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Archives for July, 2009

The Buzz: Feynman Lectures Online

In 1964, Richard Feynman delivered a series of seven lectures to students at Cornell University on “The Character of Physical Law.” Decades later, the video footage of the lectures was purchased by Bill Gates—who has said that Feynman could have inspired him to go into physics rather than software—and on Wednesday, Microsoft Research announced that…

On Wednesday, an article by Amanda Carpenter in the Washington Times riled ScienceBlogger Jessica Palmer and others for its sensational claims and misrepresentation of facts. The article accuses presidential science advisor John Holdren of advocating extreme population control methods like mass sterilization and forced abortions, policies which Holdren discussed in a 1977 ecoscience textbook of…

The Buzz: The Truth About Lying

Why do some people lie much more frequently than others? A new study in PNAS indicates that consistently honest people don’t have to struggle to overcome temptation—they simply don’t feel it. Psychologists at Harvard scanned the brains of 35 volunteers while they predicted the outcome of a computerized coin toss game for money. In one…

In Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s newly released book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, they roundly condemn ScienceBlogger PZ Myers and other “New Atheists” for their uncompromising stance against religion. When PZ, in return, posted a scathing review of the book on Pharyngula—calling it a “hypocritical and ignorant paean to mealy-mouthedness” and…

When the controversial and talented physicist Edward Teller was doing a PhD. with the great Werner Heisenberg at the University of Leipzig, the question asked at the end of every group meeting that focused on a complex sequence of problems was “Wo ist der Witz?”, supposed to be translated as “What is the point”? but…

View image The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by psychiatrists to accurately diagnose patients along five different axes of disorders. Four versions have been produced since the first publication in 1952, and a specially appointed task force began revisions on a fifth, DSM-V, in…

Human nature is often cited as an explanation for behavior—not a result. But as Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries explains, human nature is as much a product of individual actions as it is a driving force. And knowing how social structures arise out of individual patterns of behavior may help us adapt to…

That was it, we’re back. After six inspiring days in Lindau, the Nobel Laureates Meeting 2009 has ended. Eight authors blogged about it on ScienceBlogs Germany, plus we had further blogging guests such as PZ Myers, Bora Zivkovic and Seema Singh. I did not make myself heard in the last two days. That was due…

Naked chemists!

Phew. The fourth day in Lindau is about to end and I think I speak for everybody when I say extreme humidity is not exactly our favourite aggregate state concerning the weather in this town. Nevertheless we’ve had another great day at the Nobel Laureates Meeting and would like to share thus with you, fellow…