It’s been about a month, so we’ve separated our breeding pair of checkered garter snakes. The albino male is now back in his old cage. If they were going to breed this year, they would have done so by now; most of the tell-tale mating behaviour occurred in the first week or so. There is now no longer any point in risking a cannibalism incident, though they do seem to have been getting along rather well. For all I know they’ve already mated — they may just have been more subtle than some garter snakes I’ve known.
The following things are demonstrably true:
- Evolution through natural selection is a scientific fact.
- Approximately six million European Jews were killed during the Second World War.
- Between 1969 and 1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the Moon.
- Everyone should get their child vaccinated; vaccines save countless lives.
- Human activity is raising the temperature of the planet.
That some people refuse to believe these demonstrably true things is both sad and frustrating. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been convinced by people whose interests are served by replacing a truth with a lie (promoting religious doctrine or a quack cure for autism, economic self-interest, rehabilitating Nazism), but sometimes nutbaggery has no agenda.
Either way, the end result is considerable effort spent defending, proving and reproving what is demonstrably true. What a waste.
Earlier today, Steve Eves’s 1:10-scale model of a Saturn V launched from a farmer’s field in Maryland. Eves’s rocket is one for the record books: at 725 kg and nearly 11 metres in height, it’s apparently the largest model rocket ever built by an amateur. It seems fitting that it’s a model of the largest rocket ever built, the Saturn V. Apart from this YouTube video (above), which covers everything from countdown to the parachute landing of the rocket’s three pieces, Gizmodo has photos and video from the launch. A long article from the February 2009 issue of Rockets tells the story of how this monster came into being. Via NASA’s Twitter account.
Update: Jeff Foust’s Flickr photoset of the launch.