Monday, July 26, 2021

Possibly on Planet X

Here’s a real good way to come up with a bad idea. First, decide what you want to be true. Then look for evidence that supports your belief. If nothing shows up, invent an invisible undetectable undisprovable factor that makes you right. This is nothing new; it’s how religion and politics work now and have always worked. But science is supposed to be different. Are there any cosmologists reading this? Because I think I know where all the dark matter might be. I think you should look again real hard wherever it is you keep the phlogiston and the aether.

Monday, July 19, 2021

but not kayaks

There are some things everybody, or pretty much everybody, agrees are cool. A ’65 Mustang or Thelonious Monk, for instance. Then there are things some people think are cool but others disagree, sometimes strongly, like Billy Joel or chukka boots. There are things like toaster ovens, little cigars with the white plastic mouth thingy, water skiing, Louis L’Amour books, that even the people who enjoy them have to admit are not actually cool. Then there are things so wildly uncool that they sort of lap themselves and achieve backdoor hipness. I’m thinking specifically of shoe trees, coleslaw, and pontoon boats.

Monday, July 12, 2021

"Untitled" is a title, right?

Imagine waking up and knowing exactly what you needed to achieve that day. I don’t mean like “I need to clean up this desk.” I mean your limbic system screaming like a bunny in a vise, insisting that you do what it wants or it will drive you into a babbling state of drooling lunacy. Opioids will do that for you. I’m not trying to encourage drug addiction. I’m not suggesting it’s a good thing. I’m just pointing out that, like war, it has the capacity to give life meaning and purpose. In that sense, it really does solve everything.

Monday, July 5, 2021

The Frontiers of Research

Fernando Colchero of the University of Southern Denmark (Havarti grits, y’all!) and Susan Alberts of Duke University in North Carolina are the leads on a new study that compares death statistics from around the world. What they found is that as life expectancy in a population increases, so does lifespan equality. So basically, when you improve nutrition, sanitation, and healthcare, more people get to live to the maximum possible age, which remains the invariant. I’m in favor of science. I want these nice folks to get tenure. But who didn’t know we were all going to get old and die?