Ransom’s articles (and videos) on Science, technology & society
Science & religion
The measure of free will and red herrings - Philosophies, codes of ethics, and religion all assume that we act with free will. Newton replaced free will with determinism; Heisenberg brought it back—or did he? Metaphysics, meta-momentum and meta everything else - Physics is the study of the physical world. Metaphysics is the study of everything else. The scientific method, steps of faith not leaps Science vs religion and the nature of truth - Truth is the objective realization of an inarguable facet of reality. It is the bedrock of the interaction between science and society in both the raw, cosmological, physical sense as well as the green, squishy, muddy, biological sense. Science vs religion (pt 2) the creation of science Can quantum physics explain the bleep? - Whenever justification is desired for supposed mystical or paranormal phenomena, the phrase “quantum physics” is trotted out.
Life on earth
Mismeasure of economics - Is it impossible in principle to crete accurate economic models? Measuring money--the beer standard - Why do we pretend that small sheets of paper and cheap metal disks have inordinate value? It’s like the Emperor’s money is made of the same stuff as his new clothes, right? Well, sort of. Measure of emergence - from bee hives to consciousness, emergence seems like magic, but if you apply serious computing power, you can make sense of it. Measuring the transition to disaster - Properties of the calm before a storm can be measured and used to predict the transition from tranquility to disaster.  Earth Day at the dawn of creation - Some 4.54 billion years ago there was a twinkling in the sky Earth Day at the dawn of life - Situated just the right distance from just the right star with a chemical composition rich in water, carbon and oxygen, and a magnetic field to shield her from showers of charged particles. Goat rock beach: magic where the river meets the sea - if there is a place on earth where you can find magic, it is here. Celebrate International Nurses Day by thanking the angel nearest you - Odds are that the first person to look in your eyes was a nurse. The odds are even better that the last person you see will be a nurse.
Scientific dogmatism: wild red herring or trained attack dog? - Do science researchers have to submit to established scientific dogma? No, it doesn’t work that way. Global warming/climate change: an easy calculation  - By solving a 10th grade science homework problem you can decide for yourself whether or not human beings are causing global warming/climate change by burning fossil fuels. Measure of politics: Polls - How to make sense of polls with a simple back-of-the-envelope trick and a quick brush up on uncertainty, probability and statistics. Is socialism or fascism the greater danger to the United States' democracy - Or is it plutocracy? In the tradition of the natural sciences, political science is predicated on clear definitions. In the practice of politics, on the other hand. . . A science-based litmus test for the Supreme Court Getting lucky - Luck. Fortune. Serendipity. We define luck as the occurrence of a more desirable outcome of an event over which we have no control. . . Inarguable facts in the global warming/climate change debate - Clarifying some simple science, including the heat capacity of carbon dioxide. . .
Science gone political
Life with technology
Do grandmas make the best engineers? - Can big global problems be solved by grandmothers who are intent on solving small local problems? The high tech diversity problem’s bottom line - Diversifying the tech workforce means more than political appeasement; diversity sets the stage for innovation. Measure of emergence - from bee hives to consciousness, emergence seems like magic, but if you apply serious computing power, you can make sense of it. Sports should adopt real technology - From first-down chains to bright yellow lines along the outfield fences, to dubious goals, it’s time to put a little silicon inside the ball. The science of Sensory Deception - in Ransom’s eco-techno-science fiction thriller, three Si Valley geeks develop VR technology based on the relationship between the senses and the mind. Can electronic health records save your world? - are electronic healthcare records another inane federal boondoggle or are they a healthcare cure-all? The answer has more to do with Netflix than you might think. Measure of holiday calories - the thermodynamic diet - and you thought Ransom was above proposing a diet for the holidaze. Resolving problems in the infrared - our eyes can only detect optical wavelengths of light, but infrared vision differs in more ways than wavelength. Measure of the Olympics - it’s all about timing. Ten health risks to address before tossing out your cell phone - Despite the fact there is neither a hypothetical mechanism for radiowaves or microwaves to disrupt DNA and cause cancer... Cell phone radiation activates your brain, but does it cause cancer? What full body scanner radiation means to you - Yes, the new equipment at airport security can see what you look like naked, sort of. It can’t see your tattoos but it can see your piercings. . . The radiation you should worry about and the radiation you can fugetabout - Cell phone radiation and SAR - If you buy a cell phone with the lowest Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) you’re getting two things: a cell phone with low range and an illusion of safety. Why is it so annoying when (other) people talk on cell phones - When we overhear people speaking on cell phones two things annoy us. One is obvious and correctable, the other is an interesting statement on the human condition. How much safer is it to fly than drive? Really... - “The most dangerous part of your journey is the drive to the airport” has become a cliche. How true is it? The true value of oil and the insanity of burning it 
You’re about to be rear-ended Should you hit the brake?
The worst place to be in traffic
Watch Prof. Buckley grow up in 60 seconds
What’s the solstice & equinox?
How does time fly?
Do you believe in miracles?
Which came first? Consciousness or matter?
The “law of attraction” isn’t total bullshit (but almost)
What Ransom taught his mentee
Ransom Stephens scientist, author, speaker
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