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March 30, 2020
Social distancing due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the threat of COVID-19 has meant online communication is more popular than ever, with even casual parenting groups discovering the previous enterprise video conferencing tool Zoom. But how will that affect communications? Have you ever met someone…
March 20, 2020
The proliferation of fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been labelled a dangerous “infodemic”. Fake news spreads faster and more easily today through the internet, social media and instant messaging. These messages may contain useless, incorrect or even harmful information and advice, which…
February 12, 2020
After a newborn (born to a mother infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing positive for COVID-19 infection within 36 hours of birth, there were concerns about whether the virus could be contracted in the womb. A new study finds that COVID-19 does not pass to the child…
February 11, 2020
A new study finds an easy way to reduce the spread of many infectious diseases, from coronavirus to influenza; washing hands more frequently in just 10 airports.  Though the findings were published in late December, just before the recent coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, the study's authors…
February 10, 2020
Scientists have used an unnatural amino acid and a catalytic copper complex to create a new, artificial enzyme.  Enzymes are natural catalysts that operate under mild conditions. This makes them an attractive alternative for industrial chemical catalysis, which may require high temperature and…
February 7, 2020
Almost 2 million Americans have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), where the cells in the retina, which is the layer of tissue in the back of the eye, break down, causing central vision to become blurry. Over time, 100,000 of those will become blind. An international team of scientists has…
February 6, 2020
In the first-ever (sanctioned) investigational use of multiple edits to the human genome, a study found that cells edited in three specific ways and then removed from patients and brought back into the lab setting were able to kill cancer months after their original manufacturing and infusion.…
February 5, 2020
A recent paper, "Higher U.S. Rural Mortality Rates Linked To Socioeconomic Status, Physician Shortages, And Lack Of Health Insurance," published in Health Affairs Journal, seeks to explain differences in rural and urban people when it comes to mortality, but also rank states using county level data…
February 3, 2020
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a coalition of activist groups which recently charged that climate change is contributing to exploitation of women, is now arguing that various factors are causing 2,000 species of fireflies to go extinct.  They came to the conclusion by…
January 29, 2020
DNA evidence often isn’t as watertight as many people think. Sensitive techniques developed over the past 20 years mean that police can now detect minute traces of DNA at a crime scene or on a piece of evidence. But traces from a perpetrator are often mixed with those from many other people that…
November 25, 2019
The El Niño Southern Oscillation, swings of heating and cooling of equatorial Pacific waters, occur every two to seven years in spring, when the warm phase swells into a long heat blob in the tropical Pacific, typically peaking in early winter. It blows through oceans and air around the world,…
April 16, 2012
So here's a modest proposal for film rental / streaming companies like LoveFilm and Netflix: why don't you have shareable playlists like Spotify? You see, I was reading Time Out's 100 Best Horror Films and I thought, there must be loads of these lists out there, on all kinds of criteria, for all…
April 16, 2012
As part of a workshop on Creative Commons, I'm doing a short presentation on Open Data and The Panton Principles this week to various members of our staff. I thought I'd share some of the resources I've consulted during my preparations. I'm using textmining of journal articles as a example so I'm…
April 4, 2012
Portland artist Eric Franklin spent over 1,000 hours sweating over hot glass and noble gasses to produce Embodiment, a glass skeleton filled with glowing krypton. Speaking about the process, Eric says: Every glass seal has to be perfect, and this piece contains hundreds. Everywhere one tube joins…
April 1, 2012
I am so looking forward to the talks tomorrow. Linda Buck! Sharon Long! Mary-Claire King! and more... Frontiers in the Life Sciences: a Symposium Celebrating Excellence
March 20, 2012
There is only one truly kosher sport when it comes to the Olympics: athletics. All those ancient Greeks did was run around in the dirt butt naked. It took over fifty years for them to add a second sport: more running, but in a wild twist, a race over twice the distance as before. Over the years…
March 10, 2012
The New Earth Archive is a resource network of powerful, inspiring books on climate change, sustainability, social justice, and human nature.The students ask you to vote for up to 15 of your favorite books. So pleased, Tomorrow's Table made the list! http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/808430/…
February 26, 2012
A cross posting from my Posterous space - a short imagining some implications of lab-grown meat. He was a huge man, thick forearms dotted with burns and pale scars. He spoke in a dull monotone about the unique difficulties in preparing synthetic meat. Roscoe wondered how much he weighed, and…
February 1, 2012
Dear scientists, Why do you study, the thing that you study? What is it, and why did you choose to study it over all the other possible things you could have studied? Best Frank
January 31, 2012
Applause for Plant Physiologist Helen Stafford who left the Reed College Biology Department $1M. As a woman scientist in the 1950s, Stafford was ineligible for many jobs. Reed College, not deterred by her sex, offered her a position. She went on to establish a successful career and inspired many…
January 15, 2012
Toward the end of last year, being in possession of two novelties - a girlfriend and a steady job - I decided to spend my free evenings crafting a very special piece of jewellery. I was inspired by a visit to Barometer World in the late summer, where I discovered the curious material known as storm…
November 20, 2011
Last week I had a visit from a friend of mine, who was on something of a farewell tour. After several years of planning, he'd packed in his dependable but much-begrudged corporate job, and was setting sail for Asia, to see more of the world. He's already seen much more of the world than most…
November 9, 2011
Today I'll be writing a series of blogposts from the Falling Walls conference in Berlin. Each speaker is invited to discuss the ideas, inventions, and discoveries they believe will break down walls in their field. Robert E. Horn: How Visual Language Supports Decision Making About Wicked Problems…
September 10, 2011
The Neighborhood Project is written for the full spectrum of readers, from inquisitive high school students to my professorial colleagues. I look forward to reading the reviews by the experts, which I expect to reveal the diversity of opinion that I already know exists among the cognoscenti. So far…
September 6, 2011
Photo of Vermont highway courtesy of Kyle Cornell Last week, I had my long-awaited vacation semi-ruined when, thanks to Hurricane Irene, my flight back from the West Coast was cancelled. I had to rent a car and drive across the country in a rush - not my favorite way to spend three and a half days…
August 26, 2011
Gold Cortex 16 x 20, 2010Greg Dunn I used to have a beautiful gold Japanese folding screen, which was purchased by my great-grandmother's feisty sister on a trip in the 1920s. I loved the gold patina and the surprisingly modern impact it had on my wall. At the moment, it's loaned to a friend, but…
August 19, 2011
I've opted to move this blog to my own domain at http://www.isisthescientist.com. I look forward to seeing some of you there. My sincerest thanks and best wishes to ScienceBlogs. And now, onward...
June 18, 2011
Working backwards through our four reasons to ignore evolution, we have shown that smart people don't necessary converge on the facts of the matter from different starting positions (4) and that reasoning on the basis of design benefits from knowledge about the designing process (3). Here is our…
June 4, 2011
I've been hanging out with AronRa and DPR Jones, and it looks like I might be drafted to appear on The Magic Sandwich Show on Sunday, at 8pm GMT. Tune in! That's the conference venue here in Dublin, appearing briefly in the video.