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Nathan Gardels

Weekend Roundup: China Bares Its Teeth

Nathan Gardels | September 4, 2015 | World
China's reformist leader Deng Xiaoping famously counseled that his nation should "hide its strength and bide its time" as it grew to the top ranks of the global economy. President Xi Jinping has taken a different course. He is seizing the moment and baring China's teeth. Not unlike Ronald Reagan who declared in the 1980s that "America is back -- standing tall," Xi is signaling that the Middle Kingdom has returned and finally straightened its spine after being bent over by national humiliation going back to the Opium War, Western colonialism and Japanese occupation. Xi's stance was on display for all the world to see in the vast military spectacle on Tiananmen Square this week marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied defeat of Japan in World War II. That President Xi appeared alongside Vladimir Putin -- with no prominent Western leaders from the U.S., Europe or Japan in attendance -- was not only reminiscent of the Cold War, but a worrying premonition that the world once again risks dividing up into geopolitical blocs. (continued)
Muhammad H. Zaman

How Can Biomedical Engineers Help in Global Crises?

Muhammad H. Zaman | September 4, 2015 | Impact
Engineers, historically, have always responded to crises. Be it the time of a natural calamity or the time of violent conflict, engineers have always been at the leading edge, to defend the most precious of all assets: the human life.
Sue Ann Pien

One-Way Trip to Mars: How My Near-Death Experience Taught Me To Live Fearlessly

Sue Ann Pien | September 4, 2015 | Science
I was an atheist who died and discovered I was wrong. A "straight-A" kid willing to worship only the preachings of scientific method, finding all religion and spiritual mumbo jumbo to be a crock o' shit. That is, until I stopped breathing.
Sheyna E. Gifford, MD, MA, MS

Sinking In: Day 5 of 365 on NASA's Simulated Mars

Sheyna E. Gifford, MD, MA, MS | September 4, 2015 | Science
For the first few days in the dome, I didn't feel like we were on Mars. We weren't on Earth, exactly, either. We were in some sort of strange neither-world. Now, finally, it's beginning to feel a lot more Martian.
Don C. Reed

Neurological Diseases vs. the California Stem Cell Agency: Disease-a-Week Challenge #16

Don C. Reed | September 4, 2015 | Science
First, a seeming digression from the subject of chronic illness. In my youth, I worked as an aquarium diver for Marine World Africa USA in Redwood City, California. Five days a week, I would swim down into the tanks full of wildlife, spending time with sharks, dolphins, eels, seals and...
Benjamin T. Solomon

Hacking Quantum Theory

Benjamin T. Solomon | September 4, 2015 | Science
Is there proof in Nature that electric field lines are not repulsive? Yes. In the transverse electromagnetic wave, both the electric and magnetic field lines are well behaved, non-repulsive, parallel (not warped) field lines that are orthogonal to the direction of propagation. Hiding in plain sight!
Mario Livio

The Most Romantic Mathematician and His Language of Symmetry

Mario Livio | September 3, 2015 | Science
On the morning of May 30, 1832, a single shot fired in a duel fatally wounded one of the most brilliant, and certainly the most romantic mathematician. The following day, his last words to his weeping brother were: "Don't cry, I need all my courage to die at 20."
Tim Chartier

Paint by Number and Equation

Tim Chartier | September 3, 2015 | Science
Artistic inspiration comes from anywhere even painting by numbers. However, in this case, the numbers are a table or matrix of numbers. How? First, take a look at this image that was part of the mathematical art exhibit at the Bridges conference which celebrates connections between math and art.
John Cook

Rick Santorum Tries to Use My Research to Cast Doubt on My Other Research

John Cook | September 3, 2015 | Science
How was Santorum able to take peer-reviewed scientific research and distort it beyond recognition? To understand how science can get distorted, you need to understand the techniques of science denial.
Sheyna E. Gifford, MD, MA, MS

I'm Leaving Behind Friends and Family for a Year on NASA's Simulated Mars

Sheyna E. Gifford, MD, MA, MS | September 3, 2015 | Science
What do you say during your last few minutes "on Earth"? Things will break. We will not. How I know that I just can't say. I think it's because we prefer to laugh more than we like just about anything else. Even science. Even being astronauts for a year during NASA's longest planned Mars simulation.
Brian D. Earp

Psychology Is Not in Crisis? Depends on What You Mean by "Crisis"

Brian D. Earp | September 2, 2015 | Science
A major reason for the so-called "crisis" in psychology is the fact that a very large number of not-well-designed, and not-carefully-run studies have been making it through peer review for decades.
Bill Gates

We Need to Help Poor Farmers Prepare for Climate Change -- Starting Now

Bill Gates | September 2, 2015 | World
We need to recognize that it's already too late to stop all of the impacts of hotter temperatures. Even if the world discovered a cheap, clean energy source next week, it would take time to kick our fossil fuel-powered habits and shift to a carbon-free future. That's why it's critical for the world to invest in efforts to help the poorest adapt.
Cheryl G. Murphy

Why Do My Eyes Tear Up When I Yawn?

Cheryl G. Murphy | September 2, 2015 | Science
When you see someone yawn, you might yawn too and something else may also happen. You might shed a tear or two.
Nora Volkow

Addiction Science Can Help Us Understand the Bee Crisis

Nora Volkow | September 2, 2015 | Science
Recent research now suggests that bees may be preferentially drawn to pesticide-laced foods as a result of reward mechanisms. It is a fascinating lesson in how knowledge gleaned from addiction science can inform our understanding of a global ecological crisis.
Senator Linda Lanzillotta

End Hunger by Protecting the Land Where It Can Be Grown

Senator Linda Lanzillotta | September 3, 2015 | Impact
Guaranteeing access to food and water as a universal right means guaranteeing a balanced development of the land in which agricultural and environmental resources are developed, preventing them from being taken away from the population and, as a consequence, impoverishing local economies and/or irreversibly altering local ecosystems.
Danielle Nierenberg

How Ecological Intensification Can Feed the World

Danielle Nierenberg | September 2, 2015 | Impact
The economic value of ecosystem services -- specifically nitrogen mineralization and biological control of pests -- could exceed the input costs of pesticides and fertilizers on the global scale, even if adopted on only 10 percent of farmland worldwide.
Babak Hodjat

Asking the Experts: Artificial Intelligence Leaders Answer AI's Most Burning Questions (Part I)

Babak Hodjat | September 2, 2015 | Science
I'm lucky enough to explore the bigger AI questions over dinner with friends and with my colleagues at work, but those views don't necessarily get shared - and there's a lot of noise when it comes to this exciting technology.
Katlin Bowman

We're Less Than One Week Away From the North Pole

Katlin Bowman | September 1, 2015 | Science
If a polar bear is spotted we will drop everything and head back to the ship. Shooting a bear is a last resort that will only be taken to save human lives. If we have to abandon our gear on the ice, the bear will have free range to toss around samplers and sink our supplies.
Michelle Scalise Sugiyama

Ingroup/Outgroup Biases at Play in Police-Community Relations

Michelle Scalise Sugiyama | September 1, 2015 | Science
In the context of police-community relations, another criterion of group membership at play is place. Humans are territorial animals, and ingroup/outgroup biases may have evolved in tandem with this trait.
Annie Duflo

There Are No Silver Bullets: The Way We Can Achieve 169 Targets

Annie Duflo | September 1, 2015 | Impact
In roughly the last 15 years, the same time period as the MDGs, we've also seen the growth of the biggest advances in the fight against poverty, the power of good science. A year after a microloan program starts in a village, are the people there making more money than a similar village without the program? (Not as expected it turns out). Does giving cash grants which don't have to be repaid improve food security in Kenya? (Yes, significantly).
All posts from 09.04.2015 < 09.03.2015