A new window of opportunity for global warming denialists?

The scientists at NASA have plotted average global temperatures since 1880, both the annual averages plus five-year averages to smooth out any short term fluctuations in any given year due to things like El Nino. They plot the temperatures as the deviation from the 30-year average taken over the period 1951-1980. As they point out, “Sixteen of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998.”
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Even in death, Mirzakhani breaks taboos

The shocking death from cancer of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has resulted in tributes poring in for her from all over. In 2014 she became the only female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics. She was born and raised in Iran and came to the US for graduate study, where she married a non-Muslim Czech scientist with whom she had one child. She had been initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 but it had later spread to her bone marrow.
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The ethics of laboratory grown meat

I was interested in this article and video clip of attempts to make meat in the laboratory. This technology has been talked about for some time and is advancing. They are already able to make chicken, beef, and pork. They do this by using stem cells to grow the protein in the labs. I have no idea how it compares with regular meat in terms of taste and texture. The video below explains the process by which it happens and the advantages.
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The doorway effect

We’ve all experienced what the cartoon character has just gone through. You decide to do something the next time you go into a room where that task has to be done and then as soon as you get there, you forget what it was that you wanted to do. Sometimes you know that you have forgotten something but can’t recall what it is, at other times you don’t even realize that you have forgotten until much later, when you are doing something else.
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How earthworms went over to the dark side

Earthworms are not prepossessing creatures. As a child I used to find them gross and carefully avoided them when I encountered them on sidewalks, hard to do after rains when they seemed to be all over the place. But over time, I came to view them in a positive light, that though they may not win any beauty contests, they were busily working away on our behalf, enriching the ground and making it more fertile, and that their abundant presence was an indicator of healthy soil. But it seems like that entirely benign beneficial façade may be misleading, the product of a good public relations campaign by the earthworm lobby.
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The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster

The novelist E. M. Forster (1879-1970) wrote books such as A Passage to India, Howard’s End, and A Room With a View that deal with life in Victorian England and its empire, casting a wry look at the mores of the British bourgeoisie, the kind of material that is ideal fodder for Merchant-Ivory films. He is not known as a science fiction writer and so I was surprised to learn that in 1909 he wrote a futuristic short story with the title The Machine Stops that is available online.
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