New project: I Don't Understand on YouTube

Hello hello. I've just started a new project -- an educational channel on YouTube.

The first episode of I Don't Understand is now up, featuring an interview with Dr. Elizabeth Smith at the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia. Dr. Smith explains how crayfish (yabbies) use secret stores of calcium that they keep inside their heads to allow them to generate new exoskeletons as they grow.

You can find I Don't Understand in various places, including YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

On climate change, because nothing's sacred

Opinions. They're like arseholes: everyone has one, and they all stink. For what it's worth, here's mine, vis-a-vis climate change. You can take it or leave it. It's pretty brief. I don't care if climate change is 'real'. The net outcome of having people, in general, do the correct thing outweighs any political shenanigans that are going on behind the scenes.

PumpkinCloud

Let's suppose that climate change is real. What's the best we can hope for? The best we can hope is that people will comply with the basic instructions they're being not-so-subtly given. Look after the environment. Switch to alternative fuels. Be energy efficient. Waste less. Use less. Be, in general, healthier -- both in your life, and for the planet you live on. What's the worst we can hope for? We're screwed.

Now let's suppose climate change is not real. I don't have an opinion either way. As I said above, I don't care if it's real or not. I do believe, however, that the underlying issues are very real: We will, one day, run out of fossil fuels. It's inevitable. They're non-renewable. Once they're gone, there are no more. We need to find alternative energy sources, and if they're ultimately renewable ones, they'll eventually end up cheaper, more reliable, and more efficient than what we're currently using. We need to look after our environment. Whether all of the crud we're pumping into the atmosphere is causing climate change is entirely moot, the point is: we're pumping it into our atmosphere. We're having small-scale, detectable effects on our immediate surroundings. We live in smog-covered cities. We need to, generally speaking, clean this shit up. So, supposing climate change is not real, our best-case scenario is a cleaner, more efficient, more advanced world than the one we live in. What's the worst we can hope for? Well, I suppose we can live in shit.

It's an option.

As an addendum: I find the whole climate change debate to be akin to the argument than man never walked on the moon. At the end of the day, unless you're a climate scientist in your own backyard, you're relying on other people to supply you with the data you're basing your argument on. Often, those people are the ones you're arguing against, a task that has some pretty obvious flaws. You can believe what you please when it comes to man walking on the moon, at the end of the day, the people holding all of the proof are the ones trying to convince you. Unless you've got a spaceship of your own, you'll never know for certain. I'm starting to think climate change is an awfully similar argument from the average Joe's perspective.

Heroes of Science: Norman Borlaug

We are the Borlaug: Resistance is....fertile? Click to enlarge. Continuing the Heroes of Science series, here's Norman Borlaug. An agronomist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate, Borlaug has been labelled the "father of the Green Revolution" and the "Man Who Saved A Billion Lives" for his work in developing high-yield and disease-resistant varieties of wheat. Borlaug took home the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

For more heroes, click here. For the original, click here. For frequently asked questions and answers, click here.

Heroes of Science: Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson: Click to make bigger-ish. Still continuing the Heroes of Science series: Here's Edward O. Wilson, biologist, sociobiologist, theorist, naturalist, myrmecologist and author. And probably the world's number one authority on ants. (No, he probably didn't wear a tie with ants on. Sorry. Artistic license.)

More about Heroes of Science on the FAQ. Thanks for your support!

Heroes of Science: Wolfgang Pauli

Wolfgang Pauli -- click to embiggen, cromulently. Continuing the Heroes of Science series, here's Wolfgang Pauli. Pauli was one of the pioneers of quantum physics, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945, and rocked the crap out of a pair of pinstriped trousers.

More Heroes of Science shenanigans can be found on DeviantART, here, here and here. You can find Frequently Asked Questions about the fake figure series here, and everything that I've posted about the damn things here. Information, if nothing else, is in abundance.

Thanks for your continuing support, you little supporter, you.

Heroes of Science: Lord Kelvin

William Thomson, First Baron Kelvin, aka Lord Kelvin. Click to enlargify. In continuation of the Heroes of Science fake action figure series, here's Lord Kelvin, the chap responsible for developing the absolute scale of temperature, which he aptly named the Kelvin temperature scale -- thus ensuring he'd live on eternally in the minds and memories of science geeks and anyone who's ever tried to set white balance on a digital camera.

You can also find this image over on DeviantART if you're not comfortable viewing or commenting on it here, or feel your action figure examining experience would be enhanced by the greenish grey viewing experience of a DeviantART window.