Blog Archives

Two more easy statistical lies

Two more easy statistical lies

Last time around, I discussed the “go to” method for research nowadays, data mining. You simply take a large data set, and slice it into as many ways as needed until you get lucky. So many of today’s “hot” results come from this method, and the key to its success is a quirk in our […] … learn more→

Plate tectonics: new findings fill out the 50-year-old theory that explains Earth’s landmasses

Plate tectonics: new findings fill out the 50-year-old theory that explains Earth’s landmasses

Fifty years ago, there was a seismic shift away from the longstanding belief that Earth’s continents were permanently stationary. In 1966, J. Tuzo Wilson published Did the Atlantic Close and then Re-Open? in the journal Nature. The Canadian author introduced to the mainstream the idea that continents and oceans are in continuous motion over our […] … learn more→

Thorny technical questions remain for net neutrality

Thorny technical questions remain for net neutrality

Federal rules mandating network neutrality – the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally – were upheld recently by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision was hailed as a win by civil-rights groups, entrepreneurs and tech giants like Google, as well as the Obama administration itself, which had proposed the rules […] … learn more→

The top six dinosaur myths and how we busted them

The top six dinosaur myths and how we busted them

When the first dinosaur bone was described in 1676, it was thought to come from an elephant or perhaps a giant. Over a century later, scientists realised such fossils came from a creature they named Megalosaurus, portrayed as a sort of stocky, overgrown lizard. Then, in 1842, leading anatomist Richard Owen recognised Megalosaurus as part […] … learn more→

Personal beliefs versus scientific innovation: getting past a flat Earth mentality

Personal beliefs versus scientific innovation: getting past a flat Earth mentality

The history of science is also a history of people resisting new discoveries that conflict with conventional wisdom. When Galileo promoted Copernicus’ theory that the Earth revolves around the sun – counter to church doctrine about the Earth being the center of the universe – he wound up condemned by the Roman Inquisition in 1633. […] … learn more→

Securing web browsing: protecting the Tor network

Securing web browsing: protecting the Tor network

There are more than 865 encryption tools in use worldwide, all addressing different aspects of a common problem. People want to protect information: hard drives from oppressive governments, physical location from stalkers, browsing history from overly curious corporations or phone conversations from nosy neighbors. They all rely on cryptography, a delicate craft that when done […] … learn more→

The San Andreas fault is about to crack – here’s what will happen when it does

The San Andreas fault is about to crack – here’s what will happen when it does

The director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, Thomas Jordan, made an announcement recently that would have sent a chill down the spine of every Californian: that the San Andreas fault appears to be in a critical state and as such, could generate a large earthquake imminently. Of course, the reiteration of the seismic hazard […] … learn more→

Pro-Isis hackers growing

Pro-Isis hackers growing

All over the world, the numbers and skills of hackers are growing. A 2016 Data Breach Report has outlined that the threat of hacking has substantially increased as technology gets more and more integrated into our everyday lives, and it’s unfortunate but true that even major companies are increasingly at risk. Hospitals have encountered ransomware, […] … learn more→

Inside Big Ben: why the world’s most famous clock will soon lose its bong

Inside Big Ben: why the world’s most famous clock will soon lose its bong

London is soon going to lose one of its most familiar sounds when the world-famous Big Ben falls silent for repairs. The “bonging” chimes that have marked the passing of time for Londoners since 1859 will fall silent for months beginning in 2017 as part of a three-year £29m conservation project. Of course, “Big Ben” […] … learn more→

Why are we still searching for the Loch Ness monster?

Why are we still searching for the Loch Ness monster?

People are fascinated by the unknown, by the possibility that there are things out there that are yet to be discovered. We think that most of our planet has been mapped by satellites and continents have been thoroughly explored. Although scientists estimate that millions of species are yet to be discovered, these are mostly assumed […] … learn more→