When the next big earthquake hits a region like San Francisco, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grantee Kristy Tiampo wants to ensure that communities will not only be able to evacuate, but also rebuild.

This is why Tiampo, the NSERC and Benfield/ICLR Industrial Research Chair in Earthquake Hazard Assessment, is involved in an international effort to improve earthquake forecasting. She studied earthquake engineering in California as an undergraduate, and is now using her research to build better forecasting maps in Canada and other countries.

New research published in the March issue of Psychological Science suggests that efforts to advocate improved statistical practices in psychological research may be paying off.

Geoff Cumming, Fiona Fidler and colleagues at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia sought to examine whether guidelines set forth in 1999 by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Statistical Inference (TSFI) had been implemented in psychological research.

The authors analyzed articles from 10 leading international psychology journals from 1998 to 2006, focusing on three practices central to the statistical reform debate: Null hypothesis significance testing, confidence intervals and figures with error bars.

Ghostly galaxies composed almost entirely of dark matter speckle the universe. Unlike normal galaxies, these extreme systems contain very few stars and are almost devoid of gas. Most of the luminous matter, so common in most galaxies, has been stripped away, leaving behind a dark matter shadow. These intriguing galaxies-known as dwarf spheroidals-are so faint that, although researchers believe they exist throughout the universe, only those relatively close to Earth have ever been observed.

PsyBlog has recently posted an article on Cognitive Therapy (CBT) and how it is useful in Depression treatment. this therapy has been shown to be equally effective in Depression as is medication, though this woks in a top-down fashion in the brain (revealed by brain scans), while anti-depressants work in a bottom-up fashion. PsyBlog quotes the following irrational beliefs , as outlined by Beck, that are prominent in Depression.
* Over-generalization. Drawing general conclusions from a single (usually negative) event. E.g. thinking that failing to be promoted at work means a promotion will never come.
* Minimalization and Maximization.

While scholars have put forth various assessments for the location of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor says that archaeological remains that have so far been ignored by scholars point to the exact location, which is in a spot that differs from prevailing opinion.

The location identified by Prof. Joseph Patrich of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology places the Temple and its corresponding courtyards, chambers and gates in a more southeasterly and diagonal frame of reference than have earlier scholars.


Drawing (Temple1) shows Prof. Patrich’s description of the location of the Temple compound (the rectangle defined by a solid line in the center of the drawing).

I shed an invisible tear whenever I hear “correlation does not imply causation” which the otherwise excellent swivel (a website about correlations) emphasizes. Of course, there’s truth to it. It saddens me because:

1. It’s dismissive. It is often used to dismiss data from which something can be learned. The life-saving notion that smoking causes lung cancer was almost entirely built on correlations. For too long, these correlations were dismissed.

2. It’s misleading. In real life, nothing unfailingly implies causation. In my experience, every data set has more than one interpretation. To “imply” causation requires diverse approaches and correlations are often among them

A robotic therapy device may help people regain strength and normal use of affected hands long after a stroke, according to a University of California, Irvine study.

Stroke patients with impaired hand use reported improved ability to grasp and release objects after therapy sessions using the Hand-Wrist Assisting Robotic Device (HOWARD). Each patient had at least moderate residual weakness and reduced function of the right hand, although the affected hands were neither totally paralyzed nor unable to feel.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the colorful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star's remaining core. Ultraviolet light from the dying star then makes the material glow. The burned-out star, called a white dwarf, appears as a white dot in the center. Our Milky Way Galaxy is littered with these stellar relics, called planetary nebulae. Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 captured this image of planetary nebula NGC 2440 on Feb. 6, 2007.

While I'm safely removed from the dating pool, Stephanie Street is not (is this perhaps a pseudonym?). She phoned in a Valentine's Day question to the PRI radio program Fair Game, and won the dubious honor of chatting with me and the host on air (tonight, online at www.morefairgame.org by 9:00pm) and thus having her pseudonym forever attached to this equation, heretofore known as The Manometer. Her dilemma was the choice between two proposed Valentine's Day dates—one eight years older, mature and stable and another two years younger, brash and exciting (does this sound like the plot of a Danielle Steel novel to anyone else?).

SEATTLE -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Feb. 13, 2007 -- Newsvine, the popular Social News website, announced today that they would be adding a Front Page section dedicated solely to Presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Calvin Tang, Newsvine co-founder: "Over the past week, 80% of all articles and seeds at Newsvine have been about Mr. Obama, he deserves his own section."

The Obama section will replace the little used Science section on the front page. "Not many people use the science section, especially now that Global Warming has been confirmed.