People who caught Covid in first wave get ‘no immune boost’ from Omicron

Science deniers who expect medical research to be as tidy and predictable as a chapter in a middle school textbook sometimes see conspiracy theory when they look at the twists and turns in the scientific community’s response to the COVID-19. The scientists themselves would say they are doing science in real time, adapting to the evidence they find. That’s why the scientists “keep changing their story,” because science is all about changing your understanding of the world by consulting the best possible evidence. As our understanding of a thing develops, new evidence emerges that sometimes confirms, and sometimes challenges our…

Why Study Humanities? What I Tell Engineering Freshmen

Science writer Jon Horgan writes: We live in a world increasingly dominated by science. And that’s fine. I became a science writer because I think science is the most exciting, dynamic, consequential part of human culture, and I wanted to be a part of that. Also, I have two college-age kids, and I’d be thrilled if they pursued careers in science, engineering or medicine. I certainly want them to learn as much science and math as they can, because those skills can help you get a great job. But it is precisely because science is so powerful that we need the humanities now…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In May, 2002, I was blogging about… typefaces in period movies; poets Paul Dirac and Stewart Conn; web usability; fired for making a satirical game

In May, 2002, I was blogging about Rating historical movies on how accurately they represent period typefaces The average UK reader spends 17 minutes a day reading a newspaper, compared to 11 minutes reading a novel. Paul Dirac, honorary poet laureate of modern physics. Student web project on poet Stewart Conn’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” Fired for making a game (a government meat popsicle creates a satirical game that his superiors never bothered to play) Creator of Nancy Drew dies at 96 Why won’t we read the manual? Put a search box on your home page, not just a…

Disability advocates: Don’t drop COVID-19 safety measures

With the lethal threat of COVID-19 on the decline, many colleges are relaxing policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Disability advocates fear that high-risk individuals will suffer. “Universities aren’t necessarily listening to disabled students,” said Eiryn Griest Schwartzman, who co-founded COVID Safe Campus, an advocacy organization for students and employees with disabilities. “That push to return to normal has persisted. It gets demoralizing, and it gets harder to continue to advocate. And it could potentially result in people stopping their education if they feel like they don’t have the resources to keep going and feel undersupported.”–Inside Higher Ed

Darwin Was Wrong: Your Facial Expressions Do Not Reveal Your Emotions

In real life, people express a given emotion with tremendous variability. In anger, for example, people in urban cultures scowl (or make some of the facial movements for a scowl) only about 35 percent of the time, according to meta-analyses of studies measuring facial movement during emotion. Scowls are also not specific to anger because people scowl for other reasons, such as when they are concentrating or when they have gas. The same tremendous variation occurs for every emotion studied—and for every other measure that purportedly tells us about someone’s emotional state, whether it’s their physiology, voice or brain activity.…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In April, 2002, I was blogging about an autistic person’s guide to asking a girl on a date; The Inform 6 Beginner’s Guide; broken links;

In April, 2002, I was blogging about Instructions for “Asking a Girl on a Date” (autistics.org) The Inform Beginner’s Guide (I edited this book on programming text adventure games in Inform 6) Broken Links: Just How Rapidly do Science Education Hyperlinks Go Extinct? (yes, the link was broken but I linked to the backup on the Internet Archive) Faking It: Sex, Lies and Women’s Magazines “Prenatal memory and learning” (language acquisition begins before birth) “Did I Miss Anything?” (poet’s creative response to a “question frequently asked by students after missing a class”) A Salon article mocking the New York Times…

How to Use the Feynman Technique to Identify Pseudoscience

Simon Oxenham quotes physicist Richard Feynman: “I finally figured out a way to test whether you have taught an idea or you have only taught a definition. Test it this way: You say, ‘Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language. Without using the word “energy,” tell me what you know now about the dog’s motion.’ You cannot. So you learned nothing about science. That may be all right. You may not want to learn something about science right away. You have to learn definitions. But for the…

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Thine Own Self (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 16) Data gets amnesia at a RenFest; Troi preps for promotion to commander

Rewatching ST:TNG In the captain’s chair on a night watch, Dr. Crusher tells Troi why she likes being in command. Troi then tells Riker she’d like to take the bridge command test, too. Data has been collecting radioactive metal from a remote site on an inhabited planet, but something has clearly gone wrong, because he walks, disheveled and confused, into a Renaissance-style town square, where Garvin and his daughter Gia just happen to be having an expositional conversation about his status as the village magistrate. Data has no memory of who he is, or where he came from. He can…

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Force of Nature (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 9) A Space Thing leads to an environmental mystery that implicates warp drive technology

Rewatching ST:TNG In which a comic teaser features LaForge’s misadventures with Data’s cat; we join the search for a missing medical transport; and we meet environmentalists with dire warnings about a ubiquitous Federation technology. LaForge is tinkering with the engines, trying to beat the performance stats of an academy frenemy. He and his nerd buddy Data have a meandering scene fiddling casually with the sensors, which have been affected by this week’s Plot Contrivance Particle Field. A disabled Ferengi ship reports being technobabbled by what appeared to be a Federation buoy. Reasoning that the missing medical transport may have been…

Brain activity of a dying man suggests we do recall memories at death

The 87-year-old man developed epilepsy and was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, before dying of a cardiac arrest. […] “As a neurosurgeon, I deal with loss at times. It is indescribably difficult to deliver the news of death to distraught family members,” [Dr. Amal Zemmar] said. “Something we may learn from this research is: although our loved ones have their eyes closed and are ready to leave us to rest, their brains may be replaying some of the nicest moments they experienced in their lives.” —Daily Mail

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In February, 2002, I was blogging about…

In February, 2002, I was  logging about Robert E. McElwaine was a conspiracy theorist who had a habit of spamming multiple newsgroups with his political, religious, and social ideas. He used an account at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and was very active until around the time I started teaching at that school. Animator Chuck Jones, who brought to life Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, dies at 89. (No, he was neither squashed by a falling safe nor run over by an Acme Indestructo Steel Ball.) Palindromatic dates:”The year 2002. The 20th day of the 2nd month, 2002.…

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The Chase (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 20) Planet-hopping archaeological DNA mystery

Rewatching ST:TNG A well-done mystery that could have, *should* have, redefined our understanding of intelligent life in the Star Trek storytelling universe, but did not. Picard’s beloved archeology professor shows up after 30 years with an invitation to join a mysterious expedition.  I respect that the writers don’t ask us to believe that Picard is seriously tempted by the offer; instead, Picard is worried about having to say no to his mentor (once again). Not too long after he leaves the ship in a huff, Galen sends a distress signal. He’s rescued just in time to utter a last dramatic…

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, who testified unmasked at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, has since tested positive for the coronavirus, the airline said in a statement.

Kelly testified at the hearing that he believes masks do not add substantial protection to airplane passengers and cited aircraft ventilation systems.

“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” he said. “It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”

The hearing lasted approximately three hours. Five witnesses were seated in close proximity and went most of the hearing unmasked.

Kelly was seated between American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. Kirby tested negative, the airline said. American said that “Doug is symptom-free, fully vaccinated and getting tested this afternoon.” –CNN Business