Quantcast

Category Archive: Science

Apr 19 2014

Why are there so few women and minorities in science?

While on a panel, Neil deGrasse Tyson gives an excellent answer to the question of whether there are any genetic reasons as to why there are so few women in science. (Thanks to reader John for the link.)

Continue reading »

Apr 18 2014

How fossil fuels formed

When I was quite young, someone told me that all the fuel that exists in the form of oil and coal came from long dead dinosaurs. What amazes me is that I never questioned this preposterous piece of information for a long time. I think the fact that they were referred to as ‘fossil fuels’ …

Continue reading »

Apr 18 2014

Treat press releases about science with caution

Journals frequently send out pre-publication copies of what they think are important papers to science journalists under an embargo, where they are free to research the topic and gather material to write articles, but not publish them until the release date that the journal specifies. This enables journalists to write articles that put the research …

Continue reading »

Apr 15 2014

Oh goody! Another end of the world prediction

Many of us have heard of the ‘blue moon’. This is when a full moon appears twice in one calendar month. This is a perfectly predictable astronomical phenomenon that occurs once every two or three years, infrequent enough to serve as a metaphor for rarity, as in the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’.

Continue reading »

Apr 11 2014

How good are experts at discriminating?

Jonah Lehrer, the writer for the New Yorker who lost his job when it was discovered that he was recycling content and manufacturing quotes, had an interesting article before his disgrace where he discussed how hard it was for people, when subjected to double-blind tests, to discriminate between wines, not being able to tell the …

Continue reading »

Apr 09 2014

Too much emphasis on BMI and other norms

Frances Chan is a history major at Yale University who has been involved in a struggle with that university’s health services because they kept telling her that at 92 lbs, she was too thin and that her Body Mass Index was too low. Her height is 5’2″, which gives her a BMI score of 16.8 …

Continue reading »

Apr 08 2014

New methods for prostate cancer detection

Prostate cancer generally affects older men and since that group is a powerful and influential one, a lot of attention is paid to the diagnosis and treatment of that condition. Now there is a new study that provides promise of a better early detection system than the PSA blood test in which elevated levels leads …

Continue reading »

Apr 03 2014

How to find the black box

Now that the search is on for the missing plane in order to retrieve the black box and find out what happened, the focus has shifted to the difficulty of finding it in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

Continue reading »

Apr 03 2014

Why do zebras have stripes?

The stripes on a zebra are quite striking and cry out for an explanation. The popular one is that it helps camouflage them against predators by mimicking long grass or trees. But a new study suggests that stripes came about because they help to repel flies. Yes, really.

Continue reading »

Apr 02 2014

Health benefits of a vegetarian diet questioned

Three years ago I wrote an apology for not being a vegetarian or a vegan. There are three reasons given for favoring such a diet. One is moral. To eat meat is to use another sentient being for one’s own ends and to be part of the cruel factory farming system that exists in the …

Continue reading »

Older posts «