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Posts Tagged "science"

Anthropology in Practice

AMNH Hosts Margaret Mead Film Festival This Weekend

Margaret Mead Film Festival

Just because the online science community is falling apart does not mean that anthropology and science have stopped happening in the real world. This weekend, the American Museum of Natural History will host their annual Margaret Mead Film Festival, showcasing a bevy of ethnographic films. Three that have caught my eye are Tales from the [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Anthropological Finds at ID Day

Glen Taylor came because he was being plagued by spirits. While his two daughters wandered the stations set up for Identification (ID) Day in the Grand Gallery of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Glen waited in line for Anibal Rodriguez and Nell Murphy, who were staffing the anthropology table. He cradled an ornate [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Save the Date for the First #NYCSciTweetUp of 2012

That’s right! After a bit of a delay, the #NYCSciTweetUp is back! Save the date for March 29th, at the Peculier Pub in NYC. Updated details will be posted on the Facebook page (as they always are). And as per the norm, for more information you can always: Read “What Is: #NYCSciTweetUp” Follow the #NYCSciTweetUp hashtag on Twitter [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Science Can Be Pink, But It Should Also Be Equal

I have three beautiful nieces. One is thirteen, one just turned two, and the littlest one will be celebrating her first birthday on Friday. They’re all experiencing various stages of change and undergoing assorted adjustments. The thirteen-year-old is in middle school, and is negotiating a new social landscape with both her friends and her parents. [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

#NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together—TOMORROW!

Tomorrow the #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider will partner for an evening of science, stories, and beer! The Story Collider invites people to share the roles that science has played in their lives. From humble beginnings like the #NYCSciTweetUp, The Story Collider has grown immensely, attracting a diverse showing that highlights the broad, and sometimes [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Reminder: #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together Next Week

It’s almost time! Will you be there? Next Tuesday, the #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider will partner for an evening of science, stories, and beer! The Story Collider invites people to share the roles that science has played in their lives. From humble beginnings like the #NYCSciTweetUp, The Story Collider has grown immensely, attracting a [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Crossing the Streams: #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together!

Edit: The Story Collider is a ticketed event. The cost to attend is $8.00 and tickets can be purchased at The Story Collider website. At the door, the price to attend will be $10.00. There is no fee to attend the #NYCSciTweetUp.   Like science? Like stories? Well, hold on to your beakers and field [...]

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Beautiful Minds

The Need for Belonging in Math and Science

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From her earliest memories, Catherine Good was good at math. By second grade she was performing at the fourth grade level, sometimes even helping the teacher grade other students’ work. She was praised constantly for her “gift”, often overhearing her mother tell anyone who would listen that she was a “sponge” for anything mathematical. By [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Why Education Needs More Radioactive Spiders

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Education needs more radioactive spiders. Stay with me. Remember Peter Parker? His childhood wasn’t easy. Both of his parents– Richard and Mary– were killed on a mission as double agents. Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, Peter spent most of his childhood without an identity. Now, Peter was a good student. [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Profiling Serial Creators

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Every single day, all across the globe, extraordinarily creative and talented students sit in our classrooms bored out of their minds. These budding innovators may differ drastically in what particular domain captivates their attention, whether it’s science and engineering, architecture and design, arts, music and entertainment, business and finance, law, or health care. Nevertheless, as Richard Florida [...]

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Budding Scientist

Earth Day Science for Kids: How Rain Drops Form

  Two graduate students from the City University of New York’s  NOAA-CREST program showed me this simple experiment, above, for young kids. The three of us volunteered at an Earth Day fair at a New York City elementary school on Friday, and kids were mesmerized by it. It illustrates the concepts of accretion — when [...]

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Budding Scientist

Spring Science Festivals Mix Stars from Sky and Screen

Earlier this week The New York Times profiled the director of the M.I.T. Museum and founder of the Cambridge Science Festival, John Durant. The piece mentioned that science festivals have been multiplying across the country; last year there were more than 20. According to the Times: “A science festival has more in common with a film, [...]

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Budding Scientist

U.S. State Science Standards Are “Mediocre to Awful”

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute paints a grim picture of state science standards across the United States. But it also reveals some intriguing details about exactly what’s going wrong with the way many American students are learning science. Standards are the foundation upon which educators build curricula, write textbooks and train [...]

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Budding Scientist

Where Rotting Pumpkins and Engineering Converge

Got a Jack-O-Lantern that’s past its prime? In the story below, Rose Eveleth reports on one creative way of tossing it. David Bodmer is the Robotics Engineering teacher at Mt. Olive High School in Flanders, New Jersey. Every year he leads a team of students in a nation-wide robotics competition. But last year they started [...]

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Budding Scientist

How to Raise a Science Fair Champ

The 2011 Google Science Fair finalists

Several Scientific American staffers recently flew out to Mountain View, Calif. for the culmination of Google’s first annual science fair. SA was an event sponsor, and editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina served as a judge and as the awards dinner host. We were impressed with all 15 finalists: they were bright, engaging, articulate – and, of course, [...]

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But Not Simpler

Nerds and Words: Week 2

overthinking-it-web copy

I have dug through the Internet this week and uncovered all this geeky goodness. You can find the thousands of links from previous weeks here. I have marked my favorite links with a ∞. Enjoy. Science to Read, Watch A nuclear bomb told us that great white sharks can live longer than you The Mapmakers: [...]

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But Not Simpler

Why You Should Envy, But Not Worship Sherlock Holmes

Image Credit: Hartswood Films

“You see but you do not observe!” Why would you envy a man who doesn’t know the names of all the planets, is a “high functioning” sociopath, and has no friends? Because Sherlock Holmes thinks in all the ways we wish we could. And we can, if we follow his brilliant, snarky lead. This January, [...]

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But Not Simpler

Nerds and Words: Week 1

overthinking-it-web copy

I have dug through the Internet this week and uncovered all this geeky goodness. You can find the thousands of links from previous weeks here. I have marked my favorite links with a ∞. Enjoy. Science to Read, Watch ∞ Pi is beautiful, these visualizations prove it “Mariella Superina has been studying the pink fairy’s [...]

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But Not Simpler

Smaug Breathes Fire Like A Bloated Bombardier Beetle With Flinted Teeth

Credit: Warner Bros

What does a narcissistic flying reptile that loves the taste of crispy dwarves have in common with a beetle that shoots hot, caustic liquid from its butt? More than you think. A few weeks ago, audiences were finally treated to the Cumberbatch-infused reptilian villain from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Hobbit. Smaug (pronounced and interpreted as [...]

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But Not Simpler

Nerds and Words: Week 52

overthinking-it-web copy

But Not Simpler has had a great first year (over 1,000,000 hits in eight months!), of course thanks to all my nerdy readers. I did a lot of experimenting here, from controversial pieces about water fluoridation to a piece on taste perception in full Seussian rhyming scheme to a piece proving that a Pacific Rim [...]

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But Not Simpler

Why Rudolph Should Have Never Joined Santa’s Reindeer

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Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. Late one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say, “Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Rudolph declined, noting that when flying around in foggy conditions, a bright red [...]

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But Not Simpler

When You Decide To Dispel The Santa Claus Myth, Make It A Teachable Moment

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On a bitingly cold morning in 2011, I was sitting quietly in a repurposed Chicago bar listening to a physics teacher kill Santa Claus. Apparently, physics teachers and educators do this all the time. Examinations of Kringle’s physics are posted (and rebutted) in web archives, physics news outlets, and numerous science blogs. And it’s hard [...]

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But Not Simpler

How Photon Torpedoes Will Mark An End To The Energy Crisis

Arena_photon_torpedo

Photon torpedoes come after utopia, at least in Star Trek. Imagining a universe centuries ahead of our own time and technology, the long-running sci-fi shows explored philosophy, morality, and the secluded intricacies of physics. But what was left unstated said the most. By the time Jean-Luc Picard took the captain’s chair, poverty in the 24th [...]

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But Not Simpler

You Can’t Take a Bullet for Someone Hollywood-Style, Because Physics

Bullets move fast enough to create their own shockwaves, like a speedboat on the water.

No matter how many times you’ve seen the movies and the TV shows that have a protagonist leaping in the path of a bullet, physics forbids such sacrifice. Because of a bullet’s radical speed, you can’t jump in front of it, but you could get in its way. It’s not as dramatic, but it does [...]

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But Not Simpler

Save Yourself From The Zombie Apocalypse By Turning Your Home Into A Biolab

The Walking Dead season four screenshot courtesy of AMC

Do you use a gun, a sword, a series of elaborate traps involving wild animals, or something else to defeat the zombie horde at your door? Whatever your weapon of choice, I think the great zombie weapon debate misses a crucial point–to even think about battling zombies, you first have to prevent becoming one. Over [...]

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But Seriously...

Insect Paparazzi: Leafhoppers!

Japanese Maple Leafhopper-Brian Malow

You might not know this about me but I have a particular science art fetish: I’m into insect photography. By which, of course, I mean photographs taken by insects. In pursuit of this art, I’ve chased insects around so doggedly – sweating in the summer sun, getting bitten all to hell by malarial mosquitos – [...]

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Cross-Check

Be wary of the righteous rationalist: We should reject Sam Harris’s claim that science can be a moral guidepost

Say what you will about Sam Harris, the man’s got guts. In The End of Faith (W. W. Norton, 2005) and Letter to a Christian Nation (Knopf, 2006), Harris, a neuroscientist, rejects the notion that science and religion can coexist. We can’t believe in science, Harris says, and still believe in supernatural beings that part [...]

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Culturing Science

Rethinking Ink: An Audio Piece on Scientists and their Tattoos

Hannah-Chickadee-small

When my 18-year old self walked into a tattoo parlor on South Street in Philadelphia, I had no idea I was joining a movement of tattooed scientists, embellishing their bodies with symbols of their passions. My little chickadee, a bird that continues to fascinate me despite its commonness, now inspires jabs of “put a bird [...]

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Dog Spies

Canine Urination 101: Handstands and Leg Lifts Are Just the Basics

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As my Twitter bio says, I’m interested in your dog’s urine. I’m not kidding around here. For a recent Animal Behavior class, I buddied up with a doggie daycare and followed dogs on their afternoon walks. Yes. I was that person walking around NYC with a hand held camera, trailing dogs and video taping them as [...]

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Dog Spies

Dog-Eared Reading (Volume 1)

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I recently saw a clip of Neil Patrick Harris hosting the 2013 Emmys. He was doing a bit about Google Glass and said he was watching an episode of American Horror Story on his contacts while hosting the show. And then, mid-sentence, he freaked out (1min 44sec)! Understandable; there’s a lot to freak out about [...]

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Dog Spies

The data is in: Adopt this dog

Erica Feuerbacher smiles when she talks, and why shouldn’t she? As a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida with the Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab, she spends a lot of time with dogs (or at least dogs in the form of data). Through her research, she meets many, many, many dogs, some of whom [...]

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Expeditions

You wanted to know: who are these scientists?

For the past few days we’ve covered some of the scientists on board through their PI’s: Kay Bidle, Jack DiTullio and Rachel, Petey and Jacob, Marco Coolen and Cherel, Anna Martins, Assaf and his gang. But there are still some scientists you haven’t met yet. Let’s go alphabetically. Benjamin Bailleul is a physicist turned physical [...]

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Expeditions

Plankton hunting: part art, part science

Our last stopping place (left) compared to this one (right).

We’re in a new location now after a few days of steaming around looking for Ehux. Plankton hunting is a science, but I’ve learned that it’s also an art. The team uses really high tech satellite data to point them in the right direction. Satellites can measure chlorophyll content of the water, currents and the [...]

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Expeditions

Skiway silence

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the nineteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com’s in-depth report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA–The camp skiway is a three-mile long strip [...]

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Food Matters

Lobsters, and the Memory Palace

I listen to a lot of podcasts – on my commute, while sitting at the bench pipetting, doing dishes, in line at the grocery store, wherever. When you add it all up, I consistently listen to about 20-30 hours worth of audio every week. I don’t actually spend 20-30 hours/week listening though, most of what [...]

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Food Matters

Our Microbial Organ – The Good and Bad Bugs of the Human Gut

340px-Digestive_system_diagram_edit.svg

Ever since coming to Harvard, I’ve been involved with a graduate student group called “Science in the News.” At SITN, the goal is to bring the fascination with scientists that graduate students have to a wider audience, and the flagship effort of the group is a series of lectures held every Autumn and Spring that [...]

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Food Matters

GMO Labeling, I-522, and Why This Debate Sucks for Progressive Scientists Like Me

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I’m a granola (and dirt)-eating, tree-hugging, liberal/progressive. If I was called by a pollster asking about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I’d be counted among the folks that disapprove, but only because I think it doesn’t go far enough (I’m for single-payer, but I could have settled for the public option). I think we should [...]

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Food Matters

Introducing: The Food Matters Crew

Credit: Kathleen Raven

Do you ever wonder about the science behind your food? We do, too. Our group of writers serves up juicy topics like genetic engineering, gut bacteria and the chemical reactions that occur during cooking. Together, we’ll peer inside factory farms, dark jungles, cafeterias, laboratories and those trendy molecular gastronomy spots. Grab a bite, and sit [...]

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Guest Blog

Gone in 2013: A Tribute to 10 Remarkable Women in Science

Eleanor Adair Image

Pioneering scientists and engineers are often overlooked in popular retrospectives commemorating the year’s departed. In particular, women in such fields tend to be given short shrift. To counter this regrettable circumstance, I present here a selection of 10 notable women in science who left us in 2013. Each of these individuals contributed greatly to her [...]

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Guest Blog

Teaching Kids to Love Science, and Falling in Love with the Kids

  Put a science writer in a classroom with two-dozen ten-year-olds and I promise you this: the writer will learn more than the kids. I’ve just had that experience, not for the first time but in an especially fulfilling way, while talking about science to a group of fourth and fifth graders at Public School [...]

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Guest Blog

The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science’s Dirty Little Secrets

In a series of recent articles published in The Economist (Unreliable Research: Trouble at the Lab and Problems with Scientific Research: How Science Goes Wrong), authors warned of a growing trend in unreliable scientific research. These authors (and certainly many scientists) view this pattern as a detrimental byproduct of the cutthroat ‘publish-or-perish’ world of contemporary [...]

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Guest Blog

A Universe Made of Stories: Why We Need a Science and Technology Dialogue

In quantum mechanics, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle holds that it is impossible to determine both the position and momentum of a particle. Heisenberg’s breakthrough relates to a subject of vital importance to America: the need for better communications practices in the science and technology fields. Communications is my profession, and I am concerned by what I [...]

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Guest Blog

Channeling Ada Lovelace: Chien-Shiung Wu, Courageous Hero of Physics

Linocut of Chien-Shiung Wu

Today marks the 5th Ada Lovelace Day, an annual celebration of women who have made important contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The event is named for Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, who is often credited as the first computer programmer. Since its inception in 2009, Ada Lovelace Day [...]

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Guest Blog

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Courting Minerva with Ragnar Granit

When I glossed over the list of Nobel laureates that attended the Lindau meetings in the first few decades, I was ashamed to discover that I only recognized a few. And when I did, it was rarely because I was familiar with the laureate or his work. I only knew the Nobel laureate   Otto [...]

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Guest Blog

The Evolution of Common Sense

Arthur Stanley Eddington was an interesting fellow. The English astrophysicist who photographed the solar eclipse that validated Einstein’s theory of general relativity was also a Quaker, a pacifist, and a clever popular writer. In his 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World [1] he began by noting that he had before him two tables: [...]

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Guest Blog

Mixed cultures: art, science, and cheese

Cheese is an everyday artifact of microbial artistry. Discovered accidentally when someone stored milk in a stomach-canteen full of gut microbes, acids, and enzymes thousands of years ago, cheesemaking evolved as a way to use good bacteria to protect milk from the bad bacteria that can make us sick, before anyone knew that bacteria even [...]

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Life, Unbounded

This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe

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In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Cosmic Solitude, Exoplanets, and Books

Credit: NASA

Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe. If you haven’t read it, you should. The Strand Bookstore in New York [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Summer Astrobiology Roundup #3: The Ripening Of The Planets

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Although NASA’s planet hunting mission Kepler seems unlikely to return to a fully functioning state, after another reaction wheel failure, it has already yielded an extraordinary crop of new worlds. In fact, as well as finding many remarkable individual systems (from those orbiting binary stars to those laden down with planets), Kepler has provided a [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Want to Go to the Stars? First You Must Stand With Science

Want to reach for the stars?

Sometimes one gets a sinking feeling. Here we are on the cusp of so very many things in science, from finding other Earths, to understanding the extraordinary organisms right under our noses, and even detecting the fundamental particles that help build all that we see. We are also in the midst of an incredible flourishing [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Alien worlds through iPad eyes

Superimposed image of the Milky Way and Australian Aboriginal engraving of 'The Emu In The Sky' (Barnaby Norris)

Scientific illustration has a long and noble history, from ancient depictions of celestial forms to Leonardo Da Vinci’s extraordinary drawings of anatomy and invention, to the latest computer-generated animation splashed across CNN or – perhaps with more reflective thought – the cinematic screens of the world’s great science museums. In English the word ‘illustrate’ has [...]

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Not bad science

September 15th: A great day out at Arizona insect festival

AZinsectfest

I used to have a summer job in Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World. One of the things I would see time and time again would be parents coming in who had already decided that they ‘didn’t like bugs’, and who would influence their children likewise. However, after just a short conversations where they learned a [...]

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Observations

Winners of the Dance Your PhD Competition Revealed [Video]

For the past 6 years, Science magazine and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have challenged researchers to explain their doctoral research through interpretive dance. This year, the winners of the Dance Your Ph.D. contest goes to Cedric Tan, a biologist whose postdoctoral research examines the relationship between sperm and the [...]

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Observations

Rep. Rush Holt’s Advice to His Fellow Scientists on Politics

US-capitol

In 1993, Americans elected the first physicist to Congress: Vern Ehlers, a Republican from Michigan. Just six years later, former assistant director of Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, Rush Holt, a Democrat from New Jersey, joined him. And in 2008, Fermilab physicist and Illinois Democrat Bill Foster joined them, only to lose re-election in 2010 before [...]

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Observations

Best Countries in Science: SA‘s Global Science Scorecard

“Global society operates as a network of creativity and innovation.”–John Sexton, writing in Scientific American. In the October 2012 issue, we publish our Global Science Scorecard, a ranking of nations on how well they do science—not only on the quality and quantity of basic research but also on their ability to project that research into [...]

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Observations

Will Humanity Face a Carbohydrate Shortage?

farmland-from-space

Photosynthesis is the single most important transformation on Earth. Using the energy in sunlight, all plants—from single-celled algae to towering redwoods—knit carbon dioxide and water into food and release oxygen as a byproduct. Every year, humanity uses up roughly 40 percent of the planet’s photosynthesis for our own purposes—from feeding a growing population to biofuels. [...]

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Observations

Champions of Science in Lancaster, Pa.

science fair winner

As my Amtrak train rolled past the “Lancaster” sign, the window view alighted on the upright figure of an Amish farmer and his mule-team-pulled hand plow, working the verdant Pennsylvania land just as his forefathers have done here for more than two centuries. I remembered that I was only some 33 miles from Dover, Pa., [...]

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Observations

Best Science Song of All Time, Verse 2

Yesterday I asked: what is the best pop science song of all time? Here’s where we stand: on the shoulder of giants (with apologies to Sir Isaac). One of those giants is Ryan Reid, our digital art guru, who not long ago did a wonderful post on 10 songs inspired by science. So one answer [...]

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Observations

The Best Pop Science Song of All Time

Yesterday we ran a story about calculations that confirmed earlier news that physicists may be on the verge of discovering the existence of the Higgs boson, which, if it turns out to be true, would be one of the biggest science stories of all time. What concerns me here, though, is not science so much [...]

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Observations

Does Science Need More Compelling Stories to Foster Public Trust?

doctor and chart

The touching stories that advocacy groups are so good at telling—the 49-year old mother whose breast cancer was detected by an early mammogram before it had spread; the 60-year-old neighbor who had a prostate tumor removed thanks to a routine PSA test—should inspire scientists to use anecdotes of their own, argue two doctors from the [...]

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Observations

Recipients of National Medal of Science, Technology Announced

Seven scientists, mostly in molecular biology and genetics, received the National Medal of Science, and five innovators were awarded the technology version, the White House announced this week. “Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, [...]

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Observations

The Rise of a New Science Superpower?

Since the turn of the 21st century, the number scientific papers published predominantly by Chinese researchers in any of the Nature journals has risen from six to nearly 150 according to a new index published by Nature on May 12. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) Campuses such as Tsinghua University and Peking [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Lil Wayne, the NYC Octopus, Will Help Scientists Understand the Brain

BROOKLYN—It wasn’t hard to name Lil Wayne. He actually volunteered to take the rapper’s moniker. On April 2, Frank Grasso, director of the Biomemetic and Cognitive Robotics Lab at Brooklyn College, showed me around his lab spaces—from where they build mobile robots to where they keep their axolotls and fiddler crabs to the crown jewel: [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus, How Do You Count Your Suckers?

octopus suckers

We all know that the male octopus uses his third right arm as a penis. (Oh, you didn’t? It’s true. Sometimes he even detaches it to give to the female.) In fact, all of the arms, if not so specialized, are easily identifiable—as numbers one, two, three or four on the left or right side. [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Do Octopuses Feel Pain?

octopus pain

The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli. (For the record, animals in the studies were anesthetized and euthanized, respectively.) Without getting too far into the woods (or reefs) of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Octopods Elude Science: The Case of the Football Octopus

rare football octopus

Shallow-water octopuses can be difficult enough to find. They camouflage against corals, hide in holes and generally make themselves scarce. But researchers can at least attempt to observe and collect them by snorkeling, diving or skimming nets and bottom trawls. The rest of the vast, dark ocean, however, presents a much larger sampling challenge. So [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Rare Social Octopuses Break All the (Mating) Rules [Video]

larger Pacific striped octopus rare study captivity

Of the hundreds of known octopus species, most are anti-social, practice safe sex (to avoid getting eaten by a mate) and lay just one clutch of eggs before dying. The poorly understood larger Pacific striped octopus, however, seems to break from these conventions: They are somewhat social, they mate face-to-face, and the females produce multiple [...]

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Plugged In

Back off, Texas — More NC Science Crazy

Okay you know who’s happy today? The people of North Carolina and the people of Texas, whose legislative antiscience crazy doesn’t seem especially off the hook given the nationwide legislative crazy we have going on. But — and I hate to do this to Texans — North Carolina antiscience crazy never takes time off. You’re [...]

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Plugged In

Do you promise not to tell?

In the no-science-is-good-science (or is that good science is no science?) state of North Carolina, the Republican legislature has decided that some of the science we can do without is testing our water. That’s for companies who want to use hydraulic fracturing — fracking — for natural gas, that is. Your average municipal water system [...]

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Plugged In

Texas vs. North Carolina Steel Cage Match in Science Stupid

Look out, North Carolina — Texas is not going to let you run away with the title of State Most Shamefully Committed to the Stupid Political Ruination of Science. Despite North Carolina’s impressive recent yearlong streak of stunning science-related legislative psychosis — from legislating against the sea itself to removing scientists from scientific commissions to [...]

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Plugged In

Even Counting Votes too Scientific for North Carolina

I don’t have time for this. I am busy. I am on deadline for a project that actually pays the money that puts the macaroni and cheese in my children’s mouths. So as much as I love this blog I don’t have time to update right now. Except here goes. North Carolina? You remember: the [...]

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Plugged In

Stormwater Film Festival

On January 30, Plugged In’s unquenchable interest in infrastructure expressed itself in an actual tour of an infrastructure system itself. As part of ScienceOnline2013, the fabulous science/scientist/communications convention/festival/love-in held every year in my own city of Raleigh,  I led a tour of the stormwater tunnels beneath the city of Raleigh. I know all about these [...]

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Plugged In

Still Bringing the Science Crazy in NC

So you thought the nuttiest thing we did in North Carolina this week was appoint a director of child development and early education who was against … um, early education. What’s wrong with you: have you never heard of North Carolina before? This is the NEW North Carolina, with a new governor and bulletproof majorities [...]

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Plugged In

Further Science Adventures from North Carolina

In North Carolina, as you well know, we like our science with a side of crazy. The old Flying Burrito Brothers tune says, “The scientists say it’ll all wash away, but we don’t believe them anymore,” and we love our country music here, so we made quite a splash with the legislative nuh-unhs about sea [...]

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Plugged In

A New World on the Outside of a Raleigh Museum

In Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has been building its Nature Research Center, a brand new extension to the museum focusing not just on science but on how science is done. It’s all awesome, and it opens today, April 20. You could talk all day about it — and, full disclosure, as [...]

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Plugged In

The Earthquake App — circa 1859

Screen shot 2011-08-23 at 11.27.08 PM

Okay, so we all had a swell time: the floor starts jiggling like a jello-mold, and those of us who didn’t run outside ran to Twitter, and it was on. Within seconds we were linking to the USGS site, the sites for the impenetrable Richter Scale and the simple, purely descriptive Modified Mercalli Scale (“III. Vibrations similar [...]

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PsiVid

The Perfect 46: The Future is Near

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Visit theperfect46.com, and it looks like any business web page. The Perfect 46 purports to be a company that uses the power of genomics, the information stored in the entirety of your DNA–your genome–to determine if you are with “the one” for you. This is not about your perfect romantic match, but rather the perfect [...]

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PsiVid

Will Enjoying ‘Cosmos’ Depend On If You Liked Science In School?

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Tonight’s TV line-up has science enthusiasts quite excited. Of course I’m talking about Cosmos as presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, produced by Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame) and written by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow and co-creator of the original series. There has been a lot of talk about whether this program will get [...]

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PsiVid

Where are the Women Science Creators on Youtube?

Click image to watch Joanne's Blood Cell Bakery Introduction

Many times I wondered this myself, and while I had the attention of the youtube infamous Hank Green of SciShow, I asked him in correspondence last year: “One last thing, while I have your attention. Have you noticed that there are so few women represented on youtube talking about science? It’s one thing that TV [...]

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PsiVid

#ManicureMonday–A Lesson in Targeted Science Communication

Sarah Horst's Solar System Nails with Poem by Alex Parker

I only recently came on the so-called science hijacking of Seventeen Magazine’s #ManicureMonday scene thanks to a heads-up by David Wescott and some accidental internet meanderings. I was asked if I had a science themed manicure or nail polish video, which I do! A few years ago, while I was still teaching an upper level [...]

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PsiVid

Rosalind Franklin vs. Watson & Crick -Clever Kids Rap It Out

Creative science teachers who allow their students to make science history, science stories and science activities their own are, in my opinion, the greatest asset to furthering science knowledge for civilization. While I may be “sciencegoddess” on twitter, I know I can’t take credit for my two oldest children for choosing physical sciences to pursue [...]

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PsiVid

STEM Makes Cars Safer, Buildings Taller, Enables Hearing and Moves Giant Magnets!

Muon g-2 magnet to be transported to Fermilab

As I reflect on the content of videos I have shared or watched in social media this week, I’m simply in awe at the creativity and ingenuity of humans and how we have used science, technology and engineering (and math) for our health, safety and progress. Some of these videos represent topics fresh this week [...]

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PsiVid

Pariscience International Science Film Festival Call for Entries

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I love Paris. I love science films. Oh, to watch science films in Paris! This is possible due to the Pariscience International Film Festival, to be held October 3-8, 2013. Take a look at this beautiful segment from the documentary, Hummingbirds-Jewelled Messengers: This film won the Buffon award (who’s Comte de Buffon?) at the 2012 [...]

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PsiVid

A Visit to an India Full of Science and Engineering

I am writing this to you from New Delhi, India as I am here with the International Reporting Project as a New Media Specialist! We have been in the crowded, bustling, port city of Mumbai, the central city of Nagpur (home of several tiger refuges), the rural village area of Gadchiroli, and finally to the [...]

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PsiVid

India Trip to Examine Issues in Child Survival: How Science and Engineering Help

Back in October, I opened my email to find an interesting invitation for me to apply for a trip to India as part of a special International Reporting Project bloggers’ trip focusing on child survival and related issues of health and development. The trip described in full “The trip will focus on issues of child [...]

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PsiVid

High Speed Video Reveals How Meteor and Missile Impacts Transfer Energy Via Sand and Dirt Grains

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When a high speed object collides with force, we tend to focus on the spectacular (yet potentially devastating) view from a macro scale, but Duke scientists have been researching what that incredible energy transfer looks like at the level of sand and dirt size particles. “High-speed video of projectiles slamming into a bed of disks [...]

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PsySociety

Knowledge, Knowledge Everywhere: Do Social Networks Spread or Drown Health & Science News?

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We live in an age of constant data. Between television, the Internet, and  our “real-life” social circles, society has never before had as much access to health and science news as we now enjoy — and it has never been so easy for anyone to access an entire encyclopedia of information about any health or [...]

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PsySociety

Outside the Ivory Tower: Science Writing, Social Media, and Non-Painful Networking.

SciAmBloggers

On Friday, I was invited by a friend at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington to give a talk to an undergraduate colloquium about Science Writing/Blogging and how students might be able to pursue it as a potential career path. As part of the talk, I was asked to share details about my personal experience (how [...]

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PsySociety

Psychology’s brilliant, beautiful, scientific messiness.

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Today, sitting down to my Twitter feed, I saw a new link to Dr. Alex Berezow’s old piece on why psychology cannot call itself a science. The piece itself is over a year old, but seeing it linked again today brought up old, angry feelings that I never had the chance to publicly address when [...]

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PsySociety

Bring Cognitive Science To The Streets!

The Think Tank

How much would you love something that could manage to combine psychology, bright colors, social justice, and a cute, wordplay1 name? Enter: The Think Tank. Brain child of Tyler Alterman, the Think Tank is a “mobile cognitive science lab and education station” that will drive around to schools and museums across the country, focusing on [...]

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Symbiartic

Reconstructing an Ancient Fin and Watching it Paddle to Fame

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Friends and colleagues who know that I illustrated Neil Shubin’s first book, Your Inner Fish, have been asking if I was involved in the three-part PBS series hosted by Shubin that will air next week on April 9th. The short answer is no. But I’m proud to say that I made this very model of [...]

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Symbiartic

‘Cosmos’ and ‘Your Inner Fish’ Pack the 1-2 Punch

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Two weeks from today, on April 9th, PBS will air the first of a three-part series adapted from Neil Shubin’s popular book, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year-History of the Human Body. If you’ve ever wondered why we’re built the way we are – with five fingers on each hand, testes that hang [...]

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Symbiartic

Snake vs. Croc in Real and Hyper-Real Versions

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When illustrators embark upon a new illustration, hours of research and work go into constructing a scene that is believable, powerful, and informative. In 2009, when James Gurney was tasked with reconstructing Titanoboa, the largest snake that ever lived, his first priority was conveying the sheer size of a 48-foot long, 2500-lb. beast. Ultimately, he [...]

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Symbiartic

Tools Change But Creative People Are a Constant

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Once upon a time, I wrote about five reasons your camera won’t steal my job. In short, the reasons were: 1. Photography can’t capture small things 2. Photography can’t capture distant things 3. Photography can’t capture extinct things 4. Photography can emphasize the wrong things 5. Photography is just one tool of many to master [...]

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Symbiartic

What Artists Know About Light That Physicists Are Missing

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Whether you learned that light was a particle or a wave in high school physics, you likely inferred that only physicists could ultimately weigh in on the subject. Technically true, I suppose, but there are a number of artists demonstrating quite deftly that light is a medium, too. Artist Darren Pearson is one such person. [...]

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Symbiartic

Five Tips to Get You Started as a Science Artist

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Last month, my co-blogger Glendon Mellow wrote a great summary for scientists who are wondering how to go about hiring science illustrators. It was received with open arms in the research community (cool, they seem receptive) and made me think of the many, many inquiries I get each year from emerging science illustrators who want [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt on the Scene in Nov/Dec. 2013

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Ahhh, fall. Time to look for more indoor activities. And aren’t you lucky? Here’s a list of sciart exhibits that will warm your heart while you warm your toes. EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION CLIMATE CHANGE IN OUR WORLD: Photographs by Gary Braasch October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014 Museum of Science 1 Science Park Boston, [...]

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Symbiartic

Unfeathered for All the World to See

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One of the most astonishing illustrated books to come out this year is the work of Katrina van Grouw, an ornithologist and fine artist who counts taxidermy among her eclectic skills. The book, titled The Unfeathered Bird, is described as no less than her lifetime’s ambition and leafing through its pages, it’s easy to see [...]

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Symbiartic

Turns Out There IS Something New Under the Sun

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If there is anything new under the sun it has to be this – and delightfully, it’s the domain of the moon. This spectacular table by Adrien Segal captures tidal data collected from San Francisco Bay for the duration of a full lunar cycle, 29 days in April and May of 2006. I’m rarely rendered [...]

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Symbiartic

Stellar Photography By A Citizen Astronomer

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By now you might be used to spectacular images of celestial bodies thanks to organizations like NASA and the ESA. But it’s still possible to be wowed by these images, especially when they’re taken by people like you and me. Citizen astronomer Alan Friedman takes breathtaking photographs of the sun’s roiling surface from his backyard [...]

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Talking back

Is American Science in Decline?

That is the title of a new book by two quantitatively oriented sociologists. The Harvard University Press offering goes beyond the reflexive and often  pessimistic assumptions that often imbue discussions about future prospects for U.S. science and technology.  Xu Xie of the University of Michigan and Alexandra A. Killewald of Harvard answer the self-posed query [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Jesuits, science and a Pope with a chemistry degree: A productive pairing?

In 1915, an exceptionally bright Italian youngster walked the two miles from his home to the Campo dei Fiori in Rome to hunt for science books in the weekly market fair. His step was determined and his face was grim. His countenance hid the fact that he was trying to recover from a great tragedy, [...]

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