The Last Word: November 3-7, 2014

As with the four previous, we kicked off the week with Colin Norman’s tale of undergoing heart surgery. He’s feeling good but has turned his thoughts to the genetic nature of heart disease. He perused his family album in his mind and fretted for his daughters’ future. Then Erik made several connections between the institutional capacity […]

Inputting Narratives

You’ve probably done this already or if you haven’t, you will: you sit in your doctor’s office and look at your doctor, your doctor sits at a desk and types on a computer.  Your doctor apologizes for the lack of eye contact and explains something about health records now being electronic and tied to reimbursement.  […]

Conversation with Sharon & Geoff: Starship Fusion

Last week, Lockheed announced it had a small team working on what it calls a Compact Fusion Reactor.  Fusion is the opposite of fission that’s used in nuclear plants today; it can produce enormous amounts of energy; the fuel for  itis cheap and plentiful; a small fusion engine would solve the world’s energy problems. I […]

Weapons-Grade Private Enterprise

Over the years, I’ve met a number of physicists who had direct or indirect connections with the Manhattan Project and who then spent the rest of their lives trying to get the nuclear weapons genie back into the bottle and the bottle corked.  I think of these physicists as the old arms-controllers. They’re impressive people. […]

Last Word

September 1-5, 2014. This week, Helen discovered a late summer symphony of peal bells and cicadas. Listen!  Ann discovered an unexpected but welcome pattern in the pronouns that the astronomers are using to describe their colleagues — “she.”  Richard introduced a new occasional LWON series — the Bad Science Poet. (Motto: “It’s not the science that’s bad—it’s […]

SHE?

My first interviews for this current astronomy story were with the astronomers I’ve known and known of for decades — whose research I’ve followed, whose talks I’ve attended, whom I’ve interviewed, as I said, for decades.  The astronomers were what they have been likely to be:  men. Astronomer:  Werk looked at other metal lines.  She […]

Facts? Sure. Truth? Hmm.

Richard:  A few months ago, Ann wrote a post about beauty and truth in science writing. I object to neither. But she seemed to take exception to a “literary nonfiction” approach to science, and I wondered what in particular her objections were. So I thought I’d ask her. Hey, Ann, what gives?  Ann:   Literary nonfiction […]