Guest blogging for Manuary at fMh

Check out my post at fMh for Manuary!

Why science is so darned powerful

Crossposted at

What is Science? A school kid’s definition goes something like this: Find a hypothesis (from somewhere); make sure it is falsifiable; test it against reality; if it fails, discard it; if it doesn’t, published it. Rinse and repeat. We’ll call this SKD view of science for shorthand.

There is some truth in it. In the same way that, being a good tennis player means, being able to hit the ball really hard, keeping your knees bent, and keeping your eye on the ball. While that’s got some things right and that seem to lean somewhat in the direction of what it means to be a good tennis player, there is much that could be taken away and gobs of stuff that could be added to give a richer and more accurate description of the concept. Continue reading Why science is so darned powerful

Don’t eat puffer fish

There are many ways to get into trouble visiting foreign ports of call. I seem to find them. For instance millions of people go to Vietnam a year and do not come down with killer bacterial brain infections (see ‘My Madness’ in the side panel). I am unlucky I fear. I tried to come out of the womb backwards and have been doing the same (metaphorically speaking) ever since.

Here is the tale. It is a story about fear actually, but I’ll get to that. On a Thursday back in March we drove to Sally. A small costal city in Senegal where there was a company that flew mini-helicopters that we were thinking of using to drop sterile male tsetse flies over wide areas (you know—to make it hard for a female tsetse to find a good man). Continue reading Don’t eat puffer fish