Nature: The rise and fall of scientific authority — and how to bring it back. “It is tempting to think that scientific authority is natural and will soon reassert itself like a sturdy self-righting boat knocked over by a rogue wave. The ugly truth is that science is more like Facebook, whose positive features are also vulnerabilities. Precisely because it allows us to connect and share, Facebook creates opportunities for misuse. Similarly, science is an exemplary form of enquiry because it is technical, fallible, done in communities and able to reshape our values. But these very features allow detractors to reject the authority even of eminent experts.”
Wired: How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science. “No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day — and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet.”
The Silhouette: McMaster alumna promotes STEM satire through new website. “After completing an undergraduate degree in chemistry and masters in chemical engineering at McMaster University, Lexa Graham embarked on a new path. She performed in stand-up comedy shows and wrote for satire sites like The Onion and CBC Comedy. After identifying a gap in the market for satirical science content, she launched [DNAtured] on Feb. 21.” Like The Onion, but for STEM topics. I liked it.
Engadget: Hitting the Books: The Second Kind of Impossible. “Welcome, dear readers, to Engadget’s new series, Hitting the Books. With less than one in five Americans reading just for fun these days, we’ve done the hard work for you by scouring the internet for the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find and delivering an easily digestible nugget of their stories.”
Rockefeller University: New online resource brings science outreach to a broader audience. “After years of running on-campus workshops for New York City’s educational communities, the RockEDU Science Outreach team has accrued a rich portfolio of science education materials. With the launch of a new website, RockEDU Online, these resources are now available for learners, educators, and scientists everywhere.”
Ars Technica: State legislation could accidentally mess up science education. “…this year, three states have seen measures introduced that could interfere with science education, but only accidentally. In a bid to keep ‘controversial issues’ out of the classroom, the bills would call for teachers not to advocate on any topics that have appeared in the platform of a state political party. In the US, that would include evolution and climate change.”
Phys .org: As shutdown drags on, scientists scramble to keep insects, plants and microbes alive. “Three days a week, Don Weber shows up to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture campus in Beltsville, Md. The parking lot is empty and the hallways are dark. Like other federal facilities across the country, the lab is closed because of the partial government shutdown. ‘It’s like a ghost town,’ said Weber, an entomologist. But he has to perform an important task: feeding the hundreds of insects he raises in his lab, which keep hatching, mating and dying, oblivious to the political showdown in Washington, D.C.”