This week saw an impressive set of firsts:
-The first image of a hydrogen bond (from Science)
-The first ancient organism with a face (from Nature)
-The first proof of water on Mars
-The first toy made in space
“You know the movie Wall-E? We are headed that way, and unless we do something I see very little evidence that things are going to change very much.” Evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman discusses his new book, the problem of obesity, and why dieting is just so hard.
PopSci asks whether animals orgasm, how we’d know if they did, and why the topic is increasingly difficult to study.…
The New York Times decried the plight of Canada’s muzzled scientists in an editorial claiming that “the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information […] This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.”
Popular Science is removing the comments section for its online articles. Online editor Suzanne LaBarre explains: “A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.”
You do too have free will. Thanks to Slate’s Roy F. Baumeister for clearing that up.
Michelle Murphy traces the economic, neoliberal, and feminist roots of campaigns aiming to support “The Girl.”
The Dallas Zoo is transferring Patrick, a gorilla whose ambivalence and aggression towards females has earned him the labels “anti-social” and “sexist,” to a South Carolina zoo. He’s being replaced with two gorillas from the Calgary Zoo, including Zola the breakdancer.…
After our hit-or-miss summer update schedule, we’re proud to bring you the first weekly roundup of the new school year.
A photo of a frog leaping away from NASA’s Minotaur V rocket launch of LADEE earlier this month has gone viral. According to the Guardian’s Jason Goldman, this is just the latest addition to a lengthy history of frogs in space; Nancy Atkinson at Universe Today describes other notable animal encounters with NASA launches, including birds, bats, and cows.
Yesterday, scientists across Canada protested the government’s muzzling of results and cuts to research funding in “Stand Up For Science” rallies. #standup4science took the twitterverse by storm yesterday (although the hashtag also refers to the ongoing Texas Creationism textbook issue). Evidence for Democracy has a sample of tweets, including a regional breakdown.
Should you keep eggs in the refrigerator? A new study sponsored by the Daily Mail says it makes no short-term difference.
The overuse of antibiotics leads to “superbugs” which sicken millions and cause the deaths of 23 thousand Americans every year, according to a new CDC report.
Economist Emily Oster’s book Expecting Better, which presents the data behind conventional pregnancy recommendations and prohibitions, faced a barrage of criticism and negative online reviews, in part from fetal alcohol syndrome advocates, for her inclusion of research suggesting that consuming small amounts of alcohol (up to one drink a day after the first trimester) has not been shown to be harmful during pregnancy.…