Category Archives: Cool Stuff

How This Clinical Trial Went Terribly Wrong

As a lifelong asthma sufferer, I’ve always had alerts set up at ClinicalTrials.gov, a central clearinghouse for clinical trials. If a clinical trial for a new experimental drug came up in my area, I wanted to be notified so I … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Health, Science | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

How do you make an atomically sharp needle?

Back in the late 1980s, my friend Dan was a student at University of California, Santa Barbara and an employee of Digital Instruments, one of the very first companies to sell a practical commercial Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), the Nanoscope … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Science | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

In Which I Admit Defeat in Being Beaten to Filming Death Valley’s Moving Rocks

First of all, my congratulations to Richard D. Norris, James M. Norris, Ralph D. Lorenz, Jib Ray, and Brian Jackson for their publication in PLOS ONE of Sliding Rocks on Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park: First Observation of Rocks in … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Nature, Science | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Day I Met Dr. Edward Teller

Dr. Edward Teller, the “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb,” is often known for his uneasy relationship with fellow Manhattan Project member J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” Their rivalry was not limited to the specific type of … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Energy | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

It’s Quantum Mechanics… Or Something

Scientists get things wrong very often. I, for one, am thankful they do. Being wrong is an opportunity to learn new and interesting things about the world. Or it might simply mean we need to do more work in order to see … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Education, Energy, Science | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Origins the Series

My brother Abe sends me a lot of cool videos and articles about science: recent research, new inventions, educational materials, or the work of grad students who are sharing presentations of their findings on YouTube. This week he sent me this great video series, … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Education, Nature, Science | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Game of Thrones Tinfoil Theories: Shocking Shockers That Will Shock You

*This article refers to the books as well as the television show. Major spoilers are marked in the section headings, but if you’re halfway through the books and you’re still invested in avoiding all spoilers, you might want to come … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, TV & Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smallpox Inoculation Debate of 1721

If you remember Cotton Mather from history class, you probably know him as the villain behind the 1692 witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts. In fact, Mather also deserves credit as one of early America’s most prolific intellectuals and as the … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Medicine, Cool Stuff, History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Using Bad Physics To Explain Video Game Physics

As a little departure from serious debunking, I felt it necessary to correct this egregious error in an explanation of video game physics. While watching a video sent by a friend, the video posted below came up as a suggestion. … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Education, Science | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

An Honest Reinterpretation of the SeaOrbiter Lab

Readers of Popular Science may have recently seen French architect Jacques Rougerie’s proposal for the SeaOrbiter lab, a freely floating science platform from which all sorts of oceanographic research can be done. Upon noting that Rougerie thought it would be fun … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Science | Tagged , , | 5 Comments