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Current Topic: Science

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas
Topic: Science 9:10 am EDT, May 26, 2009

Time lapse video of night sky as it passes over the 2009 Texas Star Party in Fort Davis, Texas.

The galactic core of Milky Way is brightly displayed.

Images taken with 15mm fisheye lens.

From the archive:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas

Social Networks and Happiness
Topic: Science 9:09 am EST, Dec 10, 2008

Nicholas A. Christakis & James Fowler:

We found that social networks have clusters of happy and unhappy people within them that reach out to three degrees of separation. A person's happiness is related to the happiness of their friends, their friends' friends, and their friends' friends' friends—that is, to people well beyond their social horizon. We found that happy people tend to be located in the center of their social networks and to be located in large clusters of other happy people. And we found that each additional happy friend increases a person's probability of being happy by about 9%.

Social Networks and Happiness

Space Sunset
Topic: Science 6:09 pm EST, Mar  1, 2008

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Space Sunset

Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007
Topic: Science 10:47 am EST, Dec 21, 2007

There are so many incredible astronomical photographs released every year that picking ten as the most beautiful is a substantial task. But it becomes easier when you consider the science behind the image as well. Does this image tell us more than that one? Was the scientific result drawn from an image surprising, or did it firm up a previously considered hypothesis?

Still, there’s something to be said for a simple, drop dead gorgeous picture.

So here I present my Top Ten Astronomy Pictures for 2007.

Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007

Is There Anything Good About Men? And Other Tricky Questions
Topic: Science 10:29 am EDT, Aug 22, 2007

For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you’ll be able to have babies

Is There Anything Good About Men? And Other Tricky Questions

Stem Cells Without Embryo Loss
Topic: Science 10:32 am EDT, Aug 26, 2006

A small biotech company says it has found a way to produce human embryonic stem cells without destroying an embryo. That the prospect does not satisfy many religious conservatives who have opposed stem cell research demonstrates once again why the government should avoid making decisions on theological grounds.

Remember what happened in Ireland?

This illustrates the great lengths to which scientists must go these days to shape stem cell research to fit the dictates of religious conservatives who have imposed their own view of morality on the scientific enterprise.

Stem Cells Without Embryo Loss

Keeping Synthetic Biology Away from Terrorists
Topic: Science 2:19 pm EDT, Jul  7, 2006

Scientists want to adopt a set of declarations to improve the security of research that uses DNA synthesis. A proponent discusses the whys and wherefores of this effort.

Keeping Synthetic Biology Away from Terrorists

A Pandemic of Fear
Topic: Science 7:37 am EDT, Apr  4, 2006

Stop worrying about Avian flu already!

According to a significant study published in the prestigious British journal Nature recently, the H5N1 bird flu virus is at least two large mutations and two small mutations away from being the next human pandemic virus. This virus attaches deep in the lungs of birds but cannot adhere to the upper respiratory tract of humans. Since we can't transmit the virus to each other, it poses little immediate threat to us.

So why did the "flu hunter," world-renowned Tennessee virologist Robert Webster, say of bird flu on ABC that there are "about even odds at this time for the virus to learn how to transmit human to human," and that "society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die . . . I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role."

I'm sorry, Dr. Webster, but your role is to track influenza in the test tube, not to enter into broad speculation on national television. By your way of thinking, we should all be either building an escape rocket ship or killing every bird we see before it can kill us.

A Pandemic of Fear

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