Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: science (page 1 of 2)

How NASA averted a likely satellite collision

A lot goes into deciding whether to fire the thrusters for one second.

Why Japan’s nuclear disaster is not going to irradiate everything

Dr. Josef Oehmen explains the nuclear accident in Japan:

I am writing this text (Mar 12) to give you some peace of mind regarding some of the troubles in Japan, that is the safety of Japan’s nuclear reactors. Up front, the situation is serious, but under control. And this text is long! But you will know more about nuclear power plants after reading it than all journalists on this planet put together.

A regular reader forwarded me this link, which explains not only what’s happening at the Fukushima plant in Japan, but also, in concise terms, how the reactor works in the first place.

Once you’ve read that piece, you can totally understand what’s going on with the Unit 3 reactor, which subsequently suffered a cooling failure.

Update: Patrick McKenzie on the incredible success of Japan’s disaster response.

The history and future of information science

Freeman Dyson’s recent New York Review of Books article on information science is one of the most interesting things I’ve read lately. Where else are you going to read about the similarities between Wikipedia and Congolese drum language? These days, the ways that big data is changing how businesses operate is widely discussed. He explains how big data is changing how science is conducted and indeed how biological evolution is moving more toward big data. It’s a must read.

Climate Change 101

Here’s a must read, or at least must forward, article on climate change from the New York Times: A Scientist, His Work and a Climate Reckoning. Basically it’s a long review of what we know about climate change, how long we’ve known it, and what we can do about it at this point. It also covers the way that climate change deniers work to undermine things that are generally accepted basic scientific facts. The thing that really stood out to me is that the basic mechanism of climate change and the expected results have been well known since the 1960s. Deniers like to say that in the 70’s alarmists worried about global cooling, but the truth is that climate scientists have understood climate change perfectly well.

The carbon bathtub

National Geographic provides the most straightforward and understandable explanation of global warming that you’ll find, using the bathtub as a metaphor. It explains why atmospheric carbon levels are rising and why it’s going to be very difficult to get them to fall.

Links from July 9th

Our place in the universe


I have no idea where this image illustrating the relative size of the Earth compared to other bodies in the universe came from, but it’s amazing.

I admit, I’m a total sucker for this sort of thing.

Links from March 23rd

There are a whole ton of links in the backlog today.

Links from March 12th

Links from January 29th

These links are for the past three days.

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