This week in science: Chasing dragons

There are pros and cons in storm chasing. On the pro side we have learned a lot about storms thanks to the practice of chasing them. On the con side, these storms can kill no matter how experienced or cautious the chaser may be:

Being around any tornado is insanely dangerous, and the one in El Reno on May 31 was a monster among monsters: its funnel was 2.6 miles across, the widest ever documented in the U.S., and radar clocked its wind speeds a few hundred feet above the ground at 296 miles per hour … Unfortunately, no amount of experience might have made a difference in a direct confrontation with a storm this powerful and erratic. Other storm chasers on the scene who got too close saw their cars battered catastrophically. A car holding Mark Bettes of The Weather Channel and other passengers was thrown 200 yard. The SRV Dominator 2, an 8,000-lb. storm-chasing vehicle armored against tornado damage by storm chaser Reed Timmer, had its hood torn off.

  • If the beloved wingnut climate change denier in your life has sent you a Time Mag cover photo with a penguin supposedly showing the “coming ice age,” it’s a fake.
  • @SAndrewDKos is now within bottle rocket distance of 2,000 followers. Just sayin yo!
  • A change in diet may have spurred human evolution.
  • There is some tentative reason to suspect the fake science blogs are waning whereas real science appears to be stable or on the uptick.
  • What an asshole.
  • Being antigay helps Exxon! So, there’s another reason to …
  • Conservatives love those missiles and mangled bodies. Living American children and life saving technology? Not so much:

    House Republicans have quietly returned to the stand-off driven approach to budgeting and must-pass legislation that was their hallmark before President Obama’s re-election … That budget calls for enormous cuts to spending on everything from science research to education to health care, in order to rescue the Defense Department and other politically favored agencies from the ravages of sequestration.

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