One of the reasons that climate science is so difficult to effectively communicate is because it’s so data rich, and real data is messy. Like, super messy. I once did an experiment that involved running goats on treadmills. The goats had strain gauges attached to their legs so that I could measure relative amounts of different types of stress on the bones as the goats ran. I was expecting the data to match the idealized patterns I had seen in a book. They didn’t. They were a total mess. That’s when I learned that data pulled from the real world is not in any way, ideal.

+ read

I could write a “Say What?” blog post about Glenn Beck’s recent rant about the imminent danger of newly airborne Ebola being brought to America by Nigerian prison guards. Not a doctor

+ read

Diagram showing known fossil pieces of the Eocene whale ancestor Pakicetus. (Conty via Wikimedia Commons)

I love whales. My undergraduate thesis was on whales, specifically the evolution of their vertebral column. I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in the bowels of the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History (not to mention days and days and days underground in a converted missile silo in Concord, Massachusetts), pulling out drawer after drawer of beautiful bones. What fascinates me, and many others, about whales is that they evolved from a group of four-limbed terrestrial mammals. Their evolutionary history, therefore, documents complete ecological transition from fully terrestrial to fully aquatic. Fossils of whales and their ancestors provide a wealth of information for how and when this transition took place, but even if we didn’t have these fossils, the bodies of modern whales provide some clues that these animals did not always look as they look now.

+ read

I really wanted this next installment to be a Well Said! … but then I found this short video in the It’s Okay To Be Smart series, produced by PBS Digital Studios, and I couldn’t resist. Can someone please tell me, if it's okay to be smart (and of course, it is), why can't it be okay to be accurate?

+ read

Last week, the Dallas Morning News wrote a report on the continuing efforts of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) to demonstrate the scientific accuracy of the Bible, as the ICR understands it. But surprisingly, it wasn’t the description of ICR’s work to push a completely unscientific and religiously motivated agenda that got my hackles up, it was the reporter’s description of evolution.

+ read
Subscribe to Well Said!/Say What?