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Mark Boslough
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Dr. Mark Boslough is a Caltech-trained experimental and computational physicist whose research interests range from nuclear explosions to climate change. He is regularly seen on science documentaries and news reports explaining his research on planetary impacts and participating in expeditions to remote and exotic destinations around the world. Boslough is a passionate advocate for objective assessment of all risks to humanity--including those that are self-inflicted. He is a vocal defender of climate science from political attacks, and is a debunker of extraordinary claims of global warming deniers. He also uses humor as a defense against pseudoscience. His most widely-circulated piece is a thinly-disguised spoof of creationists in the form of a satirical April Fools' Day news story about the Alabama legislature's vote to change Pi to it's "biblical value" of exactly 3. These efforts led to his selection as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Entries by Mark Boslough

Why Take Down a Historic Flag?

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 11:28 PM

In 1983, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents forced the students to change the name of their yearbook in what many observers considered to be an act of political correctness. The publication was named after an ancient Zuni Pueblo symbol and the school had been using the same...

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F-Bomb the N-Word Out of Existence

(37) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 5:11 PM

Racism is alive and well in America, and social media has created a vehicle for people to express it.

Fortunately, it also enables people to fight it. I just stumbled upon a very effective weapon to use against the n-word. It makes a blunt but clear point:...

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NPR Finally Stops Referring to Global Warming Deniers as "Skeptics"

(431) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 3:37 PM

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is famous for thinking that human-caused global warming is the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." His belief presupposes the existence of a worldwide conspiracy--sustained over many decades--by scientists of all nationalities, races, creeds, and political leanings.

Inhofe's alleged perpetrators include NASA, NOAA, the...

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Crowdsource Your Remote and Save Democracy

(3) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 2:48 PM

I think it is safe to say that everyone is fed up with political attack ads. What if there was a legal way to make them all go away, rendering the Citizen's United decision mute... er, moot?

There is.

We have the power to make it happen...

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Book Review: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

(7) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 4:24 PM

Michael Mann has arguably been subjected to more abuse than any other scientist in modern history. For over a decade he has endured an unimaginable torrent of hate and vitriol inflamed by fossil-fuel-funded interests, politicians, and right-wing pundits, and stoked by a growing wild-west blogosphere in which anybody can be...

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11 Reasons the Redskins Should Become the Washington Americans

(6) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

1) "Native American" is a universally acceptable and honorable name for the same people that the current name disrespects and dishonors.

2) Washington can keep the same logo. No, it is not depiction of modern Native Americans any more than the Minnesota Viking resembles a modern Scandinavian. But it's...

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Time to Smack Down Trespassing Vigilantes and Thugs

(3) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 10:42 AM

"This land is your land, this land is my land," Woody Guthrie, 1952.

"This is OUR land," Jarbidge Shovel Brigade Official Web Site, 2002.

On Sept. 1, 1846, my great-grandfather's great-grandfather camped with his family in a place that is now the outskirts of Elko, Nevada. It was a silent...

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Pew Quiz Fails on Climate Question

(40) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 2:25 PM

The Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine created a quiz to test the public's knowledge of science and technology. In April they published a report summarizing the responses of 1,006 randomly selected adults in a national poll. The scores and individual responses were broken down by age, sex, and education...

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Do You Feel Safer Now?

(17) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 9:39 PM

Last Valentine's Day (in the U.S.), a remarkable event took place over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The spectacular explosion of an asteroid led to the conception of several research projects that took nine months to gestate into publications. Last week, the first round of papers related to the airburst appeared in the...

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Fox News Blows Eclipse Coverage

(57) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 11:28 AM

Fox News is famous for giving a fair and balanced voice to alternative views, especially when countering scientific consensus with opinions likely to be preferred by the broadcast company's fans. A good example of this is global warming science, which Fox News reporters are required to contradict.

...
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Global Warming, Asteroid Impacts, and the Laws of Physics

(221) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 3:16 PM

When I was a first-year graduate student at Caltech, my Ph.D. adviser published a paper called "Impact-induced energy partitioning." He asked how an asteroid's energy would change form if it collided with the Earth. He used computer models to estimate what fraction would go into lofting debris, heating, melting, vaporizing...

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Breaking Bad: Finale Prediction

(16) Comments | Posted September 28, 2013 | 6:25 PM

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report just came out. The Earth's climate is continuing to break bad. The mild-mannered environment we used to know and love has gone wrong. You never know what's going to happen next but it probably won't be good. As a science...

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Winding up the Global Spring of Planetary Catastrophe

(20) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:00 PM

I was always taught that if you don't know how something works, you shouldn't mess with it. The Earth's climate represents a wonderfully complex dynamical system that we do not fully understand. Some components are in a delicate balance. As we continue to shift that balance by disrupting our atmosphere's...

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Was Paul Revere an Alarmist?

(172) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 8:36 AM

On this Independence Day, it is worth reflecting on the willingness of our founding fathers to sacrifice their own comforts for the future--for many generations to come, including ours.

They didn't argue about discount rates, or how expensive it would be, or if fighting the British would be cost effective...

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The 'Amy's Baking Company' Episode of Kitchen Nightmares Was (Probably) Staged

(49) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 2:38 PM

First of all, television is always staged. Everyone knows that sitcoms, dramas and variety shows have scripts and use actors. Some programs include improvisational material, but they are no less staged. Many reality shows are like professional wrestling -- the stars are not professional actors. Producers of these shows are...

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Changing Seasons

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 7:00 AM

Reported by KUNM Radio, EARTH EAR WAVES "Scientists Push to Change the Timing of the Seasons." Reprinted in full.

SANTA FE, NM - Local skiers were festive but disappointed on closing day, a full week earlier than originally planned. As temperatures in the state capital were expected to...

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Unforgettable Shoemaker-Levy 9

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 3:57 PM

Twenty years ago, a cosmic oddball was photographed by a team of three scientists. The dry language of the announcement in the International Astronomical Union Circular of March 25, 1993 only partially masked the excitement of the discovery:

"It is indeed a unique object, different from any cometary...
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Valentine's Day at the Heartland Institute

(2) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 5:51 PM

Al Capone was Chicago's most notorious gangster. He was ultimately convicted of tax fraud, but that wasn't his worst crime.

Chicago is famous for its mob history. In the early 1910's, goons from the Market Street Gang would beat up newsstand owners who refused to sell the right newspapers. Their...

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On The Fringe Of Reality

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2013 | 11:00 AM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

When I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, I stayed several days with my grandparents in a house they were renting for the summer in...

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Ben Franklin, Climate Science, and National Security

(5) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 9:00 AM

Benjamin Franklin, the first American Ambassador to France, was both a statesman and a scientist. On September 3, 1783 he co-signed the Treaty of Paris at the Hotel d'York, in which the British acknowledged the American Colonies to be free and independent States, ending the American Revolution.

Franklin's political eye...

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