Guardian.UK: Down’s syndrome cells ‘fixed’ in first step towards chromosome therapy.
“The long-range possibility – and it’s an uncertain possibility – is a chromosome therapy for Down’s syndrome. But that is 10 years or more away. I don’t want to get people’s hopes up.” Still, it’s great to know research hasn’t been shelved in order to emphasize HIV, cancer, bird flu, etc.
Slate: The New York Times chronic Lyme disease—Placebo effects and misleading anecdotes.
“Jane Brody and the editors at the New York Times ought to have known better. There’s very little evidence that treated Lyme disease lasts and lasts, and there’s no reason to blame Lyme disease for symptoms among patients with no history of infection.”
Uphill All the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929.
BBC News: ‘Muscle power truths’ revealed.
“As muscles flex, tugging filaments fan out in a lattice …” Strength isn’t a just a two-way street.
SciAm: In Defense Of Metaphors In Science Writing.
“The reading world gets pretty divided over whether or not it’s okay to apply metaphors and similes to descriptive science writing. It even gets hot and bothered over the use of that most practical parent of metaphors – the analogy.” There’s a time and a place for a metaphor.
Canada.com: Breakthrough DNA study links B.C. woman, 5,500-year-old “grandmother”.
“A groundbreaking genetic study led by a team of U.S. and Canadian anthropologists has traced a direct DNA link between the 5,500-year-old remains of an aboriginal woman found on a British Columbia island, a second set of ancient female bones from a nearby 2,500-year-old site and — most stunningly — a living Tsimshian woman from the Metlakatla First Nation, located close to both of the prehistoric burials along B.C.’s North Coast near the city of Prince Rupert.”
ieet.org: A Test to Measure How Rational You Really Are.
“Rationality is not entirely innate. It is as malleable as intelligence and possibly much more so. Roughly one half of rationality as we define it is not process but knowledge — knowledge that could be acquired by perhaps 70% or more of the population.”
arstechnica: Mysterious radio bursts come from outside our galaxy.
Science vs Magic: Lets Play—Ancient Greek Geometry.
Addicting Info: 35 Founding Father Quotes Conservative Christians Will Hate.
Reality distortion does not stand up to even the slimmest scrutiny, if you read their original papers.
Open Culture: The Genius of Albrecht Dürer Revealed in Four Self-Portraits.
His style remains remarkably consistent over time.
Standpoint: Decline and Fall of the History Men.
“It is the decline of history in this sense that lies behind the heated debates about the teaching of history at school and university. The loss of such a temporal dimension has brought about a profound change in the outlook of the West: a loss of organic connection, not only with those who came before us, but with our place in the world.” I mourn that The Practical Cogitator is out of print. Every high schooler should read it. It remains near my bedside table at all times.
Guardian.UK: Should driving the school run be banned?
Perhaps not banned, but certainly discouraged. The local elementary school has instituted a one-day-a-week ‘walking schoolbus’ where staff accompany kids dropped off a mile away at the local shopping center. Too bad parents’ fears prevent children from enjoying a good walk to school. Some of my most compelling life adventures - and adventure ideas - started on those walks.
WaPo: Civil War historian makes Gettysburg his focus and his home.
Article ends too abruptly. I’ll have to search out his books.
NPR: What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out.
Best observation in the article: “Reading leads to reading.”
SciAm: Altitude May Influence Language Sounds.
More plosives? Interesting.
Pacific Standard: Study—Reading Fiction Makes People Comfortable With Ambiguity.
The study? OK. The post-study ‘jumping-to-conclusions’ part … well … test for it, rather than tossing it out there.
Daily Kos: Philadelphia launches assault on public education with school closings and layoffs.
“This is nothing less than an all-out assault on Philadelphia’s poor kids, its black kids, its teachers and other school workers, and the idea that public education should be available equally to all kids.” Benjamin Franklin weeps.
Phys.Org: Roman seawater concrete holds the secret to cutting carbon emissions.
“‘In the middle 20th century, concrete structures were designed to last 50 years, and a lot of them are on borrowed time. [snip] Now we design buildings to last 100 to 120 years.’ Yet Roman harbor installations have survived 2,000 years of chemical attack and wave action underwater.”
OpenCulture: Does Math Objectively Exist, or Is It a Human Creation?
“Where does math come from? Does it exist independently of human (or other) minds, or is it a human creation? Do we discover mathematical problems or do we invent them?” As someone once said, a soap bubble doesn’t stop to calculate its spherical properties before it becomes a bubble. A subject worthy of much contemplation. It should be a series.
Simons Foundation: Complications in Physics Lend Support to Multiverse Hypothesis.
“In peril is the notion of ‘naturalness,’ Albert Einstein’s dream that the laws of nature are sublimely beautiful, inevitable and self-contained. Without it, physicists face the harsh prospect that those laws are just an arbitrary, messy outcome of random fluctuations in the fabric of space and time.” Hazard. Roll of the dice.
Mashable: 10 Scripps National Spelling Bee Words You’d Definitely Screw Up.
GigaOm: Dodgy data—the iceberg to science’s Titanic.
“There’s an epidemic going on in science: experiments that no one can reproduce, studies that have to be retracted, and the emergence of a lurking data reliability iceberg.” The article mentions the Center for Open Science; very new, worth keeping a bookmark open for. I didn’t find an RSS link (yet).
Scientific American: A Brief History of Mental Illness In Art.
Puts me in mind of the discussions we used to have around art classes when I was a high schooler … the great question, “Can you be a great artist if you’re not seriously mentally ill?” Even in college, ‘normal’ kids were discounted by the artistic peers if they weren’t completely immersed in drug-experimentation and peer-approved deviations.
NY Times: Why Do I Teach?
“We should judge teaching not by the amount of knowledge it passes on, but by the enduring excitement it generates. Knowledge, when it comes, is a later arrival, flaring up, when the time is right, from the sparks good teachers have implanted in their students’ souls.” +1.