Posts

July 07, 2014

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2:33 AM | Science Quiz – July 7, 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. The _______ region of southwest China is some 4.5 km above sea-level. At this altitude, the air is rarefied and makes breathing difficult for humans.… Continue reading Science Quiz – July 7, 2014
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2:14 AM | But Volcanoes
Andy Lacis provides an interesting framework for a response to the common But volcanoes: The several hundred million tons of CO2 that volcanic eruptions may be injecting into the atmosphere is indeed a large number – probably more than what the entire fleet of trucks in the UK could handle. [more]
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1:48 AM | http://planet3.org/2014/07/06/10162/
I’m just hanging on like grim death to the simple truth that giving up is just lazy. We have a commitment to life, because that’s all there is, and that’s all about it.Susan Anderson

July 06, 2014

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10:33 PM | Balkans ‘could learn’ from Nordic research collaboration
The threat of invasion after World War II eventually brought the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, closer together through the Nordic Council of Ministers. Now the region has the biggest air force in Europe and a GDP larger than Russia, according to Bertel Haarder, former Danish minister and member of the council, who was speaking at Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF2014) on 23 June. The political cooperation eventually yielded gains for research, too, with the […]
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12:28 PM | Nurse Anesthetist and Former Washington Redskins Cheerleader Rachel Visits HoCo STEM Festival
Nurse Anesthetist and former Washington Redskins cheerleader Rachel recently attended the Howard County (Maryland) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Festival. Here’s her report: Hello fellow STEM folks! I had the pleasure of representing Science Cheerleader at the HoCo STEM Festival a few weeks ago. This was the second annual event so they were still looking for ideas in terms of how to make the event flow and make it overall even better! This year I was in the […]
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7:58 AM | July 2014 Open Thread
More thread.
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2:30 AM | Draft policy on increasing access to DBT/DST research
An Open Access Policy Committee has drafted a policy to enhance access to publicly funded research by setting up a national open access (OA) repository under the oversight of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Reproduced in full here: This is a very good move that that will highlight what OA […]

July 05, 2014

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2:53 PM | New Higgs results show signs of SUSY
Two years ago, physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider first announced the discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle, setting the high-energy physics community atwitter. And it was only a couple weeks ago that physicists also announced that the particle was definitely the one predicted by the sturdy Standard Model of particle physics, the theory that […]
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3:34 AM | The federation of our digital identities
Facebook, Twitter, email, WordPress, Instagram, online banking, the list goes on… Offline, you’re one person maintaining (presumably) one identity. On the web, you have many of them. All of them might point at you, but they’re still distinct packets of data floating … Continue reading →

July 04, 2014

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5:55 PM | Pantry Sniffing
With a h/t to a valuable science-Twitterer and all-round good guy/researcher, Jonathan Eisen, here’s something for the curious among us to aspire to when next you contemplate cleaning out your larder: Kew mycologists Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz have discovered three species of mushrooms that are new to science in a commercial packet of dried […]
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5:11 PM | Serbian mathematicians, Slovenian physicist among the ‘world’s most influential scientific minds’
Several researchers based in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe have made it onto the “World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014” list compiled by Thomson Reuters. Otherwise dominated by traditional science powerhouses such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the list also includes academics based in Poland (5), Hungary (3), Czech Republic (2), Serbia (2), Lithuania (1), Slovenia (1), and Slovakia (1). Some other scientists on the list originate from the region […]
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4:17 PM | http://planet3.org/2014/07/04/10155/
A slightly more complicated graph following up on the previous one showing how much carbon is left to burn, showing that even that one is unreasonably optimistic. The curve plots a reasonable estimate of the (Bayesian) probability, given available knowledge, of staying within 2 degrees C above the preindustrial global mean surface temperature. [more]

July 03, 2014

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11:58 PM | http://planet3.org/2014/07/03/10150/
“we need at least ten times more editors than we need auditors”Willard
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10:43 PM | A New Strategy for the ClimateBall Player: The Contrarian Matrix
Willard contacted me to tell me has been attempting to categorize all the contrarian plays in ClimateBall (his coinage). He has created a website that displays his working result, called Contrarian Matrix. mt and Willard had a text chat about it. [more]
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2:27 PM | No action, but more commentary, on Shelby’s commercial crew cost language
The Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill remains in the Senate, after action on the bill stalled out on the Senate floor two weeks ago due to matters unrelated to NASA. The earliest debate on the bill could resume is early next week, although it’s unclear exactly when they’ll take up the bill again. [...]
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8:04 AM | What is VLBI?
On June 25, scientists announced the discovery of a trio of supermassive black holes at the center of a galaxy 4.2 billion light years away. The find was credited to the European VLBI Network. A Space.com report stated that this network “could see details 50 times finer than is possible with the Hubble Space Telescope”. […]

July 02, 2014

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3:58 PM | 3 kinds of validity: Internal, external & operational
Some of the thoughtful things people said in connection with my 3-part series on the “external validity” of science-communication studies made me realize that it would be  helpful to say a bit more about that concept and its connection to doing evidence-based science communication. In the posts, I described “internal validity” as referring to qualities of the design that support drawing inferences about what is happening in the study, and […]
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3:13 PM | Air Force seeks to dismiss SpaceX EELV suit
In a motion filed with the Court of Federal Claims this week, the Air Force seeks to dismiss SpaceX’s lawsuit against it protesting the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) block buy contract the service awarded to United Launch Alliance (ULA), arguing that SpaceX missed its chance to protest the award by two years. “SpaceX’s complaint [...]
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9:12 AM | My camera took me for a walk last evening.
Filed under: Opinions
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4:32 AM | Let’s Try “Sense Based Safety”
I belong to 50 LinkedIn groups and I am active in each of them. They range from groups catering to trainers and industrial designers to those focusing on specific industries in which I work. The vast majority of those groups have one thing or another to do with worker safety. Each day my [...]
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3:33 AM | Poll: Public wants stiffer penalties for texting while driving
Driving? Put down the phone – or else. That sums up public sentiment about texting while driving, according to a new public opinion poll from the National Safety Council (NSC). The new poll shows 73% of respondents think there should be more enforcement of texting while driving laws; only 22% said the current level of enforcement [...]
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3:29 AM | http://planet3.org/2014/07/01/10125/
“These arguments are not those of serious people.” Judge John G Hayburn II
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3:27 AM | July Open Thread
Anything goes. Suggested topic: if energy storage prices come down far enough, is carbon-fueled electricity a dead business model?
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3:22 AM | Worker Killed By 2 Tons of Falling Glass
An employee of a window company in Colorado was crushed to death by a falling crate of glass. Local rescue officials say the employee of Manko Window Systems in Aurora, CO, was helping unload wooden crates of glass at the business when the 4,000-pound load fell on top of him. The man was pronounced dead at [...]
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2:59 AM | 2014 Trucking Accident Compilation
Related Training DVDs: Hours of Service Driver Training Program – DVD Training Kit Covers the new Hours-of-Service rules drivers must comply with as of February 27, 2012 and July 1, 2013. View Product Driving Safety Training Video Provide the information employees need to drive cars, vans and small trucks safely, both on [...]

July 01, 2014

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4:35 PM | Why I moved out of WordPress
My first blog was on Xanga.com, with which I shared an uneasy relationship mostly because I was 14 years old then. Later, I switched to WordPress.com and have had no reason to look back in the six or seven years since… until now. In this time, both WordPress and I have come a long way but in obviously […]
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4:13 PM | Climate science literacy, critical reasoning, and independent thinking ...
Who you are, not what you know...My new paper, “Climate Science Communication and the Measurement Problem,” features a “climate science literacy” (CSL) measure.  I’ve posted bits & pieces of the paper & described some of the data it contains.  But I really haven’t discussed in the blog what I regard as most important thing about the CSL results.  This has to do with the relationship between the CSL scores, critical reasoning, and […]
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2:38 PM | CSF continues to press for human spaceflight export rule changes
The mid-May publication of the “draft final” export control rule for satellites and related components largely brought the saga of export control reform to an end, with the exception of a few loose ends, such as aperture limits for remote sensing systems. The administration’s decision was a major, but not complete, victory for the space [...]
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9:03 AM | Lost in translation: the impact of medical jargon on patient-centred care
In the days before BuzzFeed, amusing adverts snapped abroad by would-be photojournalists were a staple of email circulars. Who could forget the Chinese KFC ad that translated “finger-lickin’ good” to “eat your fingers off”, or the Italian campaign for “Schweppes toilet water”? Of course, you don’t have to go overseas to be met with mutual ...read more
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7:00 AM | Paper in ACM TOCE: “Restart: The Resurgence of Computer Science in UK Schools”
Further to the previous CAS papers, Neil Brown (University of Kent), Sue Sentance (formerly Anglia Ruskin University, now CAS), Simon Humphreys (CAS/BCS) and I have had a paper accepted into ACM Transactions on Computing Education: Restart: The Resurgence of Computer Science in UK Schools, part of a Special Issue on Computing Education in (K-12) Schools. […]
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