystery in the Trillions},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {There are trillions of Bristlemouth fish in the depths. They are the most numerous vertbrate on earth. This article talks about that discovery. It also mentions the ``deep scattering layer’’ — a layer in the ocean that reflects radar, and turns out to be biological.},
category = {oceans, bristlemouth fish}
% Though, the term “bristlemouth” refers to a bunch of varieties of widely morphologically different fish.
% See also this article about William Beebe, the first scientist to see a bristlemouth: \url{} And whose team made some amazing illustrations.
% And this article about more things brought up from the deep scattering layer:
% \url{}

Author={Lustgarten, Abraham},
Title={End of the Miracle Machines},
comment = {Covers the insane amount of power generated by one of the biggest coal plants ever built to move water around for Arizona.},
category = {water, power}

Author={Barry, Robert},
Title={The Utopia Of Records: Why Sound Archiving Is Important },
journal={The Quietus},
comment = {It is impossible to preserve all intellectual material. The machines themselves won’t last long enough (and new parts are not being manufactured to replace them as they break down) to digitize everything that has been recorded. Even digital stuff rapidly disappears, because it doesn’t get through through as being something worth saving. (i.e. sound files that may have been linked to on early web pages.)},
category = {archiving, technology, sound recordings}
% I don’t see why we even should try to preserve everything. I think it’s better to let some things go. I am not the only one, that’s why Snapchat came into existence.

title={Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States},
comment={The report on forensics that concluded that only DNA testing has a viable scientific background. Other techniques may be useful eventually, but need a grouding in science. Particularly, they need analysts willing to give error probabilities, the way DNA does.},
category={DNA, forensics}
% Includes serious doubts about blood splatter and bloodstain analysis, the premise behind the show Dexter.
% See ProPublica reporting on blood splatter analysis here: \url{}
% That article includes discussion of how the law favors precedent over science.
% And bloodstain pattern analysis does HAVE accreditation available now,
% but judges aren’t using it as a standard for evidence.
% Nice update on forensic questioning in this Times article about bite marks: \url{}
% Report on the failure of FBI hair analysis team: \url{}
% See this ProPublica overview of reporting on the problem with forensics:
% |url{}
% And this report on the failure of DNA analysis in the NY Times: \url{}
% ``not all DNA evidence is equal. Sometimes it’s clear: blood or semen identifies a single person. If it’s just a few skin cells left on an object, or if it contains more than one person’s genetic material, it can be more ambiguous. In such situations, labs used to report that the results were inconclusive, or the defendant could not be excluded from the mix. New types of DNA analysis have been introduced in recent years to interpret trace amounts or complex mixtures, spawning an industry of testing tools, chemical kits and software. As analysis has become more complex, the techniques and results are coming under fire nationwide.’’
% see also: break down of the weakness of photographic analysis as evidence: \url{}
% See also: big Times expose on the inaccuracy of breathalyzer tests:
% \url{}
% And also see this article on the innaccuracy of matching patterns in denim blue jeans:
% \url{}

Author={Lander, Eric S.},
Title={Fix the Flaws in Forensic Science},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Op-ed arguing to fix the forensic science system. Includes examples of how forensics failed in justice.},
category = {forensics, DNA, fingerprints}

Author={Bhanoo, Sindya},
Title={New Technique Can Identify Gender From a Fingerprint},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {New technique suggests it can identify gender from the proteins left in the oils of a fingerprint. ``“Fingerprints have really been treated as pictures for more than a hundred years,” said Jan Halamek’’ This is only a small test though, it hasn’t been proven statistically.},
category = {forensics, fingerprints}

Author={Wexler, Rebecca},
Title={How Computers Are Harming Criminal Justice},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that proprietary computer information is more and more being used against defendents in the criminal justice system. Defense lawyers make requests for access to the source code of the software these companies developed, but are being turned down on trade secrets grounds.},
category={Science, criminal justice, social justice, open source software, courts, prison}

title={Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines woldwide: sources and sinks},
author={Browne, Mark Anthony and Crump, Phillip and Niven, Stewart J and Teuten, Emma and Tonkin, Andrew and Galloway, Tamara and Thompson, Richard},
journal={Environmental science & technology},
publisher={ACS Publications},
comment = {This is the study that shows that plastic clothing sheds microfibres that end up in the marine environment.},
category = {Science, plastic, pollution, oceans}
% See this article on plastic ending up on a remote island in the pacific, the same that the castaways from the Essex ended up on:
% And this article on a company adding sugar to the plastic fibers to get microbes to digest them:
% And this article on “dark plastic” \url{} MOST plastic waste is missing, presumed sunk. But maybe it’s washing up on beaches around the world. It’s NOT in the gyres.

Author={Hard, Lauren and Harlan, Jennifer},
Title={Pennsylvania Honors the Snot Otter. It’s Not Even the Strangest State Animal.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={After much contentious debate, Pennsylvania voted the hellbender the state amphibian. It’s a two foot long giant salamander found in rivers as far north as southern New York.},
category={Science, hellbender, salamander}

Author={Schlossberg, Tatiana},
Title={Fig Leaves Are Out. What to Wear to Be Kind to the Planet?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Looks into the environmental quandry of what fabrics are ok to wear. Talks about how synthetic fibres are made from oil and get washed into waterways. Cotton and rayon are problematic just for the amount of chemicals they use. Wool might be the best bet. But really the only thing consumers can do is buy fewer clothes. Fast-fashion is not helping.},
category={Science, fabric, pollution, fast-fashion, clothing, wool, plastic clothing}

@article {Geyere1700782,
author = {Geyer, Roland and Jambeck, Jenna R. and Law, Kara Lavender},
title = {Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made},
volume = {3},
number = {7},
year = {2017},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1700782},
publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
abstract = {Plastics have outgrown most man-made materials and have long been under environmental scrutiny. However, robust global information, particularly about their end-of-life fate, is lacking. By identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, we present the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured. We estimate that 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as of virgin plastics have been produced to date. As of 2015, approximately 6300 Mt of plastic waste had been generated, around 9% of which had been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Science Advances},
comment = {Paper that estimates the total amount of plastic produced so far. Covers the end result of that plastic: the portion downcycled into lower grade plastic, incinerated, and landfilled.},
category = {Science, plastic}
% See NY Times coverage here: \url{}
% While this covers much of the lesser-known problems with plastic, it doesn’t cover the fact that it is cheap because it is a byproduct of the fossil fuel industry.
% Also doesn’t mention that plastic is lightweight, but that doesn’t really matter much.
% See also: \url{} which points out that there is a market only for recycled plastics #1 and 2. 3-7 are virtually worthless.
% See also: \url{} % which says that the US contribution to plastic pollution worldwide is significantly larger thant previously thought.

Author={Forderaro, Lisa W.},
Title={Study Investigates Proliferation of Plastic in Waterways Around New York},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A lot of plastic bits have been found in the waterways arounds NYC.},
category = {plastic, pollution, nyc, Science}

title={Bodies of Lenin: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty},
author={Yurchak, Alexei},
url = {},
comment = {Paper about the preserving of Lenin’s body. All body preservation in the past was about maintaining the biological material of the body. Lenin was preserved to maintain the look and feel of the body. Referenced in this article by Jeremy Hsu in Scientific American: \url{}},
category = {embalming, Russia, Lenin}

title={At day’s close: night in times past},
author={Ekirch, A Roger},
publisher={WW Norton & Company}

title={Population density and social pathology.},
author={Calhoun, John B},
journal={Scientific American},
publisher={Scientific American, Inc.},
comment = {Famous paper by Calhoun that uses mouse habitats as a model for overpopulation causing societal collapse. Referenced in this Cabinet article by Will Wiles, The Behavioral Sink, \url{}},
comment = {mouse, superscience}

Author={The Editorial Board},
Title={The Chicken or the Egg or the Dinosaur?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Scientists have reverse-evolved a chicken beak back into a dinosaur snout. Now working on the tail.},
category = {chicken, dinosaurs, superscience}

title={A polycentric approach for coping with climate change},
author={Ostrom, Elinor},
journal={Available at SSRN 1934353},
comment = {Argues that efforts at solving climate change have to happen at multiple scales, not just global ones. Also referenced in this Times article \url{} which argues that individual steps towards idealistic goals can help solve climate change. It holds up biking in Copenhagen as an example. However I would suggest that Copenhagen is a pretty monolithic culture, that does not represent many major cities in the world, not to mention the different values of the world as a whole.},
category = {climate change, idealism}

Author={Fong, Benjamin Y.},
Title={The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that climate change is not the failure of individuals who haven’t adopted green living or evil companies out to exploit the environment for their own gain. It is in fact capitalism itself. People make rational decisions, but those decisions are ultimately in favor of profit, with the assumption that smart people'' and that our problems are technical ones with technical solutions. The problem with the general view that intelligence will save us is that it involves pinning the failures of capitalist society on supposedly dumb people (them), who, so the logic goes, need to be replaced with supposedly smart ones (us). This is a spectacular delusion.’’ Put differently, the hope that we can empower intelligent people to positions where they can design the perfect set of regulations, or that we can rely on scientists to take the carbon out of the atmosphere and engineer sources of renewable energy, serves to cover over the simple fact that the work of saving the planet is political, not technical. We have a much better chance of making it past the 22nd century if environmental regulations are designed by a team of people with no formal education in a democratic socialist society than we do if they are made by a team of the most esteemed scientific luminaries in a capitalist society. The intelligence of the brightest people around is no match for the rampant stupidity of capitalism.'' Climate change has made anticapitalist struggle, for the first time in history, a non-class-based issue.’’},
category={Science, Criticality, climate change, capitalism, socialism}

title={Brain wars: The scientific battle over the existence of the mind and the proof that will change the way we live our lives},
author={Beauregard, Mario},
comment = {This book contains an essay adapted for this article in Salon: \url{} which is a pretty good overview of the science around Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences, at least as of 2012. The title of the article is “Near Death, Explained” but it really doesn’t explain anything. Rather it makes a compelling case that these experiences are \emph{not} explained at all, especially by those who believe that material existence is the totality of existence.},
category = {science, near death, out of body}

title={Why most published research findings are false},
author={Ioannidis, John PA},
journal={PLoS medicine},
publisher={Public Library of Science},
comment={Now classic paper looking at the unreliability of research findings, largely due to studies being too small and many studies only showing an accurate measure of prevailing bias.},
category = {Science, Health, false science, replicability, reproducibility}
% Also see this very long article that updates and covers a lot of the same ground, including NNTs, replicability, and medical care’s tendency to continue using practices for 10 years after they’ve been proven ineffective:
% \url{}
% And more here: \url{}
% which says that most pharmaceutical companies run in-house programs to validate research findings because they don’t trust published research!
% Also references this paper about bias that I haven’t read, but looks interesting: \url{}
% Aaron E. Carroll picks up the reproducability problem here: \url{}
% And Carroll discusses the specific reproducability problem case where claims were made that putting an elmo stick on an apple will get children to choose apples over cookies here: \url{}
% See also: 50% of medical practices are not studied for effectiveness:
% \url{}
% Includes a bunch of links to many of the more recent studies about how medicine has a science problem.
% Basically… modern medicine is only about HALF real science, and the rest is only a small step from witch-doctoring.
% Though remember: witch doctors are effective because simply being treated helps people get better.
% But with such poor science behind it, it’s no wonder people instinctively feel modern medicine is weak, and go looking for something more traditional.

title={Why Most Clinical Research Is Not Useful},
author={Ioannidis, John PA},
journal={PLoS Med},
publisher={Public Library of Science},
comment={Ioannidis tackles ways to make clinical research more useful, mostly by identifying the kinds of research that should be done that have a strong likelyhood of being useful.},
category={Science, Health}

Author={Nuijten, Michèle B. and van Assen, Marcel A. L. M. and Veldkamp, Coosje L. S. and Wicherts, Jelte M.},
Title={The replication paradox: Combining studies can decrease accuracy of effect size estimates.},
journal={Review of General Psychology},
comment = {Because of publication bias (the tendency of journals to favor publishing studies that show a statistically significant effect) replication of studies actually reinforces bad research. Scientist’s instincts about the effect of replication on the quality of research is actually wrong because of this. Retraction Watch covers this paper: \url{}},
category = {false science, replication}
% I haven’t read this actual paper, just the coverage in Retraction Watch. Also I created this entry myself because it was a new article. It would be good to pull a more accurate entry from google scholar when it shows up on there.

Author={Wade, Nicholas},
Title={Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {New technique for editing genes passes on modifications to children. Potential for supervillan exploitation is enormous. Follow up op-ed: \url{}},
category = {superscience, science, crispr, Science, gene drives}
% more scary research on crispr: \url{}
% Basically evidence suggesting that gene drives could be so powerful that they would escape from any notion of a “controlled area” of a population.

Author={Wade, Nicholas},
Title={Scientists Seek Moratorium on Edits to Human Genome That Could Be Inherited},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {An international group of scientists meeting in Washington called on Thursday for what would, in effect, be a moratorium on making inheritable changes to the human genome.'' This wouldn't work on things like intelligence’’ anyway because traits like that are determined by a whole set of genes working together.},
category = {cripsr, superscience, moratoriums, Science, gene drives}

@article {Oye1254287,
author = {Oye, Kenneth A. and Esvelt, Kevin and Appleton, Evan and Catteruccia, Flaminia and Church, George and Kuiken, Todd and Lightfoot, Shlomiya Bar-Yam and McNamara, Julie and Smidler, Andrea and Collins, James P.},
title = {Regulating gene drives},
year = {2014},
doi = {10.1126/science.1254287},
publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science},
abstract = {Regulatory gaps must be filled before gene drives could be used in the wild.},
issn = {0036-8075},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Science},
comment = {Looks at the current state of gene drive (CRISPR) regulation and transparency.},
category = {crispr, Science}
% I heard Esvelt interviewed on On The Media on 7-3-16. He pushed for transparency in the process of developing gene drive technology, but at the same time argued that all concerns could be addressed through technology. I am extremely skeptical, no less so for reading this paper, which makes clear that the regulatory landscape (among other things) is decades away (if ever) from being in an appropriate place to regulate this technology.
% Esvelt points out that a single organism released to the wild could release a gene drive, though he also points out that “reverse” gene drive could be released to counter something like this happening.
% Very lightly dealt with, if at all, is the possibility of weaponizing this technology, something that I think would be a prime concern of science from from MIT of all places.

Author={Krulwich, Robert},
Title={Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years},
comment = {Robert Krulwich talks about “tree lobsters” - giant stick insects found hiding out on a pinacle of rock in the middle of the ocean.},
category = {bugs, insects}
% An update on the tree lobsters Krulwich was reporting on:
% \url{}

Author={Zhang, Sarah},
Title={The “Harvard Sentences” Secretly Shaped the Development of Audio Tech},
comment = {About the sentences developed at Harvard during the war to test audio equipment, and how the influenced culture.},
category = {audio}

author={Gould, S.J.},
publisher={WW Norton & Company},
comment = {Contains the article “Streak of Streaks” about Joe Dimaggio’s
extremely unlikely hitting streak, and how it defies the precepts
of statistics.},
category = {science, probability, hot hands, baseball, sports}
% This is of course based on a classic paper by Thomas Gilovich in 1985 about Hot Hands in basketball
% This suggests that one should never doubt human intuition without very strong research. Humans are really good at recognizing patterns. If you are going to say that a pattern that many many humans revognize is wrong, you better have damn good research to back it up.
% This is not to be confused with media-guided opinions though. Think about the flu shot research - most people probably intuitively doubt the usefulness of the flu shot (and they would be right) but they believe the media they are given about the subject, and so will tell you you should get a flu shot.
% In the case of flu shots, the research is right, and the general understanding is wrong.

title={Male nipples and clitoral ripples},
journal={Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art},
comment={Classic and controversial essay where Gould argues that male nipples are vestiges of women’s and women’s clitorises are vestiges of penises. (And he says the essay should have been called ``clits and tits’’.)},
category={Health, Science, sex, evolution}
% pretty sure this is also in Bully for Brontosaurus.
% See this updated research on the purpose of the female orgasm as well: \url{}
% Which explains that while the male orgasm is well understood - pleasure comes at the point of ejaculation driving the man to have sex - the female orgasm is a mystery because the clit is sparated from the vagina. New research suggests that other older species evolved with the clit inside the vagina, and the orgasm singnaled the release of the egg. But primates/humans developed social circles with regular sex so a signal to release the egg became unecessary and women evolved regular menstrual cycles. (So fascinating! Menstrual cycles exist because of the existence of social structures!) The clitoris evolved away from the vagina to keep the singnals separate (this part is a little hard to believe.)

title={The Hot Hand Fallacy: Cognitive Mistakes or Equilibrium Adjustments? Evidence from Baseball},
author={Green, Brett S and Zwiebel, Jeffrey},
publisher={Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Working Paper},
abstract = {We test for a ‘hot hand’ (i.e., short-term streakiness in performance) in Major League Baseball using panel data. We find strong evidence for its existence in all ten statistical categories we consider. The magnitudes are significant; being ‘hot’ corresponds to roughly a one quartile increase in the distribution. Our results are in notable contrast to the majority of the hot hand literature, which has found little to no evidence for a hot hand in sports, often employing basketball shooting data. We argue that this difference is attributable to endogenous defensive responses: basketball presents sufficient opportunity for defensive responses to equate shooting probabilities across players whereas baseball does not. As such, prior evidence on the absence of a hot hand (despite widespread belief in its presence) should not be interpreted as a cognitive mistake – as it typically is in the literature – but rather as an efficient equilibrium adjustment. We provide a heuristic manner for identifying a priori which sports are likely to permit an equating endogenous response response and discuss potential implications for identifying the hot hand effect in other settings.},
url = {},
comment = {New research on a larger sample size looks at the phenomenon of ``hot hands’’ or streaks and concludes that they do in fact exist. Also see article in NY Times: \url{}},
category = {science, probability, hot hands, baseball, basketball, sports}

Author={Johnson, George},
Title={Gamblers, Scientists and the Mysterious Hot Hand},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {All permutations of a coin tossed four times average out to Heads coming up significantly less often than tails. Also mentions Natasha Sch"{u}ll’s book, Addiction By Design.},
category = {science, probability, hot hands, basketball, sports}

Author={Angier, Natalie},
Title={Termites: Guardians of the Soil},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Overview of the miracles of termites. In many ways even more amazing than ants.},
category = {termites, science}

Author={Leskovitz, Frank J.},
Title={Camp Century, Greenland},
comment = {The US military built a secrety under-ice base in Greenland during the cold war. Reminicent of the Sealab projects, and Project Azorian. This website is some kind of classic-web type site. More information here: \url{}},
category = {superscience}

title={The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy},
author={Hoffman, D.},
publisher={Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group}
comment={About the soviet weapons programs during the Cold War era. The Dead Hand is the soviet doomsday system that would automatically launch a counterstrike if soviet leadership were eliminated.},
category={Science, superscience, cold war, doomsday devices}

title={Multiple Images of a Highly Magnified Supernova Formed by an Early-Type Cluster Galaxy Lens},
author={Kelly, Patrick L and Rodney, Steven A and Treu, Tommaso and Foley, Ryan J and Brammer, Gabriel and Schmidt, Kasper B and Zitrin, Adi and Sonnenfeld, Alessandro and Strolger, Louis-Gregory and Graur, Or and others},
journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:1411.6009},
comment = {One Supernova is seen multiple times, in different years because it has to pass by a galaxy cluster that warps the image. This is one of the most powerful examples of how looking into space is looking back in time that I’ve ever read about. Referred to in this NY Times article: \url{} Also see this awesome explanation of relativity in the NY Times: \url{}},
category = {science, space, Einstein Cross, relativity, space time}
% Einstein aparently thought of relativity while riding his bicycle: \url{}

Author={Nafzger, Richard and et al.},
Title={The Apollo 11 Telemetry Data Recordings: A Final Report},
comment = {Report about the lost Apollo 11 moon landing tapes. Even the smartest people on the planet can drop the ball - somehow that’s really reassuring. But finally claims that there is no way the missing tapes could have been considered historical and worth preserving at the time. },
category = {Science, space, nasa, moon landing tapes}

Author={Fortin, Jacey},
Title={Neil Armstrong’s Moon Bag Could Fetch 4 Million at Auction},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The bag Neil Armstrong first used to collect moon rocks as the first person on the moon will be sold at private auction. It still contains moon dust in it. NASA thinks it is too valuable to be held in private hands, it should belong to everyone. But they lost track of it after lending it to a small museum, whose director absconded with it. A mix up at NASA with inventory numbers let the bag get sold at private auction for about 1000 dollars thinking it was a secondary bag that never went to the moon. They only realized their mistake when the owner sent it to NASA for verification. The owner sued to get it back, and won.},
category={Science, space, nasa, moon rock bag}
% More of the smartest people on the planet making huge mistakes.

Author={Edwards, Phil},
Title={A map of all the underwater cables that connect the internet},
comment = {A nice simple overview of underwater cables and maps of where they are.},
category = {submarine cables, undersea cables}
% See also this Times article that’s mostly photos of cables being laid:
% \url{}