Science isn’t Broken

In this election cycle I have new and interesting levels of anxiety. All the time. But I find comfort and solace in the data nerds over at fivethirtyeight. I have found their reporting like a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate by the fire in the middle of the blizzard that is the presidential election.

They are obsessed with data, and using data to answer questions whether in politics,  sports, or (this is new for them) science. Speficially, they recently posted a great article about how Science isn’t broken. Yes p-hacking occurs, but “what makes science so powerful is that it’s self correcting”.

Read about it over at fivethirtyeight! 

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Fossilized Leaves Solve Decades Old Death

The 58-year-young King Albert I of Belgium died while rock climbing in 1934. His body was found lifelessly hanging from a rope from the crags at Marche-les-Dames and it was a scandal to the tune of JFK like conspiracy.

82 years later we have a new clue into the cause of the Belguim royals death! And it comes from… plants.

Read about it over at Smithsonian. 

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Notes from the Field: Above the Arctic Circle!

Friend and sometime contributor, Devin Drown, has recently started up a research program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Congrats Devin!). And this summer he lead an army of undergraduates on a series of interesting projects near or above the Artic Circle.

Sadly, coordinating and advising an army of undergraduates doesn’t leave too much time for writing blog posts. But he has kindly sent me these interesting snippets from the field. Check them out!

Toolik Field Station to use MinION sequencing.

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Fairbanks Permafrost Experiment Station

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Gathering Ancient DNA from Permafrost

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Beware of the snail

Have you recently flown into the US from abroad? On the landing card it asks if you’ve been in contact with things should not be brought into the US.

Have you encountered agriculture or been on a farm?

Have you been exposed to people coughing ebola?

And then one slightly odd question that gets overlooked:

Are you carrying snails? (paraphrasing here)

This is because snails are actuallly really deadly. Or more specifically they are a vector for some really deadly parasites. Read about it, and how to control the snail/parasite spread over at Science FridayLymnea-snail.

Discovering a new species of whale

We discover new species of insects often. We’re discovering new bacteria at such an alarming rate, it’s getting difficult to count and name them all.

But it’s odd when we find new charismatic megafauna. And yet, researchers think they have identified a new species of whale.

You don’t get much more megafaunal or charismatic than that.

Read about it over at National Geographic!

New species of whale, making a splash!

New species of whale, making a splash!

New Zealand takes a stand against feral predators

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Have you seen a kiwi? Not the fruit, or the person (people from New Zealand call themselves kiwis) but the ground dwelling bird. They are horribly impractical. Their eggs take up a third of their body. They fly, they don’t run particularly fast, they aren’t clever, but they are adorable, and they have spent a long time living on this planet.

And they are rapidly going extinct in the wild due to introduced feral predators.

But New Zealand has gone nuclear on these pests, and recently vowed to eliminate all invasive predators by 2050.

Read about how they are going to accomplish this ambitious task over at the New York Times.

The kiwi egg before laying. That's how much of its body cavity is taken up by egg.

The kiwi egg before laying. That’s how much of its body cavity is taken up by egg.

How Women Are Harassed Out of Science

I had someone tell me the other day that if women were less extreme as feminists then people might not write them off as quickly. If we were quieter then things might change.

I so completely disagree with this statement that I will continue writing about the problems facing women in science indefinitely.

So, there is another new article about how women in science face consistent, ingrained, societally approved sexism and harassment in the workplace. Enjoy!

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