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Quick Picks on ScienceBlogs, August 2

Five posts so red-hot I wouldn’t recommend touching the screen while you read them.

  • “Science Is Not a Path to Riches”

    “They’re not getting out based on a rational assessment of career possibilities, they’re getting out because they don’t like the first class or two that they take. By the time they find out about the lousy career possibilities, they’re too far in to change majors…”

  • “Zombie DDT Myth Will Not Die”

    “The restrictions on the agricultural use of DDT that [Rachel Carson] helped inspire have prevented the development of resistance and are the reason why it can still be used today in many places to fight malaria. In short, she prevented many deaths from malaria.”

  • “Alchemy Without the Shame”

    “Some of the most dramatic revolutions were born within systems of thought that today seem hopelessly backwards. I wonder how twenty-ninth cenutry historians will look back at our own revolutions today. Who will be cast aside as the new alchemists?”

  • “i : the Imaginary Number”

    “After the amazing response to my post about zero, I thought I’d do one about something that’s fascinated me for a long time: the number i, the square root of -1. Where’d this strange thing come from? Is it rea?l”

  • “Study Finds Alcohol and Tobacco More Harmful than Marijuana, LSD, or Ecstasy–Drug Reclassification Should Follow”

    “The [UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee] report discusses specific cases where drugs were misclassified or their classifications were changed for political, rather than scientific, reasons. The report is particularly critical of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for not doing enough to push for a more scientifically based drug classification system.”