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Submission + - Best Science Writers of 2014 (

TaeKwonDood writes: How would you try and measure something as subjective as a 'best' writer in a field? If you are a content curator, you crowdsource it, by quantifying based on content engagement. This effort by Real Clear Science led to interesting results, no New York Times or Scientific American, which tend to be rewriting press releases on studies that just came out, and instead groups like Pacific Standard and Vox.

Submission + - New 'academic redshirt' for engineering undergrads (

vinces99 writes: Redshirting isn’t just for athletes anymore. The University of Washington and Washington State University are collaborating on an “academic redshirt” program that will bring dozens of low-income Washington state high school graduates to the two universities to study engineering in a five-year bachelor’s program. The first year will help those incoming freshmen acclimate to university-level courses and workload and prepare to major in an engineering discipline.

Submission + - ATLAS Results: One Or Two Higgs ? (

TaeKwonDood writes: An LHC physicist writes:

ATLAS has a very nice signal of H-> in a total of 17.8/fb of collision data. You can make no mistake here: that is a new resonance for sure.Now let us instead turn to the H->ZZ->four lepton decay mode.Here the signal strength is more in agreement with the standard model prediction, but the best-fit mass (123.5 GeV) is significantly lower than the fit 126.5 GeV of the gamma-gamma mode!

What is going on ?


Submission + - America is underinvesting in science education - except it isn't (

TaeKwonDood writes: Every few months a story comes out that American kids are falling behind and they reference an international standardized test score which shows the US in the middle. Then they say we need to invest more in education. With 5,000 PhDs working as janitors that does not seem to make sense. And America is already number two in the world in spending per child.

Submission + - Misguided activism - Frankenbug hysteria gets debunked ( 3

TaeKwonDood writes: Detractors of genetics like to put the term "Franken" in front of science they seek to ridicule, and in a July 17th LA Times post, Karin Klein uses that metaphor as well. But it wasn't accurate. It wasn't even science. It was scare journalism and it's doing a lot of harm regarding frank discussions of science policy.

The LA Times prints a rebuttal that details the science behind a mosquito that could save up to 100 million people.


Submission + - The Secret History Of Pain Killers (

TaeKwonDood writes: Illegal drugs get all of the attention but legal ones are a bigger problem. A middle class drug addiction has slowly taken root and its foundation is the best possible one; patients were told to take a more proactive role in their care. Misapplied to pain, it has been a disaster but one a long time in coming.

Submission + - American Kids & Science Education: The Exaggerated 'Dismal' Claims ( 2

TaeKwonDood writes: We've all seen the stories about how 'dismal' science education in America is. It turns out that it's kind of a straw man. America has long led the world in science but the 'average' score for Americans on standardized tests has never been good. Instead, every 2 years American kids get better but we keep being told things are terrible. Here is why.

Submission + - Solar Power Is Booming - Why Do We Want To Kill It? (

TaeKwonDood writes: Solar power is booming. Imports from China were a tepid $21 million in 2005 but in 2011 installations totaled nearly $2.7 billion. That’s a huge win. And just as advocates for solar power had hoped, a larger market drove down prices. Solar energy cost has declined by two-thirds in the last four years, meaning it will soon start to close in on fossil fuels.

There's just one problem. Now the government wants to kill it.

Submission + - NYC bans mention of dinosaurs, dancing, birthdays on student tests. (

SchroedingersCat writes: New York educators banned references to "dinosaurs," "birthdays," "Halloween" and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests. That is because they fear such topics "could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students." Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays are not celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism. Homes with swimming pools and home computers are also unmentionables — because of economic sensitivities. The city asks test companies to exclude “creatures from outer space" as well — for unspecified reasons.

Submission + - Starships in a Century? (

An anonymous reader writes: In the New York Times, Kenneth Chang writes about the 100-year starship conference, where "an eclectic mix of engineers, scientists, science fiction fans, students and dreamers" discussed ideas for how to travel across interstellar space, including "how to organize and finance a century-long project; whether civilization would survive, because an engine to propel a starship could also be used for a weapon to obliterate the planet; and whether people need to go along for the trip."
Some of the proposals were pretty far out, such as Joseph Breeden's concept for an engine-less starship (propelled using a gravity slingshot on a near-sun trajectory). Others were a little less forward thinking, although still futuristic by current standards of space exploration: nuclear rockets, fusion, lightsails, and so forth.
So, can we go to the stars? Wait a hundred years, and we'll see!


Submission + - Quantum mechanics and Einstein's general relativit (

TaeKwonDood writes: The unification of quantum mechanics and Einstein's general relativity is one of the biggest open issues in modern physics. General relativity, the joint theory of gravity, space and time gives predictions on a cosmic scale while quantum effects are fragile and typically observed on small scales, e.g. when considering single particles and atoms. That is why it is hard to test the interplay between quantum mechanics and general relativity. But the race is on to measure the general relativistic notion of time on a quantum scale.

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