Some thoughts on Robert Downey, Jr.’s science funding idea

A screenshot of Iron Man in action in 'Avengers: Infinity War' (2018). Source: Hotstar

On December 12, Iron Man, a.k.a. Robert Downey, Jr., and David Lang coauthored an op-ed in Fast Company that announced a grant-giving initiative of theirs designed to help fund scientists doing work too important to wait for the bureaucracy to catch up. Their article opened with a paragraph that, to my eye, seemed to have…… Continue reading Some thoughts on Robert Downey, Jr.’s science funding idea

Forget mammoths, protect elephants

From ‘Scientists Say They Could Bring Back Woolly Mammoths. But Maybe They Shouldn’t’, published by NPR on September 14, 2021: Flush with a $15 million infusion of funding, Harvard University genetics professor George Church, known for his pioneering work in genome sequencing and gene splicing, hopes the company, in the bold words of its news…… Continue reading Forget mammoths, protect elephants

Woolly mammoths and a quasi-techbro

I wrote for The Wire Science about George Church’s idea to repopulate the Arctic tundra with woolly mammoths to, among other things, help maintain the permafrost. He isn’t the first person to think of this – that dubious distinction belongs to, and Church himself got it from, Sergey Zimov, whose ‘Pleistocene Park’ in northeast Russia…… Continue reading Woolly mammoths and a quasi-techbro

On the NASEM report on solar geoengineering

A top scientific body in the US has asked the government to fund solar geoengineering research in a bid to help researchers and policymakers know the fullest extent of their options to help the US deal with climate change. Solar geoengineering is a technique in which sunlight-reflecting aerosols are pumped into the air, to subtract…… Continue reading On the NASEM report on solar geoengineering

The difficulty of option ‘c’

Can any journalist become a science journalist? More specifically, can any journalist become a science journalist without understanding the methods of scientific practice and administration? This is not a trivial question because not all the methods of science can be discovered or discerned from the corresponding ‘first principles’. That is, common sense and intelligence alone…… Continue reading The difficulty of option ‘c’

Prestige journals and their prestigious mistakes

On June 24, the journal Nature Scientific Reports published a paper claiming that Earth’s surface was warming by more than what non-anthropogenic sources could account for because it was simply moving closer to the Sun. I.e. global warming was the result of changes in the Earth-Sun distance. Excerpt: The oscillations of the baseline of solar…… Continue reading Prestige journals and their prestigious mistakes