Archive for the 'Science news' category

The Giant's Shoulders #26, "Fools, failures and frauds" edition, is out!

Aug 16 2010 Published by under [Etc], General science, Science news

Hear ye, hear ye -- the 26th edition of The Giant's Shoulders, labeled the "Fools, failures and frauds" special edition, is available for perusal at Neurotic Physiology!  In this edition of the carnival we take a special look at those who committed scientific fraud, who performed experiments that failed, and folks who were just plain wrong and/or crazy!  Thanks to Scicurious for putting together a most excellent edition of the carnival!

The next edition of the carnival will be held at Entertaining Research, and the deadline for entries is September 15th.  Entries can be submitted through blogcarnival.com or directly to the host blog, as usual!

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ResearchBlogging editor's selections: Chemistry extravaganza!

Aug 09 2010 Published by under [Etc], General science, Science news

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

This week's set of editor's selections is a "chemistry extravaganza"! The posts that jumped out at me were heavily focused on the science and techniques of chemistry. Enjoy!

  • Determining the structure by looking at the molecule. Anyone who has taken at least high school chemistry knows that determining the structural properties of a molecule is a very difficult process. Now, as Lars Fischer of EuCheMS 2010 Blog reports, researchers have been able to use atomic force microscopy to directly image individual molecules!
  • How bacteria help create dinosaur fossils. Fossilization has traditionally been treated as a purely chemical process: bone is replaced gradually by mineral. However, recent research suggests that bacteria may actually play a crucial role in the formation of such fossils; Brian Switek of Dinosaur Tracking reports.
  • A simplified yet quantitative model for macromolecular crowding. Research into biological processes such as protein folding are often done with the proteins in solution; however, the interior of cells are crowded with stuff and that crowding effects what can and will happen. Michael Long of Phased reports on new simulations designed to understand such crowding.
  • Foldit: Innovative biology for gamers and Humans beat computers in predicting protein structures. Speaking of protein folding, here we have two different reports on a novel technique for studying the phenomenon! It has become somewhat commonplace to use crowdsourcing to help researchers tackle complex problems. However, Grrlscientist of This Scientific Life and the eponymous The Curious Wavefunction report on a new strategy: making protein-folding research into a video game!

Check back next week for more "miscellaneous" suggestions!

2 responses so far

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 ResearchBlogging.org 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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ResearchBlogging editor's selections: WEIRD science, copycat suicides, square quantum mechanics, nanophobia and Mars' oceans

Jul 26 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

  • Are most experimental subjects in behavioral science WEIRD? "Weird" here is an acronym, but also reflects the idea that the representative samples in behavioral science aren't really that representative of humanity as a whole.  Michael Meadon of Ionian Enchantment discusses the research related to this intriguing observation, and its implications.
  • The Media Noose: Copycat Suicides and Social Learning. We've all heard of "copycat crimes" before, but it had certainly never occurred to me that they could be a source of cultural study!  At A Replicated Typo 2.0, wintz looks at research into copycat suicides, and the media's role in the phenomenon.
  • Quantum Mechanics Is Square: "Ruling Out Multi-Order Interference in Quantum Mechanics". A new test of quantum mechanics has come back with a negative result, but an important one.  Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles explains the research and why you should find it interesting.
  • Just say no to sunscreen nanophobia! Aaah! Nanoscience!  In recent years there has been an increasing, and often unjustified, fear of nanotechnology the public's eye (I partly blame Michael Crichton).  At sciencebase, David Bradley looks at the recent hysteria regarding nanoparticles in sunscreen, and explains why the panic is overblown.
  • New Evidence for an Ocean on Mars? A recent paper suggests that evidence for former oceans on Mars has been right there in front of us all the time!  Ryan at The Martian Chronicles describes the details.

Finally, for those who deal with reviewing for journals, a new proposal to make the process work better -- "privatizing" the reviewer commons!  jebyrnes at I'm a chordata, urochordata! explains the details, and links to a petition!

Check back next Monday!

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ResearchBlogging editor's selections: why no wheels?, GADZOOKS!, butterfly faces and gravity's existence

Jul 19 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

Check back next week for more "miscellaneous" suggestions!

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Welcome ThonyC as co-manager of The Giant's Shoulders!

Jul 17 2010 Published by under History of science, Science news

I've been thinking for a while that I would like to get some additional help and suggestions on how to keep The Giant's Shoulders history of science carnival going and come up with new ideas for it.  Well, I finally did something about it!

ThonyC of The Renaissance Mathematicus has graciously agreed to be a co-manager of TGS, and will be helping to plan future editions and occasionally posting over there.  Please give him a nice welcome!

2 responses so far

The Giant's Shoulders #25, 2nd anniversary edition, is out!

Jul 16 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

The Giant's Shoulders #25 is officially out at The Dispersal of Darwin, and it marks the two year anniversary since the first carnival!  In honor of it, Michael has put together a truly massive list of posts for the month, celebrating the history of science -- many thanks to him for assembling it!  If you follow me on Twitter, I'll try and post some links to highlights from the carnival throughout the day, even though everything is worth reading!

The next month's edition will be hosted by Scicurious at Are You Scicurious? It will also be a special event, as we have dubbed it to be a special "fools, failures, and frauds" edition -- it's time to commemorate the history of those scientific discoveries that didn't work out as intended!  Though all entries on the history of science will still be accepted, 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.  I'll have more to say about this special edition in the next few days, as well as a few other bits of news.

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

3 responses so far

ResearchBlogging editor's selections: International romance, sluggish T-rex, double rainbows and World Cup excuses

Jul 12 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

It was, perhaps not surprisingly, a relatively quiet week in research blogging, but there were still lots of great posts!

  • Men, English, and international romance. We begin this week with a post about international relationships, specifically of Japanese folks with foreigners.  There's been a lot of attention paid to Japanese women with foreign men, but what about the reverse?  In an amusing post, Lachlan of Language on the Move looks at some of the cultural aspects.
  • Tyrannosaurus didn't have the nerve to run fast. Those scared to death by the t-rex in Jurassic Park can breathe a sigh of relief -- recent research suggests that the "tyrant lizard" couldn't move nearly as fast as depicted.  Brian Switek of Dinosaur Tracking explains the reassuring details.
  • The science of double rainbows (OMG, what does this mean?). Everyone loves to see a rainbow, but we feel doubly blessed when we see a double rainbow.   How do such rainbows form?  Westius of Mr. Science Show explains the physics.
  • Top ten excuses for World Cup losers (with citations). Finally, in honor of the recently-concluded World Cup, Duncan of O'Really? gives us the top ten excuses for failure -- and the scientific citations that back them up!

Check back next Monday for more miscellaneous selections!

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7 days until The Giant's Shoulders #25!

Jul 07 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

In spite of all the craziness in the blogosphere right now (or perhaps because of it), this seemed like a good time to remind people that there are 7 days left until the deadline for The Giant's Shoulders #25, to be held at The Dispersal of Darwin.  This edition will mark the 2nd anniversary of this carnival’s existence!  Entries can be submitted through blogcarnival.com or directly to the host blog, as usual!

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ResearchBlogging editor's selections: Eclipse in the Odyssey, photons still bosons, and soccer GPS

Jul 05 2010 Published by under General science, Science news

Check back next Monday for more "miscellaneous" suggestions!

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