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Alan Alda


What Is Sleep?

Alan Alda | December 24, 2014 | Science
Read More: Sleep, Science News
We asked 11-year-olds to come up with their own questions to pose to scientists. This year, kids have asked scientists What is Sleep? It's probably a question we all have asked ourselves from time to time. We spend a third of our lives doing it, but we don't fully understand why.
Nathan Gardels


Year-End Roundup: Best Blogs of 2014

Nathan Gardels | December 24, 2014 | World
Historians may look back and see 2014 as the tipping point when the world started falling apart instead of coming together. Visionary scientists remain enthusiastic that, thanks to converging new technologies from artificial intelligence to regenerative medicine, genetic synthesis and green energy, our civilization is on the threshold of a new and harmonious singularity. Yet, all around us the signs of splintering abound in revived nationalisms, ardent religious wars and the reappearance of geopolitical blocs. Even the global connectivity of the Internet once thought to embody a world spirit is balkanizing.
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman


How Do Jews View Science?

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman | December 23, 2014 | Religion
So that's the first challenge for the Jewish community when it comes to science -- while the Christian community grapples with how to embrace science, the Jewish community has to figure out how to relate to Judaism.
Brian Clegg


Eight Great Popular Science Books From 2014

Brian Clegg | December 24, 2014 | Books
Looking back over 2014, we had a middling year -- not disastrous, but not one that was packed with stand-out, must-read titles. Even so, there are a good few to choose from to add to any respectable popular science collection.
Allen Frances


The Globalization of Attention Deficit Disorder

Allen Frances | December 23, 2014 | Science
Mental disorders have become a global commodity. A diagnostic fad heavily promoted first in the US now quickly spreads around the world; and multinational corporations have perfected the profitable art of international marketing.
Cecile Janssens


Commercial DNA Testing May Cause Harm, Scientific Studies Show (if You Read Through to the Study Limitations at the End)

Cecile Janssens | December 22, 2014 | Science
"No evidence of harm" is not the same as "evidence of no harm." All studies had serious limitations that may have made the results more positive than justified, which the researchers often acknowledged.
Cristina Eisenberg


Wolves in a Tangled Bank

Cristina Eisenberg | December 23, 2014 | Science
The wolves' return to Yellowstone and the subsequent recovery of plants that elk had been eating to death in their absence has become one the most popularized and beloved ecological tales.
William Lynch III


Forensic Science Is Not CSI, in Ferguson or Anywhere Else

William Lynch III | December 19, 2014 | Crime
None of this is to say that we need to toss all the evidence out and start at square one. Nor am I saying that the evidence supporting Wilson's account is totally false. My point is that everyone must realize that forensic science is not absolute like on television.
Olivier Dumon


Innovations in Science: Passing the 'Turing Test'

Olivier Dumon | December 19, 2014 | Science
Alan Turing and his legacy are pivotal reminders of the limitations of data analysis without the context. How would he be evaluated today looking only at some of those metrics? He published just a few articles in his too short life, but Turing's work has had profound impact upon computer science that still resonates.
Seth Shostak


Mars Methane: Life at Last?

Seth Shostak | December 19, 2014 | Science
It might be life, or it might not be. But the good news is that we now have evidence of some sort of activity under the surface of Mars -- phenomena subject to solid, repeatable measurement.
World Science Festival


This Week in Science: Mars Methane, Feathery Weather Forecasters, and Philae's Wake-Up Call

World Science Festival | December 19, 2014 | Science
NASA's Curiosity rover detected a burp of methane on Mars lasting for several months--possibly stemming from a geologic process called serpentinization, or possibly the signature of microscopic Martian life.
Wray Herbert


Are There Natural Remedies for Cognitive Aging?

Wray Herbert | December 19, 2014 | Science
The aging brain goes through predictable changes, and as a result, old age is usually accompanied by some cognitive decline, even dementia. Happily, some of the risk factors for mental aging are open to intervention.
Dr. Sten Odenwald


The History of Interplanetary Colonization

Dr. Sten Odenwald | December 22, 2014 | Science
Here you have it. In the next few centuries, we can colonize the solar system in any number of different ways using largely conventional technology extended to meet the reasonable challenges of week-long hope to Mars, Saturn or elsewhere.
Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.


Investing in America's Dazzling Scientific Talent

Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. | December 18, 2014 | Science
Our nation needs to increase its commitment to the intellectual pursuit of scientific discovery - and to the "dazzling" talent in our midst. That's a proven strategy to produce the jobs that Americans want and deserve -- not directly but indirectly.
Jeff Schweitzer


Soul Search: Why Pope Francis Is Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Jeff Schweitzer | December 18, 2014 | Politics
We have this conundrum of who has a soul and who goes to heaven because the basic premise on the question is rather absurd. The concept of a soul is fatally flawed, just as is the idea of dualism.
Fred Gregory

Orion Test Is the First Step in NASA's Bold Space Program

Fred Gregory | December 17, 2014 | Science
NASA's successful launch of the Orion spacecraft was an important step, but it is only like dipping a toe in the cosmic ocean. In fact, the future of U.S. space leadership is being starved by lack of funding. Continued neglect will harm our national security, and our economy.
Daniel Yudkin


In Which I Inadvertently Subject Myself to One of the Most Controversial Psychology Experiments of All Time

Daniel Yudkin | December 18, 2014 | Science
Before I ate my sandwich, I removed a little pill bottle from my bag, shook two of the white oblong pills into my hand, and popped them into my mouth. I spat them back out. Something wasn't right.
Pawan Khera

For the First Time, Lima Climate Accord Puts Burden on Developing Countries

Pawan Khera | December 16, 2014 | World
After two weeks of hectic parleys, more than 190 countries at the Lima climate change talks agreed on a plan to fight global warming that would, for the first time, commit all countries to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. There is a significant departure from one of the defining principles of the last 20 years of climate talks: wealthy countries would not carry the burden of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
Curt Stager

Are You Made of Air Pollution?

Curt Stager | December 16, 2014 | Green
Plants harvest carbon dioxide from the air, and when we dump fossil fuel carbon into the atmosphere much of it runs through the world's food chains and into our bodies. You build most of your body from air and water, but to do this you need the help of plants.
Christopher King

Insights Are in Cite: Tracking Science's Hottest and Emerging Fields

Christopher King | December 16, 2014 | Science
These days, with scientific knowledge proliferating so rapidly and in such a seemingly undifferentiated torrent, how can one hope to mark the genesis of new areas of specialized investigation?
All posts from 12.24.2014 < 12.23.2014