- An animated retelling of van Leeuwenhoek’s first glimpse through the microscope.
- Playing Russian dolls with a Ukrainian nuclear disaster site.
- For your Cyber Monday shopping list, robot toys whose functionality grows with the kids who play with them.
- Turning back the clock: a very useful post from last December by former American Science blogger Lee Vinsel on the troubling form of technological determinism that often creeps up in public discourse on “innovation,” plus a rebuttal, featuring a rejoinder in the comments.
- Mayonnaise Wars!: This great blog post explains the history of mayonnaise regulation, and why Hellman’s is suing a start-up for selling “fake” mayonnaise.
- In preparation for the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak this week, the Toronto Star retells the story through several first-hand accounts and interactive 360 images of the disaster site. (See Kim Fortun’s Advocacy after Bhopal for an ethnographic account of the post-disaster events.)
- James Watson’s decision to sell his Nobel Prize has been getting a lot of press. Not much of it is positive. This Slate article begins “Jim Watson is one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. He is also a peevish bigot.” True, he is; but does this kind of perspective fit comfortably with nominally objective science writing? Here’s a similar article at the Guardian.
- A New York Times article on the Antikythera Mechanism. Economist Tyler Cowen on what we can infer from it: which other strange claims stand a decent chance of being true of antiquity? Which other surprises await us?” One of us has used the Antikythera Mechanism this very semester in teaching, to point out (a) the incompleteness of our grasp of the past(especially the ancient past) and (b) the way in which our historical accounts are systematically biased towards the labor of the mind over the hand and its forms of knowledge.
- On that note, here’s a full PDF of the spectacular 2007 book The Mindful Hand: Inquiry and Invention from the Late Renaissance to Early Industrialisation, ed. Lissa Roberts, Simon Schaffer, and Peter Dear — totally legit, courtesy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.