Category Archives: Science

Links and Comments: Scientific Humanism; the Socialist Menace; Border Crisis

Michael Shermer’s final Scientific American column, in January, summarizes The Case for Scientific Humanism, a “blending of scientific naturalism and Enlightenment humanism,” echoing my own Provisional Conclusion #5: Modern science arose in the 16th and 17th centuries following the Scientific … Continue reading

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Oliver Sacks on Forster and Rees

There’s a short essay by the late Oliver Sacks in current issue of The New Yorker: The Machine Stops. He muses about people walking down the street staring at their phones. Much of this, remarkably, was envisaged by E. M. Forster … Continue reading

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Levitan: NOT A SCIENTIST

Journalist Dave Levitan’s NOT A SCIENTIST: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science (Norton 2017) addresses a dozen or so kinds of mistakes that are typically behind any politician’s use of the phrase “I’m not a scientist, but…”, and … Continue reading

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Lightman: SEARCHING FOR STARS ON AN ISLAND IN MAINE

Alan Lightman is the best known of the three authors reviewed today; he’s published numerous books before, including the novels EINSTEIN’S DREAMS and THE DIAGNOSIS, as well as numerous volumes of essays, out of all of which I’ve only read … Continue reading

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Hawking: BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS

This is the lightest Stephen Hawking book you are likely to read. Published posthumously, it’s a set of reminiscences on 10 big questions compiled and edited from various speeches, interviews, and essays in Hawking’s personal archives, “completed in collaboration with … Continue reading

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C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures, The Third Culture, Big History, and 2001

C.P. Snow’s “The Two Cultures” is the famous 1959 lecture and then essay about the divide between the scientific community and the literary ‘intellectual’ community, an essay much referenced in books about the acceptance of science in modern culture (with, … Continue reading

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Richard Feynman’s Meaning, and Being Savvy

Here’s a short book of three essays first delivered as lectures at the University of Washington in Seattle, in 1963, gathered into a book published in 1998. Feynman, of course, was a famous CalTech physicist influential for work in quantum … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Regulations; Science on Sundays; How to Talk to Someone in a Conservative Bubble

Slate: Trump’s quiet attack on the regulatory state is another part of his broader class war The conservatives’ simplistic rebellion against “regulations” will have consequences, and costs. Regulations are there for a reason. Yes, these rules and regulations might technically … Continue reading

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What We Learned from This Morning’s Newspaper

Robert H. Frank, Molly Worthen, Anthony Doerr, and Nicholas Kristof on cutting taxes for the rich, rejecting Roy Moore-style evangelicalism, how even the conscientious among us react to warnings of climate change, and how Blue States do better at practicing … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: The Profound and the Pernicious

From NPR, The Answer To Life, The Universe — And Everything? It’s 63. The headline is a riff on the famous episode in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Wikipedia) in which a vast computer called Deep Thought … Continue reading

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