Science & Society

3 NASA employees out of the 22,000 people about to lose their jobs sat in a room full of loyal Democrats and listened to President Barack Obama talk about how much he loved NASA.  Then he talked about how he was gutting it.

Not everyone is buying hope in this instance.  Buzz Aldrin agrees with Pres. Obama that the Moon has been done but Neil Armstrong, first man on the Moon, and Gene Cernan, the last, think it is a  big step backwards to instead go to an asteroid.   I am probably not the first to say it but it seems we will now boldly go where no one really wants to go.
"The common curse of mankind - folly and ignorance." - Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida

"And of all plagues with which mankind are cursed, ecclesiastical tyranny's the worst." - Daniel Defoe, Jure divino: a satyr
Team Plans To Row To The North Pole - Media Claims

A team plans to row to the magnetic pole next year.


Proving once more, if proof be needed, that the media can't publish a story without incorporating 'added value', the media is misreporting a valiant team effort to reach the geographical North pole next Summer.  The public needs to know that this has nothing whatsoever in any shape or form to do with the possibility of rowing to the geographical North Pole.


Its the magnetic pole, ok?

The news that the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has dropped its libel case against Simon Singh has been spreading like wildfire across the web. Unquestionably, this is a victory for open debate and honest discussion in the public arena around the world. Due to the bizarre nature of English libel law, writers everywhere are at risk of being sued in English courts.
UEA CRU Scientists Cleared Of Malpractice Allegations

An independent panel of scientists has cleared scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit of the malpractice allegations which have been made against them.

This follows the the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, which I abstracted in The Mother Of Inquiries: Parliamentary CRU Report.


Response by the University of East Anglia to the Report by Lord Oxburgh’s Science Assessment Panel

Wed, 14 Apr 2010
Simon Singh Wins Legal Battle

Good news for lovers of freedom of speech across the planet.

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) this morning dropped its libel
claim against Dr Singh.

Thanks to the adoption by British judges of a principle of US Law, the BCA has finally realised that the legal maxim: 'when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging' is a truth of universal application.
Have a look at the figure on the left. It shows the number of visits to this site broken down in hours of the day -the time of the server used by the visitor. The statistics of each bar is sufficient that the uncertainty on their height is of the order of 2%, so almost indistinguishable by eye. What you can see, therefore, are real variations with time of the traffic to this site, and not random fluctuations up and down.
Exclusive licenses to gene patents are supposed to spur development of new technologies for gauging disease risk but actually do more to block competition in the gene testing market, say researchers from the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP).

As single-gene tests give way to multi-gene or even whole-genome scans, exclusive patent rights could slow promising new technologies and business models for genetic testing even further, the Duke researchers say.

The findings emerge from a series of case studies that examined genetic risk testing for 10 clinical conditions, including breast and colon cancer, cystic fibrosis, and hearing loss. The studies appear April 14 in a special issue of Genetics in Medicine.
A while ago, I read an argument that understanding economics is more important than understanding evolution. The author's point is that evolutionary theory does not provide the layman with particularly useful information, whereas economic theory has many applications, particularly in public policy. Therefore, as concerned citizens interested in promoting good public policy, we should give priority to learning about and discussing economic theory.
Lands Of The Midnight Sun


This is a list of dates and latitudes where the sun doesn't set for days on end.

It might be a useful resource for anyone interested in the Arctic or Antarctic.

I've posted it under 'science and society' because these days a lot of people go on vacation to see the midnight sun. 

Tourists + awesome spectacle = science education.  Because society needs it.


3 hour exposure, South Cape Spitzbergen, Björn Diërg
Public domain.


Table of midnight sun start and end dates, duration and latitudes.

dates as month-day