Science and Wine

Is the sense of taste subjective? Why are some wines bad news for people with particular allergies? If you're anxious for the answers, never fear: In this episode, Allison and Robert take a look at science and wine.

Science and Religion: Two Shades of Why

Yesterday I blogged about Vatican astronomer Guy J. Consolmagno's thoughts on the relationship between science and religion -- and the conflict that sometimes emerges there. I thought the planetary scientists turned Jesuit brother presented a very positive, thought-provoking view on the matter. But in the interest of providing another take less rooted in Western monotheism, I thought we'd turn to Varadaraja V. Raman.

Can science and religion coexist?

My friend Bill made an interesting statement on Twitter today: "Maybe we can cut a deal where all the biologists can believe in God in return for evangelicals believing in evolution." This was particularly amusing because I attended a lecture last night by a man who was taught evolution by nuns and who studies meteorites while wearing a clerical collar. American research astronomer Guy J. Consolmagno spoke at Agnes Scott College last night on the ethics of exploration and planetary astronomy (see my post at Discovery Space). He also happens to be a Jesuit brother and a planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory.

Science is Scary (Steampunk isn't)

Sure, steampunk makes for adorable costumes and some snazzy-looking gadgets, but is it really the stuff of haunted houses? Pittsburgh's ScareHouse seems to think so, but just when is science terrifying and when does it merely promise us jazzy retro bikes?

Leechpunk Technology Never Quite Took Off

Have you checked your mechanical assembly of imprisoned leeches to see what tomorrow's weather forecast is? You haven't? Well, that's because the Tempest Prognosticator or "leech barometer" didn't really catch on in nineteenth century England.

Welcome to the Semantic Apocalypse

I find that much of what I read regarding neuroscience stirs the unsettling notion that the human experience itself is little more than an absurd dream, a strange byproduct of evolution. Canadian author R. Scott Bakker ruminates on these topics, weaving imagined worlds with philosophic discourse and neurological research. In his book "Neuropath," he refers to something he calls "the semantic apocalypse." This catastrophe occurs when science shines enough light on the human condition for reason to fail.

Science is a subject that, for all its awesomeness, often turns off students. That's tragic because pretty much everything in life that's worth obsessing about has some science at its core. So it's always encouraging to see someone reaching out to students with new and exciting methods of fostering scientific zeal. As she recounts in a recent LiveScience article, Nalini M. Nadkarni happened on the notion of combining science with hip-hop while teaching a forest ecology class at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. During a field trip through the state's temperate rain forests, she overheard a student's eco-inspired freestyle rap and decided music might be a great way of connecting with urban schoolchildren.