July 28, 2014

2:39 PM | Undertheorized and unvalidated: Stocklmayer & Bryant vs. NSF Indicators “Science literacy” scale part I
The paper isn’t exactly hot off the press, but someone recently lowered my entropy by sending me a copy of Stocklmayer, S. M., & Bryant, C. Science and the Public—What should people know?, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 2(1), 81-101 (2012).  Cool article! The piece critiques the NSF’s Science Indicators “factual knowledge” questions. As is well known to the 9.8 billion readers of this blog (we’re down another couple billion this […]
11:42 AM | Let not thy will roar, when thy power can but whisper
Does power matter when using routine data and is there a point in performing a sample size/power calculation? Gary argues yes and yes!
11:00 AM | Hearing test, radiation-resistant cells, sign language and more
Curious Bends is a weekly newsletter about science, tech., data and India. Akshat Rathi and I curate it. You can subscribe to it here. If have feedback, suggestions, or would just generally like to get in touch, just email us. 1. Poor children deserve better hearing tests; an Indian entrepreneur may have the solution An […]
3:00 AM | Science Quiz – July 28, 2014
Every week, I create a science quiz for The Hindu newspaper’s In School product. It consists of 10 questions and only developments from the week preceding its day of publication (Monday). The answers are at the end. What’s a haboob? American biologists tracked ____ ______ over 15 years. On July 25, they announced that their […]

July 26, 2014

3:06 PM | Court presses SpaceX and Air Force to resolve case in mediation
In a pair of orders issued Thursday, a federal court judge pushed SpaceX and the US Air Force to resolve the ongoing lawsuit over the EELV block buy contract through mediation rather than in the courtroom. In the first order, Judge Susan Braden directed the Air Force and SpaceX to take the first steps towards [...]
12:53 PM | No country for new journalism
(Formatting issues fixed.) Through an oped in Nieman Lab, Ken Doctor makes a timely case for explanatory – or explainer – journalism being far from a passing fad. Across the many factors that he argues contribute to its rise and persistence in western markets, there is evidence that he believes explainer journalism’s historical basis is more relevant than … Continue reading →

July 25, 2014

8:37 PM | Stupid..and Smart
Here’s a yin and yang post for your afternoon delectation.  I’m still trying to get some time to do a big honker post for y’all, but day job and a true 1st world problem — the start of a massive kitchen remodel on Monday — mean that I haven’t two thoughts to rub together. So, […]
4:31 PM | By: EHS Plus Andrew Maynard’s 2020 Science blog reinvigorated
[…] 2020 Science has recently found a new home with the U-M Risk Science Center and, after a brief slow-down during the last academic year, has roared back to life with 12 new posts this month (so far)! Recent posts have included ripped-from-the-headlines topics such as the world’s darkest material as well as nanoparticles in sunscreens and in Dunkin’ Donuts. […]
9:42 AM | Dying in a finite universe
In his book Infinite In All Directions (2002), Freeman Dyson, one of the tallest intellectual giants of our times, attempts to rescue eschatology from the specious grip of religion and teleology with a mix of scientific reasoning and informed speculation. During this, when describing the big crunch, which is one way our universe could end, he moves smoothly from the rational track he … Continue reading →
8:29 AM | Antarctic Tipping Points - the fate of the Amundsen Sea glaciers
This is a guest post by Richard J. Blaustein , a freelance science and environ...

July 24, 2014

2:32 PM | How to achieve "operational validity"? Translation Science!
Never fails! By recklessly holding forth on a topic that is obviously more complicated than I am making it out to be, I have again provoked a reflective, informed response from someone who really knows something!  Recently I dashed off a maddeningly abstract post on the “operational validity” of empirical science communication studies. A study has “high” operational validity, I suggested, if it furnishes empirical support for a science-communication practice that […]
1:47 PM | GAO report warns of cost and schedule risks to SLS
In contrast to NASA and industry claims that work on the Space Launch System (SLS) is on track, a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Wednesday warned that tight schedules and budgets could delay the first launch of that heavy-lift rocket. The report, requested by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), warned that the flat [...]
12:01 PM | Kepler data reveals a frost giant
I’ve been most fascinated lately by studies of planet formation. Every small detail is like that one letter in the crossword you need to fill all the other boxes in, every discovery a cornerstone that holds together a unique piece of the universe. For example, using just the find that the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b has a very short day … Continue reading →

July 23, 2014

5:08 PM | Finding quake shelters, breaking bad in Punjab, rice-wheat divide & more
Curious Bends is a weekly newsletter about science, tech., data and India. Akshat Rathi and I curate it. You can subscribe to it here. If have feedback, suggestions, or would just generally like to get in touch, just email us. 1. Pesticides may be to blame for some cancers among India’s farmers The green revolution … Continue reading →
2:32 PM | White House and Congress mark the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11
On Tuesday, the White House hosted a private event with the two surviving members of the Apollo 11 crew, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, along with Neil Armstrong’s widow, Carol, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. The White House has traditionally hosted the Apollo 11 crew on five-year anniversaries like this; previously, President Obama met with [...]
1:58 PM | Constructing an "Ordinary climate science intelligence" assessment: a fragment ...
From Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem, Advances in Pol. Psych. (forthcoming): 6.  Measuring what people know about climate science What do members of the public know about scientific evidence on climate science? Asking whether they “believe in” human-caused climate change does not measure that.  But that does not mean what they know cannot be measured. a. A disentanglement experiment: the “Ordinary Climate Science […]
12:15 PM | An Ounce of Observation is worth a Pound of Prevention
On Aug. 2, 1999, an aircraft mechanic opened fire in a cafeteria at the former Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, killing five people and injuring 17 others before he was fatally wounded in a shootout with military police. After the incident, the shooter’s co-workers, friends and family members revealed that the man had been [...]
11:59 AM | Alleged affair leads to failed murder-for hire: Workers’ comp for PTSD?
This case provides a reminder that if something at work worsens an employee’s pre-existing condition, the employer may be on the hook to provide workers’ comp benefits. This includes all sorts of injuries, including mental ones. Arthur Mosley, an employee of a Hannaford Brothers Co. supermarket in New York, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While [...]
11:44 AM | Manage Your Outside Inspectors – Excellent Advice From Former ex-OSHA Inspector
Every company is subject to many and various outside inspectors who regularly visit their locations. These inspectors are from the: insurance company, fire department, government safety agencies (e.g. OSHA), and even the corporate headquarters. These many inspectors have great power and can: levy fines, increase insurance premiums or cancel your policy, generate mandatory fix-it [...]
11:13 AM | Electrical Safety PSA: A MUST-WATCH For Your Next Safety Meeting
Related Electrical Safety Training DVDs: Electrical Safety Training Video Reminds employees about electrical hazards they may face in their jobs, and provides the information they need. View Product Electrocution Hazards In Construction Environments I Discusses the major types of electrocution hazards, and how employees can protect themselves. View Product Electrocution Hazards [...]
8:59 AM | The new and large fly the farthest
British Airways and Air France mutually retired the Concorde supersonic jet in 2003. Both companies cited rising maintenance costs as being the reason, which in turn were compounded by falling demand after the Paris crash in 2000 and a general downturn in civil aviation after 9/11. Now, American and French scientists have found that Concorde is … Continue reading →

July 22, 2014

5:51 PM | Plotting with the Highcharts.js API
Full output here. Preview: Filed under: Data
5:38 PM | Plotting with the API
Output (non-interactive version): Filed under: Data
4:07 PM | Planetary science review to be released soon
The long-awaited—apprehensively, in some quarters—senior review of NASA planetary science missions is effectively complete and will be publicly released in the next week or two, a NASA official said Monday. “The planetary senior review, from a scientific report standpoint, has just been completed,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, in a presentation [...]
1:30 PM | No quick end for 2015 appropriations process
For a time this spring, it appeared that Congress would make quick work of fiscal year 2015 spending bills. The House, for example, passed its version of a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, which funds NASA, NOAA, and NSF among other agencies, in late May. Meanwhile, debate on the Senate version of the [...]

July 21, 2014

4:56 PM | What is ‘The Last Why’?
I’m changing this blog’s name from Is Nerd because I haven’t felt like a nerd for a while and the blog’s contents have reflected that, too. At the same time, I’m not going to split up my stuff between different blogs because,…Read more ›
2:48 PM | Reason Number Gazillion I Thank The FSM For The 2008 Election Result
That would be that Lindsay Graham, the Republican senator who is totally not pandering for re-election.  The idea that this guy would have had any possibility of a role at the center of the national security and or foreign policy apparatus in a McCain administration should send jolts of terror through anyone who doesn’t think […]
9:47 AM | European Conference on Health Economics – Dublin, July 2014
Last week saw the European Conference on Health Economics (ECHE) hosted by Trinity College Dublin.  CCHSR’s Ed Wilson was there. International conferences are always a great opportunity to find out what your colleagues are up to in different corners of the world.  ECHE was no exception.  The venue was Trinity College Dublin, home to the beautifully more
3:00 AM | Science Quiz – July 21, 2014
Every week, I create a science quiz for The Hindu newspaper’s In School product. It consists of 10 questions and only developments from the week preceding its day of publication (Monday). The answers are at the end. (This week’s quiz…Read more ›

July 20, 2014

7:37 PM | My New Favorite Mayor…
…would be Her Honor Kimberley Driscoll, chief executive of the town of Salem, MA, now caught up in a  dispute with Gordon College.   Gordon is a Christian school with an educational mission it describes thusly: “The best foundation for Christian higher education is the narrative of Scripture, and the goal of Christian higher learning is love—for both God and […]
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