Tag: Science

2006, Books, Non-Fiction

War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires (2006) by Peter Truchin

This is a provocative and ambitious (and lay) summary of an attempt to create a science of history by an evolutionary biologist. It is compelling and well-written. (Though my copy isn’t so well edited…) It is also flawed, which it basically must be given what he is trying to achieve. It’s absolutely worth your time, …

2020, Philosophy, Politics, Society

The Problem of Subjectivity

Throughout most of human history, we haven’t done a good job of understanding objective reality. Learning about objective reality has been a slow, difficult process, with many setbacks, but which has rapidly accelerated in the last few centuries, especially the last one. If you compare the growth of scientific knowledge about the universe versus the …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past (2018, David Reich)

This is a fascinating, if overly academic, examination of the emerging study of “ancient DNA” that is transforming our knowledge of our past. The book covers how mapping the genome is allowing science to prove or disprove long held theories about human migrations and how old populations interacted.

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Misinformation Age (2018, Cailin O’Connor, James Owen Weatherall)

This is a compelling examination of mathematical models about the way beliefs spread through human social networks.

2004, Books, Non-Fiction

A Short History of Nearly Everything (2004, Bill Bryson)

This is a super readable and entertaining layman’s overview of the state of scientific knowledge about the universe and humans as of 2004. If you don’t feel like you know enough about science in general, or you’re looking to get more familiar with various fields you’e never paid attention to, I can’t imagine there are …

2014, Movies

Merchants of Doubt (2014, Robert Kenner)

This is a compelling film about how corporations and lobby groups use pundits to undermine scientific consensuses that would otherwise hurt their profits. The film examines the bag of tricks both the tobacco industry and the oil industry have used to fool the American public about both the short and long term health risks of …

1961, 2015, Theatre

The Physicists (1961) by Friedrich Durrenmatt, adapted by Michael Healy, live at the Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford, July 25, 2015

This is a play about the social responsibility of scientists posing as a murder mystery-cum comedy, set in an insane asylum. The play uses comedy and the teensiest bit of mystery to dilute it’s otherwise very heavy-handed message. The play itself is so prescient (and so relevant to our time) that I am shocked I …

2004, Movies

The Universe: Cosmology Quest (2004, Randall Meyers)

Full disclosure: I never once took physics in high school and I certainly never took physics after that. My math background is so far in my past that I cannot rely on it. So you have to take everything I have to say about the physics of this film with a giant grain of salt. …

Politics, Science, Society

The Conservative Party of Canada is now officially the Party of Willful Ignorance.

Last week, the Government of Canada voted against “Science.” Quite literally, it turns out. Here is the text of the motion the Conservatives voted down: That, in the opinion of the House, a) public science, basic research, and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making; b) federal government scientists must …

Philosophy

Reflections on the god thing

I’ve been trying to read up on chaos theory today, as I think there may be some sociopolitical implications that haven’t been addressed by most of what I’ve read for the book. The description of chaos I’m familiar with sounds an awful lot like life: minuscule changes in initial circumstances have a big effect on …