Saturday, August 20, 2011

Botany 101

This post will also be found in Tehachapi's The Loop Newspaper.  

Humans have always been affected by the plants in our environment. As our ancestors moved out of the trees and down onto the ground, the plants we ate changed. Anthropologists can look at the teeth of the ancestors and determine what those people were eating by the wear patterns. And when our ancestors settled down with agriculture the plants we used changed again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Golden Fleece

This post will also be found in Tehachapi's The Loop Newspaper

Back in the 70s and 80s Senator William Proxmire (Democrat from Wisconsin) gave out Golden Fleece awards to organizations that he felt were wasting taxpayer money. That is, they were fleecing the taxpayers. Often the awards would go to groups doing research he couldn't see the point in. And there are politicians and pundits (and their followers) today that still try to denigrate science research that sounds like a waste of time and money. Like calling volcano monitoring “wasteful spending”. At least Proxmire was capable of backing down. At least when confronted by a scientist with much more popularity than he had. (That was Carl Sagan.)