Monday, 7 October 2013

Quick Hits

I've been pretty busy the last week and a bit, which has kept me from writing anything substantial here, but here's a few quick thoughts about some science stories that have struck me:

  • So the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded today to three scientists for their work on how vesicles move various molecules and substances around cells. The science here is very cool. I will note, without taking anything away from the work done by the recipients, that the prize went to three white men; two born in the US, one is Western Europe. Since its inception more than a hundred years ago, ten women have one the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (out of 204 winners), four women have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (out of 162 winners), and two women have won the Nobel Prize in Physics (out of 193 winners). No Nobel Prize in the sciences has ever been awarded to a black man or woman. We still have a long way to go.
  • If it wasn't enough that industrial fishing has killed off 80% of the biomass of the oceans, the effects of warming and CO2 absorption (which changes the ocean's acidity) are causing the world's largest ecosystem to decline faster than previously thought.
  • This is a great post on Malcolm Gladwell and the danger of oversimplifying science--a perennial concern here.
  • Finally, this is terrible.
Hopefully I'll find a little more time for writing this week. Well, maybe next week. Okay, it's going to be a while.

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