Humanities

Twitter Is Kind of Useless

The AAAS annual meeting was last week, which apparently included some sessions on social media use. This, of course, led to the usual flurry of twittering about the awesomeness of Twitter, and how people who don’t use Twitter are missing out. I was busy with other stuff, so I mostly let it pass, and of…

Congratulations to Mallory Ballinger, a graduate student from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who is the 2015 recipient of the Dr. Dolittle Travel Award! The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding graduate student or postdoctoral fellow involved in comparative and evolutionary research and to provide assistance for them to attend the annual American Physiological Society…

Problems with the Pipeline

Via Curt Rice (or, more precisely, somebody on Twitter who posted a link to that, but I didn’t note who) there’s a new study in Frontiers in Psychology of the STEM “pipeline”, looking at the history of gender disparities in STEM degrees. You can spin this one of two ways, the optimistic one being “Women…

In 2010, New York City health officials launched a new food safety tactic that assigned restaurants an inspection-based letter grade and required that the grade be posted where passersby could easily see it. So, did this grading make a difference? A new study finds that it has, with the probability of restaurants scoring in the A-range up by 35 percent.

Are there cultural differences between those who accept and generally understand the current consensus on climate change science and those who don’t? One gets the sense that there is, but it is possible to explore this in more detail. I took the public Twitter profile descriptions, written by individual Twitterers, from two different Twitter lists…

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine to protect against cancers caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, public health advocates cheered its life-saving potential. Unfortunately, the new vaccine quickly became embroiled in a debate over whether immunizing young girls against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, would lead to risky sexual behavior.

Whose DNA is that?

Dr. Christopher Mason (Weill Cornell Medical College, Manhatten, NY) decided to sequence DNA found in NY subway stations…468 of them to be precise. At each station, his research team collected DNA samples by swabbing the kiosks, turnstiles, benches, railings, trash cans as well as the subway cars. Along with finding abundant Pseudomonas bacteria (also found…

Rhett Allain has a list of 5 Things Every Human Should Know About Light, to tie in with the International Year of Light, and it’s a good list with lots of .gifs. Of course, there are some gaps, so let me offer some additional things that everyone ought to know about light: — Light Is…

Getting the Whole Picture

What’s in a picture? Prof. Benny Shilo knows the value of a good picture. We recently mentioned his book: Life’s Blueprint, which uses photographs of things like bread dough and yeast cells to illustrate the process of biological development. Here is the image from the most recent piece we have uploaded on his research: This…

Science Story: Not a Bath House

(When I launched the Advent Calendar of Science Stories series back in December, I had a few things in mind, but wasn’t sure I’d get through 24 days. In the end, I had more than enough material, and in fact didn’t end up using a few of my original ideas. So I’ll do a few…