Scienceline Staff Picks

Sci-fi faves, solar flares and dancing whales

Our favorites from the week

August 12, 2011

Each week, the Scienceline staff combs through the web to find the smartest, coolest, and newest stuff for you to read. See what we’ve got this week!

From Joey Castro:

There’s been a lot of awesome space and physics news this past week. First up: the Sun recently unleashed the largest solar flare in years. Check out the video.

Now, as Professor Farnsworth from Futurama likes to say: “Good news, everyone!” The SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, which was shut down earlier this year because of funding issues, will now be coming back online. Hurray.

Speaking of SETI, are you a fan of SETI@home, the free program that uses your computer’s processing power to analyze SETI telescope data? Well, you may be interested in LHC@home. CERN, the international research organization behind the Large Hadron Collider, has just released version 2.0—running the program on you computer may help scientists find the Higgs boson, AKA the “God particle.”


From Francie Diep:

Why do scientists cheat and make up study results? TheScientist asked Ferric Fang, editor in chief of Infection and Immunity, which has had to publish–whoops!–six retractions this year from the same lab. Fang’s own essay about the issue (subscription needed) includes a fantastic graph plotting journals’ numbers of retractions versus their impact factor.

Women in science careers earn less than men, but the difference isn’t as great as in other fields, according to new report by the U.S. Commerce Department. It’s a puzzle, says Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. ScienceInsider sums up the findings well. I hope a journalist tackles a longer analysis soon.

!! — Sixty thousand NPR blog readers voted for their 100 favorite science fiction and fantasy novels. How many have you read off the list? I’ve read 22. Did your favorite make it?


From Rose Eveleth:

The awesome Lauren Friedman posted this on Google+ recently (what’s up with Google+ by the way – tech people help me out here) and I just love it.  Wikipedia has an entry on all the biological issues in Jurassic Park.

There is a new Microsoft Excel champion!  Yes, there is such a thing as a Microsoft Excel championship to be had.  If I had to bet on someone though, I’d put my money on Amanda Cox – New York Times graphics-making extraordinaire.

I don’t really have much to say about this, other than that it’s a video of a beluga whale dancing to a mariachi band.  Of course the AP had to go and ruin it by explaining that the whale wasn’t really dancing.  Not true, according to Eduardo Rocha, the mariachi player in the video who said: “Hi there, my name is Eduardo Rocha, the Mariachi guitar player from this video. I believe that the name of Mr. Beluga is Juno and is a male. About the question if Juno heard us through the glass in this case I would say no because is pretty thick but he heard us through the air -water because the sound travels better in the water and the pool was open at the top. Take care.”

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1 Comment

vonrikter says:

David Morrison NASA Space Scientist – Debate Solar Flares and more…

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