Archive for the '[Etc]' category

11 days until the “fools, failures and frauds” edition of The Giant’s Shoulders!

Aug 04 2010 Published by under [Etc]

I have almost been negligent in pointing out that there’s only 11 days left before the deadline of the next edition of The Giant’s Shoulders history of science blog carnival!  This is a special edition, hosted by scicurious, and is known as the “fools, failures and frauds” edition, commemorating the history of those scientific discoveries that didn’t work out as intended!

Consider submitting a history of science post that describes (a) some really stupid or crazy scientific research (or researchers), (b) research that didn’t work out as intended or expected, (c) research that was completely fraudulent.  All relevant history entries will be included, but please think about writing something special for this themed edition!

Entries can be submitted through or directly to the host blog, as usual!

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ResearchBlogging editor's selections: Phytoliths, Hubble bubbles, computer-generated hypotheses, and plasma shields

Aug 02 2010 Published by under [Etc], General science, Science news

skyskull "Dr. SkySkull" selects several notable posts each week from a miscellany of categories. He blogs at Skulls in the Stars.

  • Past lives caught in the dust of trees. Alun at AlunSalt describes a little-discussed botanical and archaeobotanical phenomenon called phytoliths. This dust, formed in the interior of some living plants, can form a valuable record of a region's botanical history.
  • Hubble bubble. The eponymous The Astronomist explains the concept of a "Hubble bubble" -- an alternative interpretation of phenomena typically linked to dark energy -- and explains why this hypothesis is unlikely to be true.
  • Can computers help scientists with their reading? Every scientist out there knows that the flood of new publications is impossible to keep up with, and is in general overwhelming! Rob Mitchum of ScienceLife describes a proposal to not only use computers to sort through the torrent of results, but pinpoint new hypotheses and identify large-scale patterns that would otherwise be overlooked.
  • Force fields and plasma shields. We've seen lots of science fiction ideas become reality over the past 100 years, but one that has not been realized is the "force field". Is it possible to make a force field or plasma shield with today's science? In an entertaining post, Ryan Anderson of The Science of Starcraft looks at what might work... and what has been proposed already!

Check back next Monday for more "miscellaneous" selections!

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