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Archives for November, 2009

The Buzz: Step On a Crack…

When it comes to geologic phenomena, the difference between renewal and cataclysm can walk a fine line. On All of My Faults Are Stress Related, Kim Hannula elucidates the distinction between causes and triggers. Citing an article about the Zipingpu Dam that concludes that the weight of the reservoir might have triggered an earthquake, Hannula…

The Buzz: In With the Old

Shakespeare wrote that “past is prologue,” but it’s not always that easy to read. Brian Switek on Laelaps tells the tale of P. H. Gosse, a man who tried to reconcile the fossil record with the Book of Genesis, at the same time Darwin was writing his Origin of Species. Convincing no one, Gosse estranged…

The Buzz: Now and Later

Sometimes, present circumstances can belie the uncertainty of the future. On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong discusses experiments on “restraint bias” which show that many people overestimate their powers of self-control. He notes that “we’re generally bad at predicting the future,” arguing that those who feel the strongest are the most likely to risk…

The Buzz: Believe It or Not

Humans believe a lot of things, for a lot of reasons. Confronted by a student who had learned lions’ manes are an expression of their testosterone level–and not just a bit of claw-catching fluff–Greg Laden observes that when someone finds you wrong on one count, they will assume you are wrong about everything. He calls…

After hours of deliberation late into Saturday night, the US House of Representatives passed the long-awaited health care reform bill. While many Americans are elated at the new bill’s passing, others are questioning the controversial amendment added that prohibits insurance coverage for abortions. Ed Brayton from Dispatches from the Culture Wars examines the compromise many…

The Buzz: As the World Turns

As the Earth’s tectonic plates shift and grind miles below our feet, we feel the effects on the surface in the form of earthquakes and volcanic activity. As Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science and Chris Rowan of Highly Allochthonous explain, earthquakes far from tectonic plate boundaries may be aftershocks of more violent seismic…

This week, Jessica Palmer of Bioephemera posted an illuminating report on the politics that govern—and often hamper—scientific research for drug abuse treatment. In her post, Jessica points out, “research to help [cigarette] smokers quit is generally portrayed as necessary and important,” but the media, politicians, and society at large view research for treatment of other…

The Buzz: Social Media Revolution

In the past five years, technology has played a major part in influencing the way we functions, even in the least mechanical of human behaviors–like socializing. Today, ScienceBloggers are taking a close look at how the social media explosion is affecting the world. On The Primate Diaries, Eric Michael Johnson reports on anthropologist Stefana Broadbent’s…

Last week, Dan Delong, an English teacher at Southwestern High School in Piasa, Illinois was suspended for allowing students to read an article on homosexuality in the animal kingdom. The article in question, “The Gay Animal Kingdom,” was written by ScienceBlogger Jonah Lehrer of The Frontal Cortex, and published by Seed magazine in 2006. Mr.…

Second Skin

What if your clothes grew themselves in response to your body’s temperature, becoming thicker in areas that needed more insulation and thinner in areas that were warm enough? Sounds pretty much ideal. No worrying about whether you’re going to need a scarf later in the evening or if a down parka was maybe not the…