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Links 1 through 10 of 2445 by Chad Orzel tagged science

I wish more discussions of fraternities and sororities were conducted with this level of thoughtfulness and respect. Also, the application of these ideas to stuff like "What's the matter with Kansas?" is left as an exercise for the reader.

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Travis is a native of New Hampshire. He likes to show me, as I’ve only lived in New Hampshire 17 years, some of the back roads and byways of the state. One evening we were taking a very rural shortcut when the headlights fell upon a creature. It crossed the road in front of the car, Travis had slammed on the brakes, and we just sat there for a moment.

“Did you see what I just saw?” Travis exclaimed.

I took a breath and think I answered something like “Yeah, if you think we just saw a chupacabra.”

At this point, we just started to laugh. The last people that need to see a mysterious creature crossing the road late at night are leaders of the local skeptic group.

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It's extremely flattering to see _How to Teach Physics to Your Dog_ among such distinguished company.

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New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children’s learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways. These discoveries have implications for early childhood education and policy. In particular, they suggest both that early childhood experience is extremely important and that the trend toward more structured and academic early childhood programs is misguided.

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I want to know WHY the percentage of women in physics going down. Right now there is a ton of support for women entering physics. We have conferences and mentorship programs all over the nation. But one crucial voice is missing: the women who dropped out of the physics major, and the women who majored in physics but chose to not go on to graduate school. I write this blog because I want to hear from the women who chose not to continue in physics. They are the ones who can shed the true insight! I also want to hear from women who did continue in physics. What made you pick physics, and what made you stay?

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By the 1970s, space had become a laboratory rather than a frontier. Despite its status as "space station," Skylab was first called Orbital Workshop, making it sound more like dad's vision for his garage than like Kubrik's vision of 2001. The fact that Skylab was permanently disfigured during launch only concretized the program's ennui. Space exploration became self-referential: missions were sent to SkyLab in order to repair SkyLab.

The Space Shuttle turned the workaday space lab into a suburban delivery and odd-jobs service. Satellites were deployed, space labs serviced, probes released, crystals grown. Meanwhile, the aspects of space travel that really interest people--such as the fact that it's travel in motherfucking outer space--were downplayed or eliminated.

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Nike makes some cool stuff. In particular, the Nike+ gear is quite interesting. These are different sensors that you can use to measure your performance in sports like running, training, or basketball.

Clearly, there is some physics to explore here – and thanks to the good folks at Nike, I have a pair to play with. In this case, I have the Nike Hyperdunk hightops with the Nike+ basketball sensors.

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Italy, who is one of the contributors to CERN, and thus helped financing the construction of the Large Hadron Collider in measure proportional to their gross internal product, is a country full of people who visit magicians, tarot readers, healers, etcetera. This is a huge phenomenon, and an economy which fully (estimated 99%) escapes taxation. In Italy every year an estimated 6B euros (about 7.5 billion dollars) is spent in these activities, according to a Eurispes 2010 investigation (sorry, the linked report is in Italian - I am sure it exists in English as well though).

6B euros is about the cost of the full LHC, or just a bit less. This means that Italy, alone, could have fully financed the LHC effortlessly if magicians and other charlatans had been stripped of that moneys, illegally earned. Or that, if those clowns had paid their taxes, Italy could have fully financed the LHC in two and a half years. (I remind you that constructing the LHC took several years).

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Matthew Francis launches his Media Empire, offering a variety of talks (both public lectures and research talks), and more importantly workshops on communicating science to a general audience.

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Western astronomers in 1761 may not have been the first to see a transit of Venus. The renowned Arab scientist Ibn Sina noted, “I saw Venus as a spot on the surface of the sun,” so Sina may in fact have witnessed the transit of Venus in May 1032, said R. C. Kapoor (Indian Institute of Astrophysics). Though scholars previously thought that the transit of Venus would not have been visible where Ibn Sina lived, Kapoor suggested that Ibn Sina might have seen the event from two cities in modern Iran: Isfahan, where Ibn Sina lived after 1023, or Hamadan, where he died, and where a university is named after him.

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