Science

Evidence-based skepticism in the spotlight thanks to Bill Nye’s debate

Screen capture from the video where Bill Nye talks about evolution

It’s so very exciting to see the reverberation of the Creation-Evolution debate continuing. And I am very happy to see Skeptical Inquirer play a role in it. This current issue of SI has an exclusive piece written by Bill Nye, The Science Guy himself, discussing the behind-the-scenes goings on that took place before and during…

The Big Bad Moon, used to sell fear to the superstitious

If the moon ever REALLY looks like this, we're DOOMED.

Tuesday, April 15th marks the first of four lunar “blood moon” eclipses over the next two years. The tetrad — or four consecutive and complete lunar eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals — will all be visible over the United States during 2014 -2015. The other dates are Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015…

The bleeding road of Leek

Ashbourne-road_red-stain

Locals have noticed a red discoloration in a roadway that makes it appear as if the road is bleeding. However, there is a logical, chemical explanation. Red stain on A523 road into Leek explained by Staffordshire County Council The presence of iron from a water seepage could be the reason for a road turning red…

Observations on Annihilation, and other Dark Matter(s)

Uncovering a gamma ray excess at the galactic center - Photo credit: NASA

While dark matter has provided fertile ground for misuse and sciencey speculation (Doubtful News), there have been a fair number of experiments intended to detect dark matter, a potentially promising result was published this February, and is making its rounds in astronomy-related news this week, indicating that we may have observed a dark matter annihilation…

Dreams study gets mooned by silly headlines

If the moon ever REALLY looks like this, we're DOOMED.

Set up for better dreams? Professor Wiseman reveals his dream study results. Mass participation experiment reveals how to create the perfect dream Today psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire announces the results of a two-year study into dream control. The experiment shows that it is now possible for people to create their…

No wiki woo woo

hero

We sent the link to this story out yesterday in leftovers but Guy Chapman has written it up for us in a post worth reading. Thanks, Guy.  If there’s one thing proponents of SCAM (Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine) cannot stand, it’s objective unbiased information. Wikipedia’s policies have long mandated against giving undue weight to…

Nineteen new species of praying mantis discovered

A praying mantis in the genus Liturgusa Saussure Photograph: /Gavin J. Svenson/Zookeys

Our cataloging of diversity continues unabated. New praying mantis species discovered | Environment | theguardian.com. Nineteen new species of a tree-living praying mantis family have been discovered, tripling the group’s diversity at a stroke. The bark mantises (Liturgusa Saussure) from Central and South America were found in tropical forests and among specimens kept in museums.…

A paper linking conspiracy ideas to climate change denialism has been retracted

DNlogo

We’ve posted several stories on the work of S. Lewandowsky. He makes climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists rather angry; angry enough to call him names and file complaints about the papers. A rundown of the rather complicated history of his disputed papers about climate change deniers can be found here. Journal pulls paper due…

Latest global warming poll results toe the political line. Again.

default_earth

Another poll on global warming/climate change. I’m not too surprised by the results. Americans Most Likely to Say Global Warming Is Exaggerated Even as most Americans report experiencing abnormal weather conditions lately, more than four in 10 say the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated in the news. These sentiments are lower than the…

Lazarus Moss: 1500 yr old land plants revived

Photo credit: Roads et al.

A new report details that scientists brought moss that was frozen back to life. They note this is “unprecedented millennial-scale survival and viability deep within an Antarctic moss bank preserved in permafrost.” Frozen Underground for 1,500 Years, a Moss Comes Back to Life A team of British researchers drilled core samples from moss beds on…

Gravitational Wave Detection Rumors: We’ll just have to wait (UPDATE: Announced)

Visualization of Einstein-envisioned gravitational waves, provided by NASA.

Have gravitational waves, an Einsteinian prediction based on general relativity, been detected? The physics rumor mill is propagating speculation about a weighty discovery, but what’s the big deal? (See update below) The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will be hosting a press conference Monday, March 17, 2014, to announce a “major discovery.” What is the announcement? It…

43,000-Year-Old mammoth well preserved, provided promising DNA collection

Woolly_Mammoth

Surprised by the level of preservation, a team of scientists believe they will have good quality DNA to attempt a mammoth rebirth. Scientists have ‘Good Chance’ of Successfully Cloning 43,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth. Scientists have claimed they have a “good chance” of cloning a woolly mammoth which has been frozen for the past 43,000 years. The…

‘Planet X’: Still not there after all these years

NCAS Astronomy from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Every few years, it seems Planet X (also known as “Nibiru”) claims rear their head. This time, Planet X fans are disappointed after NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer returned negative results. NASA Probe Shoots Down ‘Planet X’ Claims (NBC News): A NASA spacecraft has pounded another nail into the coffin of the hypothetical solar system…

Cows get stressed

cow

A surprising conclusion. Cows are traumatized by encounters with predators. OSU study: Cows in wolf attacks suffer PTSD-like symptoms – KPTV – FOX 12. Cows that survive encounters with wolves may suffer from symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new Oregon State University study. Researchers said they were told by ranchers that…

Hubble records rare asteroid breakup while rest of world notices there are lots of rocks.

Asteroid NEO 2014 DX110 - Near Earth Encounter - 5 March 2014 from Wikimedia Commons

Asteroid scares are nothing new, but three asteroids in a twenty-four hour period have news headlines buzzing. Another Asteroid! Third Space Rock Buzzes Past Earth (NBC News): The 25-foot-wide (8-meter-wide) asteroid 2014 EC came within 38,300 miles (61,600 kilometers) of our planet at 4:21 p.m. ET, NASA officials said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth…

Martian meteorite micro-structures raise questions about possible biological processes

Small section of meteorite (Yamato 000593) showing tunnels and microtunnels formed in the rock. Photo from NASA.

With all the talk of jelly donuts and related frivolous lawsuit filed against NASA that Doubtful News has covered recently, it is nice to cover a martian story that’s a bit more down-to-earth (Antarctica, more specifically). A team of NASA researchers has published a paper reporting “the first observation of indigenous carbonaceous matter” in a martian meteorite,…