• Happy Friday, everyone! Or is it? It’s been a bit hard lately to think positively in this country when we’re caging immigrant families and recreating fascist symbolism in the capital. Let’s take a closer look at […]

  • It’s Friday and time for a wrap up of some stories from this week. Does anyone else have a debate-hangover? Well, we have some mostly good news to chase that down with.

    Well let’s get the crappy one out of […]

  • Hey, y’all. It’s officially summer! Well, in the Northern Hemisphere, at least. Happy winter to our Southern Hemisphere friends! That little fact of opposite hemispheres having opposite seasons is helpful when I […]

  • Happy Friday, y’all! Before I get into the Friday Quickies, I wanted to remind you that Mad Art Lab has re-launched! I’m a huge fangirl of that site and the writers because they take the blend of science and […]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    Hey, Buzz!

    Differing from each other I think. Or at least some folks really enjoyed it and others did not, all folks that I’m pretty sure agree that things aren’t perfect now and we need to work to improve them.

    You’re right, it could be taken as “well things are fine now!” but that would be incorrect cuz they ain’t. I think I took it as the…[Read more]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 1 month ago

    They way I read that comment, it seemed to say that he DID address how being an asshole was detrimental and shouldn’t be tolerated today. But honestly, I can’t tell if the author actually does that without reading the book. (And, usually when someone disagrees with me on Twitter it’s full of vitriol so maybe I was also delighted that his wasn’t!)…[Read more]

    • Differing views… Differing from Yarondav or differing from each other?
      I haven’t read the book (actually, never heard of it before reading this post) but I also wasn’t sure what the tweet meant. Is the author saying “In the olden days, horrible things were done all the time but we are much better than that now and everything is perfect”…[Read more]

      • Noisy replied 1 month ago

        Hey, Buzz!

        Differing from each other I think. Or at least some folks really enjoyed it and others did not, all folks that I’m pretty sure agree that things aren’t perfect now and we need to work to improve them.

        You’re right, it could be taken as “well things are fine now!” but that would be incorrect cuz they ain’t. I think I took it as the…[Read more]

  • As a physics professor, it’s my main job to teach my students to think about forces and fields, solve engineering problems, and understand what an image of a black hole can tell us about the nature of spacetime. […]

    • I have a copy of that book on my desk! I haven’t gotten to it yet, though, because if the book doesn’t have a spider on the cover, it gets a lower priority right now.

    • Am I missing something on that twitter thread that makes you think this is a great response?

      It seems like the author’s response to a complaint about “the author makes a convincing case that Newton would have never revolutionized physics if he hadn’t been just such an obnoxious person” is to follow up with something like “And I also showed why today’s academic culture may have made it harder, or impossible, for him to be such an obnoxious person.”

      That’s not a great response, that’s a terrible response. It’s extremely hard to read it without seeing an implicit finish like “Which means that the attitudes of today’s world of academia would have lost us Newton’s achievements, and may be actively stifling many other potential discoveries and large scientific advancement.” .

      Maybe the book makes the case differently, showing the advantages of trying to prevent people in academia from being assholes, but that twitt certainly doesn’t state that, and doesn’t present any opinion or value judgement to counter the publisher’s description.

      • Noisy replied 1 month ago

        They way I read that comment, it seemed to say that he DID address how being an asshole was detrimental and shouldn’t be tolerated today. But honestly, I can’t tell if the author actually does that without reading the book. (And, usually when someone disagrees with me on Twitter it’s full of vitriol so maybe I was also delighted that his wasn’t!)

        I’ve received comments from people who did read the book that have differing views on how well the author actually did just that. ¯_(?)_/¯

        • Differing views… Differing from Yarondav or differing from each other?
          I haven’t read the book (actually, never heard of it before reading this post) but I also wasn’t sure what the tweet meant. Is the author saying “In the olden days, horrible things were done all the time but we are much better than that now and everything is perfect” or is he saying “as awful as things can be now, they used to be much much worse. We can make things better, have made things better, and should continue trying to do so”? I think Yarondav took it the first way, and so did I.

          Being obnoxious can be protective and comforting for someone who is insecure, but I don’t think it helps them achieve anything, at least not in a position that doesn’t require you to browbeat other people into doing what you want (and even then it is not, in my experience, the most effective way of being a “leader”.) However, Newton’s accomplishments didn’t in any way, depend on getting other people to dig holes or carry heavy objects, or even, like Hubble’s or NASA’s “computers”, do calculations for him*. Who knows how many productive discussions never happened and opportunities were lost because Newton was feuding with someone or was off in a snit?

          • Noisy replied 1 month ago

            Hey, Buzz!

            Differing from each other I think. Or at least some folks really enjoyed it and others did not, all folks that I’m pretty sure agree that things aren’t perfect now and we need to work to improve them.

            You’re right, it could be taken as “well things are fine now!” but that would be incorrect cuz they ain’t. I think I took it as the second interpretation you mentioned.. Hey, call me optimistic 🙂

            Fraser Cain tweeted at me that HE got from the book basically what you describe in your second paragraph, that Newton lost out on collab opportunities for being, as you say, “off in a snit.” (I love that term.)

            My feeling as I read more interpretations of Newton’s behavior is that it indeed hid a massive insecurity, which actually makes me feel really bad for the guy.

    • Josh replied 1 month ago

      I created an account just to post this.
      It’s amazing how publishers still want to sensationalize everything. Thankfully the author corrected your misconception about the book. I’ll put this on my list of books for my kids to read in a few years, when they’re old enough for it to be more appropriate.

  • Welcome to the LATE edition of Friday Quickies and Cute Animal Friday! Apparently my body decided it needed all the sleep after my trip to Puerto Rico. I’m pretty sure I still have grease from the Arecibo […]

  • Rebecca already posted an excellent video critique of Elon Musk’s Starlink concept, but as Skepchick’s resident astronomer, I thought I’d expand upon it a bit.

    You all might know that I’m a radio astronomer, […]

    • One thing I’ve learned in life is there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. It’s rare to get something without also losing something. Can the benefit of providing “free” basic internet to the world be quantified? Can the full impact(s) of the Starlink concept on Earth-bound astronomy be quantified? These would seem an important first step in computing the trade offs.

      If we can imagine the impacts Starlink might have on Earth-bound astronomy, can we think of ways to mitigate them?

  • Welcome to the “Nicole is slightly tipsy and on work-cation in Puerto Rico” edition of the Friday Quickies! I am here for fun and vacation AND to visit the world famous Arecibo Observatory for the very first […]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 1 month, 2 weeks ago

    The other day at a restaurant someone told me she was big into chemtrails and I actually did a spit take with my water.

  • It’s Friday and the start of a three-day weekend for my fellow United States-ians. But before you get to your memorials, barbecues, sales, and grueling workouts, we have some news and cute animals for you.

    First […]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 1 month, 4 weeks ago

    I think Rocket is the only one I’ve actually met. I need to plan another West Coast trip so I can snuggle them all!

  • Today is a special Cute Animal Friday because you get not one, not two, but THREE adorable puppers! Say hello to Rocket, Booster, and Comet, furbabies of the amazing Surly Amy. It is a life goal of mine to have a […]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    ^ +1 all of this ^

  • Happy Friday, all!

    I’m continuing with our “pets of Skepchick” theme for Cute Animal Friday featured photos. This week, meet Fenrir The Black! Fenrir is a classy gent who loves his momma, Maria.

    I don’t […]

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 2 months, 1 week ago

    Thanks for the comment, Corey! And thanks for the awesome work that you and your mom are doing. It’s so great that you can do this amazing science AND share it in such a cool way.

    • Thank you! And now I’m trying to think of what’s next. What is a creative and new way to get more young people interested in a path of science! 🙂

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 2 months, 1 week ago

    I ADORE the poetry of these translations of scientific words. There’s a similar effort happening in Hawai’ian astronomy at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center: https://imiloahawaii.org/news/a-hua-he-inoa-8e3ax. They are the folks that brought us the name ‘Oumuamua for the interplanetary asteroid that came by a bit ago.

  • Hey, hey, all! It’s your friendly neighborhood astronomer. I am thrilled to bring back a Skepchick tradition, Cute Animal Friday! Amanda has brought us hundreds and HUNDREDS of adorable fauna from around the […]

    • I think “Bisaatsinsiimaan” (“beautiful planting”) would make a good word for any well-supported scientific theory, not just relativity. Scientific theories are the source from which many scientific ideas grow, so are a planting or seedling. They are “beautiful” in the sense of fruitful and productive, as well as beautiful in the scientific sense of something that fits together well. (Relativity is often described as a beautiful theory.) Specifically, then, Special Relativity could be called “a beautiful planting of motion”, since relativity is fundamentally a theory about how things move. (General Relativity could be called “a beautiful planting of falling”, since it is a theory about gravity.)
      Yellowfly had an enormous challenge because in most modern languages, there are several hundred years of scientific jargon in which to express ideas, but she basically had to start from scratch. Since the schools most Blackfoot children were forced to attend suppressed their language, I’m sure there is very little extant vocabulary for scientific terms, so she had to make them up. A fresh take on those terms from a new perspective helps even people who think they already understand them. She has done beautifully!

    • Thanks for the comment, Corey! And thanks for the awesome work that you and your mom are doing. It’s so great that you can do this amazing science AND share it in such a cool way.

      • Thank you! And now I’m trying to think of what’s next. What is a creative and new way to get more young people interested in a path of science! 🙂

  • Noisy posted a new activity comment 4 years, 7 months ago

    Approved for the lolz

    – Proud screeching harpy who deserves to have the snot slapped out of her, apparently

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