Singing in Spain

This post is the first of several about a vacation we took ten years ago. The Chamber Singers of the University at Albany, an auditioned à capella chorus directed by David Griggs-Janower, were scheduled to go on a tour of Spain and France in 2007. Not enough students could go, so David recruited a few additional singers and groupies to fill… Continue reading Singing in Spain

Getting Medical Care in France

This post is about our experience with the French health system. We have not stayed in France longer than three weeks at a time, give or take a couple of days. So we cannot talk about long term interaction with the French medical system. Wonderful as it is, being in France does not protect you from colds,… Continue reading Getting Medical Care in France

Along the Danube to The Walhalla Memorial

In this post I just want to convey something of what it was like to be on the ship. After leaving Passau, we passed through Vilshofen and caught a glimpse of a crew on the river. Undeniably blue, at least in this picture! Every meal on board was a treat. Here is a dessert for… Continue reading Along the Danube to The Walhalla Memorial

Along the Wachau Valley

Our ship was named the Tor, and it seems the custom for each Viking ship to have a symbolic painting at the head of the stairs leading up from the main deck, where the concierge desk is located. Perhaps some readers will care to comment on just what style this is! After the visit to… Continue reading Along the Wachau Valley

Recent Science on Race

In an earlier post, I described the European practice of exhibiting people of other races in museums and zoos in the 19th century up to the present. In this post I want to discuss how science can help us approach racism. The science on race has changed since the 19th century. Obviously people thought that race… Continue reading Recent Science on Race

The Flat Earthers

In today's Albany Times Union (March 10, 2017) , my friend Rex Smith writes about the confidence we should place in the scientific pronouncements of athletes or politicians. For an athlete he chooses Kyrie Irving, a basketball player who claims to believe the earth is flat. For a politician, he chooses Scott Pruitt, the Trump… Continue reading The Flat Earthers

A Quick Primer on Climate Change

The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents a consensus of scientific assessments of a wide body of evidence. Some of the key elements that people need to understand are as follows: Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. This means that it absorbs radiation from the sun and dissipates the energy by… Continue reading A Quick Primer on Climate Change

How Do We Know What is Established by Science?

What does it mean when we say that something is scientifically well established? Scientists who seek to learn something new do not know what others are studying at a given moment. They thus work with some degree of urgency, because others might discover the answer to the question they are exploring, and publish it first,… Continue reading How Do We Know What is Established by Science?

Clear Evidence that Fossil Fuel Has Earth in a Slow Burn

There is a certain genre of argument, common to creationists and climate science deniers: to address evolution or human-caused climate change as if they were just hypotheses or even conspiracies.      As proof they cite a famous scientist, who, having reached a certain age and level of notoriety, feels no compunction about stepping outside of… Continue reading Clear Evidence that Fossil Fuel Has Earth in a Slow Burn

Faith vs Fact

Jerry Coyne, Professor of Biology at the University of Chicago, has written a new book, “Faith vs Fact” (Viking, 2015). He explains his reason for writing by noting that, despite copious evidence for evolution, large numbers of people, even when familiar with the evidence; refuse to accept it, essentially for religious reasons. He begins by… Continue reading Faith vs Fact