Author: Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.
COVID-19 11

Mini-Throughput: COVID-19

In the end, COVID-19 is a very serious concern. It is infectious, it is spread easily by asymptomatic carriers and it can kill. But it is unlikely to be the end the world.

Katherine Johnson 10

Katherine Johnson, RIP

Whenever someone tells me that women can’t do math, I gently remind them that the term “computer” used to literally mean a roomful of women doing math

space 9

Thursday Throughput: Leap Year Edition

In a little over a week, we will have an extra day in February. Why do we do this? Because the time it takes Earth to revolve around the Sun is not exactly 365 days.

Richard Dawkins 82

Dawkins Sticks His Foot In It…Again

Eugenics is a precise word. It does not mean “selective breeding”, which Dawkins — an award-winning Oxford biologist — seems to think it does.

asteroid 6

Mini-Throughput: We’re All Doomed Edition

So, no, PZ39 is not a danger. This is not a sudden discovery that we are worried about. It’s not passing particularly close to us nor is it likely to. But the overall danger of objects like PZ39 — while low — is real.

solar 22

Thursday Throughput: Solar Boil Edition

I understand people are passionate about child abuse. But sentinel injuries worry me as a diagnostic tool. I think we’re looking at another triad.

impeachment 68

The Impeachment End Game

Whether you agree with Alexander or not, he is pointing the Republicans to an exit ramp from this entire debacle. At least, in a semi-rational world. But we don’t live in that world. We don’t live in that world because of one person: Donald J. Trump.

Betelegeuse 4

Thursday Throughput: Somewhere In the Vicinity Of Betelegeuse

So we’re still where we were two weeks ago: Betelgeuse might explode tomorrow. It might explode a hundred thousand years from now. But if it does explode soon, we will get the best look we’ve ever had at how stellar explosions work.

HIllary Clinton 29

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders, Round Two

As with the Warren-Bernie spat, it’s a sign that we are moving toward a bitter fight between the populist wing of the party and the establishment wing.

Democratic Party 174

Failure Propagates Upward For Democratic Party

The GOP still controls the vast majority of state legislatures and outnumbers the Democrats in states where they control both the governor’s house and the legislature. And that matters a lot.

writing 4

The Best of Ordinary Times 2019

This was a strong year for Ordinary Times, with contributions from many different authors. It included strong debuts from new voices and dynamite content from our regular contributors

anti-semetism 139

Attacks on Jews in New York. Again.

But regardless of which political tribe we pin this on, it’s a scary moment. Anti-semitism is never dead and never very far from us. The events of recent weeks are a stark reminder of that.

censorship 100

The Dark Road of Censorship

The only answer — not just to the porn but to all of it — is “No”. No to every last stinking piece of it. No to porn bans. No to FOSTA. No to control of Facebook. No to censorship of Twitter. No to government crackdowns on “fake news”. No to laws on social media “addiction”. No no no no no.

devin nunes 28

Devin Nunes and the Very Delicate Feelings

Nunes has claimed a news network, a social network, a fictional cow, and a few journalists have done almost a billion dollars in damage to his feelings

shutdown 38

The GOP’s Gossip Girls

I will not believe that the GOP is tired of Trump until they say so publicly. Until that moment, they own this. All of it. Every corruption, every racist utterance, every violation of norms. Every dollar of debt, every pardoned war criminal, every dead Kurd.