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Reign of Error, Part Whatever

You've heard us regularly crying for help here in North Carolina as our legislature has tried to turn science on its head. So, committed to keeping you posted, we here at the Plugged In Reign of Error desk thought you'd want to know what's up.For a moment, anyhow, our governor and his vetoproof Republican majorities in the state house and senate had stopped assaulting science outright...

March 1, 2013 — Scott Huler

Why it's hard to explain drug discovery to physicists

I minored in physics in college, and ever since then I have had a lively interest in the subject and its history. Although initially trained as an organic chemist, part of the reason I decided to study computational and theoretical chemistry is because of their connections to physics by way of quantum chemistry, electrostatics and statistical thermodynamics...

March 1, 2013 — Ashutosh Jogalekar

Do Music Lessons Make You Smarter?

Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced...

March 1, 2013 — Ingrid Wickelgren

What Happens When Forest Elephants Are Wiped Out in an Ecosystem?

As go the elephants, so go the trees. That's the message of a new study published in the May 2013 issue of Forest Ecology and Management that found more than a dozen elephant-dependent tree species suffered catastrophic population declines in new plant growths after forest elephants were nearly extirpated from their ecosystems...

March 1, 2013 — John R. Platt

The challenges of objectivity: lessons from anatomy.

In the last post, we talked about objectivity as a scientific ideal aimed at building a reliable picture of what the world is actually like . We also noted that this goal travels closely with the notion of objectivity as what anyone applying the appropriate methodology could see ...

March 1, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

The Messy (and Risky) Ways That Governments Try to Manage Risks

The very concept of risk is tricky. To you and me, it means pretty much what the dictionary says…the probability that something bad might happen. And to us, the part of that definition that most influences how worried a risk makes us feel is the subjective ‘bad’ part, more than the objectively quantifiable likelihood...

March 1, 2013 — David Ropeik

The Taxonomy of Wonder

Wonder and amazement at the natural world inspire many blog posts, projects, and even careers in science, but it's rare that you'll see wonder break through the soul-crushing passive voice of the scientific literature...

March 1, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

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