Posts

October 03, 2014

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3:30 PM | Doing the right thing: Particle physicists pull paper after equation collides with the truth
Three physicists at Imperial College London have retracted a paper on Coulomb collisions, a kind of fender bender between two charged particles, after realizing their equations were written wrong. The mistake resulted in an erroneous conclusion about the strength of the collisions. Here’s the notice for “Effects of Large-Angle Coulomb Collisions on Inertial Confinement Fusion Plasmas”: Shortly […]
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1:44 PM | Carcinogens I've Worked With
The Department of Health and Human Services issued the 13th edition of their Report on Carcinogens this week. The list is not just chemicals, but includes physical hazards such as gamma radiation, and biological agents (hepatitis B and C for instance). I decided to take a look at the list and see what I've exposed myself to over the years. The list is actually split into two categories - those known to be human carcinogens and those reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. The former is […]
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1:30 PM | Oops: Elsevier journal publishes paper citing paper it promised to retract two months ago
Journal publishers can be agonizingly slow when it comes to officially retracting a paper. Here’s a prime example of the consequences of that bureaucratic foot-dragging: Ten months after being told that Fazlurrahman Khan had fabricated his data, and two months after announcing two of Khan’s papers would be retracted from two of its journals, Elsevier still […]
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4:00 AM | Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy)
Synopsis: Hominids is a strong, stand-alone SF novel, but it’s also the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet bound together by […]
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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Scott Weems
Special thanks to Scott Weems for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why Scott Weems’s career began as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, […]
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12:15 AM | Ancient sea levels give clues to natural sea rise
Scientists have produced the first detailed record of sea levels over the past 500,000 years and spanning five ice ages, using microfossils from sediments in the Red Sea. The team determined accurate dates for the sea levels by linking wind-blown […]test The post Ancient sea levels give clues to natural sea rise appeared first on Australian Science.
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12:00 AM | #flashbackfriday: 10 Billion
#flashbackfriday this week was featured on July 12, 2013. 10 Billion was written by Stephen Emmott. He writes how the population of the world is increasing towards 10 billion people and what we should be concerned about. Make […]

October 02, 2014

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4:14 PM | Contrary to reports, Lancet not retracting controversial letter to people of Gaza
Despite the claims of a widely circulated news report today, The Lancet has no plans to retract a controversial open letter to the people of Gaza that has drawn criticism since being published in August. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported this morning: The editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, which ran an […]
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2:22 PM | Rubber Glove and Ebola
The Atlantic has a an article today about subject that I first wrote about back in August – that polymers, and rubber gloves in particular, play a critical role in the fight against Ebola.The virus itself is thankfully not all that contagious. It is not spread via the air, but rather by direct contact with bodily fluids. A simple rubber glove, just a couple of mils thick, is more than enough protection, and yet sadly, the article notes that such a simple item is missing in many health […]
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12:37 PM | Nature, facing “considerable rise” in retractions, blames lawyers for opaque and delayed notices
Nature, as we and others have noticed, has had what Paul Knoepfler referred to as a “torrent” of retractions in the past two years. That torrent — 13 research papers — has prompted a welcome and soul-searching editorial, as it did in 2010 when the journal had what it called an “unusually large number” of […]
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4:00 AM | The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist
By Tanya Byron Synopsis: Tanya Byron shares powerful stories inspired by her years of training as a clinical psychologist. The Skeleton Cupboard is Professor Tanya Byron’s account of her years of training as a clinical psychologist, when […]
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12:15 AM | $28.8 million adds up for Indigenous students
Closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement and employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is the aim of a new CSIRO education program, funded by the BHP Billiton Foundation. Launched today at Parliament House by […]test The post $28.8 million adds up for Indigenous students appeared first on Australian Science.

October 01, 2014

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9:37 PM | Particle Physics Informs the Ultimate Questions
Editor’s Note: Author and Fermilab Senior Scientist Don Lincoln is set to teach “Mysteries of the Universe” from October 13 – 24 for Scientific American’s Professional Learning Program. We recently... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:30 PM | Double dipping on trial data topples 17-year-old macular degeneration article
The authors of a 1997 paper on macular degeneration have lost the article after readers noticed uncanny similarities with a 1996 publication from several of the same authors. The retracted article, “Radiation therapy for macular degeneration: Technical considerations and preliminary results,” appeared in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics – otherwise known as the “Red […]
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1:30 PM | Arizona prof plagiarizes student’s thesis, gets reprimanded, but keeps her job
An architecture professor at the University of Arizona has been sanctioned — lightly — for plagiarizing from the thesis of one of her masters’ students. According to a report in the Arizona Daily Star, the professor, Susannah Dickinson: received a “formal admonishment” from the university’s provost after the student accused Dickinson of poaching material from […]
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4:00 AM | Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
By Simon Winchester Synopsis: The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Map That Changed the World examines the enduring and world-changing effects of the catastrophic eruption off the coast of Java of the earth’s most dangerous […]
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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Richard Platt and Mary Platt
Special thanks to Richard and Mary Platt for answering 5 questions about their recently featured book – Don’t flush: lifting the lid on the science of poo and wee Richard Platt is the author of more than […]
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12:15 AM | New app offers relief for hay fever sufferers
Hay fever and asthma sufferers in Canberra will soon be able to receive daily counts and forecasts of pollen levels thanks to a free app released by ANU researchers. Project leader Professor Simon Haberle says Canberra is a hot-spot for […]test The post New app offers relief for hay fever sufferers appeared first on Australian Science.

September 30, 2014

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9:34 PM | Who’d have thunk it? Embargo broken on announcement of first U.S. case of Ebola
People have been asking me whether I can explain why the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has had so many embargo breaks this year (8, for those of you keeping score at home). Although I suspect that it has to do with the fact that PNAS has been publishing a lot of […]
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3:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: Sniffing at a dog poop paper; how grants should be distributed
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: Commenters are sniffing around a paper about whether dogs’ poop habits change with the Earth’s magnetic field. What if grants were distributed randomly? That’s one response to a paper on “Big Science, Small Science, or the Right Mix.” The authors of a paper in Science Translational Medicine respond to […]
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2:52 PM | Community Genomes: From the Peoples Parrot, to “Crowdfernding”.
Despite the precipitous drop in the price of DNA sequencing, global credit crunches have shrunk the science budgets able to properly take advantage of this. At least in the case of non-medical research. With acceptance rates for some of the major funding agencies in the US declining into single digit percentages, the research community needs to look to new ways of supporting the important work they do. One potential development to redress the balance is for scientists to cut out the middleman, […]
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1:30 PM | Author of alcohol paper retracted for plagiarism defends copy-and-paste strategy
The authors of a paper retracted for plagiarism of a popular website have decided not to take the charges — which they don’t contest — lying down. Here’s the notice for “Alcohol consumption and hormonal alterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review,” which appeared in Nutrition & Metabolism, a BioMed Central title: This article [1] […]
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1:27 PM | A Mixing Demonstration using non-Newtonian Blue Maize Flour Suspension
The Journal of Chemical Education has an article on mixing in non-Newtonain suspsensions that is visually appealing. They use blue maize flour, a material whose color is pH sensitive (I didn't know that). It goes through the color sequence shown below.Being a flour suspension, the material is non-Newtonian with a viscosity that changes with shear rate. But even more intriguing is that the viscosity of flour/water suspensions is pH sensitive. So as you might expect, the demonstration/experiment […]
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4:00 AM | The Book of Universes: Exploring the Outer Limits of the Cosmos
By John D Barrow Synopsis: An unforgettable tour of the strange and wonderful universes that modern physics posits might-just might-be out there. Einstein’s theory of general relativity opens the door to other universes, and weird universes […]
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12:15 AM | The Best of Australian Science: September 2014
It’s the end of September, 2014 and it our time to review the top headlights for this month. These would be our selection for the previous period. A Brief Talk with Andrea Morello, a Leading Australian Quantum Physicist by Milica […]test The post The Best of Australian Science: September 2014 appeared first on Australian Science.

September 29, 2014

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9:36 PM | Ten years of Methods
Our tenth anniversary is an occasion to celebrate methods development!  Read more
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9:14 PM | Anniversary Issue Cover
Over the summer we asked for contributions from our readers for the cover of our tenth anniversary issue. We asked for images of the number “10” made using biological research tools and techniques. We were delighted to have many excellent submissions and to be able to use them all on the cover. Here is a bit more detail about these images.  Read more
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7:00 PM | Critics of Poldermans’ work baffled by NEJM stance on DECREASE papers
A pair of researchers who have been calling for the retraction of two papers by cardiology researcher Don Poldermans say the New England Journal of Medicine is  “not justified” “disappointing” in its refusal to pull the articles. A little background: Poldermans resigned from Erasmus University in 2011 after having been accused of misconduct. Last week, […]
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6:02 PM | Microbial sequencing at Nature Methods
Over the years, Nature Methods has published many methods to generate and analyze complex sequence data for microbial studies. We cover highlights from our papers below.  Read more
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5:56 PM | Super-resolution microscopy at Nature Methods
On this 10th anniversary of the first issue of Nature Methods it is appropriate to look back at the relationship between the journal and super-resolution microscopy, one of the technologies we have chosen as one of the top ten methods developments in the ten years since Nature Methods published it first issue.  Read more
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