Posts

October 18, 2014

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3:00 AM | Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris
By Christopher Kemp Synopsis: “Preternaturally hardened whale dung” is not the first image that comes to mind when we think of perfume, otherwise a symbol of glamour and allure. But the key ingredient that makes the […]
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12:15 AM | What Happens When You Take a Nobel Prize Through Airport Security
Winning a Nobel Prize has its perks. When you talk, people listen. And you end up doing a lot of talking. And travelling. Reflecting on how the Nobel Prize changed his life, Walter Gilbert (1980 winner in Chemistry) commented, “You […]test The post What Happens When You Take a Nobel Prize Through Airport Security appeared first on Australian Science.

October 17, 2014

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4:00 PM | “This situation left me ashamed and infuriated with myself:” Scientist retracts two papers
A Portuguese group has retracted two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology after mislabeled computer files led to the wrong images being used. And, we’ve learned in a heartfelt email, the first author was devastated. Here’s the notice for “MtvR Is a Global Small Noncoding Regulatory RNA in Burkholderia cenocepacia”: A number of problems related to images […]
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1:41 PM | Linday Lohan and plastic bags
I last wrote about Lindsay Lohan in April of 2013. Since that time, she has kept a pretty low profile as far as the plastics industry is concerned. But that all changed this morning when the Daily Mail published photos of her and a plastic bag:That's her behind the bag, leaving for home(?) after performing onstage in London last night. (The article has more photographs that show that it is indeed Lindsay.)She can get away with this in London, but pulling the plastic bag stunt in California is […]
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1:30 PM | At a snail’s pace: Species rediscovered, but paper on its disappearance remains
A few weeks ago, in Weekend Reads, we highlighted the story of a snail species, thought to have gone extinct thanks to global warming, that had been rediscovered. Now, as first reported by The Scientist, the journal in question has addressed the issue. Here’s the story: In 2007, Biology Letters published a paper by Justin […]
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3:00 AM | Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects
By Scott Richard Shaw Synopsis: Dinosaurs, however toothy, did not rule the earth—and neither do humans. But what were and are the true potentates of our planet? Insects, says Scott Richard Shaw—millions and millions of insect species. Starting in […]
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12:15 AM | Foodborne illness on the decline
New Australian National University research has found the incidence of foodborne illness has declined slightly and that one quarter of the 16 million cases of gastroenteritis each year are caused by food contamination. The research tracked the changes in foodborne […]test The post Foodborne illness on the decline appeared first on Australian Science.
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12:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Sarah Dry
Special thanks to Sarah Dry for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts I am an independent scholar with a weakness for the history […]

October 16, 2014

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11:00 PM | #flashbackfriday Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers
#flashbackfriday this week was featured on September 16, 2013. Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers is an engaging story about the history of the first storm chasers, written by Lee Sandlin. Make sure you […]
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3:00 PM | Journal expresses concerns over “possible data irregularities” in paper from Army medical center docs
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has issued an expression of concern about a 2012 article reporting the experience of military burn unit treating a rare ailment called toxic epidermal necrolysis. According to the notice, which is behind a paywall (for shame!), the paper appears to have overstated the number of cases the […]
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1:00 PM | Neuroscientist who threatened to sue Science-Fraud.org, retracted two papers is out at Tufts
Gizem Donmez, a neuroscientist who has retracted two papers from Cell and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is no longer in her position at Tufts University, Retraction Watch has learned. A Tufts spokesperson confirmed the news for us yesterday: Dr. Donmez is no longer employed by Tufts University. We don’t, as a rule, comment on […]
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3:00 AM | Seventeen Equations that Changed the World
By Ian Stewart Other title: In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World Synopsis: From Newton’s Law of Gravity to the Black-Scholes model used by bankers to predict the markets, equations, are everywhere […]
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12:15 AM | Take Big History: A Free Short Course on 13.8 Billion Years of History, Funded by Bill Gates
Last month, The New York Times Magazine published a long piece called “So Bill Gates Has This Idea for a History Class …”, which begins with these very words: In 2008, shortly after Bill Gates stepped down from his executive […]test The post Take Big History: A Free Short Course on 13.8 Billion Years of History, Funded by Bill Gates appeared first on Australian Science.

October 15, 2014

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9:00 PM | Not that Noble
From Justus Liebigs Annalen der Chemie in 1856… Either this chap was publishing under a not-terribly-creative pseudonym, or someone at the editorial office got a bit confused…
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3:30 PM | Authors retract HER-2 endometrial cancer paper for 2x publication
File this one under strange excuses. A cancer paper was retracted on September 17 for a double publication. According to the notice in which the authors admit to duplicating the “opening to the readers,” which we assume is the introduction, there was no need to cite the article “because it had not yet been printed […]
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1:30 PM | “Several scientific errors” sink physics paper after rewrite opportunity
We don’t love this somewhat incoherent retraction for a paper on coherent states, although luckily the publisher was prompt with telling us a little more about what happened. On October 2, a 2008 physics paper, “Generation of a superposition of coherent states in a resonant cavity and its nonclassicality and decoherence,” was retracted for “several scientific […]
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1:24 PM | Polyethylene Production coming to North Dakota
While my homestate of Minnesota remains a frack-free zone (due to Mother Nature's choice to stock us with iron, copper and other minerals rather than even a drop of petroleum), our neighboring state of North Dakota is pretty much ground zero for the effort. And we hear about it a lot since many people have taken the day's drive out there for the good paying jobs. Western North Dakota is not highly populated, so manpower is short. If you can pass a drug test and supply your own housing, you can […]
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1:00 PM | Scientific American Online Now Speaks Spanish
In 1845, when Scientific American was founded, the name was aspirational for a young country in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. Before the 1800s were out, however, it launched an edition in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:00 AM | Psychology: A Very Short Introduction
By Gillian Butler and Freda McManus Synopsis: Psychology is part of everyone’s experience: it influences the way we think about everything from education and intelligence, to relationships and emotions, advertising and criminality. People readily behave as amateur […]
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12:15 AM | Some Thoughts on “Privilege”
To assume that one’s voice and cultural contribution don’t count because one was born into “privilege” is as narrow and toxic as to deny one’s voice because one was born into poverty. This is by no means to discount the […]test The post Some Thoughts on “Privilege” appeared first on Australian Science.
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12:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Rebecca Stefoff
Special thanks to Rebecca Stefoff for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal I’m Rebecca Stefoff, the author of […]

October 14, 2014

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6:11 PM | Should we put our money where our citations are?
A while back I covered a study called “From funding agencies to scientific agency,” by researchers from Indiana University’s Department of Information and Library Science (Bollen, Crandall, Junk,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:35 PM | Correcting the scientific record: An introduction to retractions
The modern scholarly publication system serves as the primary means of communicating scientific results, typically through peer-reviewed articles. While the peer-review process attempts to keep... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: PubPeer comments lead to Science correction; crystal structure in triplicate
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: “Hello. I am the first author and thank you for pointing out this issue,” writes an author of a Science paper. “Since your posts, we have carefully investigated what happened. During preparation of multiple drafts and revisions I inadvertently used the same image twice.” The author continues: “I hope […]
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1:55 PM | Yet more activist investors thinking they can run a chemical business
I've been writing a fair amount this past year about Daniel Loeb and his efforts as an activist investor to tell Dow Chemical's CEO how to run his business (1, 2, 3, and 4).Since Dow is doing so well (no doubt as a direct result of Loeb's guidance (/sarcasm_off), Loeb is looking for a new place to produce similar results, now setting his sights oversee on DSM. He wants DSM to sell off the low profit plastics business and focus exclusively on the baby food and nutrition supplements business […]
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1:30 PM | Ripping off someone else’s thesis sinks paper on chicken temperatures
Proof that people will plagiarize anything they think they can get away with: a Brazilian scientist plagiarized a masters’ student’s thesis on the surface temperature of chickens. We spoke with International Journal of Biometeorology editor-in-chief Scott Sheridan about the case: It was a case of plagiarism – the lead author plagiarized some text in Portuguese in […]
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3:05 AM | Science Book a Day Celebrates its 500th Book!
Congratulations to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, for becoming the 500th book featured on Science Book a Day! Doing Science Book a Day, you get to see the numbers of the books you’ve […]
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3:00 AM | A Short History of Nearly Everything
By Bill Bryson Synopsis: One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill […]
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12:15 AM | A Futuristic Review of Cyber Defence
Cyber age has begun in the previous century and includes everything related to the web, computers and mobile technologies. As cyberspace has been developing, some security concerns have appeared. The future of computing technologies is clear – we are going […]test The post A Futuristic Review of Cyber Defence appeared first on Australian Science.

October 13, 2014

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3:33 PM | How meta: Paper on errors retracted for “too many stupid mistakes”
A paper published in Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science has been retracted for statistical and typographical mistakes. Here’s the notice for “Comparing Measurement Error Between Two Different Methods of Measurement of Various Magnitudes”: Due to errors, the statistical analyses of the manuscript titled “Comparing Measurement Error Between Two Different Methods of Measurement of Various Magnitudes” by […]
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