Science

NOVA Vaccines – Calling the Shots Review

NOVA Vaccines – Calling the Shots Review

I found out about this special through Tangled Bank, the awesome production house that worked on Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, also on PBS. You can watch the program here. As skeptics, we know the importance of continuing to beat this dead horse of a subject. It’s one of the most important from a public health standpoint, and one of the most frustrating and infuriating on a personal l... »

Science for the People: Cities of the Future

Science for the People: Cities of the Future

Around here I am a maker of pretty things and a complainer about other things that aren’t pretty enough for my tastes. In another life, I am an engineering researcher and science teacher. At CONvergence this year, those worlds collided a bit and I had the privilege of joining Desiree Schell, Jamie Bernstein and Shawn Lawrence Otto to discuss the fantasies and realities of our future cities. ... »

The Curve Who Became a Witch: The Mathematics of Maria Agnesi (Women In Science 18)

The Curve Who Became a Witch: The Mathematics of Maria Agnesi (Women In Science 18)

If any century would have favorably understood the manic blend of child shaming and twisted pride that is the typical Toddlers and Tiaras pageant parent, it was the Eighteenth. Child prodigies were in, and if you were aching to claw your way into the ranks of the minor nobility, your precocious son or daughter was your meal ticket. Some decades before Leopold Mozart dragged young Wolfgang to any p... »

Of Gifted Children and the Banality of Menstruation: The Psychological Research of Leta Hollingworth

Of Gifted Children and the Banality of Menstruation: The Psychological Research of Leta Hollingworth

What do you do with a gifted child? A child who learns new concepts three or four times faster than his contemporaries, often withdraws from social interaction, and who brings unsettling intensity to both her passion and apathy. How do you even identify one? In the early twentieth century, while Anna Freud worked with traumatized children, and Maria Montessori with the very young, it was Leta Holl... »

Nature, Nuture, and Social Justice

Nature, Nuture, and Social Justice

Over the past week, several articles have come to my attention for various reasons that stress the “nature” part of “nature vs. nurture”. And as I read them, I noticed that the reaction they provoked wasn’t a scientific one necessarily, but a philosophical one. Maybe even a moral one. And here’s the thing: I think that “solving” the “nature vs. nurture” debate is actually a sideline from the moral... »

Caveman genes — what our shared history with Denisovans means

Caveman genes — what our shared history with Denisovans means

A recent article in Nature determines, fairly conclusively, that a certain variant of a certain gene which allows Tibetans to thrive at high altitudes comes directly from interbreeding with Denisovans — from an extinct cousin of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. »

A Web, Not a Road: The Anthropology of Margaret Mead

A Web, Not a Road: The Anthropology of Margaret Mead

There is hardly a name in science more encrusted with bad faith generalizations and well-meaning but ahistorical hagiography than that of anthropologist Margaret Mead. In her time, she was to anthropology what Carl Sagan was to astronomy – a brilliant and irreverent popularizer who inspired a new generation of scientists even as she earned the undying enmity of the passing one. Praised as the most... »

Watch Isaac Newton in a Rap Battle with Bill Nye

Watch Isaac Newton in a Rap Battle with Bill Nye

We’ve featured Epic Rap Battles of History here at the Lab before — the YouTube series dresses two rappers up as historic figures and pits them against each other to debate their respective achievements in rhyme. It’s the best. There are plenty of battles between sci-fi characters (Doc Brown vs. Dr. Who) artists (try Bob Ross vs. Pablo Picasso, or perhaps Stephen King vs. Edgar A... »

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