Guest Post: Auditing Astronomy Class I’m not sure exactly where this story begins, but maybe it’s here: Sometime this summer, my mom decided to take an astronomy class. She had taken drama and philosophy classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley and audited a history of theater course. She’d heard that this particular astronomy class was aimed at non-science majors, and that the professor, Alex Filippenko, had won all sorts of teaching awards. She emailed him to see if it was okay for her to sit in – it was – and then convinced a few friends to join her. Maybe what I should say next is that my mom has never been that interested in science. I actually didn’t know how much she didn’t like it until we talked about it recently.
How to run a successful research lab without having a lab At the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Atul Butte gave a talk entitled, "Translational Medical Discoveries Through Data Transparency and Reuse." It could just as easily been called "how to run a successful research lab without having a lab." Butte, who is faculty at Stanford, was part of a panel that discussed the open sharing of data, and he used his own experience to provide a compelling case study that showed that, when researchers share their data, it enables others to drive a field forward in new ways. Butte focused on a specific type of data, generated by what are called DNA or gene chips. A chip that can contain sequences from every single human gene can now be had for only about $250, and each one can survey the expression of all these genes in a single cell type—say a cancer cell, or nerve cells from a Parkinson's patient.
40 Photo-Illustrated Questions to Refocus Your Mind Asking the right questions is the answer… It’s not the answers you get from others that will help you, but the questions you ask of yourself. Here are 40 thought-provoking questions to help you refresh and refocus your thinking: Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Also, check out our sister site, Thought Questions, for more photo-illustrated questions like these; and check out The Book of Questions Peter Weyland at TED2023: I will change the world Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since he announced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoid robotic system by the end of the decade. Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine with nanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself on the issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prides himself on his motto, “If we can, we must.” After a three year media blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal where he’s heading next.
Sex Diaries Editor Gets Personally Inspired by the Diarists It began with the hedge fund guy who crossed state lines for sex. When I read his sex diary, my expectations were low; they sunk to a nadir when I opened the e-mail introducing his submission: I am a loyal reader, and this diary combines a decent week sexually with an insight into a complex psyche, if I say so myself. A self-centered finance guy. DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, IN HIS OWN WORDS A cache of over 40 letters reveals the artist’s humour and imagination ... From THE ECONOMIST online When René Magritte was 13 years old, his mother drowned herself in a local river. When the body was recovered her face was found to be covered with her nightdress. No one knew whether she had deliberately shielded her eyes from death or if the river current had simply veiled her face.
The future is brighter than you think Peter Diamandis says too much focus is placed on negative newsHe says the truth is that the world is poised for abundance through innovationDiamandis: Social changes have vastly increased wealth, reduced disease and violenceHe says smart phones put knowledge, tools in the hands of billions around the world Editor's note: Peter Diamandis is an expert on innovation, the author of "Abundance," and founder and chief executive of the X PRIZE Foundation, a nonprofit focused on creating large incentive prizes to drive breakthroughs. He spoke at the TED2012 conference in February. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website
Top 10 Global Health Milestones in 2012 The mass atrocity event in Connecticut took place just a few miles from my own elementary school. I don’t know about you, but I am in the mood for some uplifting news right now. PSI Impact magazine, for which I am a contributor, asked its readers to nominate 10 great global health moments of the past year, then asked experts write profiles of each milestone. This list will lift your spirits. Human ingenuity, political will and determination made 2012 a banner year in the effort to make this a healthier planet. 10 Articles That Changed My Life It’s easy to find a well written article. It’s not always easy to find a well written article with genuine value. That’s because the Internet has nearly limitless value — you can use it to look up the correct spelling of a word, or to translate text between languages, or even figure out “what’s the name of that guy from that movie who was in that other movie?” You can also use the Internet to go shopping while at home, or do job searching while at work, or publish blog entries while on vacation. Taking it to the next level, you can use the Internet to interact with people, make new friends around the world, or research your next dating partner.
‘Life is not a multiple-choice test’ (www.nagb.org) (Correction: Fixing 33-year teaching degree to 33-year teaching career) I recently posted the resignation letter of Ron Maggiano, an award-winning social studies teacher at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County, after a 33-year teaching career — four years shy of full retirement. In the following post, Maggiano recalls his first day of teaching — and his last, and explains why he is leaving his job.
The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases by Maria Popova “Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.” Biases often work in surreptitious ways — they sneak in through the backdoor of our conscience, our good-personhood, and our highest rational convictions, and lodge themselves between us and the world, between our imperfect humanity and our aspirational selves, between who we believe we are and how we behave. In the introduction, Vedantam contextualizes why this phenomenon isn’t new but bears greater urgency than ever: