Weekly Roundup!

A collection of illegally trafficked parrots confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Forensics Lab. http://www.nytimes.com

Welcome to Weekly Roundup, a new feature here at AmericanScience! Each Monday, we’ll bring you a few of our favorite science-related news stories of the past week to help you start the week off right. This week:

  • Bill Gates’ vision of “Big History”: a grand narrative that starts with the Big Bang and ends in the Future, in only ten lessons. Coming soon to a high school curriculum near you!
  • As historians, we are familiar with the neglect of women in clinical research. But scientists are now realizing gender matters for pre-clinical research too. After all of the excellent work on the politics of the HeLa cell line, it is interesting to think that a cell line’s human identity might extend all the way into the lab…
  • Detailed write-up of the finding of gross negligence on the part of BP and co-defendants, in Bloomberg.  Can the spill be at once the result of gross negligence and a normal accident?
  • Why do devices for measuring lung capacity have a setting to adjust for the race of the patient?
  • The New Republic recently republished a Malcolm Gladwell article from the mid-1990s about apocalyptic virus hysteria (Outbreak, The Hot Zone, etc). A thoughtful and interesting piece (Evan swears!), though its occasional glibness about environmental issues shows the difference between the view from 1995 and from 2014.
  • MoMA made headlines a few years back when it announced that it would start acquiring video games.  Adding another layer to this recent push for software and game preservation is a kickstarter campaign to create a video game sound archive and documentary about the composers who created game soundtracks.
  • The New York Times reports on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Forensics Lab, the world’s only wildlife crime lab and a modern-day wunderkammer (click the link for more amazing photos!)
  • A round-up of some research arguing that automation has a dangerous effect on the attention of pilots, suggesting some interesting implications for automation and design in settings in which safety is a concern.
  • An outstanding interactive visualization of the multiple and shifting human-computer relationships that safely brought the Apollo lander onto the surface of the Moon. Digital humanities FTW.

Happy reading!

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