Finding the weird and wonderful in Bermuda Cross one item off my bucket list for 2022: I visited Bermuda on a family holiday. Unsurprisingly, when I visit new places, I look for spooky things and natural wonders. So this post will mainly be about the unusual aspects of the tiny island country. Bermuda is definitely…… Continue reading I survived the Bermuda Triangle
Category: Science and Nature
Texarkana Fish Rain Mystery Solved
The fish that fell in a December thunderstorm likely came from the nervous stomachs of birds that ejected their recent meal, investigators conclude.
Flat-earthers as scientifical Americans: One message from ‘Behind the Curve’
Most people react to flat-earthers by labeling them as stupid or scientifically illiterate. A moderate effort to examine what they say will reveal that is not so. On the contrary, those who embrace conspiratorial beliefs seem to be bored with the conventional. Their active, creative brains spin more intriguing, complicated, and colorful trappings around mundane…… Continue reading Flat-earthers as scientifical Americans: One message from ‘Behind the Curve’
Science and cryptozoology: The taboo subject of Bigfoot doesn’t add up
Episode 7 of Laura Krantz’ Wild Thing podcast on Bigfoot, science and society explores the contentious relationship between the orthodox scientific community and those scientists who choose to seriously explore fringe topics like this one. Several science-minded Bigfoot advocates are profiled who lament the way society and the “Ivory Tower” of science (a monolithic metaphorical…… Continue reading Science and cryptozoology: The taboo subject of Bigfoot doesn’t add up
Why the Darwin Awards Should Die
A recent tragic story in the news reminded me once again that people can be callous and unthinking in reaction to others’ misfortune. A 19-year old girl shot her boyfriend by his request with the goal of making a viral YouTube video showing how a book can stop a bullet. It didn’t stop it. He’s…… Continue reading Why the Darwin Awards Should Die
Human sacrifice at CERN? It’s not a joke when bizarre claims are taken seriously
Reaction has been varied regarding a video seemingly depicting a human sacrifice on the grounds of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, the location of the Large Hadron Collider and cutting edge particle physics research. Some people are chuckling at the spoof while others see it confirming their dark suspicions and sinister worldview. As a science advocate…… Continue reading Human sacrifice at CERN? It’s not a joke when bizarre claims are taken seriously
Animal Planet’s Monster Week tones down the hype for 2016
It’s business as usual at Animal Planet channel. It’s Monster Week. You know, it’s not that bad to air shows like The Cannibal in the Jungle for one week or on occasion. But AnPlan has gone too far in the past several years by suggesting that mermaids, Megalodon and cryptids exist by co-opting bad or outright…… Continue reading Animal Planet’s Monster Week tones down the hype for 2016
Book Review: Dawkins’ Brief Candle
Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science by Richard Dawkins My rating: 4 of 5 stars I feel this book helped me understand Dawkins considerably more than I did previously. It also deepened my appreciation for him and his life’s work – in zoology, evolutionary biology, religion, philosophy, and science in society. There…… Continue reading Book Review: Dawkins’ Brief Candle
100 Things Popular Science Thinks Science Got Wrong, but Didn’t Quite
I was in the grocery checkout line a few weeks ago. I sometimes scan the magazine rack impulse grabs but never buy them. This week, the crop circle cover photo of a special edition of Popular Science caught my attention: Mistakes and Hoaxes – 100 Things Science Got Wrong What did science get wrong about…… Continue reading 100 Things Popular Science Thinks Science Got Wrong, but Didn’t Quite
Cryptozoology and Myth, Part 1: The Illusion of Facticity in Unknown Animal Reports
What can we make of folklore tales that cryptozoologists use to support claims that an unknown animal has been historically reported and remains to be identified? Cryptid researchers say that modern reports of Bigfoot-Sasquatch, lake monster, sea serpents, giant flying animals, and elusive land creatures are supported by the stories of native people, legends or…… Continue reading Cryptozoology and Myth, Part 1: The Illusion of Facticity in Unknown Animal Reports
Sykes paper is a clarion call for higher standards for cryptozoology
The highly anticipated paper from B. Skyes regarding DNA testing of anomalous primates has been published and is, thankfully, freely accessible. In 2012, the team from University of Oxford and the Museum of Zoology, Lausanne, put out a call for samples of suspected anomalous primates – Yeti, Bigfoot/Sasquatch, Almasty, orang pendek. The samples, if accepted,…… Continue reading Sykes paper is a clarion call for higher standards for cryptozoology
Warnings of impending danger: Science and Social Factors
This is a paper I prepared for an ethics graduate class and have updated (7-June-2014). I present it in conjunction with a Strange Frequencies Radio podcast appearance on Sunday June 8. Natural disasters happen every day. The people who can help prepare society for them are not psychics or crank pseudoscientists but those who study…… Continue reading Warnings of impending danger: Science and Social Factors
Science and society: The giant earthquake that launched a new era in geologic knowledge
I am a geologist by training and my main interest was natural hazards. I was not able to apply my interest to earthquakes or volcanoes as I’d hoped but I did get to help the public deal with sinkhole hazards that also cause property destruction and occasional loss of life. This short film is worth…… Continue reading Science and society: The giant earthquake that launched a new era in geologic knowledge
Speculative paleozoology done by professionals (Book Review)
Last night, I simply could not read any technical stuff before bed so I browsed my Kindle looking for some entertaining reading. The thing is, I don’t really do much fiction, almost everything I have is nonfiction. Then I came across “All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals” by Darren…… Continue reading Speculative paleozoology done by professionals (Book Review)
Defending the faith of cryptozoology
My latest post, regarding the rational vs non-rational response to the new cryptozoology book by Loxton and Prothero, Abominable Science, went live on Huffington Post yesterday. Cryptozoology Gets Respect While Bigfooters Behave Badly. When critical thinkers approach the subject of Bigfoot (or cryptozoology in general) with a focus on the evidence, they are met with…… Continue reading Defending the faith of cryptozoology
There is something alive down there. Troglobite!
Several years ago, I put a downhole camera into a borehole that I suspected was drilled into a network of rotten rock, riddled with widened fracture and small caves, possibly a cavern (karst). The system was fed by surface stream leakage but sustained by what was estimated to be a very extensive hydrogeological system across…… Continue reading There is something alive down there. Troglobite!
Science appreciation class
Several years ago, while learning about the problem of science illiteracy, I discovered something of critical importance: You can’t get people engaged and enthusiastic or even respectful about a subject if they don’t see any value or connection to themselves. Kids aren’t going to do well in high school science classes (or even choose to take those…… Continue reading Science appreciation class
Did zoo animals predict the Virginia earthquake? Look closer.
A day after the east coast earthquake (now forever to be remembered by me as “the best birthday present ever!”), the Smithsonian issued a press release about the behavior of animals at the National Zoo, more than 80 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Some media outlets reported on the news as “animals go…… Continue reading Did zoo animals predict the Virginia earthquake? Look closer.
Today’s edition of being scientifical: UFO research and homeopathy
Ever on the lookout for scientifical examples, here are two that I thought were interesting. The first relates to my interest in amateurs being scientifical. UFO researcher Budd Hopkins presented the results of a study he conducted at a conference about UFO abductees. According to Robert Sheaffer (Skeptical Inquirer V. 35 No. 3 May/June 2001…… Continue reading Today’s edition of being scientifical: UFO research and homeopathy
Research groups’ useful social function is not “being scientific”
The LA Times reports on the MUFON conference with the headline “convention emphasizes scientific methods”. The reporter then skewers this idea by showing how at least some of the attendees have thoroughly embraced the idea of alien visitation and human-alien hybridization. Oh my. (Read about a scientist’s experience in attending a MUFON conference here. The…… Continue reading Research groups’ useful social function is not “being scientific”