For years, a friend I'll call Chip, knowing my obsession with war, has been telling me: "Cyber War! That's what you should be writing about! Real war is passé!" Chip keeps sending me stories about all the damage digital attacks do—or rather, might do, because as far as I can tell cyber war hasn't claimed a single life...
Now and then, scientists tout an idea so crushingly obvious that I assume I'm missing something. Case in point: the anthropic principle, which proclaims that reality has to be as we observe it to be because otherwise we wouldn't be here to observe it...
Which topic are science journalists most likely to talk about when they get together? A) The epistemological issues raised by multiverse theories; B) The revival of social Darwinist ideas in Tea Party rhetoric; C) The relevance of experiments on sea slug brains to the debate over free will; D) Statistical evidence linking global warming to this spring's tornado outbreak; or E) None of the above...
When someone divides a complex phenomenon into two basic categories, he invariably oversimplifies and distorts reality. Anyway, there are two basic styles of science journalism, celebratory and critical...
What more can a scientist trying to save us do? You're on a train and you receive information that leads you to believe that a flood has weakened the scaffolding of a rail bridge ahead.
A couple of science-writing colleagues objected to my recent post on the "warrior gene." Both accuse me of throwing the baby of modern behavioral genetics—which seeks to link complex behavioral traits to specific genes—out with the bathwater of media hype...
Just when you think the blame-it-on-our-genes craze can't get worse, the "warrior gene" goes viral. The latest media outlet to flog it is the Dr.
Beware the military-psychological complex: A $125-million program to boost soldiers' "fitness" raises ethical questions
Fifty years ago, in the same farewell speech in which he warned about the "unwarranted influence" of the "military-industrial complex" on American politics, President Dwight Eisenhower also deplored the growing dependence of scientists on federal funding...
Is there such a thing as a spiritual fact? Finding? Discovery? Something roughly analogous to, say, the discovery of gravity? X-rays? Photosynthesis?
Bill McKibben is one of civilization's most civilized critics. For decades this humane journalist-activist has been warning that our high-technology, high-consumption ways are harming nature and our psyches...
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