Science & Society



Myomancy was a method of divination by mice. Their behaviour was observed and taken as a omen of what was to come. If their movements were calm, aggitated or aggressive, much was read into it.  Modern scientists study the movements of mice more than the ancient myomancers did, but for ends that are not dissimilar.
If you are even a teensy little bit into reason and rationality, then you are likely to wince every time you open a newspaper, surf the web or watch television. The wince of the week definitely came from an interview that ABC’s George Stephanopoulos conducted with G.O.P. House opposition leader John Boehner.
In the great city of Sacramento (along with many other places around the country) a wonderful thing happens every month known as a Naturalization Ceremony.  After 18 years in this country, I finally received one of their coveted invites to become a US Citizen on April 22nd.  
On the occasion of her centennial, Rita Levi-Montalcini addressed the crowd with the gentle tone of a grandmother and the confident cadence of a statesman.  At 100 years, she has an energy that many younger people might envy.  She divides her workdays between her namesake brain research laboratory and her foundation to encourage African women with potential for scientific achievement.  These dual pursuits are fitting of a woman who fought past the setbacks of her own time and culture to become a driving force in both medical research and the politics of science.
Thanks to the delayed appearance of Scientific Blogging contributor Garth Sundem on CBS's The Early Show1, I wound up DVRing a whole week of episodes.  This morning, I fast forwarded today's show and learned two things (actually I learned2 a lot more than two things, but that will have to wait).  First, if you are a young woman and have consumed to much alcohol, it is not your fault.  It is Sex and the City's fault.  They made drinking look too cool3.  Second, it is not your fault, because you don't have alcohol dehydrogenase (enzyme that processes alcohol in the liver), at least according to medical correspondent (and birthday girl) Dr.
Why do we ask questions?  We ask questions to learn something.  That something could be a piece of knowledge, an opinion, or to determine whether someone else has a piece of knowledge.

At the Miss USA Pageant when judge and gossip columnist Perez Hilton asked Miss California, Carrie
Prejean
, a question that sounded like it was trying to learn her opinion, but was apparently about determining if she had a piece of knowledge.

Did Ms. Prejean think same-sex marriages should be legal in all
Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986, turns 100 years old today: she was born on April 22nd, 1909 -before World War I had begun!

"Ok," you might say, "she's probably bedridden and demented by now."  Not in the least. She is in full possession of all her wits, is a very active Senator, and has declared a few days ago that her brain works better now than it did when she was 20, because of her experience. I bet she is not kidding.
At the European Geophysical Union EGU, Jochen Zschau from GeoForschungZentrum GFZ in Germany presented his Sergey Soloviev medal lecture, Meeting the Challenge of Earthquake Risk Globalisation: Towards the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) on the first day of this huge gathering of geoscientific expertice.

GEM
Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah

Apr 21 2009 | 0 comment(s)

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Although Holocaust Remembrance Day officially commemorates the approximately 6 million Jews that died during the Holocaust and Jewish resistance, I agree with Evan Bernstein of The Rogues Gallery and The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe that this is a good day to remember all the genocides that have occurred during the ever-so-bloody 20th century.  Piero Scaruffi sums up the sordid history on his website
There are a lot of biologists out there with physics and engineering envy, and it shows in the occasional awkward and sometimes downright ridiculous borrowing of terminology.

Take the term 'integrated circuit' for example. The term refers to putting the components of an electrical circuit on a chip, made of the same material as the circuit components. The reason is this: