Science

"Dubai wants to drag icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water"

For years and years I used to tell my microeconomics students that one response to the water shortage in California caused by price controls was a proposal to use icebergs f0r fresh water. But unlike the company described in the this article as believing "they would not melt significantly during the voyage" the information I had indicated that melting was a big worry. But the engineers--practical, as always--proposed to wrap the icebergs in plastic, on site in the Antarctic.

And I told the students if you think that will be cheap, guess again. Such are the potential costs of tampering with the price system.


"The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ebola"

Don't panic is the message.

Ebola is a scary disease, made much more scary by some wildly exaggerated claims in some books and movies. So, before we talk about Ebola, let's talk about another scary disease called "rabies."

It's a virus, serum transmitted -- meaning contact with blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids from an infected individual is needed to transmit the disease. Thousands of people die of it worldwide, every year. Once you've sickened with it, become symptomatic, the symptoms are pretty horrible, and there's really no effective treatment. People who develop the symptoms are very likely to die.

In fact, the number of people who have survived active rabies can be counted on one hand with fingers left over.


"The Universe"

I can't decide which is more remarkable: the story of the Big Bang told here or that humans, on our one puny little rock in space, seem to have figured out so much about that story.

Some possible problems with the story: "Cosmic Inflation Theory Faces Challenges" and "The Big Bang is not the beginning of our universe — it’s actually the end of something else entirely".

A rebuttal: "What If Cosmic Inflation Is Wrong?".