What I’m Reading – July 2018

Hey hey! I’m back from Juneau and a brief stop in San Diego, and life is good. The wedding was great, the bride gorgeous, and I made it through my toast/maid of honor duties/boat ride to the venue without an issue. Juneau was as lovely as promised, and we had a great time.

I have to say though, I have never been to a place with less predictable weather than Juneau. Ever single day we were there it said it would be 60 degrees and raining, yet the temperature would vary wildly and the amount of time it rained was highly uneven. Sometimes “rain” meant 30 minutes, sometimes hours. One of the groomsman told me that if you predicted rain in Juneau every day, you’d be right 2/3rds of the time.  Of course I looked this up and discovered that it’s pretty much true.

Quite the leap to go to San Diego right after, where if you predicted sun every day you’d also be right about 2/3rds of the time. Also, San Diego is a borderline desert with 12 inches of precipitation a year, and Juneau gets enough rain to make it a rain forest (77 inches) and a healthy dose of snow (78 inches). For reference, Boston gets 43 inches of rain/year (close to the national average of 39) and 44 inches of snow.

Other than weather reports, I enjoyed this article about some recent discoveries that shed some light on human sacrifice practices among the Aztecs. Much of our information about human sacrifice comes from the Conquistadors, and there have always been questions about how accurate they were, given that they used it to justify a lot of their own killing. Recent discoveries suggest that the practice may have been quite widespread in the capital, as a whole temple of skulls was discovered. Sounds like the start of a horror movie to me.

This article about Crossfit covers a lot of ground, but the accusations of scientific fraud were pretty interesting to me. Basically, for several years Crossfit employees had been accusing the National Strength and Conditioning Association of publishing/sponsoring bogus papers designed to make Crossfit look bad because they were a rival. Some of their accusations sounded like the stuff of conspiracy theories, until a few lawsuits proved they were actually right. Now three papers alleging problems with Crossfit have been retracted, and internal memos from the NSCA show they did consider Crossfit a rival, and that they did encourage paper authors to put more negative data in their papers. Unfortunately for the investigators, they now can’t produce how they got that data, and the papers have been yanked. It sounds all good for Crossfit, until one of the employees who led the charge started tweeting anti-LGBT things and got fired. Still an interesting and troubling case for those concerned about scientific integrity.

This is old, but I had no idea NASA scientists ranked the least/most realistic science fiction movies back in 2011. It came up because Jurassic Park was #6, and we were talking about the De-extinction Project.

The AVI did not like my “50 Songs for 50 States” link in the comments section on my Alaska post, so I started looking around for other versions. I found a few other versions, but it occurred to me I’m judging all of the lists off of what they list for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Really I think Ben just needs to write one of these. In the meantime in honor of our heat wave, here’s a song about summer in New Hampshire that’s better than the of the picks on any of these lists: