Posts tagged with science

Nov 12 2019

Blowout, by Rachel Maddow


Reading Rachel Maddow's Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth is like listening to an exceptionally long monologue for her MSNBC show. Her voice is genial, her subject important, and her arguments carefully researched and informative—but her laid-back, rangy, coolest-professor-on-campus style undermines the urgency of her subject...

More »

Aug 13 2019



This is amazing: British poet laureate Simon Armitage’s latest poem, “Finishing It”, has been engraved by micro-artist Graham Short on to a 2cm x 1cm chemotherapy pill. The poem was commissioned by the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and according to The Guardian...

More »

Oct 3 2018

So, so, so very overdue


Well, we've been following stories about Cornell University food behavior scientist Brian Wansink for more than a year now, but it seems this saga has finally come to an end: after a boatload (more collective nouns!) of scandals, Cornell has decided it's time to...

More »

Aug 30 2018



There was a fascinating (and slightly disturbing) article recently published in The Guardian by Maryanne Wolf, the director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Wolf outlines the research that suggests that skimming information online is actually changing our brains...

More »

May 22 2018

Big ideas, illustrated


io9 has an interview up with Jim Ottaviani, an author (and former nuclear engineer) who has written about several well-known scientists: Jane Goodall, Niels Bohr, and Richard Feynman...

More »

Feb 13 2018

Remember phonics?


There's a fascinating (and horrifying) interview on NPR about the disconnect between current research on the science of reading and how it is actually taught to children, which might explain why only a third(!!!) of American schoolchildren read at grade level. The interview subject is Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive scientist...

More »

Feb 7 2018



Variety informs me that a TV series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy is in the works at Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. This isn't the first attempt at adapting this material (Darren Aronofsky was previously working on an adaptation of the novels for HBO—thankfully we've been spared that), but...

More »

Dec 27 2017



In a bit of weird-but-sweet news, Open Culture recently posted a supportive letter Albert Einstein sent to Marie Curie when the public discovery of an affair that Curie was having with a fellow scientist threatened to...

More »

Nov 30 2017



I'm both amused and horrified by this Buzzfeed headline: "An Ivy League Food Scientist Is Retracting Yet Another Paper". According to the article, Cornell University food behavior scientist Brian Wansink has been forced...

More »

Nov 28 2017



GeekWire recently put together their Holiday Science Book Guide for 2017, and their choices look amazing. I'm particularly attracted to Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke's Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe. As a person with literally no sense of physical perspective...

More »

Oct 25 2017

I can hold myself back.


Great news, guys: you can now read Stephen Hawking's 1966 Ph.D. thesis! For free! And people were so excited by this news (or optimistic about their own ability to understand a 134-page-long paper on "“Properties of Expanding Universes”) that...

More »

Oct 10 2017

I want it.


And speaking of cool visuals, check out this extraordinary Instagram video of an edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. If the video is to be believed, Bradbury's text only appears when the reader applies heat to the page. I have absolutely no idea how this book works...

More »

Oct 3 2017

Every bit helps


There was a recent article on BigThink about the health benefits of reading—specifically, the ways in which it strengthens your brain. Some of the stuff about white matter and enhanced empathy was beyond my ken, but the article confirms my basic belief about the mental boost...

More »

Sep 26 2017

Mad props


Last week, NASA dedicated the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Katherine Johnson herself, one of the key figures in Margot Lee Shetterly's bestselling nonfiction book Hidden Figures. In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

More »

Jan 28 2016



According to the Guardian, "Researchers at Poland’s Institute of Nuclear Physics found complex ‘fractal’ patterning of sentences in literature, particularly in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, which resemble ‘ideal’ maths seen in nature." This...

More »

May 23 2014

Father's Day is coming.


According to NPR, NASA's new (and free!) 300-page e-book Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication is a fascinating exploration of the question of what would happen if...

More »

May 13 2014



The humanitarian group WaterisLife and ad agency DDB have teamed up to promote and distribute a product called The Drinkable Book. Based on the research of Teri Dankovich, The Drinkable Book features...

More »

Dec 17 2013

"Shaken, not stirred" might refer to an alcoholic tremor


According to NPR, a group of Nottingham University Hospital scientists spent a year analyzing Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and tabulating the number of drinks the spy downed each day. The grand total? Six to seven drinks per day, or an average of 45 per week...

More »

May 7 2013

Poetry in space


If you have dreams of becoming an intergalactically famous poet, now's your chance: NASA is promoting its upcoming launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (MAVEN) via its "Going to Mars with MAVEN" project. Mission managers have invited the poetry-writing public to submit haiku written for the occasion...

More »

Feb 26 2013

If you're interested...


A bit of happy news for the science geeks among us: the US government announced last week that far more taxpayer-funded research papers will soon be freely offered to the public. This is an expansion of an older policy, which had previously only applied to biomedical science...

More »

Jan 29 2013

"Darwin Day" possible (but really unlikely)


According to the Huffington Post, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt has introduced legislation that would designate February 12, 2013, as “Darwin Day". Holt's attempt to recognize the famous biologist as a "worthy symbol... [of] the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge” was introduced last week. Unfortunately for science fans...

More »

Jan 24 2013

Making science


NPR posted an article this morning about Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, two scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, who set out to explore the use of DNA as a method of storing information. Birney and Goldman decided to encode Shakespeare's sonnets, an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and a picture of their office, and sent all the data...

More »

Oct 17 2012

Ada Lovelace Day


Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating the achievements of Ms. Lovelace in particular and women in science, technology, engineering and maths in general. The official website suggests that you read and discuss something produced by a female scientist or mathematician, but if you're pressed for time you could probably just settle for reading this...

More »

Aug 23 2012

Close enough


Aw: the landing site for the Mars Curiosity (which just took its first test drive!) will be named after Ray Bradbury. The Curiosity landed on August 6th, but NASA waited to announce the site's name until August 22nd, which would have been Bradbury's 92nd birthday...

More »

Oct 28 2011

Science fair season is coming up

Thanks to the fine people at io9, I now know that Britain's Royal Society has recently opened up their historical archive of journals to the public, free of charge. The Royal Society has been pub...

More »

Oct 27 2011

A step in the right direction

According to Scientific American, a Dutch researcher has developed a font designed to decrease the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading. The font emphasizes the differences between ce...

More »

Oct 11 2010

Want to smell tomato-soup-roast-beef-and-blueberry-pie fresh?

Of all the candy mentioned in Roald Dahl's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde's full-course-dinner gum has always struck me as the least appealing, but apparently scientis...

More »

Mar 17 2010

Hot-button topic

The most recent Horn Book newsletter has a great interview up with Joanna Cole, one of the co-creators (with illustrator Bruce Degen) of the Magic School Bus series. Cole and Degen's most recent ...

More »