The internet has been all atwitter about the blatantly sexist remarks made by Nobel laureate Tim Hunt earlier this week, at a women in scientist event in Korea. These remarks have been roundly ridiculed, as is appropriate for such stupidity from such an influential scientist. A few days later, after a half-assed apology, Professor Hunt resigned.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
The scent from Madagascar’s fine perfume
Enhances ice cream, fragrances the bath
Beyond this orchid spice a shadow looms:
A mass extinction’s lethal aftermath.
When sulfur, carbon oxidize in air
A surplus of ionic hydrogen
In rain burns plants, and leaches soil bare
Wrecked ecosystems cannot rise again.
Vanillin burns as microbes decompose
At high pH, vanillic acid’s made.
With only aldehyde, one could propose
An acid landscape, compounds undecayed.
Pollution in the first Triassic rain
Prevented life from sprouting up again.
Geology 43 159
Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Saturday, May 09, 2015
On Friday, Maurice Newman, the chair of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, wrote a frothing opinion article in The Australian newspaper (paywalled). It reads more like a Evangelical Christian teenager’s blog than an op-ed by an adult with a job, but basically follows the delusional UN world order climate hoax script found on American survivalist websites and other reputable sources of scientific knowledge. Of course, it is not a crime to be a delusional conspiracy nut. And if tin foil hat sales are what we need to preserve our aluminum industry, I’m all for it. But having one of the PM’s chief economic advisors carry on this way is like having the head of the Canberra Deep Space network decrying the moon landings as a hoax. It is like the health minister saying that vaccines cause autism, or that fucking virgins cures AIDS. The only way it makes any since at all is if The Australian has transformed into a joke newspaper like The Chaser. Except that it isn't actually funny. If the Prime Minister expects his Business Advisory Council to be taken seriously, he should replace the chair with someone who actually has a grip on reality. Because it is difficult to have confidence in a person who publicly espouses lunacy.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Saturday, May 02, 2015
As anyone who follows science-related social media knows by now, a PLOS journal recently rejected a paper by Dr. Fiona Ingleby, based partly on a reviewer who stated that the paper needed a male co-author. This is appalling, and the response so far is that PLOS has removed the handling editor and removed the (anonymous) reviewer from there reviewer database.
Friday, May 01, 2015
Back in the days before Tumblr and facebook and twitter, people wrote blogs, read other blogs, and collate series of posts about common themes into link compilations called "Carnivals." These days, most carnivals have dies out, due to the death of independent blogging, the loss of attention span to microsocial, and the increasing automation of trend formation. But a few still live on, and one of them is the Carnival of Space. Here is number 403.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Related post: Viewing Imaginary Spacecraft from the Ground"
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Canberra is not the ideal climate for chestnut trees. The annual rainfall here is about half what it is in the eastern US, and there are soil fungi in some areas which will kill their roots. Never-the-less, after a few years of false leads, last autumn, I managed to get my hands on a few seedlings. I planted three in my yard. The first, planted in the chook pen, leafed out in spring, but never really grew much, and during the February-March dry spell, it turned brown and shriveled up.
The second tree is in the western corner of the yard, where it is exposed to both the hot westerly winds and the cold southerlies. While it didn't grow much, It did hang onto its leaves until the first cold night, and it is now changing color. I don't know how it will cope with the native acacias around it, and whether their shade will help reduce evaporation or their competition for moisture will hinder, but it seems to have made it through the first year.