Tag Archives: science

With Liberty and Firearms for All

One of the issues that’s come up repeat­ed­ly in con­tem­po­rary US pol­i­tics is the idea that the 2nd Amend­ment con­veys an indi­vid­u­al’s right to obtain, pos­sess, and open­ly car­ry firearms.

The realm of law and order is not unlike the fash­ion world in that over time, new trends emerge and fresh items of inter­est arise, while estab­lished trends can be played down or may fall out of favour entire­ly. Inter­pre­ta­tion mat­ters most, and that inter­pre­ta­tion is gen­er­al­ly sub­ject to the lin­guis­tic evo­lu­tion and soci­etal atti­tudes of the peri­od. In the case of the 2nd Amend­ment, the leg­is­la­tion has been furi­ous­ly debat­ed in a mod­ern set­ting as to the mer­its of its gram­mat­i­cal struc­ture and mean­ing, oth­er his­tor­i­cal prece­dents, and dif­fer­ences between the orig­i­nal and rat­i­fied ver­sions.

The recent push for wide­spread ‘free­dom’ enshrined in law as per­mit­ting indi­vid­ual gun own­er­ship was­n’t always so. Up to the turn of the 21st cen­tu­ry, it was wide­ly accept­ed by many (even con­ser­v­a­tive Chief Jus­tice War­ren Berg­er) that an indi­vid­ual right to bear arms was­n’t a thing. Many con­ser­v­a­tives at the time car­ried the same torch and stood in oppo­si­tion to what they believed was a sil­ly, if not fair­ly haz­ardous, idea.

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A Primer on Global Warming and Climate Change

Chances are you’ve heard some men­tion in the media or among gov­ern­ment in recent years about the top­ics of glob­al warm­ing, extreme weath­er, or cli­mate change. I won’t do sci­en­tists the indig­ni­ty of con­sid­er­ing the mat­ter a ‘debate’ much less use this word, because it would imply we’re still at the stage of try­ing to see if the meter swings one way or the oth­er on this impor­tant issue. No, much to the sur­prise of many, sci­ence has devel­oped itself exten­sive­ly and spo­ken in great cer­tain­ty: there is no longer any debate, and glob­al warm­ing and cli­mate change are both real and caused by humans.

So if there’s one post you peek at on the sub­ject today, let it be this one.

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Understanding Electronics: The (Non)Magic of Free Energy

I fig­ured I’d make a brief post to wet my read­ers’ feet in the vast pond of elec­tron­ics engi­neer­ing. Here’s a real­ly inter­est­ing video about the sub­ject of free ener­gy, nar­rat­ed by a spe­cial­ist who actu­al­ly works in and under­stands elec­tron­ics, and is able to point out in fair­ly com­mon terms why and how free-ener­gy devices are not pos­si­ble to cre­ate.

TL;DR — it’s not because there exists any set of spe­cial workarounds to our exist­ing laws of physics, or that alter­nate laws of physics exist for well-known phe­nom­e­na that are some­how wait­ing to be writ­ten. Rather, it’s almost uni­ver­sal­ly the case that peo­ple, even well-mean­ing ones, tend to mis­in­ter­pret units of mea­sure, fail to prop­er­ly con­cep­tu­al­ize math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tions, and fail to incor­po­rate numer­ous sci­en­tif­ic pro­ce­dures and prin­ci­ples in their work. To add fuel to the fire, most peo­ple who cham­pi­on free ener­gy devices gen­er­al­ly choose to spend their time with those of the same mind­set, an effect which in time mul­ti­plies the shaky devi­a­tions of com­pre­hen­sion and foun­da­tion­al stud­ies, and fur­ther dimin­ish­es the capac­i­ty to be self-cor­rect­ing.

Anti-Vaccine Crusader Andrew Wakefield Marked by Science Community as Discredited, Fraudulent

So … I was read­ing FARK today when I came across this: the man cit­ed as the ini­tia­tor for much of the cur­rent cli­mate of anti-vac­ci­na­tion fear has been called out as fraud­u­lent and dis­cred­it­ed by the British Med­ical Jour­nal (see also: cov­er­age via Seth Mnookin and NYT Mag­a­zine). Wake­field was the per­son who tried to claim that MMR vac­cines cause autism — an unproven alle­ga­tion that has unfor­tu­nate­ly car­ried a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of weight in the minds of some par­ents.

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