Science & Society

The month of April is National Autism Awareness month. Because this is a subject that touches many, and is frequently a topic of discussion not only on this site - but across the entire world of media and journalism – ScientificBlogging will be presenting a special series of articles focused on autism during the month of April.

We will be exploring the scientific perspective of autism: the research, the studies, the medical advancements made in its diagnosis and treatment. But we will also be presenting several articles and posts of a more personal nature. What is life like with autism, both from a parenting and a personal perspective?
The big news in biotech this week is the court ruling against Myriad Genetics and gene patents. As Genomics Law Report discusses, this was an overwhelming win for the plaintiffs (which included the ACLU and various research and patients' organizations). The judge issued a summary judgement, which means 1) that both sides of the case agreed on the basic facts, and 2) the law was judged to be overwhelmingly on the plaintiff's side:
I forget how I ran across this link, but this blogger reflects on how six years of blogging has helped his work as a political analyst:
Leishmania in bone marrow, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from ajc1's photostreamEarlier this March, Science featured an interesting editorial by Peter Hotez of George Washington University and the Sabin Vaccine Institute.
A survey of television weathercasters conducted by George Mason University researchers shows that two-thirds are interested in reporting on climate change, and more than half are skeptics of the phenomenon.

The survey comes at a time when only a handful of TV news stations employ a dedicated science reporter.

Ultimately, the team hopes to turn TV meteorologists nationwide into a reliable source of informal science education about climate change.
"When I was your age, I used to change your diapers," said eighteen month old Sam Taylor to his father. Two years later, Sam correctly picked out his grandfather from a photo of his grammar school class of 27 children, shouting "That's me!" Sam's father believes his father has returned as his son to share the love he was unable to express in the former lifetime.
"Francisco J. Ayala, an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two, has won the 2010 Templeton Prize." Yet again the prize has gone to a scientist who says nice things about religion.

"Ayala, 76, a naturalized American who moved from Spain to New York in 1961 for graduate study and soon became a leader in molecular evolution and genetics, has devoted more than 30 years to asserting that both science and faith are damaged when either invades the proper domain of the other.
On Blogging And Soothsaying


The internet is a wonderful means of spreading information, but there is a danger of spreading misinformation.  It probably takes far fewer years of education to read a science article than to fully understand it.  The danger is that, just as many people rely on their horoscopes, so too do many people rely on their favorite bloggers to do their critical thinking for them.
At the New York Review of Books, physicist and science writer Jeremy Bernstein tells what it's like to witness an atomic explosion:
Like about four years ago, the name of Grigoriy Yakovlevich (Grisha) Perelman is again in the mass-media headlines all around the world.

Grisha is a prominent mathematician, who was able to solve one of the most perplexed mathematical problems of the last two centuries: he had managed to prove the Poincaré conjecture.

In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, but had voluntarily and expressly refused to accept it.
Most recently, he has been awarded the not less prestigious Clay Millenium Prize, but is expected to reject this award as well.