Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds (1775)


A collection of random articles and essays that may challenge your perspectives on random topics.  We’ll start with a statistical analysis of life in the universe, or the lack thereof, in “Where Are All the Extraterrestrials?”  Next, we’ll come down to earth to explore “Social Justice: Not What You Think It Is.”  Since we are discussing belief systems, let’s consider “The New Testament: The World’s Only Unedited, Frameless, Correlative Anthology.”  Finally, let’s go back to the stars.  Do you know why you cannot ever stay in the same place for more than a moment?  Here’s why.  How’s that for a potpourri of mind-blowing readings?

Lawrence S. Mayer, Ph.D. (scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University) and Paul R. McHugh, M.D (professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and formerly psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital) have released a comprehensive review of research on the nature of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Their primary findings include:

● The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings—the idea that people are “born that way”—is not supported by scientific evidence.

● The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex—that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body”—is not supported by scientific evidence.

● Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes.

from Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences, The New Atlantis Journal, 2016

You can read the complete report here.


No major water infrastructure project has been completed in California since the 1960s.

No major water infrastructure project has been completed in California since the 1960s.

Obviously, California’s green initiatives haven’t caused the lack of rain that has hampered the state for four years. But California’s water management programs, including water diversions, forced run-offs into bays and restricted pumping into reservoirs, have multiplied their water shortage woes. California smelt are very happy. Households and farmers aren’t. More details are available here.

In the 1934 book, “The Logic of Scientific Discovery,” Karl Popper wrote:

“Long-term prophecies can be derived from scientific conditional predictions only if they apply to systems which can be described as well-isolated, stationary, and recurrent. These systems are very rare in nature; and modern society is not one of them.”

Is political science a “real” science?  Here is an argument for and here is an argument against.  What do you think?