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I am, still, wondering about the $737.45 I’d given Cabo Verde Airlines. That was for a trip scheduled for March 2020. You know the rest. I knew my flight, as well as all proposed alternate flights, had been cancelled. I had forgotten, and recalled only after reviewing old e-mails, that Cabo Verde Airlines had agreed […]

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This week on JobMakers, Guest Host Jo Napolitano talks with Josh Feast, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cogito, a Boston-based software company that deploys Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help employers in a wide variety of industries improve their customer service call centers. Josh got his start creating innovative technology to improve case management for a social services agency in New Zealand, before coming to America on a Fulbright scholarship to earn an MBA at MIT Sloan. In this episode, they discuss the many applications of Artificial Intelligence, how it helps provide emotional intelligence to augment management practices at large organizations, and how to address some of the concerns about privacy and bias that have been raised around its use.

Guest:

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Farouk El-Baz, retired research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. They discuss his remarkable, varied, and pioneering career in the sciences, surveying both the heavens and the Earth, and key teachers and scientists who have influenced him. Dr. El-Baz shares what it was like serving as supervisor of Lunar Science Planning for NASA’s Apollo program, and working on the world-changing project of putting a human on the Moon. He describes what the Apollo program needed to know beforehand to map the Moon in order to select the landing site, and the key scientific facts about the Moon that NASA needed to gather to ensure the mission’s ultimate success.

In the second phase of his career in science, Dr. El Baz used remote sensing and space images to explore for groundwater in the largest deserts on Earth. He explains how surveying the Moon informed this work, and the most significant and surprising discoveries he has made with remote sensing. Lastly, they talk about the mathematical and scientific background knowledge that best prepares students for careers in STEM fields.

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with author and former New York Times science journalist Nicholas Wade about his recent article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the possible origins of the SARS2 virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. In their conversation, they consider the possibility that, absent finding evidence of a natural jump from animals, the SARS2 virus may have come from a lab.

Guest:

It’s Still Warp Five for the mRNA Vaccines

 

Star Trek: The Next Generation Warp on Make a GIF

Let’s start with the good, shall we? Like Captain Picard’s Enterprise going to warp, this newfangled mRNA vaccination stuff is pretty cool, and there’s a lot of potential for good stuff to happen in the future. Did I correctly hear Rob Long saying that we might get a malaria vaccine with this tech?  That’s terrific!  And have you looked up Israel lately on Worldometers and checked the updated vaccination rates?

The mRNA approach has the best immunity.  And it’s working.  These things are saving lives.  You can also check the rates in other places like the USA, UK, and UAE, and see coronavirus numbers going down as vaccination numbers go up.  (Hong Kong, for another example, lags behind those other places, but the same trend is there.)

About Those UFOs. I Have a Theory.

 

One night in the spring of 1980, shortly before midnight, I left my dorm room at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, got in my pale blue 1972 VW Super Beetle, and drove west into the desert toward the tiny town of Magdalena. Magdalena, population 900 or so, isn’t precisely the middle of nowhere. The middle of nowhere, and my destination, was about 20 miles further west, in the high desert basin known as the Plains of San Augustin. The 1947 “Roswell Incident,” much featured in UFO mythology, purportedly occurred on that isolated plain, but that isn’t what drew me there that clear moonlit night.

The Very Large Array (VLA) is a group of 27 radio telescopes spread out in an enormous Y on the Plains of San Augustin. The dishes, weighing more than 200 tons each on their multi-story gantries, can be moved by rail to vary the size of the Y, the legs of which can be more than 20 miles long at their greatest extent. Using a technique known as interferometry, the array can achieve, in some instances, the resolving power of a single dish with a diameter equivalent to the span of the array.

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with cyber security expert Dr. Brandon Valeriano about the Colonial Pipeline shutdown and our national exposure to cyberattack on vital infrastructure.

Guest:

Mr. Darwin Can’t Get a Break

 

It can’t be easy to be Charles Darwin right now. (I mean, for reasons beyond the obvious.) A meticulous researcher and a serious and deeply respectful man, Mr. Darwin spent years carefully documenting and refining his seminal* theory of evolution through natural selection, delaying its presentation until similar discoveries by fellow British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace prompted him to go public and secure his claim as the father of evolutionary theory.

(And what is it with our British cousins, that they should produce simultaneously two men of such insight?)

What That Houston Tesla Couldn’t Possibly Do

 

Last month, a Tesla was involved in a fatal single-car collision near Houston in which both the owner of the vehicle and one passenger died. The incident has raised some controversy because of preliminary reports suggesting that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the collision and that the car was traveling at high speed. The car’s battery was damaged in the crash, resulting in a fire that burned for several hours and destroyed both the car and its event data recorder (black box).

It now seems likely that the car was not in self-driving mode, that there was a driver behind the wheel, and that the accident was not a case of a self-driving Tesla accelerating wildly and running off the road. (Glenn Reynolds links a Car and Driver story on the incident.)

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Answer: Yes.  Right here on Ricochet, we have dozens of productive arguments going on all day and night long. A couple of University of Washington researchers are doing a study of that very question.  The article on MyNorthwest.com describes the study and the researchers.  I expect it will take some time for them to generate and […]

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On today’s Ricochet podcast, Peter and James interview guests Niall Ferguson and Stephen Meyer. I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing Mr. Meyer and the idea he puts forth in his latest book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. I recently wrote about an Uncommon […]

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Joe “Crow” Biden is suspending the patents on COVID19 vaccines. This is disaster! It will cause havoc with licensing foreign producers, reduce reliability, pirating will skyrocket. That’s just the short term. Long term, American companies will start filing patents in foreign countries first, or not create new products at all.  Pfizer , Johnson & Johnson […]

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Paul Kengor (“Biden’s Brave New World of Aborted-Fetus Research”, The American Spectator, May 2, 2021) helpfully informs us that the Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board, established by the Trump administration to oversee federal tax dollar funding of Fetal Tissue research, has been disbanded by the Biden administration. The notice to that effect was […]

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Overcoming a decades-long antipathy to molecular biology, I have been reading yet another inherited textbook, Genes III by Benjamin Lewin (1987). On the subject of packing DNA into a cell nucleus, which is no trivial matter – in any one such nucleus, the DNA could be a couple yards long – I learned that the […]

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Conspiracy Theory No More? Classified Report Says Coronavirus May Have Originated in Chinese Lab

 

Well, well, well, a Mainstream Media outlet (KOMO in Seattle/Sinclair Broadcasting) may just have engaged in some actual Journalism for a change. This morning, at the top of their Web site, there is a story titled Classified Study finds that Covid-19 could have originated in Chinese Lab.

Now, this is a very intriguing story, as the Powers That Be in DC and around the world (including the WHO) have been telling us for a year that it was just a crazy conspiracy theory that the Coronavirus might have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. There have been dozens of news reports in various places that have posited this theory, and either been removed by Big Social Media, or simply ignored. Over on Ricochet, more than one scientifically-inclined member has posted on this issue, citing trustworthy references. Here are some stories about the possible origin of the deadly virus that originated somewhere in Communist China.