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A Website with Real Science News? 95

Posted by Cliff
from the just-the-facts-ma'am dept.
TechnoSophos asks: "How can I get the real scoop on the latest scientific research? The fourth-grade-reading-level newspaper version of the story is rarely accurate, and is too focused on the wow factor. On the other hand, neither searching for arbitrary strings, nor browsing by journal or even topic is particularly effective if the task is simply staying up to date with the latest news. I don't need gorgeous graphics, nor do I need someone with a Bachelor's in Literary Criticism telling me what the research is about. I just want the cold, hard facts -- lots of 'em."
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A Website with Real Science News?

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  • ScienceNews (Score:5, Informative)

    by Disoriented (202908) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:57PM (#15915699)
    ScienceNews [sciencenews.org]

    I used to get the print version of their weekly pamphlet. It's aimed at the science-knowledgeable public.
  • Science and Nature (Score:4, Informative)

    by pz (113803) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:59PM (#15915709) Journal
    Subscribe to Science and Nature. Both of them have encapsulations and summaries with implications on the hottest articles published in each week's issue. Both have on-line versions. Also, Scientific American can be good (once was great) for perspective articles by world experts.
    • by Qeyser (6788)
      I would agree that the summaries in Science and Nature are pretty good, but I find the articles themselves to be almost worthless if you're not in the specific field. The articles are written to cram the most information into the smallest space. Important details are often left out, and jargon and abbreviations dominate the text. And even then, some of the articles there were published because they were "sexy", or because the senior author is a big name -- and as a result have bald, outrageous flaws. Fo
      • by Qeyser (6788)
        Of course, I would still give a kidney to publish in Science or Nature, so perhaps y'all should file my comment under "sour grapes".

        -q
        • by SEWilco (27983) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:40PM (#15916521) Journal
          Of course, I would still give a kidney to publish in Science or Nature, so perhaps y'all should file my comment under "sour grapes".
          Examination of the fair exchange value of redundant circulatory organs in specialised information exchange markets with constraints and contexts related to specific agricultural products with a low exchange value. Science. (Submitted)
      • And even then, some of the articles there were published because they were "sexy", or because the senior author is a big name
        You won't get away from that anywhere.
      • I find the articles themselves to be almost worthless if you're not in the specific field.

        I find that varies highly with the field. I'm not a molecular biologist, and so don't have the necessary background to understand most of those articles. But, then, they're not written for me in mind, so I've no place to complain. That's why the more important articles have summaries written for the out-of-field scientists. On the other hand, I'm not a geologist, but I can slog through some of the thermochronology
      • Plus, you actually have to be independantly wealthy or have tenure to be able to afford them. Only reason i don't have a subscription.
    • Seconding (thirding...) the recommendation for the news & views sections of Science and Nature. These are written by well trained professional science journalists. Because the articles will certainly be read by scientists working in the field being covered, the journalists have to be exceptionally careful to do a good job of reporting the stories.

      Note that if you have a university or college affiliation, you probably have "free" access to the online versions of Science and Nature (which include everyt
    • If you want the 'real deal' for free, then you should definitely comb through the Arxiv [arxiv.org], which are real articles written by real researchers, usually the same article that gets sent to a specific subscription-only journal later. If you want real stuff, you should have no problem weeding out any crap from real scientists. Ie, find what university or facility the scientist works in to find out if they're legit, look at references and those references, etc. There's quite alot of stuff there.
  • What do you need? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by east coast (590680) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:05PM (#15915737)
    Not to be a pain but maybe if we knew what you were interested in and what level of science you're into it would be helpful.

    Like me for instance: I'm far from being an astrophysicist but I consider the Discovery Channel version of science insulting. I normally read the dumbed down news and go to other sources to find out more about the elements of the story to get me more familiar with the concepts. Normally it comes full circle to some better articles relating to the original subject. Like for math concepts I normally first turn to Wolfram Mathworld [wolfram.com].
  • RSC and ACS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frumious Wombat (845680) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:08PM (#15915754)
    The home pages for the Royal Society of Chemistry http://www.rsc.org/ [rsc.org] and the public face of the American Chemical Society, http://www.chemistry.org/ [chemistry.org], as well as the American Physics Society http://www.aip.org/ [aip.org]. It's a lot of foraging, but it will get you the technical gory details. If your local library has it, Chemical and Engineering News has roundups both in the front of the magazine, and in a one-page science-technology roundup. The rest of the mag is pretty much chemical industry, but has articles on particular areas at times.

    As a previous poster mentioned, Science http://www.sciencemag.org/ [sciencemag.org] and Nature http://www.nature.com/ [nature.com] are good all in one stops.

    Personally, I start every monday lunch off with browsing the table of contents of JACS, J. Phys. Chem., Organometallics, Inorganic Chemistry, and J. Org. Chem. If you're not a chemist, these will probably bore you to death, but it's where I get my science news from, other than the Tuesday NYT.
    • Re:Tuesday NYT (Score:2, Interesting)

      by boson0 (730623)
      You are bang in your last sentence: the Tuesday "Science Times" in the New York Times is consistently the best topical science journalism I know of. Today's issue has a great story on the possible proof of Poincare's conjecture - some hard core topology with your morning coffee. The topics are not always the broadest: far too much string theory and health news for my taste, but good writing and not dumbed down.
    • Aip.org is not the American Physical Society, but in fact is the homepage of the American Institute of Physics. The APS website is at www.aps.org [aps.org].
  • EurekAlert! (Score:4, Informative)

    by xirtap (955611) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:11PM (#15915771)
    I usually check out EurekAlert! [eurekalert.org] every once in a while. I find it decent and think it might be the thing you're looking for.
  • Some sources I use (Score:5, Informative)

    by FleaPlus (6935) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:12PM (#15915775) Journal
    Here's some of the sources I use...

    For general stuff, News@Nature [nature.com] is fairly good, although much of their content requires a subscription.

    There's also a few blogs I regularly read which are quite good at offering in-depth analysis of recent scientific news in specific fields:

    * Space science: Planetary Society's blog [planetary.org] (note that the main author, Emily Lakdawalla, is on maternity leave, so at the moment there's some guest-authors of varying quality)

    * Biology/evolution: Carl Zimmer's The Loom [scienceblogs.com]

    * Pharmaceuticals: In The Pipline [corante.com]

    * Future tech trends: http://futurepundit.com/ [futurepundit.com]
  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:15PM (#15915796) Journal
    Slashdot! It is my only source for science news.

    (when you stop laughing, please mod someone else down)
  • Biology News (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:15PM (#15915797)
    If you're after biology news, try http://biologynews.net/ [biologynews.net]
  • by hargettp (74445) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:16PM (#15915801)
    I subscribe to their news feeds, too (can't recall if their RSS or Atom): Enjoy!
  • Try New Scientist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by William_Lee (834197) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:18PM (#15915816)
    I would recommend you check out New Scientist http://www.newscientist.com/home.ns [newscientist.com]. They're not going to go into things at the level of Nature or Science, but will give you quality stories that are food for thought and starting points for further research. As a former scientist, I'd also mention that Science and Nature, while great publications, are cost prohibitive for individuals (unless you use your local library), and are tedious to wade through unless you have a tremendous amount of time.
    • Nature was a great journal once, but they've gone way downhill. The biology articles are still excellent (or at least seem to be; I can't judge), but they've published some terrible computer science articles.

  • Wow. The /. editors are finally getting it. They've posted the first Ask Slashdot question that really matters! A few of us might even learn where to go to find real "news for nerds." Thanks!
  • I'd recommend a subscription to the weekly periodical _Science News_. It contains short yet detailed articles "covering the most important research in all fields of science". Organized for the reader who actually cares about the science (as opposed to the sound bite), it has many "small details" that it gets right, like having an up-to-date and searchable online edition and ,*gasp* always citing the source paper(s)! It's very nice to read a captivating article summarizing a recent discovery and then be a
  • by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:36PM (#15915926)
    If you want analysis, junkscience.com [junkscience.com] is a good one to have in the mix.
  • Seed & Sciencenblogs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rheingold (2741) <<cc.epadekan> <ta> <yeloocw>> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:37PM (#15915931) Homepage
    I like Seed [seedmagazine.com] and Scienceblogs [scienceblogs.com] myself.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:51PM (#15916007) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot gets 73.5% of its science and tech news from there so it has to be good. Ronald Piquepaille's Technology Trends. [weblogs.com]
  • Can't really say without knowing exactly what level of publication you're looking for:

    - A couple of steps above newspapers you have New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/) and Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com/).

    - At a higher level of specialisation and greater depth, you have the institute publications; e.g. Physics World (http://physicsweb.org/subscribe/index.cfm?mag=PH W ) and its equivalents in the rest of the Sciences.

    - At an even higher level you have the Journals - e.g. Scienc
  • If you want preprints of papers, go to the NLANL archives at www.arxiv.org....
  • It depends (Score:3, Informative)

    by davidoff404 (764733) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:13PM (#15916133)
    It really does depend on the precise level of coverage that you're looking for. When I was seven or eight years old I used to devour issues of Scientific American for example, but now I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Similarly, when I was an undergrad I thought that New Scientist was a pretty decent read. Given that I've got a freshly minted PhD in my pocket I now know enough to realise that all scientific journalism out there pushes some agenda or other and, as such, is pretty worthless.

    My advice, particularly if you're interested in physics or mathematics, is simply to try to keep up to speed with the journals. The arXiV [arxiv.org] is the only place to go for high energy physics (theory and experiment), general relativity and quantum cosmology, astrophysics, and solid state stuff. This is, after all, where all of the journalists who write for "science magazines" get their information from. The downside is that there's a huge number of papers published there each month. What's more, a great deal of it will be unintelligible to anyone who hasn't at least been to grad school.

    Still, if you forced me to pick a good source of news at gunpoint, the arXiV is where I'd go.
  • With the quality of the articles at Biology News [biologynews.net]
    It's always high quality, but the discussion could use a little *ahem* beefing up.

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this site in any way, shape, or form. I just like the articles, and am interested in biology.
    • I am affiliated with the site (well, im the only one behind it to be honest), and I agree that the discussion part is very sad looking right now. If you have any suggestions to improve it, feel free to do so :) The system is very good, its only that no one even comments on stories, and people who do are more often than not trolls and not that 'insightfull' :(

      Might reopen anonymous posting someday, but it was tiring to filter the spam from the ham.
  • http://www.physorg.com/ [physorg.com] I love this site, even though it has way more news than I can handle.
  • Science News dot org (Score:3, Informative)

    by bscott (460706) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:23PM (#15916176)
    For years I've subscribed to 'Science News', a slim weekly publication with wonderfully concise articles covering most if not all branches of science. They've been publishing since 1921 and are pretty highly regarded in the industry. It's written for the scientist who wants to keep up on what's going on outside their specialty, or anyone educated enough to not need the lowest-common-denominator language required by the mass media outlets. They have a website at http://www.sciencenews.org/ [sciencenews.org] but I find the paper version worthwhile to have in my car so I can skim a few paragraphs at stoplights, or while otherwise stuck in traffic...
  • my longlist (Score:5, Informative)

    by senahj (461846) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:26PM (#15916190)
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Sky above 37Â375"N 122Â2222"W at Sat 2005 Jul 2 20:11 [fourmilab.ch]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line ScienceDaily Magazine -- News Summaries [sciencedaily.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line BBC NEWS | Science/Nature [bbc.co.uk]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Science News Online [sciencenews.org]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Molecule of the Day [scienceblogs.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line The Loom [scienceblogs.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Cosmic Variance [cosmicvariance.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Scientific American news [sciam.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Sciencegate [scienceg8.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line New Scientist [newscientist.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line LiveScience [livescience.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Science And Politics [blogspot.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Chris C Mooney [scienceblogs.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line symmetry Magazine [symmetrymag.org]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Discover Magazine [discover.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Mathematician OTD [st-and.ac.uk]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Home [nasa.gov]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Home [nasa.gov]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line ESA - Cassini-Huygens [esa.int]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line NASA - Cassini-Huygens: Close Encounter with Saturn [nasa.gov]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line HiRISE Operations Center -- HiROC [arizona.edu]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Cassini Saturn [nasa.gov]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging [ciclops.org]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Saturn Today [saturntoday.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line HubbleSite - NewsCenter [hubblesite.org]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line MESSENGER Web Site [jhuapl.edu]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Deep Impact: Your First Look Inside a Comet! [nasa.gov]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Pluto, Charon, and other Kuiper Belt Objects including, Sedna, 2003 UB313, as well as Asteroids and Comets. [plutotoday.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Nature [nature.com]
    Slashdot wants more characters per line Pharyngula [scienceblogs.com]
  • ScienceDaily (Score:3, Informative)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:30PM (#15916204)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ [sciencedaily.com] The articles are based on press releases, but they reference the original papers if you want to read more.
  • google scholar (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    for engineering try google scholar

    scholar.google.com
  • by guanxi (216397) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:06PM (#15916618)
    ScienceWeek (http://www.scienceweek.com) is by far the best resource I've found. They print summaries of important research that strike the perfect balance (for me): It's written for an interdisciplinary audience, so you don't need subject-specific knowledge to understand it, but it's written for scientists, so it omits all journalistic fluff and focuses on the content, and it's succinct, which is essential because I have no time. Here's an excerpt from the latest edition:

    1. ATMOSPHERE: ON THE ICE AGE CYCLE

    The following points are made by Didier Paillard (Science 2006 313:455):

    1) The exposure of Earth's surface to the Sun's rays (or insolation) varies on time scales of thousands of years as a result of regular changes in Earth's orbit around the Sun (eccentricity), in the tilt of Earth's axis (obliquity), and in the direction of Earth's axis of rotation (precession). According to the Milankovitch theory, these insolation changes drive the glacial cycles that have dominated Earth's climate for the past 3 million years.

    2) For example, between 3 million and 1 million years before the present (late Pliocene to early Pleistocene, hereafter LP-EP), the glacial oscillations followed a 41,000-year cycle. These oscillations correspond to insolation changes driven by obliquity changes. But during this time, precession-driven changes in insolation on a 23,000-year cycle were much stronger than the obliquity-driven changes. Why is the glacial record for the LP-EP dominated by obliquity, rather than by the stronger precessional forcing? How should the Milankovitch theory be adapted to account for this "41,000-year paradox"?

    3) Two different solutions are available. The first involves a rethinking of how the insolation forcing should be defined ...


    The rest is here: http://scienceweek.com/2006/sw060811.htm [scienceweek.com]

    Unfortunately, they've cut back to 4 summaries per week. Also, the website design would have been ugly in 1994 -- all bold Times. (why?) But ignore that; nobody matches its content.

  • The AIP's Physics News Update [aip.org] is a pretty fascinating look at the cutting edge, though it's a weekly.
  • There are several virtual journals out there at the moment, they give an overview of interesting new articles in a certain topic, taken from all major journals:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=virtual+journal [google.com]

    If you don't have access to these journals, you can only read the abstracts, though.

  • BadScience (Score:2, Informative)

    by jeremymiles (725644) *
    Not exactly what you asked for, but Bad Science [badscience.net] has some great criticism of science reporting in the news - tends to have a UK slant, which might put you off.

    Many of the commenters seem to know what they are talking about as well. (Just like another website we could mention.)

  • So you want all the facts, without having to read them?
  • SciTech Daily Review (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.scitechdaily.com/ [scitechdaily.com]

    This site links to a huge cornucopia of science articles. Check it out.

    There is a similar site for arts: Arts & Letters Daily at http://www.aldaily.com/ [aldaily.com]
  • There is so far as I know no institution in the US that offers a degree in literary criticism; there are degrees in English, English Literature, Comparative Literature, French (or any $LANGUAGE) Language and Literature, and occasionally at the wackier schools "Literary Studies" or Literary Theory, but not "literary criticism" - indeed, literary criticsm in its traditional sense has been largely neglected over the past generation. The first page of a Google search for "degree in literary criticism" reveals a

  • by Damek (515688)
    What, no love for PhysOrg [physorg.com]? OK, someone did mention it [slashdot.org], but it bears repeating. A nice all-in-one stop for actual science news, from across the spectrum.
  • New Scientist.com Latest News [newscientist.com] is a great page, the site's okay too... but too many subscription only articles these days.
  • Just to add another site to the many good ones already listed:

    http://focus.aps.org/ [aps.org]
  • I've not read all the previous comments but, in case it was not mentioned, here's the link to http://www.sciencedaily.com/
    which I consult occasionally to find good reading material on science.

    There is a companion site, Arts & Letters Daily, at http://aldaily.com/ which cover the world of ideas, humanities and literature which is also very nourishing, for those who sometimes come up for air from the deeps of tech.

    Enjoy.
  • http://alphagalileo.org/ [alphagalileo.org] - a good source of science news. It is free and mostly based on press-releases from research organisations around Europe as far as Russia. The only inconviniance is that you neen registeration to see news.

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