Blog 99. Why can’t I make a difference?

As best I can tell, satisfaction comes from accomplishing something we regard as useful and meaningful.  That seems to be true, whether you are a scientist, entrepreneur, gardener, or Mafia hit man.  Most of us want to make a difference.  We want to believe we’ve altered something for what we regard as the better.  To assert our importance, we erect large monuments in graveyards Continue reading

Blog 95. Gentrification by Zen?

The term “Zen” suggests a process that is easy, masterful, and calming—something most of us are eager to experience. (1)  And “gentrification” sounds like a gentle transformation of a pig sty into a pastoral abode.  However, urban “gentrification” means conversion of decaying inner city housing into a “higher and best use,” Continue reading

Blog 91. Can just anyone open a scientist’s email?

The 1/10/2016 New York Times (1/9/2016 web edition) offered an op-ed entitled, “Scientists, Give Up Your Emails.”  The author, a journalist named Paul Thacker, asserted that agencies (including universities) should not keep secret the personal communications of scientists who work for the government.  Continue reading

Blog 90. How to boil an egg in a microwave.

Submerge the egg in a mug of water.  Turn on the microwave for one minute.  Listen for  snap as the eggshell cracks.  That’s ok, the crack relieves pressure.  Reduce power to 40% and run the microwave for another minute.  At 35 seconds you will hear a loud pop.  Continue reading

Blog 89. Why Trump trumps

Donald Trump holds the leading position among Republican presidential contenders (as of mid-December 2015). TV pundits say Trump’s followers have one common characteristic: they’re angry. The big question is why. Why does Trump even have a following? Continue reading

Blog 87. Wall Street and the myth of basic science.

The 24 October Wall Street Journal featured an long (2200 words) essay by Matt Ridley (member, British House of Lords; author; and former chair of a failed British bank).  Entitled “The Myth of Basic Science,” the essay argues that publicly funded basic scientific research is not beneficial, Continue reading