The Scientific Mind, by Jeremie Fish

Solar eclipses have been important to science

Solar eclipses have been happening since the moon was formed, of course, (and there is still some debate on how that happened) but there is still something special about them, even if you are not in the path of “totality” (unfortunately for this eclipse we are not in the path of totality ...

With alcohol, it’s complicated

There are often arguments about the benefits and disadvantages that go along with diet. The reason is that research into these benefits and risks does not typically include a causation analysis but rather correlation analysis. That is not to say of course that finding correlations is ...

The mystery of protein folding

It has been recognized for many years that proteins have a particular way of being folded. In fact, many proteins will refold spontaneously if they become unfolded. This folding was recognized by Linus Pauling in the 1960s. (Pauling eventually won the Nobel Prize for is work on DNA.) It was ...

Are we going to harvest solar energy in an unexpected way?

There is an old adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” This will be the theme of this article, but give me some time to explain. We have often been influenced by nature when designing materials. For instance, the idea for Velcro came from burrs that stuck to its designers’ clothes ...

Distributions

How important are statistics for science? Very

Mark Twain popularized the term “lies, damned lies and statistics” and this phrase has certainly stuck in our collective psychology. Statistics can certainly be used to argue things in different ways but in science they hold a much more important role. One primary example of the ...

Advances in the war against HIV

We have come a long way since the 1980s in our war against HIV. Of course in the beginning this was a scary disease and being HIV positive was effectively a death sentence. By the late 1990s we had developed a therapy that greatly reduced the mortality of HIV/AIDS. More recently a daily ...

Billionaires may give science a needed push

A fascinating and ambitious scientific project was recently announced. A plan to go to the nearest system of stars, Alpha Centauri, with tiny computer chips that will be able to take photographs and other data. Yet this project was not announced by NASA or some other government funded ...

Ultra high speed internet may arrive soon

By now we are all familiar with Wi-Fi. It is everywhere. You can get free Wi-Fi in many businesses, and most of us have it in our homes. The access to the Internet however, generally comes from fiber optic lines. Fiber optic lines have enabled high-speed Internet to become available (though it ...

Advances in batteries make for a bright future

There has been much talk over the recent decades about renewable energy. Of course this will be important for us one way or another. Whether or not you agree with the scientific consensus on global warming, there is a limited supply of oil and coal, which will eventually render them ...

We may have a new home closer than we think

Most of the time, we take it for granted — at least I do — that planet earth is a truly special place. If Earth had been too much closer to the sun it would be char-broiled, and if it had been a little further from the sun it would be a frozen tundra. Earth sits in what is often called ...

New anti-cancer drugs may be available soon

Cancer has proven to be a hard code to crack. There are many reasons for this, and one of them is profit. The pharmaceutical companies have been wary to spend money developing expensive cancer drugs that they might not be able to make a large amount of money off of. This has made advances ...