Garwin: the Movie (UPDATED)

Garwin: the Movie opens with an old, steady, precise hand on a computer keyboard, scrolling through now-declassified* documents.  Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower make announcements, and newspapers flash headlines about our splendid new hydrogen bomb.  Then the blossom of a mushroom cloud unfolds; and John F. Kennedy talks about Russian missiles in Cuba; and the […]

Interview with Will Storr: Disputable Sources

Ann:  Will Storr is a phenomenon.*  His specialty is writing good stories about people in bad places.  He’s got a story in Matter about an extremely unpleasant disease called Morgellons.  People with Morgellons have terrible itches, then tiny fibers creep out of their skin and make oozy sores.  The disease sounds like a horror story out […]

Love Song for the Capital Weather Gang

The latest snowstorm was only somewhere around 5 inches, depending where in the yard I stuck my ruler, and as usual the Capital Weather Gang had nailed it.  I’d written them asking if I could interview them for this post, but at the time they didn’t answer, so intent they were on predicting the upcoming […]

Snowbound and Murderous

My God but the veneer of civilization is thin. Baltimore had one of its whomping good snowstorms last week – I stopped measuring at 14 inches – and the next day it had another 3 inches or so, plus sleet, and the day after it had only an inch, plus more of that sleet, and […]

Much As I Loved It, I’m Not Going Back

Behind science news stories, which are facts or predictions of facts, is a reality which gives them their context and sometimes their meaning. Science magazine, January 23, 2014: “A new analysis . . . indicates that modern-day rumblings in the New Madrid Seismic Zone are not echoes of the 1811 to 1812 quakes, however. Instead, […]

The Last Word

January 6 – 10 This week, Ann told the story of the first hero. She’s a girl, a Sumerian goddress, and she predates all the archetypes of what either heroes or girls should be. The internet told Christie where home is. Are you glad you don’t have to hear Christmas music for another year? Helen […]

The First Hero: A Girl

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle subverted the established cultural order by adopting her five-year old’s suggestion that Bilbo Baggins was a girl.  Most people applauded but some gnashed their teeth: don’t second-guess literature, they said, and if Bilbo is a hero and heroes are boys, then so be it.  But I have prior and […]

Holiday Review: Closed-System Sibling Knowledge

This post — a proposal which, like Erik’s, could solve a significant world problem if only anybody would listen — originally ran on March 12, 2012. A week or so ago, I commented on an Abstruse Goose cartoon about probabilities.  My brother-the-statistician commented on my comment, taking me apart – lovingly — for missing the […]