Category Archives: … the Hell?

1801: Fraunhofer gets research funding in the worst possible way

It is rather unsettling to think that scientific careers are often made by simple luck.  For example, eventual Nobel Prize winner Albert Michelson (1852-1931) only got an education thanks to the literal last-minute intervention of none other than the President … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science, Physics | Leave a comment

The Gun-Fight Before Christmas

Been busy at work and struggling to finish new science posts for the blog.  In the meantime, here’s some silliness that I did on twitter. So what does Christmas mean to you? Birth of the savior?  A day to strive for … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Politics, Silliness | 2 Comments

The Muslimoclockobomb conspiracy: connecting the dots

By now, you have all no doubt heard about 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a home-made “clock” to his Texas school to show to his engineering teacher and was arrested when he was unable to explain why it was not a bomb … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Silliness | 4 Comments

The GOP war on higher education: a running tally (updated)

My apologies that I continue to go on about Republican attacks on higher education, but it really has become clear now that this is a major goal of 2015 for the GOP: weaken and/or destroy public universities as much as possible. … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Politics | 2 Comments

An open letter to NC State Senator Tom McInnis

Dear Senator McInnis, I recently read with some concern, first in The Daily Tarheel and then on Slate, about your proposed Senate bill 593, ironically titled “An act to improve the quality of instruction at the constituent 3 institutions of the University of North Carolina.”  This … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Politics | 2 Comments

A one-act play about a study in hiring practices in STEM

Scene: A table at Starbucks Cast: Man #1, a wealthy benefactor Man #2, an enlightened guy Man #1: Let me ask you a hypothetical question: given the choice, would you rather have world peace or a billion dollars? Man #2: Oh, … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, General science, Women in science | 1 Comment

Dr. SkySkull and the mystery of the subluminal superluminal light!

References in a scientific paper are supposed to answer questions, not raise them, but sometimes they inadvertently create a minor mystery for the reader.  A few weeks back, I blogged about the curious phenomenon of subluminal vacuum beams of light, … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, Optics | 4 Comments