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Archives for November, 2009

Last week, hackers pulled a data heist on the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, releasing thousands of stolen documents and emails that purportedly exposed a scientific conspiracy to fabricate evidence of global warming. Climate change skeptics dug into the data with forks and knives, choosing the choicest morsels as evidence of…

The Buzz: Happy Birthday, Origin!

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published 150 years ago today, and it continues to inform, illuminate, and stir up controversy. Of course, some tortoises live longer than that, but Darwin’s lasting legacy seems assured. On Gene Expression, Razib Khan tackles a study on the Fore, a cannibalistic people who ate their dead up until…

The Buzz: The Cutting Edge

Faster computers come out all the time, but it’s what we do with a CPU that determines its true usefulness. On Good Math, Bad Math, Mark Chu-Carroll introduces us to Google’s new programming language, Go. Noting the minimalist design of the language, Chu-Carroll writes “if you want a C-like language with some basic object-oriented features…

The Buzz: Linking Fact and Fiction

Good science takes time, but good science fiction hinges on impatience. Why wait for the invention of real technological marvels when you can imagine them yourself or see them on TV? On The Quantum Pontiff, Dave Bacon ponders the formative links between fantasy and reality, spurred by an Intel talk on the possibilities of “fictional…

The Buzz: The Great Debate

The pitched battle between evolutionary theory and Intelligent Design has become one of the signature conflicts of the decade. On Pharyngula, PZ Myers picks up the pieces after his debate with Jerry Bergman on whether ID should be taught in schools. Unambiguously he writes, “creationists are not the heralds of a coming paradigm shift; they…

Forget fashion; when it comes to expressing yourself, it’s your genes that wear you! On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong discusses the explosive evolution of AEM genes in humans and elephants—two long-lived, social animals with “very, very large brains.” Big brains need more juice to function, and AEM genes, which govern how mitochondria metabolize…

The Buzz: Eating Your Words

We often hear that “you are what you eat,” but the relationship between what goes in our bodies and what our bodies make of it is really quite complex. On Respectful Insolence, Orac laments that “diet does not have nearly as large an effect as we had hoped” on the prevention of cancer, and that…

The Buzz: Water, Water Everywhere?

On Friday, NASA scientists confirmed the discovery of water on the moon. Using spectral analysis to determine the composition of the plume resulting from last month’s LCROSS rocket collision, they found more than 100 liters of water. Steinn SigurĂ°sson on Dynamics of Cats calls the presence of water on the moon “amazing,” but cautions that…

In the increasingly competitive and admissions-driven world of high school, learning doesn’t always come cheap. SAT-prep programs and college admissions counselors charge a pretty penny for the advantages they (claim to) bestow upon anxious juniors and seniors, and even younger students, including those in middle school, are feeling the pressure. But what about families who…

The Buzz: Out of Sight

In Ethan Siegel’s ongoing treatment of dark energy on Starts With A Bang!, he considers a number of alternative explanations for the dimming of redshifted supernovae. Could photon-axion oscillations be to blame, or does a “grey dust” pervade our universe? In another post, Siegel appreciates that our galaxy smells like raspberries and rum, and not,…