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Posts made in May, 2019

RIP Murray Gell-Mann, A Great Physicist Who Taught Science Journalists How To Do Better

RIP to Professor Murray Gell-Mann, who passed away last week and was famed (including a Nobel prize) for quark theory. I never met him, but if you spent time at Caltech you probably did. He was not like Einstein, I am told, he was approachable if you were a young scientist, but you had to know what you were talking about. A few years ago I taught a class there, invited by my friend the...

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Why Advertising Doesn’t Work Very Well – People Profiled By Demographics Actually Agree On Little

If you want to annoy someone in their late 30s, joke that all they care about are avocado toast points or beard grooming or running off to Coachella when a project needs to be finished. Because they are millennials.You can also stereotype Baby Boomers or Generation X(1) and get a rise out of them. Everyone seems to know that these "generation" classifications were entirely manufactured by...

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Your Meat Does Not Bleed – But That People Think It Does Is Important For Plant-Based Substitutes

If you have cooked a steak or a hamburger you know that by the time you are ready to serve it, and certainly after you cut or bite into it, there will be liquid that oozes out of it. Anti-meat groups know it isn't blood(1) but they use that imagery to try and sway people to their cause. And groups who make substitutes for meat also use that imagery, because they think that's important to...

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The Voynich Manuscript Has Been Decoded. Again. Except It Hasn’t.

Beinecke MS 408, commonly called the Voynich Manuscript (after Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer who bought it in Italy), has long dismissed as gibberish by most, but beginning in 1915, and certainly since the 1960s, it has also been a source of fascination for people who believe it must be a code. Or a recipe book. Or something. It is actually a proto-Romance language, according to a new paper. It...

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FDA Warns Public Of Homeopathic ‘Remedies’ That May Actually Do Something – Like Kill Your Kids With Natural Rat Poison

Homeopathy, now two centuries old, proceeds from a fascinatingly bizarre premise; that there is a u-shaped curve for dose. Reasonable people know the dose makes the poison; a medicine that can help you at normal levels can be harmful at high levels. Homepaths (and the Endocrine Disrupting Chemical community) instead also believe in an upward curve at other end, that chemicals at extremely...

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