Author Archives: Brendan McKinney

About Brendan McKinney

Brendan McKinney teaches high school in New Mexico. He graduated from St. John's College and Bond University and is a former Peace Corps volunteer and record-store manager, among other things. He lives with his wife and an indeterminate number of incessantly prowling quadrupeds in Santa Fe.

The Jurassic Park Phobia

In a recent and unproductive Facebook debate over GMO crops, I found myself invoking Jurassic Park. I made the argument on the spur of the moment that those of us who grew up watching velociraptors stalk Timmy through the kitchen are … Continue reading

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Scientific Consensus and the Argument from Authority

I wrote last week of the challenge of answering the question of when we have enough evidence. That question is related to another, or perhaps another series of questions, because we so often lack the time and the knowledge to … Continue reading

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Finding Enough Evidence

A student raised her hand in class the other day and asked a simple question: “How do you know when you have enough evidence?”

Posted in Education, Pseudoscience, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged | 19 Comments

Forrest Fenn’s Buried Treasure

An elderly millionaire, a heroic collector to his admirers and a compulsive looter to his detractors, beset by intimations of mortality and contemplating the return of his body to the soil he has spent his life sifting through, assembles a … Continue reading

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The Genius of Sherlock Holmes

If Wikipedia is to be believed, filming resumes this week for series three of the BBC show Sherlock. I have a nearly delirious affection for this show: aside from the dismal second episode, it has been superbly well done, mixing realism … Continue reading

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The Decalogue Stone

A friend of mine recently drew my attention to an article in the online magazine Tablet concerning one of those minor archaeological puzzles that I had once known about and then forgot: an eighty-ton rock in the New Mexico desert, known as … Continue reading

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On Knowing the Names of Things

Jared Diamond, in Guns, Germs, and Steel, relates the time he was traveling with Foré tribesmen in the New Guinean highlands and a rival tribe blocked off their route, trapping them in the jungle without food. One of the party left … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Education, Nature | 6 Comments

The Reintroduction of Wolves

There is still one corner of New Mexico where, if you are so inclined, you may fall asleep at night with a chance to hear wolves howling in the distance: the Gila National Forest, near Silver City, where less than … Continue reading

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In Defense of Football – Sort Of

I wrote last week (well, two weeks ago, technically) of the controversy haunting pro football and the safety of its players. I suggested that, whatever the dangers of the sport, the ethical implications of being a fan of it are … Continue reading

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Helmet to Helmet (Part 1)

Watching the NFL these days feels a little bit like going target shooting after a murder. I’m a football fan. I can’t help it; I was raised in suburban Baltimore, where a love for the Orioles and the departed Colts … Continue reading

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