The Black Death

Maybe we have focused too much on the negative aspects of the Plague: “By targeting frail people of all ages, and killing them by the hundreds of thousands within an extremely short period of time, the Black Death might have represented a strong force of natural selection and removed the weakest individuals on a very […]

This is How the World Ends

A variation on a theme OT previously discussed in the case of smallpox: how does the thing that kills you actually kill you. Here is a somewhat surprising answer for another major cause of death, cancer: “The terminal event in most cancer patients is a clot blocking something vital.” (Caveat emptor, this particular link is to an […]

Beauty and Truth

This one is an oldie-but-goldie: Philip Ball asks “is beauty truth in science?” Personally, OT is not so sure. But he is willing to believe any theory 1982 Nastassja Kinski cares to expound. A short sample: “Einstein himself seemed rather indifferent to the experimental tests, however. The first came in 1919, when the British physicist […]

Return of the Bell Curve

It’s the fuckin’ gene that does the runnin’. The horse got nothin’ to do with it.- The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984). It seems that not a day goes by without an overblown claim for a gene being made. The gene for homosexuality has been cloned. Scientists have found the gene for intelligence. Genetic basis of […]