Links for December 8, 2014

Photograph Courtesy Justin Knight/iGEM Foundation via newyorker.com

Photograph Courtesy Justin Knight/iGEM Foundation via newyorker.com

  • The tiniest sculptures ever created, using new tech: 3D printing and “multiphoton lithography.”
  • Evidence of ancient art made H. erectus? Shell etchings found at an archeological site on Java, but this story is complicated by the fact that site was originally excavated in the late 19th century and the accuracy of dating techniques.
  • Drunk Birds of North America; Audubon’s next book? Birds are getting tipsy on fermented berries, y’all.
    It’s just a “giant scab of petroleum-fueled activities:” A survey of Los Angeles’ strange relationship with the seeps of tar and oil that bubble up from beneath the street.
    Synthetic biology ruled the day at this year’s iGEM Giant Jamboree, an international competition of university students who “design and build novel forms of life.” Contenders included a gut-dwelling E. coli bacterium designed to combat obesity, and a fungus that attacks a pathogen found in banana plantation soil.
  • What do you get if you calculate an airliner’s Gini coefficient? And what happens if you apply the Gini coefficient of the United States to an airliner?
  • Graduate students: apply to this Drexel University-NIST summer institute on “Standards in Society”! Free housing and meals—and metrology!!
  • Nathaniel Comfort provides a nuanced and carefully historicized perspective on the James Watson Nobel Prize fiasco, including an excellent takedown of this Slate piece from earlier in the week. Also notable: a fitting comparison between Jim Watson and Kanye West.
  • The dangers of using neuroscience to “cure” social ills.
  • Historian Peter Colcanis argues that STEM education needs an H, too.
  • Risk, bravery and the scientific life: the story of a scientist working in Marie Curie’s lab, by her great-grandniece.
  • Speaking of Curie, Einstein wrote her a letter re: détesteurs vont détester.
  • What price safety? Lee Vinsel on the history of animal subjects of auto safety tests.
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