Each year, trees add a new layer of growth between the older wood and the bark. The size of this layer, or tree ring as seen in cross-section, tells us about the speed of growth and reflects environmental conditions — such as temperature, moisture and even cloudiness — at the time of growth. Tree rings usually grow wider during warm periods and narrower during cold ones. Since some trees live for many centuries and, in some cases, for thousands of years, we can reconstruct temperature and other climate records dating back several hundred years, providing valuable information on how Earth’s climate looked in the past.
Science is essentially a conversation in which people respond to what others have most recently said, or to the ideas that are currently dominant. Ideas that change the direction of the conversation are new because they are new in the conversation — not because no one has had them before.
This image, acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows wetlands in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut Territory, in Canada, a region called “Barrend Grounds” or “Barren Lands”.
A carpenter is a person who practices a highly skilled trade, carpentry, to create new and useful and lovely things out of wood. It is a non-trivial occupation, there’s both art and technology involved, and it’s a productive talent that contributes to people’s well-being. It makes the world a better place. And it involves wood.
A pyromaniac is a person with a destructive mental illness, in which they obsess over setting things on fire. Most pyromaniacs have no skill with carpentry, but some do; many of them have their own sets of skills outside of the focus of their illness. Pyromania is destructive and dangerous, contributes nothing to people’s well-being, and makes the world a worse place. And yes, it involves wood, which is a wonderful substance for burning.
Calling a creationist a scientist is as offensive as praising a pyromaniac for their skill at carpentry, when all they’ve shown is a talent for destroying things, and typically have a complete absence of any knowledge of wood-working. Producing charcoal and ash is not comparable to building a house or crafting furniture or, for that matter, creating anything.
You can’t call any creationist a scientist, because what they’re actively promoting is a destructive act of tearing down every beautiful scrap of knowledge the real scientists have acquired.
When people hear what I do, they – especially teenage girls – feel intimidated. But, when they hear the whole story, their tune changes. I tell them that I know what it is like to not understand something. I was not the kind of person where comprehension of my science came naturally. But I did it. And if I can do it, anyone can do it! My story can be inspirational to someone who comes from a background completely lacking in science because they, like me, can reach their goal.
Proponents of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) claim that certain eye-movements are reliable indicators of lying. According to this notion, a person looking up to their right suggests a lie whereas looking up to their left is indicative of truth telling. Despite widespread belief in this claim, no previous research has examined its validity.
I’d wonder such things as whether the environment – a small ward, barred up windows, very little stimulatory activities, zero fresh air – was appropriate for good mental health. I’d often consider the more obviously ill men in my ward and wonder too if some of their problems weren’t brought about by over-prescribed medication.
Days ebbed and flowed around the dispensation of medicine. There was a brief window of time every evening when certain patients’ eyes sharpened and their tongues seemed to deflate. This window was quickly shut by a trip to the medicine dispensary. A tell-tale amphibious film went up over their eyes again shortly before bedtime. Of course, many of these people needed drugs for their respective illnesses, but one or two incidents made me wonder, such as the night an elderly man got caught short on his way to the ward toilet. He ended up sitting on the floor in his own excrement, sobbing in a tiny voice with a look of vulnerability so unusual to his typically taciturn countenance that I could only look at him for a brief moment. The first nurse to tend to him offered him something to calm him down. I couldn’t help but wonder if kindly and carefully deployed words alone might have been just as effective. I found out the next day that it wasn’t the first time this happened to him; it was a unfortunate side-effect of his medicine, treated by more medicine.
Recently, a friend posed a question:If there were a pill I could takethat would instantly cure me, would I take it?The poet Rainer Maria Rilkewas offered psychoanalysis.He declined, saying, “Don’t take my devils away,because my angels may flee too.”My psychosis, on the other hand,is a waking nightmare in which my devils are so terrifyingthat all my angels have already fled.So would I take the pill? In an instant.