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Morsels For The Mind – 27/03/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more

 

The SCICOMM 25 (3.27.15)

Welcome to the latest edition of the SCICOMM 25. This is where I pull together the week's 25 most talked about science communication stories, determined by the engagement rate of stories I've shared on Twitter. Many are written by the world's leading science communicators. Some offer tips and advice, while others tackle important issues we need to discuss and debate. All of them are worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this week's list.   This Week's Top 25 Science Communication Stories: Starting... Read more

 

All the Science That’s Fit to Blog – #MySciBlog Dissertation Talk

Below is a presentation that I recently gave to my peers at Louisiana State University, on the topic of #MySciBlog research. You may enjoy the information and a summary of the research I've conducted with the help of Experiment.com and generous science crowd-funders. (I'll post here when my dissertation manuscript is up at LSU for public to read!) Let me know if you have any questions! For more information, visit my figures at figshare. [slideshare id=46324844&doc=allthesciencethatsfittoblogdissertationtalk-150326111332-conversion-gate01]    ... Read more

 

Birdbooker Report 365

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

 

Today Is World Tuberculosis Day

Robert Koch identified the tuberculosis bacterium, and is the founder of modern bacteriology – but his story also has a dark chapter. In the summer of 1890, the award-winning physician felt under pressure. Eight years earlier, on March 24, 1882, he had announced that he had identified Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This is why the World Health Organization WHO chose today’s date for its annual World Tuberculosis Day. After the announcement, the public soon expected a cure – but Koch could not... Read more

 

The ABCs of Bisphenol A (BPA)

In February of this year I made a presentation about Bisphenol A (a known endocrine disruptor) to an environmental journalism class. I'm a scientist with an extensive background in biology and chemistry, but Bisphenol A was not my specific area of expertise, so I had to do quite a bit of reading to get up to speed on the topic. In the course of my research, I learned all about "regrettable substitutions," or what a writer for the Environmental Defense Fund calls... Read more

 

Morsels For The Mind – 20/03/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more

 

Motivations to Blog about Science – #MySciBlog Data

Summary: Most science bloggers are motivated to blog by both internal motivations and external goals. In a survey of 610 science bloggers, bloggers most often mentioned having started their blogs to practice their non-technical writing skills and to educate or explain science to a non-specialist audience. Motivations to continue blogging differ slightly from motivations to start a science blog in the first place. What motivates science bloggers to blog about science? Why do they start their blogs, and what motivates them to... Read more

 

The SCICOMM 25 (3.20.15)

Welcome to the latest edition of the SCICOMM 25. This is where I pull together the week's 25 most talked about science communication stories, determined by the engagement rate of stories I've shared on Twitter. Many are written by the world's leading science communicators. Some offer tips and advice, while others tackle important issues we need to discuss and debate. All of them are worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this week's list.   This Week's Top 25 Science Communication Stories: What... Read more

 

Ada Yonath – The Pioneer

What do the polar bear, a fine head of hair and the ribosome have in common? A Nobel Prize story. There was nothing to predict this career. Ada Yonath was born on 22nd June 1939 into a poor family of Zionist Jewish immigrants in Jerusalem. At the age of 11 she had already been semi-orphaned and tried to support her mother and contribute to the family income by working. Her mother soon moved her and her little sister to Tel... Read more

 

Can one say anything, even the most obviously wrong things, to discredit an alternative to the standard model? An incident: cosmology at CalTech

The answer to the question posed in the title is  "Apparently, and sadly, yes." In previous contributions we have blogged about sociological problems that arise when attempting to do research in non-standard cosmological frameworks (for example the attempt at closing down "The Dark Matter Crisis"). Early 2015 an incident occurred which is a contemporary example of this, but which may also possibly be a serious case of scientific misconduct. It appears to be an aggressive act in an attempt to discredit new... Read more

 

How chemistry affects the evolution of life

SUMMARY: In this fascinating video, Professor Ros Rickaby from Oxford chats with Professor Simon Conway-Morris at Cambridge about how Earth’s changing chemistry has affected evolution, and how this can sometimes lead to evolutionary convergence A feature of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest”, is that context defines what is “fittest”. Traits that are “fittest” in one habitat can become liabilities in others. This was observed first-hand across Britain when it was newly industrialising: wing colour of the peppered moth,... Read more

 

Crochet for Science and the Science of Crocheted Coral

Crochet "life" in the form of coral reef art evolves just as real reefs do. Last week, Sophia Roosth, a historian and anthropologist of biology at Harvard University, gave a talk at Louisiana State University on an ethnographic study she has conducted with the creators of the Crochet Reef Project. Roosth's talk was a fascinating exposition of how collaborative science art projects like the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef adopt underlying principles of math, biology and natural selection while themselves evolving and developing emergent properties. Just as deep-sea creatures... Read more

 

News Brief: NSF Unveils Plan for Public Access to NSF-Funded Research

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a plan March 18 that would require researchers to make publications pertaining to NSF-funded research freely and publicly available within 12 months of their initial publication. The requirement will apply to all projects whose proposals are submitted after the agency issues its Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide in January 2016. The change is outlined in the NSF’s new public access plan, titled “Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries.” In a March 18 announcement,... Read more

 

Trust in Science: Problem (not quite) Solved

Over the past couple of months I’ve seen a wave of stories focused on why some people distrust science. In fact, there have been so many stories published that keeping track of the latest information has been a challenge. I’ve read a lot of them, and what we’re learning about how and why people reject science is truly interesting. It seems we’ve assessed the current state of trust, and clearly defined the problem and its origins – but what are... Read more