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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

New Top Tier Science Journal Announced

June 27th, 2011 06:20 admin View Comments

Science

Shipud writes “The Max Planck society, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Wellcome Trust have announced their plans for a new journal for biomedical and life science research to be launched summer 2012. From the joint press release: ‘The journal will employ an open and transparent peer review process in which papers will be accepted or rejected as rapidly as possible, generally with only one round of revisions, and with limited need for modifications or additional experiments. For transparency, reviewers’ comments will be published anonymously.’ The journal will be online-only and open access too, and they promise ‘an opportunity to create a journal and article format that will exploit the potential of new technologies to allow for improved data presentation.’ Especially valuable is the ‘limited need for modifications or additional experiments,’ especially since even Nature has recently published a scathing opinion piece about reviewers’ almost reflexive demands for additional experiments from manuscript authors.”

Source: New Top Tier Science Journal Announced

Programming Is Heading Back To School

June 14th, 2011 06:33 admin View Comments

Education

the agent man writes “Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are exploring what it takes to systematically get programming back to public schools. They have created a game-design-based curriculum, called Scalable Game Design, using the AgentSheets computational thinking tool. Annual summer institutes train middle school teachers from around the USA to teach their students computational thinking through game design and computational science simulations. What’s truly unique about this is that it is not an after-school program; it takes place during regular school courses. Entire school districts are participating with measurable impacts, increasing the participation of women in high school CS courses from 2% six years ago to 38-59% now. Educators would like to be able to ask students, ‘Now that you can make Space Invaders, can you also make a science simulation?’ To explore this difficult question of transfer, the researchers devised new mechanisms to compute computational thinking. They analyze every game submitted by students to extract computational thinking patterns and to see if students can transfer these skills to creating science simulations.”

Source: Programming Is Heading Back To School

Chinese Tianhe-1A Supercomputer Starts Churning Out the Science

June 10th, 2011 06:41 admin View Comments

China

gupg writes “When China built the world’s fastest supercomputer based on NVIDIA GPUs last year, a lot of naysayers said this was just a stunt machine. Well, guess what — here comes the science! They are working on better material for solar panels and they ran the world’s fastest simulation ever. NVIDIA (whose GPUs accelerate these applications as a co-processor) blogged on this a while ago, where they talk about how the US really needs to up its investment in high performance computing.”

Source: Chinese Tianhe-1A Supercomputer Starts Churning Out the Science

The Modern Day Renaissance Man

June 10th, 2011 06:19 admin View Comments

Education

Kilrah_il writes “The Not Exactly Rocket Science blog has an interesting piece about Erez Lieberman Aiden, a scientist that is frequently hopping from one field to another, including ‘molecular biology, linguistics, physics, engineering and mathematics.’ This is in contrast to the prevailing trend of specializing in a specific field. ‘I think a huge amount of invention is recognizing that A and B go together really well, putting them together and getting something better. The limiting step is knowing that A and B exist. And that’s the big disadvantage that one has as a specialist – you gradually lose sight of the things that are around. I feel I just get to see more,’ Aiden said. The post shows how failure to map antibodies led to an important discovery of the 3D folding of DNA and how the study of irregular verbs created a new scientific field.”

Source: The Modern Day Renaissance Man

New Records In Cleantech Offer Hope For More Affordable Solar Power, LED Lights

June 2nd, 2011 06:51 admin View Comments

Cleantech companies— especially in solar— love to talk about how they’re breaking records. They issue press releases left and right about the most efficient this, that and the other. Such claims fizzle if they haven’t been verified by a third-party lab. They can also feel like greenwash, or Cola War style brand standoffs.

Broken records we love to hear about, though, are like these from cleantech ventures Lighting Science Group and Flisom (in Switzerland). Here’s what they’ve done and why it matters…

1. One Million LED Bulbs Made In One Quarter

On May 31, Lighting Science Group — makers of light emitting diode (LED) bulbs that are Energy Star rated — reported that during the first quarter of 2011, they produced and sold 1 million bulbs. In 2010, Lighting Science produced and sold 1 million bulbs in the second half of the year, according to company statements.

Bulk production and sales increases like this suggest that LED lights, which are more energy-efficient and durable than flourescent and incandescent bulbs, are becoming mainstream and more affordable.

2. Flexible Solar Technology Reaches 18.7 Percent Efficiency

Flexible, thin-film solar cells can now deliver more electricity per square inch than ever before.

Scientists from EMPA, Switzerland’s Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Innovation, along with a Swiss startup called Flisom broke the energy conversion efficiency record for flexible thin-film CIGS solar cells, last week. They hit 18.7 percent efficiency for their CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) flexible solar cells.

A previous record of 15.7 percent was announced by MiaSole in December 2010 (as TechCrunch reported then).

The new record means that electricity generated by thin-film solar will become more affordable, hopefully alleviating reliance on petroleum and coal for power somewhat.

The improved efficiency also means that the flexible, lighter-weight solar panels could catch up to rigid, silicon solar panels in terms of performance which would allow more consumer choice and competition in solar.

Image: Records, under creative commons via Peter Organisciak

Source: New Records In Cleantech Offer Hope For More Affordable Solar Power, LED Lights

Why We Have So Much “Duh” Science

June 1st, 2011 06:25 admin View Comments

Science

Hugh Pickens writes “Eryn Brown writes in the LA Times that accounts of ‘duh’ research abound as studies show that driving ability worsens in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, that women who get epidurals experience less pain during childbirth than women who don’t, that young men who are obese have lower odds of getting married than thinner peers, and that making exercise more fun might improve fitness among teens. But there’s more to duh research than meets the eye writes Brown as experts say they have to prove the obvious again and again to influence perceptions and policy. ‘Think about the number of studies that had to be published for people to realize smoking is bad for you,’ says Ronald J. Iannotti, a psychologist at the National Institutes of Health. ‘There are some subjects where it seems you can never publish enough.’ Kyle Stanford, a professor of the philosophy of science at UC Irvine, thinks the professionalization of science has led researchers — who must win grants to pay their bills — to ask timid questions and research that hews to established theories is more likely to be funded, even if it contributes little to knowledge. Perhaps most important, sometimes a study that seems poised to affirm the conventional wisdom produces a surprise. ‘Many have taken the value of popular programs like DARE — in which police warn kids about the dangers of drug use — as an article of faith,’ writes Brown. ‘But Dennis Rosenbaum of the University of Illinois at Chicago and other researchers have shown that the program has been ineffective and may even increase drug use in some cases.’”

Source: Why We Have So Much “Duh” Science

2011 World Science Festival Begins In NYC

June 1st, 2011 06:00 admin View Comments

Science

Velcroman1 writes “For the next five days, New Yorkers will be learning about science not from a PowerPoint presentation but by watching it firsthand. The World Science Festival is taking over New York City from June 1 to 5, bringing together scientists, celebrities, researchers and more to discuss the fascinating world of science. Celebrating its fourth year, the fledgling festival has turned into a seasoned veteran, attracting over 185,000 attendants last year, and the festival creators expect the numbers to be even more impressive this year.”

Source: 2011 World Science Festival Begins In NYC

Ask Slashdot: GoodHomeschool Curriculum For CS??

May 31st, 2011 05:01 admin View Comments

Education

dingo_kinznerhook writes “I grew up in a homeschooling family, and was homeschooled through high school. ( I went on to get a B.S. and M.S. in computer science; my mom has programming experience and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and math — she’s pretty qualified to teach.) Mom is still homeschooling my younger brother and sister and is looking for a good computer science curriculum that covers word processing, spreadsheets, databases, intro to programming, intro to operating systems, etc. Does the Slashdot readership know of a high school computer science curriculum suitable for homeschooling that covers these topics?”

Source: Ask Slashdot: GoodHomeschool Curriculum For CS??

Ask Slashdot: Good Homeschool Curriculum For CS??

May 31st, 2011 05:01 admin View Comments

Education

dingo_kinznerhook writes “I grew up in a homeschooling family, and was homeschooled through high school. ( I went on to get a B.S. and M.S. in computer science; my mom has programming experience and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and math — she’s pretty qualified to teach.) Mom is still homeschooling my younger brother and sister and is looking for a good computer science curriculum that covers word processing, spreadsheets, databases, intro to programming, intro to operating systems, etc. Does the Slashdot readership know of a high school computer science curriculum suitable for homeschooling that covers these topics?”

Source: Ask Slashdot: Good Homeschool Curriculum For CS??

War Over Arsenic Based Life

May 27th, 2011 05:45 admin View Comments

NASA

Antipater writes “Slashdot readers may remember the announcement and ensuing controversy six months ago over the NASA discovery of microbes that can supposedly incorporate arsenic into their DNA. Now, The Washington Post reports that Science has published a collection of eight scathing critiques of astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, her methods, and her conclusions. Wolfe-Simon is starting to fire back and gather her own allies — one wonders if we’re in for another cold-fusion style science war.”

Source: War Over Arsenic Based Life

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