Category Archives: Science

COULD THIS BE THE WORLD’S FIRST NUCLEAR-POWERED AIRLINER? (NO.)

On January 5, 2011, I wrote the following:

“Designer” is a dangerous term, because it usually means some crazy person with ridiculous ideas who then makes CAD drawings or actual mock-ups of his crazy ideas and yet, for some goddamn reason, I appear to be the only person to notice that said idea is crazy.

That was 65 months ago, and it still holds true. “Designers” with no actual science knowledge or reality filter of any kind are the bread and butter of this blog, whether it’s a transparent toaster or a whole bunch of bullshit cooking tools or a pedal-powered submarine or magnetic roads or a rocket that doesn’t exist or a redesigned bicycle or concept cars or a fridge that tramples every law of physics it comes across like a hormonal bull in a sexy china shop. And that’s like a third of the total posts under my “design” category.

But people take these seriously. People write newspaper articles breathlessly extolling the virtues of a moon elevator or solar panels in space or a rocket that will take us to Alpha Centauri, powered only by kale, even though the crackpot that thought it up has no qualifications other than being able to make pretty 3D renderings on his computer.

And that brings us to this.

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There’s an old adage that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with a “no.” That’s not going to change here. Let’s dive in.

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THREE REASONS THIS ROCKET WON’T SEND US TO MARS

Ever been to the website Elite Daily?  If you haven’t, don’t bother.  Home of such journalistic masterpieces as “Zayn Malik Isn’t Worried About Leaving One Direction Because His Fiance Is Hot As F*ck” and “Man Given 18 Months To Live Says Cannabis Oil Cured His Cancer,” it’s a long-running stream of feel-good drivel that’s generally harmless.  Sometimes they veer out of the world of hot-button cultural issues like “Starbucks Is Coming Out With A S’mores Frappuccino In Time For Summer” and into the realm of science.  Like this headline here.

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SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER: DON’T GET TOO EXCITED

This has come up before and never gotten a ton of mainstream attention, but I saw it again and thought I’d address it. Continue reading

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YOU ARE NOT A TETRACHROMAT, AND THIS GRAPHIC IS BULLSHIT

Recently there was a schism on the internet between people about the color of a dress.  That led to all kinds of scientific articles about how we perceive color differently, memes about white and gold things and black and blue things, and finally, eventually, this.

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I WATCHED “VERTICAL LIMIT” (AGAIN) SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

If you’ve never seen Vertical Limit, good for you.  If you’ve never even heard of it, even better.  It came out in 2000 and somehow made $215 million on a budget of just $75 million, despite being a train wreck of scarcely believable proportions.  It is, without a doubt, the worst climbing movie ever made, and I am including Cliffhanger in that list.  Cliffhanger is a movie wherein a harness buckle just disintegrates for no reason and Sylvester Stallone has a gun that shoots climbing bolts into rocks, and it’s more watchable than Vertical Limit.

This happens. Because apparently aircraft-grade aluminum just does that.

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