Tuesday, July 23, 2024

BIG Mouth

Science and morality – ethics and judgment

There is a common misperception that science is all about equations, formulas, and clear-cut, unambiguous measurements conducted by serious intellectuals in lab coats. In fact, there is considerable room for creativity, and, very often, non-analytical judgment and choice are involved. These choices and judgments are sometimes about right and wrong, the determination of which depends upon a certain interpretation of morality. Whose morality? What criteria? Are there lines beyond which we all agree something...

Facts, in fact, are facts

What is a fact? A lot of folks these days will tell you that everyone has their own truth, and that facts are subjective. I disagree. I believe that it is very important to distinguish between facts, opinions, theories, conjecture, and falsehoods. Using the #1 definition from dictionary.com, a fact is … "something that actually exists; reality; truth: (e.g.) Your fears have no basis in fact." I hope a lot of people take that example to heart. Some of the...

Staying on high road is well worth the struggle

It is not easy to stick to the high road. It was not easy to turn down a $25,000 cheque from a gentleman who wanted me to support a particular political party. However, I vowed to never hitch my cart to a political party, and I never will – personally or professionally. It is not easy to recruit accomplished scientists as journalists and then push them to make regular contributions despite extremely busy professional lives. But...

Top 7 Things You Are Probably Wrong About

Inspired by recent conversations with otherwise intelligent people who are quite misguided on the big issues, I bring you the Top 7 Things You Are Probably Wrong About ... unless you are a member at BIG Media. 🙂 7. The Great Pacific Plastic Patch – it is not actually a thing ... well, at least not a thing that is big enough for oceanographers or satellite imagery to detect. Perhaps we should have the name changed to...

Post-surgery breathing issues inspire examination of opioid crisis

“Breathe,” the pleasant voice advised as I floated in and out of consciousness in the recovery room following ankle surgery on May 24. I had stopped breathing, a condition called apnea, which is not uncommon following anesthesia or anesthesia with opioids. This happened again and again. Sometimes I was aware of my breathing stopping, hovering on the edge of consciousness, I would feel myself … just … stop … breathing. Other times, I would...

Calibre of journalists behind bold claim

When I make a claim such as "Fifteen months after the launch of BIG Media , we have established an industry-leading level of accuracy and integrity in news reporting," a typical response might be "Yeah, right – who the #$%! does this guy think he is?" But hear me out. Two years ago, disillusioned with almost universally irresponsible media coverage and a related increase in societal division and vitriol, I set out to create a trustworthy source...

Top 7 ways to help Earth be more habitable

Some of you might see this list as self-serving – and you would be correct – but I think it also serves the other 7,943,412,999 people on the third rock from the Sun. BIG Media's Top 7 Ways to Help Earth Be More Habitable: Reduce consumption of natural and unnatural resources. We in the developed world are reducing our per-capita energy use, but we have a LONG way to go – Climate change and energy:...

What we forgot about the Spanish flu

“Progress depends on retentiveness. hen experience is not retained, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana Many of the policy responses to COVID-19 in the United States, Canada, and much of the rest of the world have been more a series of wobbly missteps than a steady march on the road to victory. The resulting stumbles occurring over the last two years are neither new nor...

Science – there is method to the madness

“Trust the science!”  It is a rallying cry heard frequently these days intended to signal truth, intelligence, and righteousness. Whether in climate change discussions or pandemic responses, energy posturing or political systems, it seems the mere mention of “science” implies incontestable and definitive proof. That is ironic, considering science itself is based on observation, theory, models, and inferences, all of which can contain significant uncertainty. Imagine a simple scientific experiment to determine the boiling point of...

It’s time to have the talk about the wolves and the sheep

It used to be that the most important conversation to have with your children was the birds and the bees. However, that topic has been far surpassed by the wolves and the sheep. Sheep are so darn cute and fuzzy, but they are not very smart (the attached video link should serve as irrefutable evidence on this point), and are therefore easy prey. Wolves are cunning and vicious. Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother were no match...