“And then that just led to this very weird erotism moment when people were practically hugging each other while eating these live insects.” A fascinating NYT piece on eating insects, which John Rennie expands upon. Read the water-bug bit in particular. “Tt posed a problem that none of the other edible insects that night did: I would have to eat it in at least two bites.”
British science still threatens to die the death of a thousand cuts. Tom Chivers sums things up in the Telegraph and Ben Goldacre has a spot-on analysis of why this brain drain could be much worse than any before.
A Nobel prize-winner Linda Buck has retracted two studies. The circumstances are fascinating and you should read Ivan Oransky’s post for the full story. But special mention should go to the New York Times for showing us how responsible journalism should be done. Look at this headline: Nobel Laureate Retracts Two Papers Unrelated to Her Prize. Brilliant. The first five words raise an obvious question that are then answered by the last four words.
People rarely have any idea of how funding decisions are made. This superb piece from Nature News should help – it’s a first-hand account of a funding meeting at the American Cancer Society.
Headline of the week. How to get rid of invasive tree snakes: bomb them with parachuted, poisonous mice.
Maryn McKenna on Invader Vim: another bad new resistance factor and another city stigmatized!
Criminal science was not always CSI-style teamwork – Deborah Blum on the early days of forensic science
More after the jump
Imported Texas cougars help Florida panthers recover vigor and genetic diversity
This great post from Disease of the Week talks about infectious disease researchers who accidentally infected themselves
Evolution, I salute you. An adult fly mimics an ant larva.
Simon Fisher – he of FOXP2 fame – has set up the first research department in world entirely devoted to understanding relationship between language and genes. His work is brilliant. This should be good.
Jo Marchant has a great piece on the ethics of mummy research and whether it’s ever wrong to study long-dead people
“Our interest in the psychological properties of semen arose as a by-product of an initial interest in menstrual synchrony.” Oh sure. You would say that.
Touching yourself relieves pain. No, not like that.
Relativity on a tabletop – a fabulous experiment.
Vaughan Bell describes an incredible new illusion where the face you see in the mirror changes. (In related news, Vaughan will be writing a book about hallucinations, which will be a deeply personal story about one man’s quest to deal with continuous visions of Shakira).
A lost tiger population has been discovered in the Bhutan mountains. Brits can watch the accompanying series on iPLayer.
Deborah Mackenzie writes that the “whooping cough epidemic is because of non-vaccination but the bug may also be adapting to vaccine”
Did volcanoes kill Neanderthals? Dan Vergano analyses the claims.
Babies see more than you do. Jonah Lehrer on the beneficially shallow attention span of infants.
Brian Switek discusses the long and vicious history of sperm whales.
Ferris Jabr on how our neurological sense of self and body groundedness can go wrong
New Scientist has a great piece on software that can track individual animals by their patterns.
Remember the 650 million year old sponges? The oldest animal fossils? They may well not be.
At the BPS Research Digest: By what age do children recognise that plagiarism is wrong?
This opinion piece in New Scientist has a quote which points out that the nature/nurture debate was over by 1932. Can we kill it with fire now, please?
The city that kills you makes you strong! Razib Khan on links between disease and urbanisation.
“I’m not sure my daughter will ever forgive me for the full-length, nearly nude photograph of her that appeared on this page, but in my defence, it was all in the name of popularising science.” A very personal retrospective on a decade of genome research by Roger Highfield.
“The nonexistence of space may be hard to imagine. But for some people it is part of everyday life,” says Carl Zimmer
Mo Costandi asks if brainwaves can be used to identify terrorists and criminals.
Rock God and astrophysicist Brian May writes in the Guardian about, er, badgers.
What are we testing at school? Jonah Lehrer takes an interesting and possibly surprising look at the value of SATS
What happens when you attach a camera to a Peregrine falcon and a goshawk? Awesome happens. In particular, the goshawk footage is like the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi, on crack.
And what happens if you put your hand in the Large Hadron Collider? Top physicists speculate.
What do mad scientists choose to study? 200 years of fictional evil research visualised.
The death of an ant
This is Jack Szostak’s CV, before he won his Nobel prize. All lesser scientists, feel free to weep openly. There, there.
Man Finds Worm In Eyeball, Doctor Blasts It To Death With Laser. That is all.
918 baby seahorses born at London Zoo.
Leopard vs. monitor lizard. Round one. Fight!
Harvest mice! If you don’t die of cute from this, you are cold and empty inside.
“But here’s the essential fact: science has no importance or value until it enters the outside world. That’s where it takes on meaning and value. And that’s where its meaning and value must be explained.“ A call to arms from David Dobbs. Brian Romans expands.
Meet journalist Barbie. Apparently the right attire for a journalist involves pink, sequins and a bustier. Note, however, that she is very thin, which is accurate because living on a journalist’s salary stops her from buying food. (Extra points to the commenter who said “Isn’t she the same as Stenographer Barbie?”)
Dave Munger analyses the blogs on Research Blogging by gender and writes a great opinion piece about the skew. Kate Clancy talks about her own path to blogging. AAAS reports that support for women scientists is growing worldwide. “How will your daughter experience science in the future?” asks JL Vernon, talking about women in science.
“You must realize that having to portray an illegitimate debate fries the circuits of the mainstream press.” The usual eloquence from Jay Rosen on why climate science reporting is so bad. And in a related piece, a former BBC correspondent and editor explains why the BBC is increasingly unlikely to report well on climate change.
Martin Robbins spotted the most interesting angle on this week’s Twitter hack: The spread of an artificial life form.
Think that people don’t trust scientists? Think again. This Scientific American poll is remarkably encouraging.
The tweeting tree.
“Gatekeeper, man thy gate! If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in this role, you’d better accept the burden that comes with it, too.” Scott Rosenberg talks about the “blog-broadcast barrier” and why with great reach comes great responsibility. He also has a great post on how to cultivate individual voices in journalism without amplifying rumours/lies
“She’s here. She’s in the room. I’ve not noticed her before — not in previous years — but every now and then her presence is unmistakeable.” Stephen Curry on Henrietta Lacks.