August 20, 2014

2:02 PM | Why is recycling plastics so confusing?
The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) has a blog called "In the Hopper" which just yesterday had a nice review of the history of the SPI recycling codes, those little symbols with the numbers 1 through 7 and the chasing arrows.The blog also discusses the confusion that the public has over the symbols, something that I have been baffled by in the past.What always seems to be missing from these discussion about recycling confusion however, is any mention that all plastic recycling is local. […]
4:00 AM | The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat
By Oliver Sacks Other Title: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales Synopsis: In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century” (The New […]
1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Greg Bear
Special thanks to Greg Bear for answering 6 questions about his recently featured book – Darwin’s Radio Greg’s Homepage: #1 – What was the impetus for writing Darwin’s Radio? For over a decade–since writing BLOOD MUSIC in […]
12:15 AM | Laser makes microscopes way cooler
Laser physicists have found a way to make atomic-force microscope probes 20 times more sensitive and capable of detecting forces as small as the weight of an individual virus. The technique, developed by researchers in the Quantum Optics Group of […]test The post Laser makes microscopes way cooler appeared first on Australian Science.

August 19, 2014

4:12 PM | Linguistics retraction fails to speak clearly
The Canadian Center of Science and Education has put out a truly useless retraction for a paper published in June 2010 in their journal English Language Teaching. Here’s the notice for “A Solution to Plato’s Problem: Faculty of Language as A Complex Non-Linear System”: The editorial board announced this article has been retracted on August 18, […]
2:05 PM | Hangout with Canopy Researcher Margaret Lowman
Margaret Lowman, who also goes by the nickname “Canopy Meg,” is chief of science and sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on life and ecosystems at... -- Read more on
1:17 PM | The Death Ray returns to my backyard
Back in February I wrote about the Death Ray that I had in my back yard. This Death Ray is formed from sunlight reflecting off of the curved panes of glass on the south facing windows of the house. Back in February, the curvature concentrated the sunlight enough that it could melt snow, even though the sun was fairly low in the sky and the air temperature was only 10 oF.6 months later, the Death Ray has returned. Now that the weather here in Minnesota has gone from extremely wet (and cloudy) to […]
12:30 PM | Hmm: Authors retract paper rather than allow discussion of politics of organ donation in China
Organ donation in China, particularly the practice of using organs from executed prisoners, which the government pledged to stop by the middle of this year, has been a controversial subject. For a group of authors in that country and the U.S, a letter criticizing their work that introduced “the political situation of organ donation in […]
4:00 AM | Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why
By Scott Weems Synopsis: Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why? In this fascinating […]
12:15 AM | A Good Defence is about Understanding Cyber Threats
In the era of the Internet and emerging technologies, we are supposed to deal with different sorts of cyber threats, risks and attacks. This modern time brought a lot of advantages to the Human Kind, but also some fast-spreading and […]test The post A Good Defence is about Understanding Cyber Threats appeared first on Australian Science.

August 18, 2014

3:30 PM | I know you are but what am I? School program paper pulled for duplication
An article on youth development programs in Hong Kong has been retracted for its similarity to another article on youth development programs by the same authors. The paper, “Process Evaluation of a Positive Youth Development Program in Hong Kong Based on Different Cohorts,” appeared in 2012 in The Scientific World Journal, and was written by […]
1:30 PM | Bearly believable: Water bear paper retracted for missing lab notebooks
Tardigrades, the most hardy animals on or off planet Earth, can survive boiling, freezing, and even the ravages of outer space. Unfortunately, some data on water bears’ memories proved to be less long-lasting, earning a retraction for a George Mason University researcher who also published the paper without alerting her co-workers ahead of time. Here’s the notice for […]
1:30 PM | 9 Activities that BOTH Academic Researchers and Industrial Researchers Perform
Once again, another tired editorial from another academic editor, which much like a previous editorial from another academic bemoans the difficulties of finding academic peer reviewers for their journals (and grant proposals).I've suggested in the past that journals branch out to industrial researchers as we not only outnumber academic researchers by a factor likely on the order of 25, but we are still not close to being tapped out. But what is even more maddening about this editorial is that […]
4:00 AM | It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
By danah boyd Synopsis: What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology […]
3:00 AM | 2014 Hugo Award Winners Announced!
The 2014 Hugo Award winners have been announced. Click here for the whole story. Congratulations to Ann Leckie, for winning Best Novel for her great book, Ancillary Justice. We managed to interview her earlier this […]
1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Jordan Ellenberg
Special thanks to Jordan Ellenberg for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking Jordan Ellenberg grew up in Potomac, MD, the child of two statisticians. He excelled […]
12:15 AM | River red gum – more than just a tree
So much more than just a tree, the river red gum has been central to the tensions between economic, social and environmental values of rivers and floodplain landscapes in Australia – perhaps more so than any other Australian plant or […]test The post River red gum – more than just a tree appeared first on Australian Science.

August 17, 2014

4:01 AM | Don’t flush: lifting the lid on the science of poo and wee
By Richard Platt, Mary Platt, John Kelly (illustrator) Synopsis: This book is a light-hearted, yet highly informative study of two of the most natural human resources in the world – poo and wee. Throughout history, the products […]
12:15 AM | Weekly Science Picks
What an amazing week! A lot of things have happened over the last 7 days. For instance, did you know that a woman won an outstanding Fields Medal in mathematics for the first time after 50 years? How brilliant is […]test The post Weekly Science Picks appeared first on Australian Science.

August 16, 2014

1:32 PM | Weekend reads: Publish a paper, get $10,000!; Lancet editor Horton under fire
Another busy week at Retraction Watch. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Publish a paper, get $10,000! “Following the publication in The Lancet last month of an open letter to the people of Gaza, a number of doctors have begun a petition to force editor-in-chief Richard Horton to resign. Should medical journals get political? A heavily […]
4:00 AM | The Compatibility Gene: How Our Bodies Fight Disease, Attract Others, and Define Ourselves
By Daniel M Davis UK Title: The Compatibility Gene Synopsis: The Compatibility Gene is a scientific adventure story set in a new field of genetic discovery – that of the crucial genes that define our relationships, our […]
12:15 AM | Cuckoos trick other cuckoos in the race to own the nest
Australian native cuckoos are engaged in an arms race, competing with each other to take over other species’ nests. The finding by Research School of Biology scientists gives new insights into the deceptive habits of cuckoos, which lay their eggs […]test The post Cuckoos trick other cuckoos in the race to own the nest appeared first on Australian Science.

August 15, 2014

3:20 PM | Enthusiastic retraction and retracted correction mark loss of researcher’s fourth and fifth papers
Here’s a physics retraction whose use of an exclamation point — the only one we’ve ever seen in a retraction notice! — makes the editors’ exasperation palpable. It’s also the the fourth retraction for R. K. Singhal, of the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. Behold the notice for “Magnetic behavior of functionally modified spinel Ni0.4Ca0.6Fe2O4 […]
1:30 PM | “Irregularities” lead to retraction of paper on delirium
A paper on delirium in older adults has been withdrawn by a geriatric journal, after the clinical hospital notified the journal of problems in the data. Here’s the notice for “Issues Associated with Delirium Severity Among Older Patients,” which first appeared in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care: This abstract has been retracted on the request of […]
4:00 AM | Why Aren’t We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System
By Idan Ben-Barak Synopsis: Disease — specifically infectious disease — is what eventually kills the overwhelming majority of us. In fact, it’s amazing that it doesn’t get us sooner: we fight off millions of disease-causing germs […]
1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews David Adam
Special thanks to David Adam for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought David Adam is an editor […]
12:15 AM | Multi-Coloured Vision
Colour is our eye’s interpretation of light reflecting off objects. The different colours we see are different wavelengths of light. Colour-specific photoreceptors in the retina of our eyes, cones, translate the wavelengths into what we see as colour. Humans generally […]test The post Multi-Coloured Vision appeared first on Australian Science.
12:00 AM | #flashbackfriday: A Beautiful Mind
#flashbackfriday this week is from December 3, 2013. A Beautiful Mind was written by Sylvia Nasar. She writes about John Nash, how he struggled with schizophrenia and eventually won the Nobel Prize. The book was eventually […]

August 14, 2014

3:46 PM | “Research misconduct accounts for a small percentage of total funding”: Study
How much money does scientific fraud waste? That’s an important question, with an answer that may help determine how much attention some people pay to research misconduct. But it’s one that hasn’t been rigorously addressed. Seeking some clarity,  Andrew Stern, Arturo Casadevall, Grant Steen, and Ferric Fang looked at cases in which the Office of […]
3:00 PM | University of Maryland duo notches third retraction
A pair of researchers at the University of Maryland have retracted a third paper. Here’s the unhelpful Journal of Biological Chemistry notice for “Inhibitor of Nrf2 (INrf2 or Keap1) protein degrades Bcl-xL via phosphoglycerate mutase 5 and controls cellular apoptosis,” by Suryakant Niture and Anil Jaiswal: This article has been withdrawn by the authors. The […]
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