Homeopathy Part Two: The Secret Placebo Experiment

If you suffer from low blood pressure or an inability to get bent out of shape, I recommend an evening of fine dining and finding yourself backed into a serious conversation about homeopathy. Difficulty: you’ve been instructed by your spouse to “keep your science in your pants” because it’s a social occasion with extended family, […]

0/0/1969

I know a guy who doesn’t have a birthday. Andy* was born in the Moroccan desert. His parents were nomads. There were no smartphones in the 1960s and a nomadic tribe didn’t have much use for the Gregorian calendar. And when it came to recalling the exact day and month of Andy’s birth, there were […]

The dark crystal

The electronics of the future could be made of a material you leave in your toilet. If you’re up on your electronics of the future, you’ll recall that they were supposed to be made of graphene. Remember graphene? It was supposed to be better than silicon, because it lets electrons go really fast. That’s great, […]

The Last Word

July 13 – 17, 2015 Brian Vastag is disabled by a disease the National Institutes of Health finds unconvincing, or maybe just unimportant. He writes a letter to the director. (67 comments later, the director responds.) Alcohol-fueled projectile weapons. Smoking volcanos. The latest summer blockbuster? No- it’s the middle school science fair, and Jessa is […]

Poo Detective

I don’t remember where I heard this story. A mincey woman and her Very Small Dog were walking through an airport when the dog dropped a No. 2. The woman pulled a tissue out of her bag, crouched down… and wiped the dog’s butt. The twosome clacked off, leaving the little brown pile (and the tissue) […]

Survey Says

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “very much”, how much has the sight of this question made you die inside? You’re not alone. Surveys are dreadful; often badly-worded, usually tedious, always demanding more of your time than they deserve. Yet they’re a pillar on which a […]

The Last Word

April 6 – 10 Have you ever had to endure the smug cocktail party contention that “biology is just chemistry, chemistry is just physics, and physics is just math” (and so all of life is reducible to math)? Abstruse Goose demolishes that glib noise with a thought experiment that reverses the formula. Michael Balter’s brontosaurus story […]

The Last Word

March 23 – 27, 2015 “How often do you get to document natural selection happening in a free-ranging population on such a short time scale? How many scientific studies look for that and don’t find it?” Guest poster Judith Lewis Mernit tells us about some very interesting bobcats. In medicine, the word “decompensate” does not mean […]