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Virginia Hughes

www.virginiahughes.com

Virginia Hughes is a journalist who writes about brains, genes, medicine and history for the likes of Nature, New Scientist, and Popular Science. Before coming to Phenomena, she contributed to the delightfully quirky science blog The Last Word on Nothing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, land of artisanal basketball stadiums and rich dog walkers, with her husband and whip-smart dog.

Despite An Inconvenient Truth‘s Oscar win and Al Gore’s Nobel, public opinion of global warming has changed little since the film’s release in 2006. As Matt Nisbet recently pointed out: “Conventional wisdom pegged Gore’s film and media campaign as changing the nature of the debate in the public’s mind, but unfortunately this interpretation doesn’t hold…

What’s your workbench?

Where do you do science? Seed Magazine wants to know. We’ve all seen the stereotypical pictures of a science lab: microscopes and petri dishes sitting atop sterile work benches; electric circuits sunk in a mess of metal wires and batteries; equations scribbled on blackboards. But we also know that plenty of world-changing science goes on…

Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) with a vote of 414 to 1. Lauded by most media pundits as an example of “forward-looking” legislation, the bill forbids companies from viewing the genetic profiles of their clients or employees. President Bush has promised to sign the bill. But…

About a week ago, ScienceBlogger Randy Olson (documentary filmmaker of “Flock of Dodos” fame) left a comment on Shifting Baselines suggesting that the best way to combat anti-science propaganda like “Expelled” is with a pro-science film festival. “Right now, if a high school kid makes a really great video about evolution, where is he or…

That Whole Pseudonymity Thing

Of the 83 bloggers currently featured on ScienceBlogs.com, 20 write under pseudonyms. Since many of our bloggers frequently write about highly scientific and/or highly controversial topics, some wondered: But but…Can anonymous bloggers be trusted?! On a non-ScienceBlog (gasp!) Greg Laden commented that “The cost to the anonymous blogger is that they should expect to be…

Last Wednesday, Nature released the results of an informal survey about cognitive enhancers—drugs known to improve concentration and counteract fatigue. Twenty percent of the 1,400 international respondents said they had used cognitive enhancers (such as Ritalin and beta blockers) for non-medical reasons to stimulate their focus, concentration or memory. Eighty percent thought that healthy adults…

Are You in a Book Club?

About six months ago, I started a book club with a bunch of my girl friends. So far, we’ve only read three books. But despite the infrequency of our meetings, the club has been both fun and intellectually fulfilling. Anyway, the whole experience got me thinking about the popularity of book clubs. The Association of…

This week, Jane of See Jane Compute considered the question: Is computer science really a science? She wrote: The more I thought about it, the more I realized how complex this question really is…Computer science is in many respects a tool. It’s a discipline that has its reach into many other disciplines. And that’s one…

On March 19, the prolific British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke died at age 90. At his 90th birthday party, in December, Clarke made three wishes: for the world to embrace cleaner energy resources, for a lasting peace in his adopted home, Sri Lanka, and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings. So…Which of Clarke’s three…

Reader Poll: e or ??

On Friday, 3/14, math enthusiasts worldwide celebrated ? Day, in honor of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter (approximately 3.14). Back in August, Chad asked his readers which irrational number they preferred, ? or e—the base for the exponential function (approximately 2.72). He went with e, because “you just have to love…