Hannah’s Picks of the Interwebs (Oct 2010)
Welcome to Hannah’s Picks, a new monthly feature in which I sum up the best things I read/saw in the previous month. These will mostly be picked out of my google reader shares because these represent not only the things I think are interesting/well-written, but are accessible to non-scientists and/or provide a useful perspective. There won’t be too many – not more than 10. I really intend for this to be the cream of the crop as far as the month’s science writing/web fun goes (in my opinion, obviously).
FIRST: SHAMELESS PLUG – The post from my other blog, Sleeping with the Fishes, that I think you will be most interested in.
We now have the technology to not only quantify the approximate amount of phytoplankton by satellite, but also identify type of organism! This actually blows my mind – identifying the genus or group FROM SPACE. If you want to read about it, click here: The grand diversity of phytoplankton: focusing from space. (It was a Research Blogging Editors’ Selection, if that’s any incentive…)
- Curious about the origins of human sexuality? Check out Eric Michael Johnson’s post about our species’ sexual history: were we once polygamous?
- Lucas Brouwers’s post about how freshwater crabs provide evidence for plate tectonics
- Check out more at the carnival!
SCIENCE ON THE WEB
“Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science” by David H. Freedman
Maintaining a healthy skepticism about scientific research is a tough line to tread. Lean too far on one side, and you encourage a distrust of science generally; but trusting research without confirming its rationality is also unwise. This is a common problem in medical science in particular, with much over-hyped reporting and some questionable studies. PLEASE read this article in the Atlantic – you seriously won’t regret it.
“Carbon Dioxide and Climate”
This article isn’t as trite as the title implies – in fact, it was the opposite at the time. This is a reprint of a 1959 Scientific American article suggesting that human activity may be affecting the earth’s climate! WHOOA! Worth the read for the historical perspective.
“Back from the Brink: Victories in Conservation”
Most writing about endangered species is incredibly depressing. To promote conservation, it makes sense to promote some feeling of guilt about or responsibility for our planet and its organisms, but all the sad stories can make conservation efforts seem hopeless. The team at Southern Fried Science wrote this lovely piece highlighting successes in bringing endangered species back from the brink. It’s a great reminder that we CAN do something, and that our efforts are worth it.
“What are Species Worth? Putting a Price on Biodiversity” by Richard Conniff
Along the same lines – we hear all the time how important it is to preserve biodiversity, but sometimes the effort doesn’t seem worth it. So what if we lose one species – we have so many! Richard Conniff explains why diversity is so important, both to the planet and our own human livelihood, and why one species does matter.
Nikon’s Small World Photography Contest Winners Gallery
Gorgeous pictures of tiny things. I don’t think this needs more of a plug than that. Soap film, cancer cells, soy sauce, and banana stem as you’ve never seen them before.
Stephen Fry’s “What I Wish I’d Known When I was 18.”
A half-hour of life advice from Stephen Fry. Perfect. Listen while you’re cooking dinner.
Proper time vs. Remembered Time on Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Funny and poignant, as it should be.
Soldier serving his queen on Buttersafe
I won’t give away the punchline this time.
“Autumn, again,” new album from Philly’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow, which they are giving away! Free download! It’s really lovely.