Archive for the ‘Scientific Things’ Category
Another demonstration that false memories can be easily induced. Students who had been told that they loved asparagus as children come to believe it to be true and rated themselves as significantly more likely to order it in a restaurant compared to before the false memory was induced. [Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily reporting on an article in Experimental Psychology]
An exuberant person account of the space shuttle launch. [Julianne on Discover’s Cosmic Variance]
It’s always fun to review the current state of Star-Trek technologies. Nine of them, from Phasers (good progress) to Deflector Shields (no progress) are reviewed here. [Charles Q. Choi on LiveScience]
The Society for Neuroscience has announced an initiative to get it’s members to contribute to Wikipedia in order to promote public education about neuroscience. The initiative is summarized in Neuroscience Quarterly.
Seed Magazine interviews Alison Gopnik who suggests that children are like the R&D department of the human species.
Andrew Maynard writes how C. P. Snow’s essay of 50 years ago on “two cultures” has formed a smokescreen that masks living in a world divided into the rich and the poor, where science and technology are increasingly able to bridge this divide, but don’t.
A brief post on ScienceNOW points out that the current H1N1 virus is made up of pieces of human, swine, and avian viruses from North America, Europe, and Asia. This patched-together virus might not be stable and could easily recombine with other viruses encountered in a host.
From 2003, an entertaining analysis of the biology of B-movie monsters, written by Michael C. LaBarbera, professor of Organismal Biology & Anatomy
Guy Steele Interviews John McCarthy, Father of Lisp, complete with a transcript.
David Biello summarizes two recent papers that conclude that within 40 years, we’ll add as much CO2 to the atmosphere as we’ve added since 1750 — a scenario that is likely to result in catastrophic climate change.
Tim O’Reilly’s and Sarah Milstein’s “The Twiiter Book” published in PowerPoint and previewed on slideshare.
The virology blog describes the three ways influenza virus’s can be transmitted: (1) by direct contact with infected individuals; (2) by contact with contaminated objects; and (3) by inhalation of virus-laden aerosols.
Today, it’s about the swine flu — a few reads that cut through some of the journalistic hype.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan has issued a statement raising the influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5.
Katherine Harmon interviews Chris Olsen on what makes the current strain of flu different and how it might be treated.
Emily Singer summarizes the status of direct studies of the genetic sequence of the virus.
Alexis Madrigal suggests that Google’s search data could have provided an early warning about the swine flu outbreak.
Mark C. Taylor in the NY Times argues that we should abolish the university as we know it by restructuring the curriculum, abolishing permanent departments, increasing collaboration among institutions, transforming the traditional dissertation, expanding the range of professional options for graduate students, imposing mandatory retirement and abolishing tenure.
Scott Walter amplifies the Taylor article and argues that it’s time to change the current reward system.
Elyssa Kroski’s comprehensive overview of libraries and mobile technologies.
Elaine Jarvik’s review of David Wiley’s comment that universities will be irrelevant by 2020.
Nick Anthis’s summary of Obama’s address to the National Academy of Sciences pledging a major new commitment to science.
A new McKinsey report on the economic impact of the achievement gap in America’s schools, says the resulting underutilization of human potential imposes the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession — substantially larger than the deep recession the country is currently experiencing. Friedman likens the conclusions to having the tide go out while swimming naked.
I know nowhere near enough physics to understand the details of this but I still find it completely fascinating that crossing an event horizon might take you into a region of space in which some of the dimensions disappear.
Elena Angulo and Franck Courchamp use a novel web-based experiment to collect data from 2560 visitors and demonstrate that people strongly prefer to see rare species over common ones. They go on to argue that this high value on rarity can fuel a disproportionate exploitation of rare species, making them even rarer and thus more desirable and ultimately extinct.
Seventeen ways that social media differ from traditional marketing.
Mark M. Tanaka, Jeremy R. Kendal and Kevin N. Laland develop a cultural evolution/stochastic model that shows how maladaptive and superstitious treatments can win out over effective ones because their actual ineffectiveness prolongs illness and provides more opportunities to demonstrate them to others.