One cold morning last week, as I was out to pick up our newspapers, a group of perhaps 250 starlings took off from a neighbor's trees, rose as a mass, wheeled a couple of circles in the air over the trees and settled in other trees nearby. There were no predators in evidence, so iIt was not clear what made them fly or how they decided when and where to land.
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Magic shows don t work on children if they are not old enough to have developed the expectation that causes have predictable effects. They accept what their senses tell them, without constructing models that that make the surprising result unexpected.
This is the article that was hyped by NASA as possible justification for an expanded notion of the limits of "life as we know it", an attempt to boost their own stock in astrobiology.
I have always thought that the answer to the question in the subtitle of this David Owen article was clear: make the things we do with energy using less of it. Now I am rethinkng that proposition. Owen writes about the application of "Jevons paradox" to energy consumption: the economical use of a resource results not in less consumption, but of more!
"Trick or Treatment" is a critical (very critical) examination of several varieties of alternative medicine. I was surprised to see Simon Singh as lead coauthor of a book about health because I know him as author of a book about math, "Fermat's Enigma", that I recommended in December of 1999. I thought it was the best science/math book of that year.
I am a fan of Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" column in The Guardian. Several hundred of his articles are available free online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/badscience. His pieces are always well-researched and well-reasoned, and he writes with flair and wit. This slightly edited collection of his essays has recently been released in paperback in the US, after having been on the market in the UK since 2008.
I bought "Mistakes Were Made ..." for on a long plane ride, thinking that it would be a light, entertaining read. It did turn out to be very entertaining, but it also has affected the way I think about politics, law, ethics, and the teaching of science.
In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the bill that made No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. It was a culmination of sorts of tides that had been growing for years, through both the Clinton and Bush administrations, toward sweeping reform in US schools.
The fact that Jim Riehl is a good friend and a former colleague does not mean that I can't recommend his book, does it? I would be writing about Mirror-Image Asymmetry even if I had never heard of this tennis player of limited talent.
Sam Kean is not a chemist, and he seems to have had little help from a chemistry-literate editor in writing this collection of stories about most of the elements of the periodic table. To a certain extent, his chatty and colloquial style helps to bring chemistry to an audience that is science-phobic (the c-word does not appear in the title or subtitle, presumably for this reason).