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Khalil’s Picks (1 February 2013)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’m currently at ScienceOnline 2013 (yay!) which means that I’m doing more talking than reading (and writing). My picks this week are few so if you’ve read something from up-and-coming science writers which I failed to pick up here, do leave a link in the comment section below.

Charles Ebikeme has been writing some really good stuff at Australian Science. This week, he wondered about bacteria who live in hurricanes. He doesn’t mean for you to get paranoid, rest assured.

The bacteria that live inside hurricanes
Seven miles above the Earth’s surface, where the weather is born, lies the troposphere – the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Up there, where the clouds dance around, are bacteria that can make it rain, and are important for the formation of clouds.

Miriam Kramer includes the words “alien,” “exist” and “nearby” in the title of this piece for Space.com. Clearly, we’re on to something here.

Alien Solar System May Exist in Nearby Star Cluster
At 150 light-years from Earth, the Hyades cluster is the nearest star cluster to Earth’s solar system and scientists have long wondered if some of those stars are home to alien planets. Now, that particular mystery might be solved.

Laura Geggel at the New York Times’ Well blog preaches caution.

Precautions Urged for Drivers With Diabetes
Dan Fried, a 47-year-old videographer who has Type 1 diabetes, never made it to the diner to meet his brother. As he drove through New Jersey that night in November 2010, he said his blood sugar fell and he became disoriented. He pulled his van to the side of the road, where state troopers, who had received a call about an erratic driver, found him slumped behind the wheel, barely coherent.

Tanya Lewis has a longread about proteins for Science News.

Disorder at Work: proteins without a definite shape can still take on important jobs
Richard Kriwacki refused to give up on his protein. He had tried again and again to determine its three-dimensional shape, but in every experiment, the protein looked no more structured than a piece of cooked spaghetti.

Jordan Gaines is continually spreading the psychology love on her personal blog, Gaines, on Brains.

Smell and memory: old feelings in a new place
My friend texted me something today that she thought I’d find interesting. She had a meeting for work in an office she’d never entered before. Immediately as she entered the room, conflicting feelings of happiness and awkwardness washed over her. The smell. It wasn’t necessarily good or bad—just distinctive.

Looking forward to reading your recommendations in the comment section!

Khalil A. Cassimally About the Author: Khalil A. Cassimally is the Community Coordinator of The Conversation UK. He's also a science blogger. He hails from a tropical island and is a happy geek. Subscribe to his updates on Facebook and Google+. Follow on Twitter @notscientific.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. david123 7:31 am 02/2/2013

    Regarding “Alien Solar System May Exist in Nearby Star Cluster”:
    It’s amazing how the pace of exo-planet discoveries is accelerating, isn’t it?
    How many planets are we going to know about, either by direct or indirect observation, in the next ten years. It truly is an exciting time for astronomy.

    Link to this

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