Map of the day

Loved this 538 post on the variability of weather across American cities.  I’ve always been totally fascinated by this topic, but never actually read a single thing about it.  Well, now 538 has analyzed a whole bunch of data to figure out which cities have the most and least variable weather and here’s the summary map:


They also have a nice chart breaking down the cities in all sorts of interesting ways.  What you can gather from the map above is that being East or West of the Rocky Mountains makes a huge difference.  Looks like my time in Ohio had my least predictable weather and Lubbock the most.  Anyway, very cool stuff.

Photo of the day

From a Wired gallery of the bizarre behavior of liquids:

When a jet of viscoelastic fluid—liquids such as gels and pastes—hits a wall, it forms five wings that protrude outward. H. LHUISSIER, B. NÉEL, & L. LIMAT, PHYS. REV. LETT. 113, 194502-(5) 2014. COPYRIGHT (2014) BY APS.


Superbugs are coming

So, India basically represents an incredibly toxic combination of modern medicine (widely available antibiotics) and extreme poverty (widespread unsanitary living conditions).  The results are bad for them and only a matter of time before it’s bad for the whole world.  Some very distressing news:

These babies are part of a disquieting outbreak. A growing chorus of researchers say the evidence is now overwhelming that a significant share of the bacteria present in India — in its water, sewage, animals, soil and even its mothers — are immune to nearly all antibiotics [emphasis mine]…

While far from alone in creating antibiotic resistance, India’s resistant infections have already begun to migrate elsewhere.

“India’s dreadful sanitation, uncontrolled use of antibiotics and overcrowding coupled with a complete lack of monitoring the problem has created a tsunami of antibiotic resistance that is reaching just about every country in the world,” said Dr. Timothy R. Walsh, a professor of microbiology at Cardiff University.

Indeed, researchers have already found “superbugs” carrying a genetic code first identified in India — NDM1 (or New Delhi metallo-beta lactamase 1) —around the world, including in France, Japan, Oman and the United States…

Bacteria spread easily in India, experts say, because half of Indians defecate outdoors, and much of the sewage generated by those who do use toilets is untreated. As a result, Indians have among the highest rates of bacterial infections in the world and collectively take more antibiotics, which are sold over the counter here, than any other nationality.

The whole thing is pretty depressing.  Right now it is quite bad for India as many babies are dying.  But bacteria know how to spread.  This could rapidly be bad for everybody.

What does it mean to be creationist?

I was very intrigued by this Will Saletan story detailing recent polling data that show being a “creationist” is not quite what it seems.  Many if not most creationists are not all that confident or clear in their creationist beliefs.  Here’s the key chart:


And more on the numbers:

Let’s start with the number at the top. When Americans are asked whether “God (or some other intelligent force) was involved in any way with the origin of humans,” two-thirds say yes. But when they’re asked to choose among three versions of this divine role—“direct involvement by miraculously creating humans,” “direct involvement but through the ordinary laws of nature,” or “indirect involvement by creating the laws of nature which led to the emergence of humans”—only half choose the “direct involvement” version. And when these people are asked about their level of certainty, the percentage who say they’re “absolutely” or “very” certain about a direct role drops to 30. (The next option below “very certain” was “somewhat certain.” Saying you’re only somewhat certain is basically a way of saying you’re not certain.)

The next most popular statement was that “Adam and Eve, the first humans according to the Bible, were real, historical people.” Fifty-six percent of respondents affirmed this statement. But when they were pressed, only 44 percent said they were absolutely or very certain about it. A majority became a minority…

By the time you get to specific denials of evolution—whether “humans evolved from non-human life forms” and whether “God created the world in six 24-hour days”—the percentage who take positions incompatible with scientific evidence drops to 41 and 37 percent, respectively. Only 30 percent of people are absolutely or very certain that God created the world in six 24-hour days, that God created humans through a direct miracle, or that humans didn’t evolve from other life forms. When you ask about the age of the earth, resistance drops further. Only 26 percent of Americans say that “humans came into existence sometime in the last 10,000 years.” (The rest say that we’re older or that they’re not sure.) And only 15 percent are absolutely or very confident about young-earth creationism…

How many people are truly hardcore creationists? For that, you have to look at certainty across a range of statements… Ask whether humans have been around for only 10,000 years, and the hardcore—those who are absolutely or very certain on all five questions—shrinks to 7 percent.

Yes, we’re a creationist country. But apparently, we’re pretty creative about what that means.

Good news?  The anti-evolution views of Americans not as bad as it may seem.  Yeah science?


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