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Can science understand everything? NASA scientists attempt to answer the question | Aeon Videos
This short documentary is built around a single question posed in 2005-6 to scientists working at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley: ‘Do you think science can understand everything?’ Most of them pause or take a deep breath before venturing out on such thin ice. From seeking clarity on the meaning of the question, to weighing careful, nuanced answers, to relative certainty one way or the other, their perspectives provide a fascinating window on to the varying motivations and world views of scientists working at the frontiers of human knowledge.
science  philosophy  video  Vimeo  epistemology  people  interviews  Aeon 
7 weeks ago by pierredv
THE MODERN STUDY OF MYTH AND ITS RELATION TO SCIENCE - Segal - 2015 - Zygon® - Wiley Online Library
Robert A. Segal
First published: 12 August 2015


The history of the modern study of myth can be divided into two main categories: that which sees myth as the primitive counterpart to natural science, itself considered overwhelmingly modern, and that which sees myth as almost anything but the primitive counterpart to natural science. The first category constitutes the nineteenth‐century approach to myth. The second category constitutes the twentieth‐century approach. Tylor and Frazer epitomize the nineteenth‐century view. Malinowski, Eliade, Bultmann, Jonas, Camus, Freud, and Jung epitomize the twentieth‐century approach. The question for the twenty‐first century is whether myth can be brought back to the physical world, but in a way compatible with science. The case of the myth of Gaia will be considered as a possible way of doing so.
myth  Science  Zygon 
9 weeks ago by pierredv
Why Science Can’t Break the GMO Stalemate - The New Atlantis, Tess Doezema Sep 2019
Review of Mark Lynas’s new book, "Seeds of Science: Why We Got It So Wrong on GMOs"

"What has gone wrong with the debate such that even someone who has occupied both sides has no new insight into why the two continue to talk past each other?"

"In illustrating how entwined science is with the corporations capitalizing on its fruits, he inadvertently undermines his conceit that the issue is simply a matter of science, separate from economics, culture, and history."

"The goal is to flip the anti-GMO worldview on its head: Obviously someone is The Villain and someone is The Hero. With this approach, Lynas intensifies the polarization and the simplistic framing of the larger debate. To accept their facts is to be swayed by corrupt interests and ideologies; to deny our facts is to be post-truth."

"His friends present him with an understanding of science that is not simply a conglomeration of value-free facts. Instead, science in their view is a human and social enterprise, one with fields of inquiry that stretch back far before the present debate, and now shape which questions show up as worth asking of new technologies."

"The trouble is this: By reducing non-technocratic ways of seeing the world to mere gut reactions masked in rational language, Lynas delegitimizes them, while implicitly elevating the vision of a good world — namely, a technological one — widely shared within particular cultures of scientific reason."

"If the only legitimate register in which to criticize a new technology is that of risk, it should not be terribly surprising when this is how opponents articulate their concerns."

"A call to let all voices be heard means little when all must speak in the scientist’s tongue."
TheNewAtlantis  science  technology  culture  GMO  biotech 
september 2019 by pierredv
Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge - Einstein
"In conclusion, evidence indicates that the quotation is accurate, and it appeared in an interview of Albert Einstein conducted by George Sylvester Viereck in 1929."
QuoteInvestigator  quotations  creativity  science 
june 2019 by pierredv
Public Communication of Climate Change Science: Engaging Citizens Through Apocalyptic Narrative Explanation: Technical Communication Quarterly: Vol 18, No 1
Philippa Spoel, David Goforth, Hoi Cheu & David Pearson
Pages 49-81 | Published online: 23 Dec 2008
Download citation


Working from the premise that public input is essential to science policy deliberations, we analyze how two recent works of public communication about climate change (An Inconvenient Truth and Climate Change Show) draw on the rhetorical resource of apocalyptic narrative explanation to promote scientific fluency and inspire citizen engagement in the issues. By weaving together the proofs of ethos, logos, and pathos within a framework of cultural rationality, these narratives illustrate available means of persuasion for stimulating the public's informed participation in science policy discussions.
stories  narrative  climate-change  communication  science 
may 2019 by pierredv
CNS - Center for Narrative in Science
The CNS is a research and service center for all matters relating to the study of narrative in science (natural, human, and social)
science  narrative  stories 
may 2019 by pierredv
From Stories to Scientific Models and Back: Narrative framing in modern macroscopic physics: International Journal of Science Education: Vol 37, No 5-6

Narrative in science learning has become an important field of inquiry. Most applications of narrative are extrinsic to science—such as when they are used for creating affect and context. Where they are intrinsic, they are often limited to special cases and uses. To extend the reach of narrative in science, a hypothesis of narrative framing of natural and technical scenes is formulated. The term narrative framing is used in a double sense, to represent (1) the enlisting of narrative intelligence in the perception of phenomena and (2) the telling of stories that contain conceptual elements used in the creation of scientific models of these phenomena. The concrete case for narrative framing is made by conceptual analyses of simple stories of natural phenomena and of products related to modern continuum thermodynamics that reveal particular figurative structures. Importantly, there is evidence for a medium-scale perceptual gestalt called force of nature that is structured metaphorically and narratively. The resulting figurative conceptual structure gives rise to the notion of natural agents acting and suffering in storyworlds. In order to show that formal scientific models are deeply related to these storyworlds, a link between using (i.e. simulating) models and storytelling is employed. This link has recently been postulated in studies of narrative in computational science and economics.
science  physics  narrative  stories  education 
may 2019 by pierredv
A theoretical framework for narrative explanation in science - Norris - 2005 - Science Education - Wiley Online Library

This paper deals with a number of conceptual and theoretical issues that underlie the proposal to employ narrative explanations in science education: What is narrative? What is explanation? and What is narrative explanation? In answering these questions, we develop a framework of narrative elements and characteristics of narrative explanations. Two possible examples of narrative explanation are presented and examined in light of the framework. This examination brings to light various conceptual and empirical questions related to the examples and to the larger issue of the use of examples like them in science instruction. The value of the framework lies partly in its power to point to such questions. The questions can guide a program of theoretical and empirical research into the psychological reality of the narrative form of explanation, the existence of narrative explanations in science, the use of narrative explanations in science teaching, and the nature and extent of the narrative effect upon which proposals for the use of narrative often are justified.
science  education  narrative  stories 
may 2019 by pierredv
The Role of Narrative in Communicating Science: International Journal of Science Education: Vol 31, No 12

The present theoretical paper presents a case for the use of narrative (i.e., fictional written text) in science education as a way of making science meaningful, relevant, and accessible to the public. Grounded in literature pointing to the value of narrative in supporting learning and the need to explore new modes of communicating science, this paper explores the potential of narrative in science education. More specifically, in this paper we explore the question: What is narrative and why might it be of value to science education? In answering this question we propose a view of narrative and its necessary components, which permits narrative a role in science education, and is, in fact, the main contribution of this paper. Also, a range of examples of narrative text are offered in the paper to make the case for a representation of fictional narrative in science. In order to address questions connected with the use of narrative in science education, a research agenda based on perspectives of narrative implications for learning is framed.
narrative  science  education  stories 
may 2019 by pierredv
Candela vs Lux vs Lumens — Blog
A good way to remember the differences between terms is:

Lumens are how much light is given off
Lux is how bright your surface will be
Candela measures the visible intensity from the light source.
Science  engineering  tutorials 
april 2019 by pierredv
Confirmed: New phase of matter is solid and liquid at same time - National Geographic Apr 2019
Via Linda Chang

"a team has used a type of artificial intelligence to confirm the existence of a bizarre new state of matter, one in which potassium atoms exhibit properties of both a solid and a liquid at the same time. If you were somehow able to pull out a chunk of such material, it would probably look like a solid block leaking molten potassium that eventually all dissolved away."
NationalGeographic  science  solid-state  physics 
april 2019 by pierredv
Science in hand: how art and craft can boost reproducibility - Nature News, Dec 2018
“We — a surgeon, a research nurse and a synthetic chemist — looked beyond science to discover how people steeped in artistic skills might help to close this ‘haptic gap’, the deficit in skills of touch and object manipulation. We have found that craftspeople and performers can work fruitfully alongside scientists to address some of the challenges. We have also discovered striking similarities between the observational skills of an entomologist and an analytical chemist; the dexterity of a jeweller and a microsurgeon; the bodily awareness of a dancer and a space scientist; and the creative skills of a scientific glassblower, a reconstructive surgeon, a potter and a chef.”
NatureJournal  art  science  surgery  performance  skill  training 
december 2018 by pierredv
Help to shape policy with your science - Nature career feature, Aug 2018
"When scientists get involved in policy, they should be careful not to advocate for specific solutions, warns Gluckman. Instead, he says, quoting from a book by political scientist and public-policy expert Roger Pielke Jr, a scientist should be an ‘honest broker’, helping policymakers to understand possible policy options and their consequences."

"Most of all, scientists should understand that policymakers rarely want to hear about the results of a researcher’s latest peer-reviewed study. "

See also:

"To make sure science influences policy, it’s best to collaborate with policymakers from the start, says Mach."
policy  policy-making  advocacy  science  NatureJournal 
august 2018 by pierredv
Picking Cherries in Science: The Bio-Initiative Report – Science-Based Medicine
The Bio-Initiative Report is the basis for AlignandShineDesign's claims about energems
health  science  medicine 
august 2018 by pierredv
Science isn't everything – and it's not even after the truth | New Scientist 28 Feb 2018, issue 3167
"Although science is an admirable achievement, we look silly when we claim there are no limits to what it can do, say two new books"

"Understanding trumps truth: scientists will generally settle for a less accurate model if it is more cognitively transparent."

"There is no “scientific method”, but there is a collection of tried-and-tested principles: try to use reason, compare theory against experiment, attempt to replicate results, that kind of thing. The precise emphases differ by discipline."
NewScientist  science  scientific-method  books  philosophy 
may 2018 by pierredv
An astronomers’ meeting turns into a haiku competition - Scientific foibles - Economist Mar 2018
this year, more than 200 of the papers at LPSC [Lunar and Planetary Science Conference] have such haiku summaries
TheEconomist  poetry  haiku  science  astronomy 
march 2018 by pierredv
Scientific ballooning takes off - Nature, Jan 2018
via Dale Hatfield

"Private companies want to take scientific experiments sky-high in 2018 — aboard high-altitude balloons."

"companies such as World View of Tucson, Arizona, are lofting payloads quickly and cheaply into the stratosphere, between 16 and 30 kilometres up"

"Among the ballooning companies that accept scientific payloads are Raven Aerostar of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Near Space Corporation of Tillamook, Oregon. World View has made a splash in the past year by developing a standardized ‘Stratollite’ platform that dangles beneath its balloons. "
science  balloons  NatureJournal 
january 2018 by pierredv
Editor’s Journal | Issues in Science and Technology, Dec 2017
"But if stories are especially good at making sense of the ambiguities and contradictions of the human condition, where and what are the stories that can communicate a more complex and even fruitful relationship between science and religion?
Several of them are in this edition of Issues."
Issues-in-Science-and-Technology  science  religion  stories 
december 2017 by pierredv
The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe - The New York Times
Via Brad Bernthal

"As the Voyager mission is winding down, so, too, are the careers of the aging explorers who expanded our sense of home in the galaxy"
NASA  NYTimes  space  astronomy  science  History  ageing  engineering 
august 2017 by pierredv
Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century | The National Academies Press
National Research Council (NRC) report
"Recognizing the growing importance of radio observations to their respective missions and the increasing potential for interference from new wireless technologies, NASA, the Department of Commerce, and the National Science Foundation commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to identify the spectrum needs of today’s scientific activities and to assist spectrum managers in balancing the requirements of scientific uses of the spectrum with those of other interests. . . . chose to consider only the passive (“receive-only”) scientific applications of the radio spectrum, and specifically how the requirements for spectrum could be expected to evolve over the next two decades."

"The committee focused on three major topics: Earth remote sensing (see Chapter 2), radio astronomy (see Chapter 3), and interference mitigation (see Chapter 4). . . . The findings and recommendations are detailed in Chapter 5. "

"Recommendation 10: FCC and NTIA regulators should actively define interference metrics, expand enforcement technology, and include descriptions of passive EESS and RAS systems in regulators’ databases."

"Recommendation 13: The FCC and NTIA should require active service users to use their allocated portions of the spectrum more effectively. Spectral efficiency requirements should be built into FCC and NTIA licensing policies for future spectral assignments."
spectrum  regulation  science  reports  NationalAcademies  Interference  efficiency 
may 2017 by pierredv
How the FDA Manipulates the Media - Scientific American
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit"
ScientificAmerican  FDA  media  science  agencies  regulation  journalism 
january 2017 by pierredv
Give the public the tools to trust scientists : Nature News & Comment
Whereas journalists are debating facts and falsehood, their own role and possible ways to react, scientists seem to see themselves as victims of, rather than active players in, the new political scene. Most debate centres on how the new political order threatens scientific knowledge and research funding, or downgrades climate-change policy.

All are important, but what's overlooked by many is how science is losing its relevance as a source of truth. To reclaim this relevance, scientists, communicators, institutions and funders must work to change the way that socially relevant science is presented to the public.
science  truth  journalism  narratives  NatureJournal 
january 2017 by pierredv
Perspective: Philosopher’s Corner: The End of Puzzle Solving | Issues in Science and Technology
"This position, however, implies that in important respects the postmodernists have won. From the point of view of the scientific realists the contagion has spread: the autonomy of science has been chipped away, and its status as a uniquely objective view on the world is widely questioned. The politicizing of science, once a distant threat, is today a commonplace."

Young scientists "are also living through the breakdown of what Thomas Kuhn called “normal science.” Kuhn argued that scientists spend the vast majority of their time engaged in “puzzle solving,” working on specific problems within well-established and secure frameworks. But whereas Kuhn recognized the possibility of the occasional revolution in science—think of the shift from Ptolemy to Copernicus, or from Newton to Einstein—such revolutions were at least initially intra-scientific affairs. In contrast, the disruption today is between science and the other mega-categories of life."
Issues  science  policy  philosophy  Jurgen-Habermas  Thomas-Kuhn  Bruno-Latour 
january 2017 by pierredv
Journalism under Attack | Issues in Science and Technology
The strength of false narratives

But as Politico’s Susan Glasser recently noted in an essay for the Brookings Institution: “Even fact-checking perhaps the most untruthful candidate of our lifetime didn’t work; the more news outlets did it, the less facts resonated.”

To my perplexed colleagues in the political journalism community: Welcome to the world of science journalism, where with respect to some topics, the more you report facts, the less they seem to matter.
Issues  journalism  science  narrative  stories 
january 2017 by pierredv
Home computers discover a record-breaking pulsar-neutron star system | Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) - Dec 2016
"International science team finds most massive double neutron star system with distributed volunteer computing project Einstein@Home in data from the Arecibo radio telescope"
Einstein@Home  astronomy  science 
december 2016 by pierredv
The mathematics of science's broken reward system : Nature News & Comment - Nov 2016
“Whenever quantitative metrics are used as proxies to evaluate and reward scientists,” write Smaldino and McElreath, “those metrics become open to exploitation if it is easier to do so than to directly improve the quality of research.” That’s basically a statement of Goodhart’s law, familiar to economists: when a measure of success becomes a target, it loses its worth.
science  research  methods  sociology  NatureJournal 
november 2016 by pierredv
Scientists can publish their best work at any age : Nature News & Comment
"New equation also suggests way to predict a researcher's potential to produce top work."
research  productivity  science  video  NatureJournal 
november 2016 by pierredv
EconPapers: The fallacy of evidence based policy - Saltelli & Giampietro 2015

Abstract: The use of science for policy is at the core of a perfect storm generated by the insurgence of several concurrent crises: of science, of trust, of sustainability. The modern positivistic model of science for policy, known as evidence based policy, is based on dramatic simplifications and compressions of available perceptions of the state of affairs and possible explanations (hypocognition). This model can result in flawed prescriptions. The flaws become more evident when dealing with complex issues characterized by concomitant uncertainties in the normative, descriptive and ethical domains. In this situation evidence-based policy may concur to the fragility of the social system. Science plays an important role in reducing the feeling of vulnerability of humans by projecting a promise of protection against uncertainties. In many applications quantitative science is used to remove uncertainty by transforming it into probability, so that mathematical modelling can play the ritual role of haruspices. This epistemic governance arrangement is today in crisis. The primacy of science to adjudicate political issues must pass through an assessment of the level of maturity and effectiveness of the various disciplines deployed. The solution implies abandoning dreams of prediction, control and optimization obtained by relying on a limited set of simplified narratives to define the problem and moving instead to an open exploration of a broader set of plausible and relevant stories. Evidence based policy has to be replaced by robust policy, where robustness is tested with respect to feasibility (compatibility with processes outside human control); viability (compatibility with processes under human control, in relation to both the economic and technical dimensions), and desirability domain (compatibility with a plurality of normative considerations relevant to a plurality of actors).
science  policy  Saltelli  Giampietro 
october 2016 by pierredv
Significant Digits: Responsible Use of Quantitative Information - European Commission
In this workshop we will review a seminal essay by Andrea Saltelli and Mario Giampietro, The Fallacy of Evidence Based Policy. That paper contains positive recommendations for the development of a responsible quantification. The conference will be devoted to the analysis and development of those ideas.
EU  statistics  research  workshop  report  policy  science  Saltelli  Giampietro  economics 
october 2016 by pierredv
Microsculpture - The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss
via New Scientist "Aperture" 23 April 2016, #3070,
From the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
photography  insects  *  science  art 
august 2016 by pierredv
The Cosmic Gift of Neutron Stars -- Victoria Kaspi -- Perimeter Institute lecture , Feb 2016
In her Feb. 3 talk, Dr. Victoria Kaspi of McGill University, explored neutron stars -- mysterious celestial objects can shed light on some of the most vexing questions in the universe.
science  lectures  video  PerimeterInstitute  astronomy  cosmology 
april 2016 by pierredv
The maddeningly magical maths of John Dee - New Scientist Feb 2016
Discussion of "Scholar, Courtier, Magician: The lost library of John Dee" - showing at the Royal College of Physicians, London, until 29 July 2016.

Bits from Dee's preface to "The Elements of Geometrie", published in 1570 by Henry Billingsley, are fascinating.

"some of the suspicion aroused by Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus in 1543 came not from his heliocentric theory of the solar system, but from the fact that he used maths to deduce what he could not directly see"

Also deep suspicion of cryptography isn't new: "And maths really did have connections with the occult. Numerology was important to the Jewish mystical tradition called the Kabbalah, which Dee studied closely. Codes and cryptography were discussed in Steganographia (c. 1499) by the German abbot Trithemius, who was suspected of diabolical wizardry; it was this book that Dee examined to understand angelic communication."
science  maths  scientific-method  exhibition  history  cryptography 
april 2016 by pierredv
Beyond experiment: Why the scientific method may be old hat - New Scientist Feb 2016
About George Ellis and Joseph Silk's critique, “post-empirical science”, of Richard Dawid's “non-empirical theory confirmation” - "that we can be confident we are on the right track by relying not on data or even mathematical beauty, but on two other considerations"
1. TINA, or There Is No Alternative
2. a theory connects with others that have been tested

Reports on Munich meeting, and David Gross's support for Dawid.

An out seems to be that falsifiability can be, and often has been, postponed: "Popper himself recognised that theories should be falsifiable “in principle”, leaving the door ajar for predictions that might become testable in future"
science  scientific-method  NewScientist  string-theory 
april 2016 by pierredv
Versed in science - Nature Blog March 21, 2016 | by Barbara Kiser
"Speculating on this ancient fusion of science and poetry, Padel points to their mutual use of metaphor; their predication on precision; their toleration of uncertainty."
science  poetry  metaphor  NatureJournal 
march 2016 by pierredv
ChemChina-Syngenta: Why This Round Of Ag-Chem Industry Consolidation Worries Me
via Phil Weiser "I am concerned that we may be on the verge of a major loss of knowledge and experience in the agricultural sector" due to layoffs as a result of mergers
resilience  agriculture  science  employment  antitrust 
february 2016 by pierredv
A Fight for the Soul of Science - Quanta Magazine Dec 2015
"String theory, the multiverse and other ideas of modern physics are potentially untestable. At a historic meeting in Munich, scientists and philosophers asked: should we trust them anyway?"
QuantaMagazine  philosophy  science  scientific-method  string-theory  quantum-mechanics 
december 2015 by pierredv
Almost Like Being on Mars | Space | Air & Space Magazine Dec 2015/Jan 2016
"Now consider an alternative to astronauts landing on Mars that might be nearly as good—maybe, in the long run, better: astronauts in Mars orbit, operating sophisticated robots and rovers on the planet’s surface, using telepresence to see through the robots’ eyes and feel what they touch." "David Mindell has seen a similar culture shift in the world of undersea exploration. A professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, he also has years of engineering experience with robotic underwater vehicles. In his new book, Our Robots, Ourselves, he describes the battles between oceanographers who insisted on the need to explore the deep ocean in person, inside pressurized vehicles, and those who found that remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) could give the same experience—or often a better one—from the comfort of surface ships or even their labs. By and large, the ROVs won. And it’s still people doing the exploring. “All we have done is changed the place where the people are when they do th"
Mars  space  VR  telepresence  exploration  science  Smithsonian 
december 2015 by pierredv
Scientists who found gluten sensitivity evidence have now shown it doesn't exist
In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key evidence of (non-celiac disease) gluten sensitivity recently published follow-up papers that show the opposite. "In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten," Gibson wrote in the paper. A third, larger study published this month has confirmed the findings. It seems to be a 'nocebo' effect - the self-diagnosed gluten sensitive patients expected to feel worse on the study diets, so they did. They were also likely more attentive to their intestinal distress, since they had to monitor it for the study.
gluten  diet  allergy  science  scientific-method  nocebo 
october 2015 by pierredv
Gavin Schmidt, Simple Answers - 2014
Answer to question, "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?"  scientific-method  science 
september 2015 by pierredv
Podcast Extra: The Invention of Science by Nature Podcast | Aug 2015
Discussion with David Wootten about his book "The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution"
scientific-method  history  science  podcasts  NatureJournal 
september 2015 by pierredv
Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials
"As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute."
silly  science  research  satire 
august 2015 by pierredv
Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test : Nature News & Comment
Brian Nosek, a social psychologist and head of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, and 269 co-authors repeated work reported in 98 original papers from three psychology journals, to see if they independently came up with the same results. ... According to the replicators' qualitative assessments, as previously reported by Nature, only 39 of the 100 replication attempts were successful. (...) But whether a replication attempt is considered successful is not straightforward. Today in Science, the team report the multiple different measures they used to answer this question.
science  method  reproducibility  NatureJournal 
august 2015 by pierredv
Kitchen-table physics lets you do big science at home - physics-math - 26 February 2015 - Control - New Scientist
Great stuff, e.g. Jam jar detector of time reversal symmetry - mirror magnetometer: Gravitational wave detector with laser pointer - Michelson interferometer:
science  experiment  NewScientist  fun  DIY  physics  * 
july 2015 by pierredv
How science made an honest man of God – Dallas G Denery II – Aeon
"Until the Scientific Revolution, God’s power included a licence to deceive. How did science make an honest man of Him?"
lying  religion  science  god  moral-philosophy  philosophy  *  AeonMagazine  essays 
march 2015 by pierredv
Science’s Significant Stats Problem - Issue 4: The Unlikely --
-- Columbia University political scientist and statistician Andrew Gelman puts it bluntly: “The scientific method that we love so much is a machine for generating exaggerations.”
statistics  science 
march 2015 by pierredv
Is the Many Worlds hypothesis just a fantasy? - Aeon
"Nobody knows what happens inside quantum experiments. So why are some so keen to believe in parallel universes?" by Philip Ball -- article doesn't actually answer this question; it's a critique of many worlds interpretation -- "the Measurement Problem, which really comes down to this: between the rainbow-smear of probabilities in our equations and the matter-of-fact determinacy of everything we can actually measure, what on Earth is going on?" -- "the Measurement Problem, which really comes down to this: between the rainbow-smear of probabilities in our equations and the matter-of-fact determinacy of everything we can actually measure, what on Earth is going on?" -- closest to an answer of the Why question: "Most MWI popularizers think they are blowing our minds with this stuff, whereas in fact they are flattering them. ... The result sounds transgressively exciting while familiar enough to be persuasive."
philosophy  science  AeonMagazine  quantum-mechanics  many-worlds-interpretation  identity  selfhood  ontology  critique  modal-realism 
february 2015 by pierredv
Science’s Significant Stats Problem - Issue 4: The Unlikely - Nautilus
"Researchers’ rituals for assessing probability may mislead as much as they enlighten." BY TOM SIEGFRIED
statistics  science  scientific-method  research 
february 2015 by pierredv
Faith is Torment | Art and Design Blog: Perfect Pollen: Microscopic Photos by Steve Gschmeissner
"Perfect Pollen: Microscopic Photos by Steve Gschmeissner Beautiful photos of pollen grains using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to capture details and color not seen by the human eye. - See more at:"
Faith-is-Torment  photography  science  biology  botany 
september 2014 by pierredv
Let’s Bring The Polymath — and the Dabblers — Back | Opinion | WIRED
Focus on tools, not fields "Simply put, there are fields that have a certain generalizability, and their organizing ideas and tools can be used to find relationships between disparate areas. " "So how do we train people for this kind of thinking? The Girl Scouts once offered a fascinating merit badge: the Dabbler badge."
knowledge  science  modularity  complexity  publishing  Samuel.Arbesman  wired 
july 2014 by pierredv
We dislike being alone with our thoughts : Nature News & Comment July 2014
"Given the choice, many people would rather give themselves mild electric shocks than sit idly in a room for 15 minutes, according to a study published today in Science" "Wilson and his colleagues began by asking undergraduate students to stash their mobile phones and other distractions, and to sit in a sparsely furnished room for up to 15 minutes. Afterwards, nearly half of the 409 participants said that they did not enjoy the experience" “In the next experiment, participants were given a small electric shock — akin to a jolt of static electricity — that was so unpleasant that three-quarters of them said they would be willing to pay not to experience the shock again. Yet when they were placed in the room to sit alone with their thoughts, 67% of male participants and 25% of female subjects were so eager to find something to do that they shocked themselves voluntarily.”
meditation  psychology  science  NatureJournal 
july 2014 by pierredv
Science joins push to screen statistics in papers : Nature News & Comment July 2014
"The journal Science is adding an extra round of statistical checks to its peer-review process, editor-in-chief Marcia McNutt announced today. The policy follows similar efforts from other journals, after widespread concern that basic mistakes in data analysis are contributing to the irreproducibility of many published research findings.. . . Working with the American Statistical Association, the journal has appointed seven experts to a statistics board of reviewing editors (SBoRE). Manuscript will be flagged up for additional scrutiny by the journal’s internal editors, or by its existing Board of Reviewing Editors (more than 100 scientists whom the journal regularly consults on papers) or by outside peer reviewers. The SBoRE panel will then find external statisticians to review these manuscripts."
Science  statistics  research  NatureJournal 
july 2014 by pierredv
Hubble Ultra Deep Field in #D
"animation that was rendered using the measured redshift of all 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image"
youtube  video  visualization  Hubble  astronomy  science  cosmology 
june 2014 by pierredv
Flights of fancy: An enchanting history of ornithology - life - 17 February 2014 - New Scientist
"In few other fields is it clearer that science is made by people: there is never a pure path waiting for a chosen individual to set a wellington-booted foot upon it and binocular forth to truth and fame. Progress occurs in jumps, stutters and lulls, with false starts and blind ends, and does so both because of, and in many cases, in spite of, the characters involved." "Ten Thousand Birds shows how vital technological advances can be. These include cladistics, trinomial classification and gene sequencing – not to mention the insect-killing arsenical soap that ensured bird skins actually reached collectors from the tropics without turning into a box of beetles on the way." "There have been other histories of ornithology, and the authors have clearly examined them and worked out how to avoid the pitfalls. A clear narrative laid out in the foreword, innovative timelines at the start of each chapter, and lucid, jargon-free writing on technical topics mean that this book is definitive..."
books  reviews  NewScientist  birds  ornithology  science  stories 
april 2014 by pierredv
Error correcting aliens | The Quantum Pontiff
Via Henry Yuen. "We don’t see aliens, dear Fermi, because we are young and impatient."
computing  life  error-correction  computer  science 
january 2014 by pierredv
Séralini Threatens Lawsuit In Wake Of Retraction Of Infamous GMO Cancer Rat Study - Forbes
As the Genetic Literacy Project reports, the GMO wars are escalateing after the discrediting of a central pillar of the anti-crop biotechnology movement and the stumbling by a prominent science journal. Gilles-Éric Séralini, author of the controversial rat study that claimed to show that genetically modified corn could lead to a high incidence of cancer, says he is contemplating suing the journal that published the study if it goes through with its stated plan to retract it. In a stunning development, the editor of the Food and Chemical Toxicology, A. Wallace Hayes, sent the French scientist a letter dated November 19 saying that the paper will be withdrawn if Séralini does not agree to do it voluntarily. In either case, evidence of the discredited paper will be expunged from the journal’s database."
GMO  science  cancer  method  ex 
december 2013 by pierredv
Functioning 'mechanical gears' seen in nature for first time
"The juvenile Issus - a plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe -- has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing 'teeth' that intermesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronise the animal's legs when it launches into a jump. The finding demonstrates that gear mechanisms previously thought to be solely human-made have an evolutionary precedent. Scientists say this is the "first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure.""
mechanics  biology  ex  ScienceDaily  science 
september 2013 by pierredv
Time to turn cause and effect on their heads - opinion - George Ellis - 21 August 2013 - New Scientist
"The reductionist ideas about causality that pervade science misrepresent the way things happen in the real world"
causality  philosophy  NewScientist  science 
august 2013 by pierredv
Lefty nonsense: When progressives wage war on reason - opinion - 04 February 2013 - New Scientist
"Conservatives' sins against science - objections to stem cell research, denial of climate science, opposition to evolution and the rest - are widely reported and well known. But conservatives don't have a monopoly on unscientific policies. Progressives are just as bad, if not worse. Their ideology is riddled with anti-scientific feel-good fallacies designed to win hearts, not minds. Just like biodegradeable spoons, their policies often crumble in the face of reality and leave behind a big mess. Worse, anyone who questions them is condemned as anti-science. "We have all heard about the Republican war on science; we want to draw attention to the progressive war on reason."
politics  Campbell  rhetoric  Berezow  NewScientist  science 
april 2013 by pierredv
New NIST Time Code to Boost Reception for Radio-Controlled Clocks
"NIST has developed, tested and is now beginning to implement the new phase-modulation WWVB signal. Like a traditional AM radio station, time information is encoded in the WWVB broadcast by changes in the strength or amplitude of the radio signal. Phase modulation adds an additional layer of information encoded by shifting the phase of the carrier wave. (The crests of two waves that are "in phase" pass a point at the same time. If one is phase-shifted, the crest will arrive a little before or after the other.) This change significantly improves signal reception and overall performance of new products that are designed to utilize this new protocol. Legacy clocks and watches will still continue to function as they have because the amplitude modulation remains the same, but they will not benefit from the increased performance of the new phase modulation protocol, Lowe said."
NIST  metrology  time  science  measurement 
march 2013 by pierredv
50 years of Revolutions: A classic revisited - opinion - 26 October 2012 - New Scientist
"Normal science, then, is characterised by a paradigm, which legitimises the puzzles and problems on which the community works. All is well until the methods legitimised by that paradigm cannot cope with the anomalies that emerge; a crisis results and persists until a new achievement redirects research and serves as a new paradigm. This is a paradigm shift."
physics  philosophy  opinion  NewScientist  science 
february 2013 by pierredv
18 Complicated Scientific Ideas Explained In Plain English - Business Insider
The comic inspired Theo Anderson, a geneticist who supports accessible science education, to build a text editor that would force the user to write with only the 1000 most frequent words. He then invited scientists to describe what they do using the editor
explanation  writing  science 
february 2013 by pierredv
Time lapse of glacier disappearing, as well as gigapixel image of Mount Everest Base Camp
gigapixel  photography  climate  environment  Geography  science  glaciers 
december 2012 by pierredv
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