Here are some odds & ends to help get the week started
- A reader sent in a link to this fascinating ant death spiral in response to my post about foraging behaviour. It’s a great example of a dynamic system settling at an undesirable equilibrium.
- Gary Stix writes about whether the brain evolved as modular subunits or an integrated whole.
- I’ve sometimes mentioned in passing how science coverage is often too strongly based on press releases. Matthew Francis at Ars Technica tackles the subject head-on.
- Ars Technica also has an article by Kate Shaw which discuess the issue of sex and gender, providing some nice examples of “reversed” roles in other animals. Great stuff to cite if you’re ever in an argument about this…
- Kyle Hill writes about how we present, represent, understand and misunderstand risk. This isn’t just about fiddling with statistics; understanding how to evaluate risks, especially the risk of false positives, has serious implications for medical practice, as Kyle points out.
- I remember when Cassini first launched. I was thrilled to be living at a time when our species was exploring the outer planets, but it felt like the seven year flight to Saturn would be an eternity. Now, nearly 15 years later, it’s sent back these stunning images of the seasons changing on Saturn.
- In other interplanetary-probe-news: bard_canning has put together an HD video of Curiosity’s descent to the Martian surface.
- You probably enjoy learning about science if you’re reading this blog. So why not grab a copy of The Best Science Writing Online 2012 and get lots to read about? I’m not affiliated with the book at all, though I’d love to be included in the series one day. 😉
Just for fun
- Sitting somewhere between the “science” and “just for fun” categories: a physics paper about the optimal moment for Tarzan to jump from a swinging rope.
- This amazing video of “pendulum waves” is utterly hypnotic (and the Philip Glass soundtrack doesn’t help…). In case you think it’s too perfect to be real, here’s an explanation of how it works.
- Apparently an evolution-themed Dr. Pepper advert on Facebook has drawn some stern criticism. *sigh*
- An AJE op-ed talks about Obama’s string of broken promises on civil liberties. This guy is the lesser evil?! The US really needs to break out of the two-party stranglehold.
- The Everyday Sexism project catalogues sexism experienced by women on a day-to-day basis, from the unintentional to the extreme. They also have a twitter account. Sexism is an important issue and this is a good way to raise awareness.
- I found out today that municipal elections are coming up in Finland. I’m looking forward to voting for the first time in my life! 🙂 You’re entitled to vote if you’ve been a resident for two years, even if you’re not an EU citizen.
That’s all from me! If you’d like to add something, feel free to leave a comment.
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