Saturday Snippet: Debugging the Oak Ridge nuclear plant

During World War II, Richard Feynman, then a very newly-graduated physicist, was sent from Los Alamos, New Mexico (the heart of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb) to Oak Ridge in Tennessee, where the nuclear material for the bomb was to be enriched.  He was tasked with making sure that the factory there would actually work, and that its design was technically and scientifically acceptable.  Needless to say, as a relative novice, he was more than a little unsure of his ground. In his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” he describes what happened.        I sat down

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The IG report’s whitewashing of the FBI is statistically unbelievable

Karl Denninger points out that a statistical analysis of the Inspector General’s report on the FBI investigation into President Trump reveals that it’s fundamentally impossible. The IG report, after reading through a good part of it, states that seventeen “errors” were made by the FBI. May I remind you of an indisputable fact: Errors are randomly distributed. That is, let’s assume you intend to drive at 40mph.  If you make an error you will operate your car some of the time at 38mph, and some of the time at 42mph.  The errors, if they are actual errors, will be randomly distributed around the correct action.  Some of the errors will

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How false ideas become fake science

This is how falsehoods sneak into the allegedly “scientific” arena, and become standards against which reality is measured. You’ve almost certainly heard some of the following terms: cisgender, fat-shaming, heteronormativity, intersectionality, patriarchy, rape culture and whiteness. The reason you’ve heard them is that politically engaged academicians have been developing concepts like these for more than 30 years, and all that time they’ve been percolating. Only recently have they begun to emerge in mainstream culture. These academicians accomplish this by passing off their ideas as knowledge; that is, as if these terms describe facts about the world and social reality. And while

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Fake science, sexual reality, and gender identity

Last week I noted that the ACLU’s claim, that one can be a man and still have periods, get pregnant, etc., was scientifically false;  that sex was determined by the chromosomes, and they are definitive.  Since then, I’ve received a certain amount of pushback from transgender individuals and/or lobbyists, trying to persuade me (or browbeat me into accepting) that the science is rather more involved than that, and that gender fluidity and/or identification is not a matter of the chromosomes alone. I accept that psychological or psychiatric problems can lead some people to adopt a different mental outlook on their gender and

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Fish plastic and canal clearing

Two unrelated sources this morning turn into a single blog article.  Ah, the wonders of imagination . . . First, Old Salt Blog brings us the news that an engineering graduate in England has won the James Dyson Award for inventing a biodegradable plastic made from fish waste.  You can read more about it at the link. This is some very useful research.  I don’t know how many of my readers have walked past a fish processing plant, and been assailed by the stench of rotting fish waste products.  It’s . . . impressive . . . not to mention probably reportable as a

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Is fake meat yet another dietary disaster waiting to happen?

An Austrian research team has just produced a report that demonstrates the extreme danger of dietary errors, and exposes the damage they can do. A research team at MedUni Vienna’s Center for Brain Research has found that high-fat maternal diets can cause life-long changes in the brains of the unborn offspring. When a pregnant woman consumes a diet high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids, her body produces an excess of endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), which overload the fetal system and impair the development of healthy brain networks. Such a mechanism seems relevant to pathologies such as ADHD, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. It is

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When moonbats defy science, medicine and reality

The American Civil Liberties Union sent this tweet a couple of days ago, on the occasion of International Mens Day. Just for their information, the state of being known as “a man” or “male” is defined in medical science.  It involves having a Y and an X chromosome.  There are, of course, a number of people who are classified as intersex, where it’s medically “difficult” to determine their sex;  but such cases are vanishingly few (less than one-tenth of one percent of humans, according to authoritative research in the field).  For all intents and purposes, the XY chromosome is determinative and normative. If one

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Flatness is as flatness does

Courtesy of a commenter at Alma Boykin’s place yesterday, I was led to this informative (?) article. In a survey conducted by the American Geographical Society, almost a third of all respondents said that Kansas was the flattest state. Some people even call it “flatter than a pancake.” But what does science have to say about that? The first, and only, study that we know of that directly compared the Sunflower State to a pancake was done by a trio of geographers in 2003. For their tongue-in-cheek analysis, they acquired a pancake from IHOP, cut out a sample slice and made a topographic

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So much for carbon dioxide and global warming!

I’m obliged to N4RFC.com for putting up this Australian video debunking the alleged role of carbon dioxide in global warming.  It illustrates, as nothing else does, the insanity – and outright lies – of those pushing this fraud.  It’s very short, and well worth watching. Next time someone wants to impose a “carbon tax”, show them that, and demand that they explain themselves. Peter

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Ebola: new drugs show promise, but we’re not out of the woods yet

I’m encouraged to hear that two new drugs to treat Ebola are showing promise, but the process of testing them has been fraught with difficulty – and bloodshed.  Nature reports: The race to develop treatments for Ebola has accelerated since the largest epidemic in history devastated West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Scientists responding to the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have enrolled more than 500 participants in an unprecedented study of experimental drugs, vaccinated nearly 170,000 people, and sequenced the genomes of more than 270 Ebola samples collected from the sick. . . . Working

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