Endless Questions?

What’s better than an answer to a question? More questions, perhaps? ScienceBloggers have been very quizzical the last few days, beginning with Jason Rosenhouse on EvolutionBlog. After co-authoring Taking Sudoku Seriously with Laura Taalman, Rosenhouse wondered if 17 is really the minimum number of clues needed to solve a Sudoku puzzle. Although no one has ever generated a workable 16-clue puzzle, proof has been out of reach—until now?

On Starts With a Bang, Ethan Siegel considers the possibilities when a supernova remnant has nothing to show at its center. It could be the result of two colliding stars, exploding with nary a trace—or it could be that the former star accreted mass from a companion too small and dim to be seen.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dolittle gets intimate with blue-footed boobies on Life Lines, writing “repeated mating comes with diminished foot color and attractiveness as the males get older.” What’s a sapped old seabird to do? And Mark Hoofnagle gets serious on denialism blog, asking “How do you want to die?” Maximal intervention, which can involve “placing central lines, keeping him on a ventilator, catheterizing the bladder, placing rectal tubes, total parenteral nutrition, and pursuing aggressive therapies” may not always be the best choice for end-of-life care. Hoofnagle writes, “Doctors typically forgo extreme measures in the face of terminal diagnoses, and often reject the type of care we routinely provide to our patients. […] It used to be the doctor wouldn’t ofter the choice if he or she felt it was futile, now patients are given choices, endless choices.” Sometimes a simple answer is in order.