For Mr. Trump, It’s STEM, Schwem, Whatever…

In response to a question about whether state-sponsored hacking against an American political party should go unpunished, Donald Trump grew expansive, giving his typically thoughtful perspective on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and (even) epistemology:

“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer [sic] has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.”

So much for contemporary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – why bother with STEM when ‘nobody knows exactly what’s going on’ anyway? Perhaps one thought that science and technology made America the most advanced country in all the world, indeed, made her a world-historical place committed to study and exploration.

But then, Trump knows because he knows that no one knows – under his view, our problems aren’t just educational; honest to goodness, a theory of knowledge, itself, is pointless.  It’s one big muddled scene.

Casting this last point as Trump’s attack on epistemology gives him too much credit, of course.  Saying nobody knows what’s going on has a more practical value for Trump, and is merely a pose: he insists that the truth is indeterminable whenever he wishes to evade responsibility for his own lies.

We’d best hold to our educational pursuits in spite of Trump’s suggestion, and hold as tightly to the conviction that in so many matters, truths – and the lies contrary to them – are determinable.

Collecting the World: Inside the Smithsonian

Collecting the World: Inside the Smithsonian from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has over 144 million different objects in its collections. A sample of these collections are on display to the public, but 99 percent of the Smithsonian’s treasures remain behind the scenes. Scientists work with these objects to study and decipher the world we live in, each specimen offering its own tiny clue to the natural world.

Via Great Big Story.

A Simulation of the Milky Way

At Caltech, they’ve published a video simulation of the Milky Way:

Animation of our Milky Way galaxy based on a detailed supercomputer simulation. The movie zooms in and out of the galaxy, showing what it would look like in visible wavelengths. Blue regions are young star clusters which have blown away the gas and dust out of which they formed. Red regions are obscured by large amounts of dust.

Credit: Hopkins Research Group/Caltech

The Origin of Dogs

How and when did wild wolves turn into domestic pets? Science tells us that humans were behind the domestication of what is now man’s best friend—but the timeline of the transformation has always been mysterious. In this video, Atlantic science writer Ed Yong explains the surprising origin of dogs in light of new research.

Via The Atlantic.

See, also, A New Origin Story for Dogs.