The Incredibly Messed Up Origins of the Word "Taser"

Tasers remain incredibly controversial weapons in the arsenal of law enforcement, given their overuse and the risk of cardiac arrest. But let’s not forget the word “TASER” is a loose acronym for Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle, an incredibly messed-up 1911 science fiction book. The Guardian has all the details. »Yesterday 6:15pm12/01/15 6:15pm


The UN’s New Report on Asian Teenagers and HIV Is Just Heart-Breaking

We’re making progress in the fight against HIV around the world, but it’s still very unevenly distributed. And the United Nations’ brand new report on HIV infections among teenagers in Asia is pretty upsetting. Some 50,000 Asian teens (aged 15-19) became HIV-positive in 2014 alone, and a total of 220,000 adolescents… »Monday 8:40pm11/30/15 8:40pm

The Most Wonderfully Alternative Families in Science Fiction and Fantasy

The holiday season has officially begun, and of course the holidays are a time for families. But science fiction and fantasy readers know that families come in all shapes and configurations. Here are 30 of the most wonderfully alternative families in science fiction and fantasy. »Friday 3:00pm11/27/15 3:00pm

Disabled Fans and Creators Are Kept Out of Too Many Conventions. Now They're Not Alone.

Science fiction and fantasy conventions exist in the venn diagram between professional networking events, marketing expos and fan celebrations. Between all three of those things, they do a lot to shape fandom and the stories we love. And for years now, conventions have been failing disabled fans and professionals. So… »11/24/15 4:41pm11/24/15 4:41pm

New Ministries Suggest Canada’s Government is About to Get Serious About Science

Canada’s new Liberal government was sworn in yesterday, and if its first moves were of any indication, science—woefully neglected under the previous Conservative government—will become a serious priority. The new cabinet features not one but two science ministers, and a renamed environment office with the words… »11/05/15 3:15pm11/05/15 3:15pm

Watching the Democratic Presidential Debate In Virtual Reality Sucked

You won’t be shocked to learn that watching Bernie Sanders shout about email is not virtual reality’s killer app. I watched Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate on my Gear VR, using Next VR in the Oculus store, and the aesthetic experience was markedly worse than watching the debate on TV, like a normal… »10/14/15 3:34pm10/14/15 3:34pm

These Charts Show Just How Bad The Problem of Gender Bias in Science Fiction Awards Really Is

Are men better than women at writing science fiction and fantasy books? The major awards in the field certainly seem to think so. And in case you weren’t aware of how widespread the problem is, a groundbreaking new research project has generated some utterly staggering charts. »9/29/15 8:00pm9/29/15 8:00pm

All of the Ways Last Night's GOP Debate Was Dangerously Wrong About Science


For every elected official who carefully educates themselves on the facts and research prior to making an informed decision, there are a dozen more who have no problem shooting their mouths off on talking points they do not understand. As we learned last night in the second Republican presidential primary debate, many… »9/17/15 2:33pm9/17/15 2:33pm

FBI Didn't Bother to Check Facts Before Accusing Physicist of Being a Spy for China

Temple University physics professor Xiaoxing Xi made headlines back in May, when he was indicted for allegedly sharing “sensitive” information with colleagues in China about a piece of laboratory equipment used in his superconductivity research. Xi maintained his innocence from the start. On Friday, he was vindicated:… »9/14/15 2:28pm9/14/15 2:28pm

It’s long been noted that NASA does a lot of work for a small amount of money, but with budget uncer

It’s long been noted that NASA does a lot of work for a small amount of money, but with budget uncertainties and the potential for shutdowns, there’s real scientific losses. Writing for the New York Times, David Brown highlights how the planets don’t wait for Congress. »9/12/15 6:00pm9/12/15 6:00pm

Louisiana Officials Said That After Planned Parenthood Closes, Women Can Just Go to the Dentist

When Louisiana state officials announced their plans to terminate Planned Parenthood’s state Medicaid contract in late August, they argued that there were plenty of doctors who could take on the more than 5200 patients the reproductive health organization sees each year in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. »9/11/15 3:53pm9/11/15 3:53pm