Of interest (Oct 21-22)

  • tags: racism

  • A team of long-time leaders of the Internet community have come together behind Dan Whaley, one of the forefathers of contemporary search engines, to build a system called Hypothes.is: an “open-source Internet platform to crowdsource peer-review on information everywhere.”

    It’s a peer review system to check, verify and critique content all over the Web – and beyond. “Improving the credibility of the information we consume is humanity’s grandest challenge,” Whaley says.

    tags: factcheck

  • It appears that Republican claims that they can create lots of jobs by weakening environmental regulation are keying off a study from the American Petroleum Institute (pdf). There are a lot of things to critique about this study, including the fact that it actually shows a relatively small number of energy jobs, which are then blown up by assuming a large multiplier. …

    tags: unemployment

  • I don’t think Berman fully explains the austerity class’s dominance, but he does a fine job of documenting it. And here’s the thing: that dominance has been so total that alternate views weren’t even being heard. So doing something, anything, that broke through the narrative could have a big effect.

    Thank you, OWS.

    tags: occupywallstreet unemployment

  • This isn’t the only case where news organizations consistently report as truth something that didn’t happen, while failing to report what did. Another one that comes to mind is the California electricity crisis of 2001-2002. As some readers may recall, that crisis was caused by market manipulation — and that’s not a hypothesis, Enron traders were caught on tape telling plants to shut down to create artificial shortages. Yet “news analyses” published after the whole thing was revealed would often tell readers that excessive environmental regulation and Nimbyism caused the crisis…

  • In recent days we’ve brought you documentary films exploring the birthplace of the blues and the genius of Theonious Monk. Today, we feature one of the most stylish jazz films ever made: Jammin’ the Blues, directed by Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili in 1944. …

    tags: video music

  • This city, home to the nation’s first large public library, has a new and somewhat grittier venue for reading. Housed in a green military tent, the library at the Occupy Boston encampment is overflowing with scholarly tomes that have no due dates or late fees.

    The growing collection includes more than 500 books, sorted by genre — consumerism, gender, activism/organizing — and overseen by a bookstore owner and a number of librarians supporting the movement, including some from a group calling themselves the Radical Reference librarians. It has a simple checkout system, an expanding archive of Occupy Boston’s meeting notes and proposals and a nascent program of speakers and writing workshops. …

    tags: 2011_protests united_states occupysolidarity massachusetts

  • tags: music

  • [….My tags are problematic. -L]

    tags: 2011_protests united_states occupysolidarity new_mexico

  • The response to the death of Muammar Qaddafi was not celebrated in many parts of black Africa. Many in countries south of Libya may have tired long ago of the eccentric Libyan leader’s vision of a United Africa, even if he was willing to back it with generous handouts. But as Mahmood Mamdani writes at aljazeera.com, it also reminded Africa’s remaining “strongman” leaders of their own vulnerability to foreign intervention:…

  • Tell the DCCC: You can’t have it both ways. Either stop fundraising off attacks on women’s health or stop fundraising for anti-choice Democrats who vote to let women die.

    It is shameful that the DCCC is using these horrible attacks on women’s lives as a chance to fill their own coffers with the money of supporters who are genuinely angry about the war extremists in Congress are waging against women.

    Not only is it hypocritical for the DCCC not to mention that the money raised for their women’s health fund will be going directly to three anti-choice candidates, but it is simply wrong that they are funding candidates who are so anti-choice that they voted for a bill that would let women die in a hospital without any intervention.

    tags: call_for_action reproductive_justice misogyny failfailfail

  • The biggest ever study on the personality of sperm donors has just been published.

    Each was asked to fill out the Temperament and Character Inventory personality scale…

  • …a powerful application for medical physicists. Originally designed to track subatomic particles in high-energy physics experiments, Geant4 can also map proton paths through patients’ bodies during radiation treatment.

    …Minimizing collateral damage is a tough problem for medical physicists who design radiation treatments.

    “To perfect this stuff, what we have to understand really is where are the particles going?” Perl said.

    tags: medicine

  • Unfortunately, neither Klinkrad nor anyone else can say exactly where on Earth ROSAT is headed.

    Debris could come down anywhere between 53 degrees north latitude and 53 degrees south latitude, an area that includes most of Earth’s land mass…

  • This is one of the coolest science news stories in the past few weeks – 13,000 year old cave paintings, likely by children. The discovery was made in the Rouffignac cave system, which contains more typical cave paintings as well. In one chamber, however, there is a concentration of finger fluting – drawing lines by dragging fingers through the soft silt of the cave walls. Researchers compared the lines to those made by modern subjects (they compared the distance between the fingers in order to make their assessment) and found that they were consistent with those made by young children, some 2-3 years old.

    In addition some of the lines made by toddler-age children were too straight and steady to have been made by a young child, which suggests they were being helped – perhaps their hand was steadied by an adult who was showing them how to draw the lines.

    tags: archaeology

  • Comets have been caught battering an exoplanet for the first time, new observations suggest. If the existence of the planet is confirmed, the finding means that the impacts are bringing water and organic material – the essential ingredients for life – to a world that lies in the habitable zone around its star.

    The cometary shower is taking place around a bright star about 60 light years away called Eta Corvi, which is visible to the naked eye in the northern sky.

    tags: science astronomy

  • tags: prediction

  • tags: science cosmology

  • tags: skepticism

  • Medify attempts to find a productive compromise between these two extremes of online health information. It aggregates published research from the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Medline, a database that contains more than 18 million references to journal articles going back to 1946. Then it scrapes data points like the number of patients studied, their treatments, symptoms and side effects to generate insights about medical treatments and experts.

    It arranges these datapoints in easy-to-read graphs.

  • tags: computers video

  • Many grasses use silicon taken up from the soil to defend themselves against herbivores. Once taken up they turn it into tiny granules called phytoliths, which are stored in their leaves. By making leaves tougher and harder for animals to digest, and by wearing down their teeth, phytoliths can persuade most herbivores – anything from locusts and voles to sheep – to find something else to eat.

    This defence can come at a cost, though. Taking up silicon and turning it into phytoliths uses energy that the plant could otherwise use for growth and reproduction.

    tags: science

  • People often ask if there’s one good book that is accessible to all, about how evidence based medicine works. …

    I genuinely, truly, cannot recommend this awesome book highly enough for its clarity, depth, and humanity.

    tags: skepticism medicine

  • Seen here is the birth of a juvenile exoplanet. Using data from the Keck telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, astronomers have directly imaged a newly formed planet growing from the gas and dust of a sun-like star.

    …the planet is around six times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its parent star at approximately the distance that Uranus is from our sun.

    The young planet is strange because it has a higher temperature than would be expected from simulations of planet formation. The protoplanet has likely been caught during the early stages of its life and therefore its mass might fluctuate in the future.

    tags: science astronomy

  • Researchers have found that relocating people out of poor neighborhoods can be as effective as drugs in reducing their chances of becoming overweight and developing diabetes. …

    The only way to sort out cause and effect is to do a randomized trial, moving people around between neighborhoods and tracking their health over several years.

    That is what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) did…

    The experiment clearly shows that the neighborhood effect is real, says Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston who studies the effect of social ties on health, but the mechanisms remain murky. Is it the shops and restaurants, the parks and pools, he wonders, “or the people in a neighborhood that affect you most?”

    tags: science

  • Truthy is a research project that helps you understand how memes spread online. Our first application was the study of astroturf campaigns in elections. With our images and statistics, you can help identify misuse of Twitter.

  • …students have been “taught” by librarians and English instructors to say that the Wikipedia is not a good source of information, and they uncritically parrot back this “answer” when asked. Surely the thing that librarians and English instructors should be doing is giving students assignments to find and evaluate critically information in the Wikipedia? Shouldn’t education be about learning to analyze and explain why something has or does not have quality?

    tags: education

  • tags: science

  • …a very interesting table… It’s a list of words scientists use when writing or otherwise communicating science, what the scientists mean when they use that word, and most importantly what the public hears.

    tags: science

  • …a Venn diagram made of actual pies.

    tags: funny

  • Preliminary findings from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider may have uncovered experimental evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model. …showing significant excesses of particles known as leptons…a result that could be interpreted as evidence for a theory called supersymmetry. …“This is clearly something to watch closely over the coming months,” … supersymmetry [is] a theoretical model that posits the existence of a heavier partner to all known subatomic particles in order to solve certain problems with the Standard Model.The most familiar lepton is the humble electron, though other, more exotic particles such as muons and taus also fall in this category. Producing a single one of these subatomic particles in the proton-proton collisions at the LHC is relatively rare……the CMS team is cautious, stressing…that there isn’t definitive proof of new physics yet.

    tags: science physics

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.