Free Thought

My blogging has been slacking, but I'm still reading a bunch that I just don't have time to comment on. So I'm going to experiment with a link dump at the end of the week. This first one features a couple week's worth of posts - feel free to start a discussion in the comments Science - Keith Kloor has a couple of posts in the past few weeks about GMO scaremongering. I waded into the comments there, with varying levels of coherance. I'm working on an analogy about GMOs and rockets... more on that later maybe. - Maryn McKenna continues in her tradition of being terrifying on the antibiotic…
Prof. Shafi Goldwasser, who is at both the Weizmann Institute and MIT, will receive the 2012 A.M. Turing Award, together with Prof. Silvio Micali of MIT. Goldwasser is only the third woman to receive the Award since its inception in 1966, and she is the third faculty member of the Weizmann Institute to receive what is considered to be the “Nobel Prize in computing.” Goldwasser and Micali’s work in the 1980s laid the foundations of modern cryptography – the science that, among other things, keeps your electronic transactions secure. The basis of their work is a series of riffs on the…
I have a son who's currently a first year physics student. As you can imagine, I occasionally pass along a link or two to him pointing to stuff on the web I think he might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps other science students might find those links interesting or useful as well. By necessity and circumstance, the items I've chosen will be influenced by my son's choice of major and my own interest in computational approaches to science. There’s more to mathematics than rigour and proofs The ten commandments of student science blogging…
"The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out - there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday." -Richard Feynman Here you are, a human being, a grand Universe of atoms that have organized themselves into simple monomers, assembled together into giant macromolecules, which in turn comprise the organelles that make up your cells. And here you are, a collection of around 75 trillion specialized cells, organized in such a way as to make up you. Image credit: J. Roche at Ohio University. But at your core, you are still just…
A couple of astrostatistics related announcements: 1) The Astrostatistics & Astroinformatics Portal is open. "The ASAIP provides searchable abstracts to Recent Papers in the field, several discussion Forums, various resources for researchers, brief Articles by experts, and lists of Meetings. The site will be used for public outreach by four organizations: International Astrostatistics Association (IAA, to be affiliated with the International Statistical Institute), American Astronomical Society Working Group in Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics, International Astronomical Union…
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been discussing How "They" See "Us," which is basically that "they" see "us" as pure evil. Well, maybe not always sheer evil, but certainly not good, and even more certainly as having ulterior motives, the most common of which is filthy pharma lucre. As a result, when a grant deadline approached, I reposted a post about the "pharma shill gambit." However, how do these brave maverick doctors see themselves? Given that I'm traveling (and my plans have been impacted by the big storm heading through Kansas and Missouri now, it seemed appropriate given that I…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Cryptomundo The Top Cryptozoology Books of 2012. The Beast Of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn The Bigfoot Filmography: Fictional and Documentary Appearances in Film and Television by David Coleman The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Christmas gifts 2012: the best science books, Best science books of 2012, Christmas gifts 2012: the best wildlife books. The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: ScienceGeek / Shabbeer Hassan Best Science Books of 2012. Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells us About Morality by Patricia Churchland The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution by Faramerz Dabhoiwala Wired for…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Township District Library Best Science Books of 2012. The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Zickefoose, Julie Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Cahalan, Susannah An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding…
The Best Science Writing Online 2012 edited by Jennifer Ouellette and Bora Zivkovic is decended from the old Open Laboratory series of anthologies which featured the fifty best science blog posts (and a poem and a cartoon) from the year in question. The series as a whole was organized by Bora Zivkovic and each year he would chose someone to actually edit that particular year's edition. As well, each year they would select a bunch of science-bloggy types to help out with the pre-reading of the literally hundreds of blog posts that would be submitted, including my turn as a pre-reader for the…
Another bunch of lists for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following:   Quill & Quire: Books of the Year Non-Fiction, Gift Guide Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness by Jan Wong My Leaky Body: Tales from the Gurney by Julie Devaney Fatal…
Another bunch of lists for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following:   Mitch Joel The best business books of 2012 Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain   January Magazine Best Books of 2012: Non-…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Hill Times' List of Top 100 Best Political, Government, Public policy and Canadian History Books in 2012 The Energy of Slavery: Oil and the New Servitude by Andrew Nikiforuk The End of Growth: But Is That Bad? by Jeff Rubin Save The…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Planetizen Top 10 Books - 2013 (urban planning, design and development). Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet by Kendra Pierre-Louis Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into…
If there's one thing about "alternative" medicine, "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM), or "integrative medicine" that's always puzzled me, it's just how gullible some practitioners must think their clients are. In some cases, they might know their customers every bit as well as a car salesman knows his clients or an author knows his readers, but in actuality most people who fall for alt-med are no more gullible than average. However, some words seem to impress more than ever, as promoters of alt-med scramble to appropriate impressive-sounding science terms into their woo. I've…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Jack Uldrich/Jump the Curve: A Futurist’s Top Ten Books for 2012. Note: This list includes some slightly older books and some books that are more strictly business books rather than tech or science books. I decided to include them…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Thought Stash: The Little Atoms 2012 Top 10 Book List. The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters by Mark Henderson Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins by Ian Tattersall Pieces of Light: The new science of memory by…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: The Millions: Jami Attenberg, Geoff Dyer Brain on Fire: My Month of Madnessby Susannah Cahalan Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoirby Ellen Forney The Social Conquest of Earthby Edward O. Wilson The Making…
Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure. Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year. All the previous 2012 lists are here. This post includes the following: Greg Laden: Top (mostly climate change related) Science Denialist Books. Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us by Maggie Koerth-Baker Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our…