Back in the ’70′s, I took a college course in cell biology. That was about how cells were organized, how they metabolized nutrients, etc. At the time, it was known as the field in biology that was “pure research,” that is, if you were working in it, you were doing research for the sake of doing research. More properly known as “basic research,” it was seeking to answer the questions about “what makes cells work.” What could you do with it? No idea. Which is why it drew a lot of negative press and attention from various conservatives when they wanted to make a point about “wasteful government spending.” “Why should the government be spending money for someone to do something esoteric that had no practical purpose?” they asked.
Category Archives: Science
Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy has a post about “A Sleeping Giant.” A little history first. Back in A.D. 79, there was a city called Pompeii. It’s rather famous, because it was buried by a volcanic eruption, by a volcano called Vesuvius.
Since 79 AD, the volcano has also erupted repeatedly, in 172, 203, 222, possibly 303, 379, 472, 512, 536, 685, 787, around 860, around 900, 968, 991, 999, 1006, 1037, 1049, around 1073, 1139, 1150, and there may have been eruptions in 1270, 1347, and 1500. The volcano erupted again in 1631, six times in the 18th century, eight times in the 19th century (notably in 1872), and in 1906, 1929, and 1944. There has been no eruption since 1944
Obviously, not a place people would really want to live in, and definitely would never consider building major cities near, right? Think again.
Most of my summer is spent outdoors, and occasionally I remember to bring a camera with me. Here are some of the things I found interesting. This is in early spring, a place called “Buttermilk Falls.”
It’s a popular destination, since it’s only a 100 yard hike in from the parking area.
One of the aspects of my job during field season is to educate people, in particular stressing why it’s not a good thing to feed wild animals. You’re not really doing them a favor, and it’s sometimes harmful.
I really should set a better example.
Remember Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” comment? Well, last month there was an article which said that the largest increases in food stamp aid were in … Republican-heavy counties. There’s a statement at the end which shows the massive disconnect that conservatives have:
The increase in food stamps in those strongholds doesn’t mean Romney will lose votes, said Michael Franc, vice president for governmental studies at the Heritage Foundation, a Republican-leaning research organization in Washington.
“We’re talking about people who got pretty hammered by the economic meltdown,” he said. “It’s a temporary hand-up, not a permanent condition of life. They’ve gotten help, but it’s been something they’ve requested very reluctantly.”