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This Week in Comments: September 18th—September 24th

Did you make the cut? 

And here's the best comments this week... 


What Might Life on Other Planets Look Like? A Harvard Biologist Explains

Noah Hopkins: What if we contact alien life and then they're idiots? Like they think Trump and vaping is the coolest part of our Earth and there's no way to get rid of them?

Liberals and Conservatives Read Different Science Books, Except for One Subject

Kevin Armistead: It's sadly fitting the one thing that brings liberals and conservatives together died millions of years ago.

Why Can’t You Remember Being a Baby?

Sköll Valentine: Honestly if we all remembered helplessly shitting ourselves thirteen times a day, maybe the world would be a more humble place.

Bill Nye: Evolution Denial Hurts Innovation in Science and Technology

Stephen Behm: The evidence points to natural selection and evolution. Those who feel threatened by this develop alternatives simply to refute a threat and cling to their beliefs. If you choose to deny evolution, prove it false, publish your work, get it peer reviewed and if it survives analytical scrutiny, it will be accepted. Simple. I'd wager you'd get a Nobel prize or something also. You'd become a millionaire also!

Zednanheh Solrac: Trying to reconcile utter, dangerous fairy tale thinking such as creationism with actual science, though well intentioned, is not going to work. Bill said it right. These people are beyond reason and too far gone in their delusions and indoctrination; but don't do that to your children, because things that keep your grandma alive like pacemakers and state of the art surgery are going to be replaced by prayer and exorcism which is a frightening trend that we are seeing right now. There is no god, evidence for evolution is overwhelming, prayer doesn't work, grow the F up.

A Designer Is Making Leather Goods Out Of Alexander McQueen’s Skin

Ischa Anna Graham: I loved him as a designer, he was always pushing boundaries and I think he would have got what she is trying to do. He was an artist who created wearable art. The kind of art that poses questions, challenges ethics or societal norms or makes you consider a different perspective. Her skin products defo do that. Alexander McQueen was a good choice.

Let's Cut Out All These “Bullsh*t Jobs,” says Anthropologist David Graeber

Ronald HarderJust because an occupation moves money around doesn't mean it adds any real value to society. The only real value of most jobs is keeping people occupied. A substantial fraction of what our economy 'produces' is just waste. Most people's jobs are unnecessary - or done in support of some pursuit that is ultimately unnecessary. Lots of pointless wheel spinning going on out there.

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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