Guest Post—Collision of Science and Belief

This is a guest post I did over on A Momma’s View. Fantastic blog, by the way—I recommend you check it out. I write one of these for her every month. This is a science post and has a little bit of everything, but the overarching theme is discerning the difference between fact and belief (and science versus religion). A huge thanks to the Momma for letting me post on her blog!

A Momma's View

Emma’s Blog, For The Love Of Facts, is a very new one and yet it’s not. Emma was blogging under the name of Perse before on Far Beyond The Stars. For a long time she has been writing amazing guest posts for me and I’m thrilled to witness her new journey with her new blog. I am really excited that Emma will continue to write posts for me on occasion and that I can feature one of her great posts today. I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did…

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Reporting and the Inevitable Bias

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Bias.

I’m fairly certain it’s the only universal constant.

Well, except for the theory of relativity.

And because bias is the only universal constant, I’m going to tell you mine right up front. It’s only fair, considering that I’m writing a whole string of politics posts and expecting you to actually give me the time of day.

I’m a Democrat. I once considered myself a moderate, but I checked the box for Democrat on the voting registration form. My favorite news site is National Public Radio, or NPR. My least favorites include Breitbart and Fox News.

I automatically dismiss information coming from the latter two, because I know they are generally biased against logical, proven reality.

That said, let me explain why I’m biased against Breitbart and why I love NPR. It’s up to you to decide whether or not I’m justified.

If you think what I have to say is worth an ear, then tune in. If not, please do consider ignoring these posts and just reading my other topics instead. This is the only place on this blog where I’ll get political. Continue reading

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Earth as a Greenhouse

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My plan for Thursdays’ climate science posts is to prove a negative: that global warming can’t not be happening.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t understand the science behind it well enough to start proving negatives yet.

That’s why I’m going to take you through the science first and understand it myself, before I start eliminating all other possible reasons for the average global conditions we’re seeing today.

Throughout these posts, if you think something needs clarifying or if I’ve gotten something wrong, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

First up for discussion is the greenhouse effect, the most important term you’ll ever hear in relation to global warming. Continue reading

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Types of Mixtures

The easiest way to explain mixtures in chemistry is to talk about food, so congrats to all you food bloggers! Today’s your special day!

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Think about mixtures in terms of cooking, and there isn’t much I need to tell you. A salad, like the one pictured above, is a mixture. So is chicken noodle soup. So is…hmm, so is lemonade.

I told you we’d be talking about lemonade soon.

Even air is a mixture—of different gases. Believe it or not, we don’t just breathe in oxygen. In fact, if we breathed in pure oxygen, it would be poisonous. We inhale a little bit of nitrogen, too.

A mixture is—by textbook definition—a physical blend of two or more substances. Continue reading

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Stars: Naming and Brightness

So, last time around I told you guys about the constellations. I know it was a few weeks ago, so I’ll give you a brief recap before we dive into stars, their names, and their brightness.

pegasusMeet Pegasus, and the constellations surrounding it. As I said in my last post, constellations are just regions of space.

Yes, they are named after mythical beasts and ancient queens, but for scientific purposes, all that matters are the regions they denote.

This way, astronomers can easily find obscure, faint objects in the sky.

And telescopes can be easily programmed to find the same objects for those with less experience.

Keep in mind, though, that constellations only appear to fall in the same horizontal plane over Earth’s surface.

Some of these stars, even in the same constellation, are light-years apart from one another.

So, in that case, the brighter stars must be closer to us and the dimmer stars farther away, right?

Wrong. Continue reading

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In For the Long Haul

The Tole Mour is—was—a three-masted, fifteen-sailed schooner. She is now named the Vela and works for Island Windjammers. I sailed her with a  fantastic crew of student campers and professionals for four two-week-long summer expeditions, ending in 2014.


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The Tole Mour was a labor of love. The times I spent on our beloved ship were possibly the best of my life, but you couldn’t expect to get something out of nothing when sailing those waters.

Part of being a camper on the Tole meant that you had to do a lot of the work. Most jobs weren’t just left to the professional crew—they taught their jobs to us. Each one of us had a sail assignment for the setting and striking of each sail.

The intricate details of it all, I don’t remember well. Back home, I have a whole travel journal—as I call it—detailing the trivia of my experiences.

I’m sure that somewhere among those pages, I have all fifteen sails listed from memory. I’d do so for you here, but there would be no way to prove that I didn’t just look them up.

Anyhow… Continue reading

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What Matters?

really hated to leave you guys hanging on the posts for last week.

So I decided to offer you a little treat—the chemistry post that I wasn’t able to finish on time for its intended date on February 15th.

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The simplest approach to chemistry is to start basic.

Not basic as in acids and bases, ha-ha…sorry, bad chemistry joke.

I mean basic as in, what the heck even is chemistry?

I admit that I’m better versed in astronomy than chemistry. I’ve studied chemistry for exactly one year of my life—last year, 12th grade. Astronomy, on the other hand, has been my strong suit and my passion for several years.

For me, these Wednesday posts are like a refresher course. I don’t actually remember everything I’ve learned. Good thing I bought a copy of the textbook.

So, I’ll start simple—because chemistry is the study of breaking complex things down to the simplest bits possible. It’s the opposite of astronomy. Astronomy studies huge, mind-blowing phenomena. Chemistry, on the other hand…is mind-blowingly small.

It’s the study of matter. Continue reading

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Apologies for the delay…

Sorry, guys, but I haven’t been able to prepare posts for this week.

I know, I know…that means you have to wait until the week after next, according to my posting schedule.

But…that means I have more time to come up with posts for that week. I’ll try not to miss it. School comes first—and I’m totally swamped right now.

I’ll see you guys as soon as possible. Again, apologies!

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…and the Home of the Brave

770764ed8cfed391ab7ad85ff8b8f2bbElection night has come and gone, and the majority of Americans are losing hope as Donald Trump ends his candidacy and prepares for his presidency.

I say the majority of Americans because Hillary Clinton—fortunately, in my opinion—won the popular vote. It is thanks only to the Electoral College that Trump has won the election. What the majority of the people wanted came to nothing.

I understand why a lot of people are feeling hopeless. I especially understand anger. I felt those things myself before Trump’s win was even final. I admit—online, on this blog, publicly—that I will never in a million years support Trump.

However, I will support America. Continue reading

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How it Doesn’t Work

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There’s a certain rule in the scientific community—that talking about how something doesn’t work is boring, and it’s much more worth one’s time to just come out and say how it works.

But we’ve already done that a hundred times over with global warming, and still, people doubt the facts. Well, I’m going to give my fellow scientists a bit of a leg-up in the debate: I’m going to prove a negative.

I’m going to prove that global warming can’t not be happening.

And I’m going to do that by studying real data and examining real scientific papers. I’m going to boil it all down to a series of simple posts. Simple enough that you don’t have to be a scientist to follow along, I promise.

Before we begin, I feel you should know that I am by no means an expert on this subject. I’m a college student majoring in English and Astronomy, not in any sort of environmental science. But I’m doing my best to learn!

Without further ado…a short introduction to the science behind global warming! Continue reading

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