Science & Society

Dr. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame has been a Science 2.0 favorite since the moment we came online and for almost a decade prior to that.  He combines wit and no-nonsense skepticism with the kind of creative reflex that makes fundamental science concepts understandable by virtually everyone who doesn't hate getting a little smarter.
It's been a strange summer for online content and Simon Owens at The Next Web asks an obvious question - should bloggers have control over ads or not?

It's a non-issue here, of course - every writer on Science 2.0 can simply choose not to carry ads on their work and no ads are shown and no money is paid in that case.   Otherwise, the bulk of the revenue is paid out to writers based on traffic.
In reading one of the other posts a casual point was made regarding the relative safety of flying versus driving.  It is generally assumed that flying is, by far, the safest of the two modes of travel, but is this really true?  In looking at the data, it appears that the data is being skewed because of some strange assumptions that tend to favor flying.
Listen to Mars, now listen to me, now listen to Mars. This is what Mars could sound like, if it sounded like me. Today, we listen to sonification of data, artistic interpretation, and discuss which is ‘better’ and which is ‘more real’. Can we hear a point to converting astronomy data to sound? I’m on a podcast.

Thus rings the intro to my 365 Days of Astronomy podcast this month, titled "Music on a Planetary Scale".  Follow that link to hear the full show, and some ground samples of what to expect from Project Calliope.


Jason Hoyt, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist and VP of R&D at Mendeley, and asks researchers which side they want to be on in the march of history - legacy toll access to results or open access of both science and publication.
Analogy Watch

Analogy Watch

Aug 24 2010 | 2 comment(s)

Yesterday, JR Minkel tweeted this:
@jrminkel The most striking science analogy I've ever heard:
The link leads to a brief excerpt from an NPR story in which Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David Linden says,
M.A.D. 2.0

M.A.D. 2.0

Aug 21 2010 | 51 comment(s)

M.A.D. 2.0

The greatest fear of mankind after World War 2 was the real possibility of a World War 3.

It was a rational fear of a very real threat: the global destruction of civilization.

Nations, most especially the USA and the former USSR, found themselves in a mad race to build more bombs, more powerful bombs, megadeath bombs.

The military theory behind this madness was that if a nation had weapons enough to utterly destroy any enemy then it would not be attacked.  But a first strike might reduce the ability to launch a counterstrike powerful enough to utterly destroy the enemy, so it was thought necessary to keep in constant readiness far more than enough weapons to destroy any enemy.
I needed a good laugh this morning, so a tip of the hat to Fox News for the welcome relief. On the Google News homepage, I saw this humdinger of a headline:

"Fox on Sex: 5 Ways to Get Your Wife to Have More Sex With You"

I don't know about you but when I think about how to increase my frequency of making the beast with two backs, I think Fox News.1 Good thing they came through.

A "sexologist" named Logan Levkoff, Ph.D. (and Logan is a female, BTW) advises the following:
A couple months shy of a year ago, I was raving about the news that a new giant squid documentary was in the works.

Guess what? It's still in the works!

If this weren't so deadly serious (joke) I'd be laughing my head off about the meta-meta-reporting. I'm writing a blog post . . . about an article . . . about a documentary . . . that hasn't been filmed yet. And you're still reading? You should probably just go outside a watch a tree grow.

But wait, before you go, a pop quiz: Can squid hear?
Fix can mean to repair or to gimmick, as in 'the fix is in'.  I'm not going to tell you how to repair science journalism.  A few wingnuts stalwarts here at Science 2.0 beat that to death.  Their suggestions include sack the journalists, and also rehire journalists.  Be like ESPN.  Be ISO9000 (say what you'll do then do what you say).  Possibly, don't fix it.