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Posts

April 17, 2015

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9:10 PM | Desperately Seeking ET: Fermi's Paradox Turns 65 (Part II)
In our Part I article, we mentioned how numerous scientists over the past 65 years, since Fermi first raised the question "Where is everybody?", have examined Fermi's paradox and have proposed solutions. There is still no easy answer.
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6:00 PM | Proto quantum computer inspired by Victorians gets a speed boost
A new approach has sped up a quantum device that exploits collisions between particles, signalling that the method may have yet more mileage in it
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5:24 PM | Behind The Numbers: The NCAA’s Data-Hungry First Medical Officer
Oliver Luck, the new NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs, describes the organization’s first medical officer, Brian Hainline, as an empiricist.
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4:30 PM | MoreOrLess: UK election podcast 2 17 Apr 15
Fact-checking the politicians during the election campaign on NHS funding; rail fares and the railways; public spending; debt and the deficit; the Right-to-Buy; and education. The podcast features a collection of interviews from Radio 4's PM programme.
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3:30 PM | Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation
A team spread across multiple institutions in China and McGill University in Canada has retracted two cancer papers over “inaccurate and inappropriately processed Western Blots.” Some of the figures were also reused between the two articles, both in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta General Subjects. The articles both tested the cancer-fighting properties of a derivative of […]The post Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:30 PM | Citation manipulation the last straw for modified rice straw paper
The Journal of Nanomaterials has retracted a paper on modified rice straw over citation manipulation. Rice straw, which makes up nearly half of the biomass in rice plants, is generally considered agricultural waste. However, in recent years scientists have discovered ways to modify the raw material to make it capable of absorbing heavy metal ions, making it […]The post Citation manipulation the last straw for modified rice straw paper appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:00 PM | "Little interest in sequels"
When people try to argue for funding private space exploration through television revenues, the remarkable viewership of Apollo 11 is often mentioned, but since it's difficult to monetize a spike, we should probably consider the performance of all of the missions.From Media, NASA, and America's Quest for the Moon by Harlen MakemsonThe spectacle of lunar conquest would have a short-lived hold on the attention of the American public. Aside from a spike during the imperiled Apollo 13 mission, […]
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3:25 AM | Desperately seeking ET: Fermi’s paradox turns 65 (Part II)
Introduction Why is it so hard to find ET? After 50 years of searching, the SETI project has so far found nothing. In the latest development, on April 14, 2015 Penn State researchers announced that after searching through satellite data on 100,000 galaxies, they saw no evidence, such as infrared signatures, indicative of advanced technological Continue reading Desperately seeking ET: Fermi’s paradox turns 65 (Part II)
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2:00 AM | Avril 2015, 3ème défi
Pour la deuxième année, chaque semaine, un défi du calendrier mathématique... - Défis du Calendrier Mathématique / Carrousel
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1:30 AM | A taxing algorithm
My first encounter with the term algorithm did not come from Don Knuth. I learned it from the Internal Revenue Service. Sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s the IRS introduced a redesigned Form 1040 based on a principle … Continue reading →

April 16, 2015

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8:00 PM | Parasitic populations solve algorithm problems in half the time
Mathematicians draw inspiration from nature to work out complicated problems – and now a new technique is using virtual parasites to find the best solutions
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7:31 PM | I thought I had posted these weeks ago
I have got to clean out my draft folder.This is a post about a fluff piece about a 25-year-old bubblegum movie. Suffice it to say, the point of diminishing returns is fairly close, but still this "All Things Considered" piece on the anniversary of Back to the Future provides a too-good-to-ignore example of some of the issues we've talked about involving journalism and technology.Specifically the issues are treating weak indications of progress the same as strong indications, rearranging […]
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7:26 PM | Controversial Italian scientist loses 11 papers from journal he used to edit
Alberto Carpinteri is something of a Renaissance man. Along with championing a highly controversial form of energy generation called “piezonuclear fission,” which involves crushing rocks, the engineer has argued that the Shroud of Turin really is as old as Jesus, but carbon dating was thrown off by an earthquake. Not everyone agrees with his ideas: In […]The post Controversial Italian scientist loses 11 papers from journal he used to edit appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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5:46 PM | How to Disregard Extremely Remote Possibilities
by Eric Schwitzgebel In 1% Skepticism, I suggest that it's reasonable to have about a 1% credence that some radically skeptical scenario holds (e.g., this is a dream or we're in a short-term sim), sometimes making decisions that we wouldn't otherwise make based upon those small possibilities (e.g., deciding to...
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4:11 PM | Paper microphone may help charge your cellphone
A new way to harvest acoustic energy turns sound waves into electric charge, all with a postage-stamp-sized piece of paper
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3:30 PM | Teflon toxicity paper fails to stick
An advanced online paper on prenatal toxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an industrial chemical used to make waterproof coatings and Teflon, is being retracted due to “some minor errors.” High blood levels of PFOA have been tied to kidney disease in humans, as well as several cancers in animal models. The majority of the U.S. […]The post Teflon toxicity paper fails to stick appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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1:47 PM | Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two Science papers last year
Frank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, has had a 2002 letter on epigenetics retracted from Nature due to “inappropriate image manipulation.” Sauer had two papers retracted from Science last year following a university investigation. Here’s the Nature notice for “Histone methylation by the Drosophila epigenetic transcriptional regulator Ash1:” The authors and the […]The post Nature retracts epigenetics paper by author who lost two […]
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8:39 AM | Carnival of Mathematics 121
The next issue of the Carnival of Mathematics, rounding up blog posts from the month of January, and compiled by Ioana, is now online at Life Through a Mathematician’s Eyes. The Carnival rounds up maths blog posts from all over the internet, including some from our own Aperiodical. See our Carnival of Mathematics page for more... Read more »
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7:00 AM | « Je t'aime jusqu'au pôle Nord »
Depuis quelque temps, ma fille de quatre ans a décidé de quantifier son amour filial en le spatialisant. Au classique « je t'aime gros comme ça » qui use de volume, elle a préféré un « je t'aime jusque là », qui se réfère à une distance. Premier avantage : cela se prête bien à la surenchère et à l'apprentissage de rudiments de géographie. (Oui, l'Italie, c'est loin. L'Inde et le Canada encore plus, mais moins que l'Australie.) Deuxième avantage : une fois la surenchère mise […]

April 15, 2015

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9:55 PM | Parrhesia (Part 4): Friends Don’t Let Friends Study the History of Being
At the beginning of a 1974 interview (D&E II, 521), M. D’Eramo puts the following question to Foucault: “you always start your analyses at the end of the Middle Ages, without ever speaking of antiquity, but it seems to me that ancient Greece is important for constructing what you call...
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8:26 PM | Business Quiz - 1
1) “The dismal science” is a derogatory alternative name for which branch of study, that was coined by the Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle in the 19th century? 2) This is the Headquarter of Deutsche bank. By what popular name we know this twin tower better? 3) What is the specialty of this smartphone from Samsung?
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3:30 PM | Gynecologic cancer researcher earns eighth retraction
Noriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher in Japan, has notched one more retraction — bringing the total to eight — due to figures that were “processed inappropriately” and did “not accurately report the original data.” According to the notice, Takai alone put the figures together in the 2006 Oncology paper, which tested a histone deacetylase […]The post Gynecologic cancer researcher earns eighth retraction appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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2:50 PM | Reader Mailbag: Baseball vs. Football
Readers of last weekend’s column entertaining the question of which sport is more popular--Major League Baseball or the National Football League--asked an interesting follow-up question: What are the demographics of the fans?
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1:30 PM | Expression of concern opens floodgates of controversy over lead in water supply
An expression of concern has been published on a paper that taps into a decades-long fight over how to remove lead from the water supply. The paper in question, published in the Journal American Water Works Association, supports the safety of a common but frequently criticized way of incrementally removing lead pipes. The expression of concern came after years of […]The post Expression of concern opens floodgates of controversy over lead in water supply appeared first on Retraction […]
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1:00 PM | Another post I won't have time to write
If you follow all the links in this post from the redoubtable James Kwak, you'll find a fascinating discussion on the speculator-driven bubble. I was going to comment on this at length but I don't have time so here's the thumbnail:Kwak and Felix Salmon both have smart things to say on the subject while James Stewart continues to show his skill at saying what a large segment of his audience wants to hear.
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7:36 AM | Assessing inductive risk in the Williams and Ceci studies
In their series that could be titled "Academic sexism is a myth", Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci have a newest installment: on the basis of fictive scenarios, faculty members in STEM disciplines had to make decisions about hiring particular male or female candidates. I'm not going to talk in detail...

April 14, 2015

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6:53 PM | In Memoriam, Pleshette DeArmitt
Our discipline suffered a terrible loss yesterday with the sudden and untimely passing of Pleshette DeArmitt, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at University of Memphis. We here at NewAPPS extend our deepest condolences to her family, her colleagues and her considerable network of friends. From...
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5:21 PM | “Super-surgeon” Macchiarini not guilty of misconduct, per one Karolinska investigation
Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who is under investigation for allegedly downplaying dangers of an experimental surgery, has been cleared of some misconduct allegations by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Macchiarini, a thoracic surgeon, has made headlines for repairing damaged airways using tracheas from cadavers and even synthetic tracheas, both treated with the patients’ own stem cells to […]The post “Super-surgeon” Macchiarini not guilty of misconduct, per one Karolinska […]
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4:18 PM | One in Six NFL Players Goes Bankrupt Within 12 Years of Retirement
Nearly one in six NFL players files for bankruptcy within a dozen years of retirement, according to new research
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3:30 PM | Molecular mixup burns chemistry paper
Chemists at Lanzhou University in China did the right thing last month, retracting a paper in Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis because of issues with a reactant that could only be corrected by changing “all the text and quantities.” When the scientists were adding what was labeled Reactant 1 to the mix, they believed it was […]The post Molecular mixup burns chemistry paper appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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