Kevin Schofield's writings, observations, and other pointless distractions
I’m taking some family time over the next two weeks. Expect occasional posts if interesting things happen, but no morning news roundups.
Busy launching this other site. Come visit me there.
Yesterday the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government’s broad collection program of telephone metadata — involving both international and domestic calls — is illegal. The opinion is lengthy and tackles several issues, and is worth picking apart a bit.
A new study was just published looking at whether there is a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.
The science magazine/journal Nature has an interesting article this week on myopia, aka near-sightedness. Myopia is on the rise among children worldwide, and is reaching epidemic levels in some Asian regions: in 1955, 10-20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted, and today up to 90% of teenagers and young adults are. This has led to an increase in research as to what is driving it. Many efforts have shown there is a genetic component to it, and nearly 100 different genetic markers have been found that correlate with myopia. But that can’t be the whole story; evolution doesn’t move fast enough to account for the rapid ascent of myopia rates. There must be an environmental factor, and a strong one at that.
Here’s an interesting press release about some work being done at Virginia Tech on understanding why “flu season” is in the winter.
Here is a pointer to a great article with a maritime history lesson: sea captains used to intentionally create small oil spills around their ships during rough weather in order to calm the seas. And it worked.
A new study released by Washington State University shows a very unintuitive result: killing gray wolves increases the likelihood of livestock killings the following year. The explanation makes sense, once you hear it.
Today the Woodland Park Zoo announced, with great sadness, that it would be phasing out its elephant exhibit and transferring its two Asian elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to another AZA-accredited facility. Their reasoning is clear yet nuanced. Let’s take a moment to walk through it. Continue reading ‘Ending the Elephant Program at Woodland Park Zoo’
Today the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling supporting four states’ ban on marriage for same-sex couples. And with that, it is virtually assured that the Supreme Court will finally take up the issue. Continue reading ‘Same-sex Marriage Laws Just Got Interesting Again’