There are 69 charts in this encouraging but frustrating collection of measurements - I encourage you to view and think about each a couple of minutes before drawing conclusions. In some it’s easy to see pluralities, e.g. where 2/3rds of the public sees climate change as a somewhat serious to very serious problem. In others it’s harder to understand the distinctions and none of these charts should be singled out for some simplex binary either / or view, but instead they should be viewed together and multiplexually. Click on the graphic to popout to the 70 chart slideshow at Pew.
While it’s terrible that this was going on, this mass retraction demonstrates that Science and Scientists are self correcting over time.
A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.
The publisher is BioMed Central, based in the United Kingdom, which puts out 277 peer-reviewed journals. A partial list of the retracted articles suggests most of them were written by scholars at universities in China, including China Medical University, Sichuan University, Shandong University and Jiaotong University Medical School. But Jigisha Patel, associate editorial director for research integrity at BioMed Central, said it’s not “a China problem. We get a lot of robust research of China. We see this as a broader problem of how scientists are judged.”
Meanwhile, the Committee on Publication Ethics, a multidisciplinary group that includes more than 9000 journal editors, issued a statement suggesting a much broader potential problem. The committee, it said, “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.” Those journals are now reviewing manuscripts to determine how many may need to be retracted, it said.
The interesting thing about cataclysmic asteroid collisions is that they not only can happen, they have happened, and they will happen again—-eventually. They are common in geological history, but extremely unlikely within the lifetime of any particular person. This gap in chronological scales, and the perception of time, is beyond the knowledge or comprehension of much of the audience, hence the potential for sensationalism.
There are ways to report on occasional close approaches by near-Earth objects (NEOs) that convey the respectful awareness of their presences and the fact that our planet shares its neighborhood with many other objects, large and small… and that sometimes their paths around the Sun bring them unnervingly close to our own.
Then there’s just straight-up over-sensationalism intended to drum up page views by scaring the heck out of people, regardless of facts.
Apparently this is what’s happened regarding the upcoming close approach by NEO 2014 YB35. An asteroid of considerable (but definitely not unprecedented) size - estimated 440-990 meters in diameter, or around a third of a mile across - YB35 will pass by Earth on Friday, March 27, coming as close as 11.7 times the distance between Earth and the Moon at 06:20 UTC.
11.7 lunar distances. That’s 4.5 million kilometers, or almost 2.8 million miles. Cosmically close, sure, but far from “skimming”…and certainly with no danger of an impact or any of the nasty effects that would be a result thereof. None. Zero. Zilch. NASA isn’t concerned, and you shouldn’t be either.
While discussion of Israeli elections has largely (and reasonably) focused on the different parties’ views on the occupation of Palestine and the prospect of war with Iran, the ongoing effort to craft a coalition government may carry risks for science education, too.
Ha’aretz asked the leaders of the eleven parties competing for seats in the election a series of questions, including questions about evolution and climate change. On climate change, all seven who responded spoke in support of action. Unfortunately, the remaining four parties declined to answer, and all four are likely to be part of the governing coalition.
On evolution, only two of the seven enthusiastically endorsed the teaching of evolution; three opposed it, one dodged the matter, and another seemed to suggest that evolution be taught alongside creationism. Again, the four parties likely to be included in the ruling coalition all declined to answer, with a spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party dismissing the questions as “cheeky.”
Of those who answered, two have been part of coalitions with Likud before, and may be included in the new government. Kulanu’s Moshe Kahlon responded on evolution: “Israel inscribed on its flag the topics of research, curiosity and human development. That is our strength. We believe that in schools various approaches should be taught, including evolution.” Shas’s Arye Dery declined to go even that far, declaring: “As an ultra-Orthodox party that believes that our forefathers were Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that our holy matriarchs were Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, we refuse to teach our children that they originated from apes.”
President Barack Obama is highlighting private-sector efforts to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to pursue education in in science, technology, engineering and math.
At the White House Science Fair on Monday, Obama will announce more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of those fields, known as STEM. This year’s fair is focused on diversity.
Obama will say the new commitments have brought total financial and material support for these programs to $1 billion.
The pledges the president is announcing include a $150 million philanthropic effort to encourage promising early-career scientists to stay on track and a $90 million campaign to expand STEM opportunities to underrepresented youth, such as minorities and girls.
Ten thousand people have gathered in Le Mont-Saint-Michel in France’s Brittany
region to see something unusual: an exceptionally high spring tide caused by the so-called super moon effect linked to Friday’s (March 20) solar eclipse.
“Mont Saint-Michel is completely surrounded by the sea,” explained one local man, adding, “I was born in this region and I’ve never seen this. This has been the biggest reason to visit .. to see the tide of the century.”
euronews: the most watched news channel in Europe
euronews is available in 14 languages: youtube.com
Sky-gazers in the Arctic were treated to a perfect view of a total solar eclipse Friday as the moon completely blocked out the sun in a clear sky, casting a shadow over Norway’s remote archipelago of Svalbard.
People shouted, cheered and applauded as Longyearbyen, the main town in Svalbard, plunged into darkness. The skies were clear, offering a full view of the sun’s corona — a faint ring of rays surrounding the moon — that is only visible during a total solar eclipse.
A few hundred people had gathered on a flat frozen valley overlooking the mountains, and people shouted and yelled as the sudden darkness came. A group of people opened bottles of champagne, saying it was in keeping with a total solar eclipse tradition.
“Toxodon is perhaps one of the strangest animals ever discovered,” wrote Charles Darwin, a man who was no stranger to strangeness. He first encountered the creature in Uruguay on November 26th, 1834. “Having heard of some giant’s bones at a neighbouring farm-house…, I rode there accompanied by my host, and purchased for the value of eighteen pence the head of the Toxodon,” he later wrote.
The beast’s skeleton, once fully assembled, was a baffling mish-mash of traits. It was huge like a rhino, but it had the chiselling incisors of a rodent—its name means “arched tooth”—and the high-placed eyes and nostrils of a manatee or some other aquatic mammal. “How wonderfully are the different orders, at present time so well separated, blended together in different points of the structure of the toxodon!” Darwin wrote.
Those conflicting traits have continued to confuse scientists. Hundreds of large hoofed mammals have since been found in South America, and they fall into some 280 genera. Scientists still argue about when these mysterious beasts first evolved, whether they belong to one single group or several that evolved separately, and, mainly, which other mammals they were related too. “That’s been difficult to address because they have features that they share with a lot of different groups from across the mammalian tree,” says Ian Barnes from the Natural History Museum in London. “To some degree, people have circled around the same set of evidence for 180 years.”
No, this is not about BEES!
Graphene just might be the world’s most incredible material. A honeycomb-like sheet of pure carbon only one atom thick, it’s one million times thinner than a human hair and yet 200 times stronger than steel. It’s also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and is stretchable, flexible, transparent, and impermeable.
And now scientists at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif. say they have figured out how to make the stuff on an industrial scale—a breakthrough that could open the floodgates to a seemingly endless array of graphene-based products……The new process is faster and simpler than the usual approach to making graphene. Instead of 10 hours and up to 10 separate steps, it involves one step and takes just five minutes, according to a written statement released by the university. And unlike the usual approach, which involves temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit), the new process works at temperatures no higher than 420 degrees C. That’s cool enough to be compatible with existing electronics manufacturing processes, according to Boyd.
Discoveries like this depend on federal research grants and university funding. Perhaps we should take time to remind our congresscritters that funding science can keep our technologies cutting edge which is good for business and potentially good for the environment.