Science & Society

After the successful introduction of myspace, facebook, twitter and however many other social networking sites that now exist, researchers at London's Natural History Museum have created a social networking tool called 'Scratchpads' just for natural historians. The platform is designed to get specialists together to share their data and prevent the discipline from being buried under a landslide of painstakingly collected data that isn't always used.
Fascinating things can be learned from Google Search's drop-down menu. For example, if you type "squid", the suggested search items, in order, are:

squidbillies full episodes
squid proxy
squidbillies quotes

Since three of the top five sound like some kind of tv show (and, as I commented yesterday, my knowledge of pop culture is limited) I figured it was time for some quality wikipedia time. Maybe I was about to discover a fun new marine biology show!

Annnnnd . . . nope. Adult Swim is hardly my cup of tea anyway, but can't they at least get the basic squid/octopus distinction right? These:
I have to delay the Sunday Science Book Club and my discussion of Voyage of the Beagle until next week. In the mean time, I'm initiating the first Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Corner. Over the next few months, I'll share my experiences as I work through my list of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, one of my favorite fiction genres.

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Corner
Far North, by Marcel Theroux
Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2009

In July 1999, Medicare began increasing coverage for people needing a simultaneous kidney/pancreas transplant in hopes of addressing racial and economic disparities that existed. But increased Medicare dollars have not translated into more access for African Americans or Hispanics, and researchers from Georgetown University claim they know why.

The team says that racial bias among physicians may prevent black and Hispanic patients from receiving necessary kidney/pancreas transplants at the same rate as similar patients in other racial groups. Their research is published in the November issue of the American Journal of Transplantation

Interesting article in Tuesday’s New York Times. Apparently, the Iraqi security forces have taken to using divining rods to search for explosives, against the advice of U.S. trainers and advisors.

The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United States Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.
Look what's happening in Britain! 

I have just been reading a newspaper article:  Climate change belief given same legal status as religion  which starts:
An executive has won the right to sue his employer on the basis that he was unfairly dismissed for his green views after a judge ruled that environmentalism had the same weight in law as religious and philosophical beliefs.
So, back in the 60's, I had a weather changing machine that was, in essence, a sophisticated heat beam which we called a "laser."

Now this "laser"  is used ubiquitously for everything from medicine to technology to tattooing fruit. Wait, what? Tattooing fruit?

In 1971, Richard Nixon signed a bill that launched the American “war on cancer.”  That war has sent millions of mice to their deaths. Survival has improved for some cancers; not so much for others. The War on Cancer is still on, and mice remain its conscripts.



Nov 04 2009 | 7 comment(s)

When I was a child I would watch anything to do with science fiction. I don’t now, but, well, I still lean in that direction. I watch very little major-network television, and don’t really want to get hooked on a new series, but if it’s science fiction, I’m more likely to give it a try.

The day is here! After much reading and reviewing, we’ve determined the finalists in our University Writing Competition. We had some pretty impressive entries, and we believe our final group highlights the best examples of science writing we received. The finalists ended up being a good cross-section of subjects, science disciplines, and participating universities. All are all well written, informative - and often times, entertaining. We think you’ll agree.