Cancer, Part 1: The Unwinnable War

Cancer, Part 1: The Unwinnable War

(January 17, 2019) Like the War on Drugs, the $500 million War on Cancer was doomed from the get-go. In the case of drugs, you're fighting human nature. With cancer, the opponent is...

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Looking for Aliens

(January 3, 2019) Seems we're hearing a lot about aliens these days. They're humans supposedly swarming over the border, snails invading our lakes, plants taking over the dunes. Even cancer cells, those utterly...

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Eight Tree Myths

(December 20, 2018) I recently — and rashly — accepted an invitation to co-teach a class on trees, bowing to the old saw about learning by teaching. Fortunately, my co-teachers kept me honest...

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Physics' Beautiful Crisis

(December 6, 2018) Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' — that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." — John Keats, from "Ode on a Grecian Urn" What works for...

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The Bear Harbor Railroad, 1892-1905

Part 2

(November 22, 2018) Last week, we followed the saga of the Bear Harbor Railroad from the delivery in 1892 of a "Gypsy" locomotive — what would become Bear Harbor Lumber Company No. 1...

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The Bear Harbor Railroad, 1892-1905

Part 1

(November 15, 2018) From May to September on the third Saturday of each month, visitors to Fort Humboldt State Park enjoy free rides behind a couple of veteran steam logging locomotives, courtesy of...

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TMT: Astronomy's New Eye

(November 1, 2018) Say it quickly — "30-meter telescope" — and it doesn't sound like much. But this new $2 billion instrument under construction near the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawai'i's Big...

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Connections Quiz

(October 18, 2018) Short attention span? Perfect, we understand each other. Each of these "connections" will take no more than 18 seconds to read. That's supposed to be the average duration of our...

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Fighting Entropy

Part 2 of 2

(September 27, 2018) In Part 1, I discussed how entropy can be thought of as a measure of disorder, where chaos and order correspond to high and low entropy, respectively. Let's see how...

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Fighting Entropy

Part 1 of 2

(September 20, 2018) Life's tough, then you die," proclaims that helpful bumper sticker. Then look at what happens: Entropy takes over. Actually, the entire course of our bodies' existence, from birth to death,...

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Excellent Simulations

(September 6, 2018) Suppose this whole mess is just a simulation? Wildfires, Trump, Mars rovers, vaping, dreams, sex, God, you, me, everything — all a digital creation of some far-in-the-future kid playing with...

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Early Routes Out of Humboldt

(August 23, 2018) If you drive or cycle the rolling mountain road from Bridgeville to Kneeland — it's a county right-of-way, despite all the "no trespassing" signs — you'll be following the first...

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Vlad, Vampires and Dracula

(August 9, 2018) Don't think it's easy being a vampire. Apart from the mundane sunlight/holy wafer/cross-in-your-face/spike-through-your-heart issues, you've got to deal with the fact that blood is toxic. A few teaspoons won't hurt...

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The Roots of Homeopathy

(July 26, 2018) Sometimes topics for this column fall, unbidden, into my lap. Such was the case during our recent trip to Romania, where we'd booked a room in the heart of old...

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TESS the Planet Hunter

Part 2 of 2

(July 12, 2018) Last time, we discussed how NASA's recently launched Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will spend the next two years surveying nearly the entire sky to search for planets...

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TESS the Planet Hunter

(Part 1 of 2)

(June 28, 2018) Sitting in the cavernous nose of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, NASA's TESS was launched on April 18 from Cape Canaveral. By the time you read this, TESS —Transiting Exoplanet...

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Cancer, Part 1: The Unwinnable War

    • Dr. William Nelson, director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins said…

    • on January 19, 2019
  • Re: Correlation ≠ Causation

    • I agree with a lot of this, you correctly note the serious limitations of research…

    • on January 18, 2019
  • Re: Cancer, Part 1: The Unwinnable War

    • Thanks for saying what needs to be said.

    • on January 17, 2019
  • Re: Physics' Beautiful Crisis

    • ...essentially at a standstill for four decades. I should have allowed that the discovery that…

    • on January 16, 2019
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