Quickies

Quickies: Astronaut Ice Cream, Misty Copeland, and Taking Ayn Rand Seriously

  • Astronaut ice cream is a lie – “Even if astronaut ice cream were on Apollo 7, it would probably have been rehydratable food similar to most of the other food options on the flight, not the freeze-dried block we recognize today.” Next, someone will tell me that Dippin’ Dots is not really the ice cream of the future!
  • Misty Copeland Achieves #SquadGoals In The Documentary ‘A Ballerina’s Tale’ – “ABT’s first black principal dancer, Copeland has been lighting up the ballet world for years. Now, the documentary A Ballerina’s Tale is lifting the curtain on just how excruciating her journey has been.”
  • Column: This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously – “The fly in the ointment of Rand’s philosophical ‘objectivism’ is the plain fact that humans have a tendency to cooperate and to look out for each other, as noted by many anthropologists who study hunter-gatherers. These ‘prosocial tendencies’ were problematic for Rand, because such behavior obviously mitigates against ‘natural’ self-interest and therefore should not exist.” From Will.
  • There’s a lot of hype around using GMO mosquitoes to stop Zika. Here’s the reality. – “Bottom line: Oxitec’s GM technology is very neat. But the need for years of further testing means it probably won’t be much immediate help in the Zika crisis. And even in the future, it may just end up being one (valuable) tool among many in fighting mosquito-borne disease. No expert I talked to thought it would be the answer.”
  • The Scent of History – “How to Be a Tudor opens with the first thing everyone wants to know about the people of that time (how did they smell?) and closes with the second (how did they have sex?). Curiosity about the latter is understandable; most human beings wonder how people in other cultures do it. But why this persistent fixation on the hygiene of medieval and early modern Europe? It’s a subject that comes up with far greater frequency than more serious drawbacks like the lack of modern medical science or sewage treatment. Nevertheless, whenever one faction of the reading and film-going public goes swoony over the silk and velvet splendor of Henry VIII’s court or the angelic gowns of the Regency era, naysayers inevitably pop up to jeer about how filthy and stinky everyone was back then.”

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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11 Comments

  1. February 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm —

    Oooh, the Randroids are pissed.

    And there’s one guy (Matt) over there wiping the intellectual floor with them all, not that they noticed.

    • February 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm —

      Randies are the worst. Even telling them the government built those roads that carry widgets from the factory to the store and carry the consumers from home to the store to buy widgets is a terrible heresy.

      • February 18, 2016 at 1:51 am —

        Jon Brewer,

        And yet their philosophy is called “objectivism” and yet they reject objective facts.

        • February 18, 2016 at 7:16 pm —

          Ayn Rand wasn’t an atheist.

          She saw God in the mirror every day.

          • February 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm

            haha! burn

          • February 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

            Jon Brewer,

            Well she believed in a very incompetent goddess than.

    • February 18, 2016 at 1:50 am —

      Mrmisconception,

      Not surprised. Most of their arguments are not very good to say the least.

  2. February 17, 2016 at 1:36 pm —

    Regarding GMO mosquitos for Zika (and for that matter, malaria), it will be years before it can be done. It’ll be an awesome technology when we can, of course.

    (And I’ll love hearing GMO opponents saying we should just let people die of malaria rather than replacing wildtype Anopheles with malaria-resistant Anopheles. It’s hard to argue against that without sounding like a social Darwinist.)

  3. February 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm —

    I reckon what with viruses new and old plus global warming and all we are going to need very single weapon against mosquitoes that we can muster, including GM technologies.

    It’s interesting as I was just a week ago researching some of the more modern mozzie zappers. Bug Girl had a posting on her site about the subject a few years ago. The old ones target 99% benign bugs and <1% mosquitoes. .

    A great deal of progress seems to have been made recently with attractants like CO2, lactic acid and octenol.

    Previous experience in Australia in the 20's showed that mozzie control programs work for a while then everybody goes back to their old habits and soon everything returns to the status quo.

    • February 18, 2016 at 7:23 pm —

      Kinda like bedbugs. The current bedbug epidemic in the States is the same strains from the 30s. Trump’s tried blaming Mexican Ebola-infected ISIS members, of course. But the reality is, people just go back to their habits. (And to be fair, it is a bit of a pain to strip and immediately put all your clothes in the washing machine every time you come home.)

      Hey, just look at the antivax crowd. They can get away with that kind of thing because they’re so far removed from polio, Spanish flu, smallpox, and measles. Smallpox isn’t coming back, but can we honestly say the others won’t? Or a strain of influenza even worse than Spanish flu? Again, people lapse when the threat is underestimated.

  4. February 18, 2016 at 1:47 am —

    Speaking of Ayn Rand, “Daylight Atheism” has created a chapter by chapter commentary and refutation of the ideas in her most infamous work. You guys might want to read over what it wrote. I’ve read much of it already and so far its very well thought out.

    Daylight Atheism – Atlas Shrugged lists of refutations.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/series/atlas-shrugged/

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