From the 19th century up through the Dust Bowl a wide cross-section of farmers, politicians, and scientists believed that the more intensively you farmed the Great Plains, the more rain would fall and farming conditions would improve.
I'd certainly heard this myth, but I didn't realize it had standing that went beyond mere convenient superstition. At Wired, though, Adam Frank introduces us to some of the then-big-name experts who writings and rationalizations helped to prop up something everyone wanted to believe and turn it into a very truthy tru-ism. Here's my favorite of the bunch:
Next up was Richard Smith Elliott, publicity agent for the Kansas Pacific Railway, a sort of salesman for its plentiful land holdings. In a similar vein to Hayden, he suggested planting trees along his company’s railroad. And, really, you may not even need to go that far. Elliott thought the railroad itself encouraged rainfall, as did power lines. That may sound crazy to you, but it somehow made sense to the hallowed Smithsonian Institution: It published Elliott’s writings on the subject in its Annual Report of 1870.
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Princeton University psych prof Susan Fiske published an open letter denouncing the practice of using social media to call out statistical errors in psychology research, describing the people who do this as “terrorists” and arguing that this was toxic because of the structure of social science scholarship, having an outsized effect on careers.
Blue writes, “Peter Watts has be stricken with debilitating pain, loss of range of motion and motor control. Watts’ doctors remain baffled despite a battery of tests, and Watts has reached out to his fans to ask for their theories and ideas as to what might be causing his illness.”
Today, I’ve launched a very special Kickstarter with two friends, Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad. A year in the making (and many more years on our minds), the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition is the first vinyl release of the stunning golden phonograph record launched by NASA in 1977 aboard the Voyager spacecraft, one […]
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]