ON THE BRINK: SoCal faces dire, drier future

Here’s a story I spent a month or so reporting over the summer for the Ventura County Reporter: What the science is saying about the prospects for drought this century in Southern California ON THE BRINK: Southern California faces dire, drier future I’d like to dedicate this story to the late great climatologist Kelly Redmond,Continue reading “ON THE BRINK: SoCal faces dire, drier future”

NASA vs. Ted Cruz: Round One

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been spoiling for a fight with NASA administrators every since GOP triumphed in the elections last fall. He has taken the helm of the Senate subcommittee that overseas NASA, which flies under the awkward moniker of the Space, Science, and Competiveness Subcommittee. Cruz has made clear when he took over thatContinue reading “NASA vs. Ted Cruz: Round One”

Puzzles and mystery: How they differ

Sometimes the computational powers that be conspire to foil a post. That yet-to-be-posted item might have been trail inspirational: this one I found thought-inspiring.  From a medical blogger flying under a banner headline: Embrace the Mystery This distinction between puzzles and mysteries is described in a powerful new book by Ian Leslie: Curious: The Desire toContinue reading “Puzzles and mystery: How they differ”

As trade winds strengthen, more drought for CA?

Much of climate science is settled and doesn't need repeating. We know that injecting increasing amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere leads to warming, for instance. But how that warming will play out in atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns, although often discussed, remains to be seen. Several past studies suggested warming could lead toContinue reading “As trade winds strengthen, more drought for CA?”

The sexiness of a stupid woman, according to science

In Slate, a science reporter specializing in sex, Jesse Bering, reports on a new study that finds that women who look drunk and/or stupid are especially attractive to straight men.   The study has problems — for one, a lack of a good control sample. For another, the hypothesis (that men find women who appearContinue reading “The sexiness of a stupid woman, according to science”

How to “undermine” climate research with cash payments

As reported by DeSmog Blog, Climate Progress, Brad Johnson, and now the New York Times, internal strategy documents leaked from the climate change denier Heartland Institute flat-out state that: At present we sponsor the NIPCC [Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Chnage] to undermine the official United Nation's IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reports andContinue reading “How to “undermine” climate research with cash payments”

Reconciling religion and evolution: The Tree of life

From an unpretentious and persuasive visual essay on the most debated movie of the year, The Tree of Life, by Matt Zoller Seitz:  There is this central notion in all of Malick’s films that every individual person is just one tiny part of nature. Not too much more important in the larger scheme of thingsContinue reading “Reconciling religion and evolution: The Tree of life”

Hurricane Irene disappoints jaded New Yorkers

In the aftermath of the hurricane, came complaints about hype: Was Hurricane Irene a disappointment?  Media analyst Howard Kurtz says yes. After all, Irene wasn't even a hurricane when it made landfall in NYC. Other New Yorkers are equally dismissive: A NYC gossip site called Irene The Sudden Sex Celebrity without Much Bang. Scallywag wrote: Continue reading “Hurricane Irene disappoints jaded New Yorkers”

Arctic ice not yet at point of no return, researchers say

Given the dramatic decline in summer ice coverage in the Arctic in recent years, some researchers have feared we are approaching the end of summer ice in the Arctic. But a new study, examining ancient driftwood found along the shores of Greenland, argues in Science that in fact it was much warmer 5000-8000 years ago.Continue reading “Arctic ice not yet at point of no return, researchers say”

Journalism today: Don’t wait your turn (Robert Krulwich)

In which Robert Krulwich, of the excellent Radiolab, gives a speech to the newly-minted graduates of UC Berkeley's journalism school, and inspires even old guys like me. Here's the conclusion: So for this age, for your time, I want you to just think about this: Think about NOT waiting your turn. Instead, think about gettingContinue reading “Journalism today: Don’t wait your turn (Robert Krulwich)”