Hidden Science, Real News

Publishing in science used to mean submitting your work to a scientific journal, a process involving rigorous scientific review (usually). Lately some people haven’t bothered to wait for that process to run its course, and just put out a press release. That’s fine unless the press and policy crowds start treating the results as the truth. An example from the eclectic and highly skeptical statistician, Michael Briggs: So the WHO, the UN’s medical bureaucracy, trumpeted a press release claiming processed meats cause cancer.

Program Idea = Great; Name = ?

Last week a long list of distinguished technology, business and government leaders published a letter urging support for a new program in NYC called “Computer Science For All” (#CS4All). This program, and programs like it, are critically important to our national competitiveness, and the future of today and tomorrow’s students. Can you imagine a successful, future career path that can be navigated without a basic level of computational knowledge? It gets harder and harder to do imagine day.

USA Hockey’s Girl Problem

This month’s USA Hockey Magazine celebrated the national tournament winners at each age group. Unfortunately, the print edition went out with the boys teams pictured as the victors for both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments. While this was surely an unintentional oversight by some staffer, it unfortunately is symbolic of an ongoing problem in USA Hockey’s approach to girls in hockey. Before going into the details, let me say up front that I’m a big fan of USA Hockey.

Great Job Opportunities

There’s a lot going on at Applied Invention, and I wanted to highlight some specific talent that we’re currently in the market for. If you have any interest or questions please email me at ‘dd’ at this domain. The first two positions are with our partner, Dark Sky (web-version is currently here). Adam, one of the Dark Sky co-founders, wrote an awesome blog post when we cemented our partnership a couple of months ago.

Is a 2014 Global Temperature Record Significant?

The media have gotten the message out big time: the 2014 global temperature was a record high (here’s the Huffington Post version and AP articles, but you can find the story everywhere). There have been three valid criticisms of the record temperature claim: it’s widely agreed that the the earth has been warmer in the past, so this is only a record during the period of recorded temperature, which starts at 1880 (in fact some are saying that 2014 was in the coldest 3% of the past 10,000 years).

Never, Ever Change Your Apple Password.

I admit it, I’ve had the same password on my Apple account for a few years. “Pretty stupid”, you might say, and I’d agree, but I’ll do it again given the hassle involved with changing it. Last night I made a change to my Apple account, and to make the change Apple forced me to pick a more secure password (yeah, it wasn’t that great of a password, either). So I choose something longer, with caps, numbers, special characters, etc.

Yesterday Was Cool...Until We Tell You Otherwise

Meterologist Mike Smith’s recent blog post provides a good reminder that the concept of global temperature is far more complex than a casual observer might suspect. If you think about it for awhile, you’d probably come up with two of the bigger problems. The first one is the poor distribution of reliable weather stations. Coverage is decent in the economically advanced countries, but goes downhill from there. And as you’d expect, the poles and oceans have incredibly limited coverage.

An 18-Year Climate Anniversary

Today, October 1, 2014, marks 18 years without a measurable increase in the earth’s temperature according to the RSS temperature series (note: other series have different durations since warming stopped, some longer, some shorter). This is not a reason to declare victory, as the side effects of our energy usage, including CO2 dumped in the atmosphere, add uncertainty to our future. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t good news, as it certainly is.

Mac Hacking: Sending Email From the Command Line

In moving an automated process from a linux box over to a mac, I found myself missing cron’s built-in ability to send an email as I switched over to OSX’s launchd. The obvious answer, sending an email from within my bash script, send me looking for an easy way to send an email from the command line, without needing to install sendmail or postfix. Ideally I’d use Gmail as an SMTP service, but not a hard requirement.

United Airlines Crosses a Line

I usually don’t bother to write about airlines, since its not news to anyone that crappy experiences happen all of the time. But things crossed the line on United Airlines flight 6314 from Des Moines to O’Hare on July 23rd. Part way through boarding, a young man with some clear physical challenges sat down in the bulkhead seat. He had a smile on his face, but couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds, had his arm was in a sling, and one of is legs was immobilized by a brace.