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Spring has sprung, and so have these stories on our European partner site,

Nobelist Eric Kandel: “Psychoanalysis needs to move on.” Managing Editor Beatrice Lugger and Klaus Korak from spoke to Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel in Frankfurt. Psychology today still relies on Freud, Kandel says, but should learn to take advantage of modern technologies, such as neural imaging:

“The trouble with Freud is, he is worshipped like some kind of idol. He surely had some important insights into our brain functions, but…he also, not surprisingly, made a lot of mistakes… It is remarkable that he understood some very important things, but it is not remarkable at all that he completely misunderstood others, for instance female sexuality… Freud is dead, and science is always in a state of development. Psychoanalysis today needs to move on.”

The complete interview is available as a video in English here.

Preventing Asteroid Collisions
A young boy caused some excitement after the claims of his having corrected NASA calculations on the trajectory of the asteroid Apophis were repudiated by NASA. ScienceBlogs astronomers explained why the boy cannot possibly have been right—and discussed what happens when there is indeed an unruly near-Earth object approaching. At Astrodicticum Simplex, Florian Freistetter writes:

“The best thing you can do to deflect an asteroid is to change its trajectory in such a way that it won’t collide with the Earth at all. If you do this early enough, a minimal intervention is sufficient to change its orbit. There are numerous plans for how to…distract and decelerate asteroids… The most important thing therefore is to know about possible asteroid collisions as early as possible. This is a unique situation, as asteroid collisions are the only natural disaster mankind has any power to actively prevent at all.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Free for Bloggers
Ali Arbia has discovered that the traditional encyclopedia may allow bloggers, among others, free access to their web resources, but he is still waiting for clearance:

“Although I occasionally link to Wikipedia, I actually prefer traditional reference books as sources… It’s rare for me to be singled for a privilege because of being a blogger, but here is some good news: the Encyclopaedia Britannica is granting people that ‘publish regularly’ (for instance in blogs) access to their resources, free of charge. But Britannica webshare requires registration, and I cannot say how generous the makers are going to be in giving out clearances. You’ll see, maybe I’ll soon be referring to the Encyclopaedia Britannica more frequently…”

Girls and Science
German Girls’ Day is an event intended to give girls a day off school and a hands-on first experience of science and technology jobs. On the occasion,’s youngest ScienceBlogger, Florian Freistetter at Astrodicticum Simplex, has unearthed a sixties book called “Physics for Girls” which explains why girls should care about physics at all. Apparently, it wasn’t just about research forty-five years ago:

“Today we worry that not enough girls are moving into science jobs, but the motivation to teach girls physics in 1961 was different entirely: Physics and technology make versatile machines available for the housewife, helping her in her work and saving time and energy. But it is not enough to know how to handle them—she should also know how these work, so that they wouldn’t deteriorate.

Girls Day definitely sounds like a good thing to do—but I’d find it even more important to organize more events for kids, meaning girls and boys. Children tend to be interested in everything, especially if it’s technical… It is only much later as teens that they lose interest in science. If it were possible to preserve this childlike fascination with science, there would be more young people moving into technical or scientific training and jobs altogether, therefore more girls as well.”

Google Vanity Ring
As its photo of the week, presents a digital artwork by Markus Kison of the Berlin Art Academy: an ironic update of the idea of the ring as a status symbol. Kison’s ring contains customizable software that checks the number of Google hits the name of the person wearing it gets—and the number of hits is then displayed on the ring. Kison declares the ring part of a “closed-circuit media” project, with the ring influencing Google and vice versa. He found that the Google hits for his name increased after his vanity ring project debuted, thus putting web traffic changes virtually (or would that be literally?) at his fingertips.


That’s all until next week. Note that links in this article are to blog posts in German—but their authors are usually happy to respond to comments in English. Danke!

Thanks to Anwen Roberts and to managing editor Beatrice Lugger.