Search the Site

Posts Tagged ‘science’

Why Do Women Leave?

A new working paper by Jennifer Hunt examines the exodus of women from the science and engineering fields, and upends some popularly accepted wisdom.

An Organ Printer?

We’ve blogged at length about the shortage of donor organs in the United States. A company in San Diego is working on a solution to that problem.

Are Transportation Planners Smarter Than Mold?

Transportation planners are a noble and advanced species; all I have met have opposable thumbs, walk upright, and have a reasonable command of fire and language. But the results of a fascinating new experiment reported in the journal Science give us cause to question whether their work would be better performed by primordial slime.

Why I Love Scientists

Two articles in Harvard magazine remind me why I am so optimistic about scientific breakthroughs making the world a better place.

Beautiful Junk

At my kids’ school, parents are trained from pre-K onward to send in any “beautiful junk” they amass at home: egg cartons, shoe boxes, packing peanuts, etc. It is all recycled by the kids into artwork, some of it pretty splendid.
Here’s a neat look at the “beautiful junk” being amassed by Intellectual Ventures, the invention company near Seattle we wrote about in SuperFreakonomics.

ClimateGate as Rorschach Test

In the 10 days since we first blogged about “ClimateGate” – the unauthorized release of e-mails and other material from the Climate Research Unit (C.R.U.) at East Anglia University in Norwich, England – it’s become strikingly clear that one’s view of the issue is deeply colored by his or her incoming biases. No surprise there, but still, the demarcation is clear. One of the best indicators: when you stumble onto a blog post about the topic, you can tell which way the wind is blowing simply by looking at the banner ad at the top of the site: if it’s for an M.B.A. in Sustainable Business, you’re going to hear one thing about ClimateGate; if the ad shows Al Gore with a Pinocchio nose, meanwhile – well, you get the idea.

ClimateGate: The Very Ugly Side of Climate Science

When we think about “scientists,” most of us probably envision people toiling away in the lab or the field, accumulating and analyzing data in order to test theories, leaving their personal biases at home, scrupulously considering any confounding data or theories and willfully distancing themselves from the political implications of their research.
How quaint.

Monkeys Too Are Freaked Out by Almost-Reality

Scientists have long been aware of the “uncanny valley” phenomenon, which describes “that disquieting feeling that occurs when viewers look at representations designed to be as human-like as possible — whether computer animations or androids — but somehow fall short.” This might explain why people loved The Incredibles but were disturbed by the too-real characters in the film version of The Polar Express.

Things That Don't Make Sense

In a follow-up to its earlier article about things that science can’t explain, New Scientist lists 13 More Things That Don’t Make Sense. We wonder: if you were writing a similar list for the field of economics, what would you include?

The Downside of Sexy Science

A paper by a team of scientists and analysts maps out how fields and subdisciplines emerge in 21st-century science. One of the main findings: much like trendy baby names boom and bust, the most high-influence subdisciplines also tend to be the most short-lived.

One Great Reply to Our "Favorite Scientist" Query

Yesterday we invited you to tell us your favorite scientists. The replies make for great reading. I would think that for anyone working in the field (science education, publishing, etc.) the answers could also be very useful. One of my favorite lists comes from a reader named Hale McMichael, a University of Texas senior who is “about to graduate with . . .

Tell Us Your Favorite Scientists

From a reader named Thomas Kennedy comes the following e-mail: I am an economics teacher from Alaska. I can personally list my top 10 favorite actors, top 10 favorite living writers, top 10 favorite rock groups, and even my top 10 living economists and top 10 entrepreneurs; but how many out there can name their top 10 living scientists and . . .

When a Batter Is Hit by a Pitch, What's the Next Batter Thinking? A Guest Post

Now that A-Rod has delivered the annual Yankees Substance Abuse Lecture to kick off spring training, I think we’re all ready for some actual baseball. Micah Kelber is a writer and freelance rabbi who lives in Brooklyn, currently writing a screenplay about divorce in New York in the 1940’s. He has written a terrifically entertaining guest post on the oft-neglected . . .

This Is Your Brain on Prosperity: Andrew Lo on Fear, Greed, and Crisis Management

Andrew Lo Andrew W. Lo is the Harris & Harris Group Professor at M.I.T. and director of its Laboratory for Financial Engineering. (Here are some of his papers.) To my mind, he’s one of the most fluent guides to the state of modern finance in that he combines the rigors of a quant with a behavioralist’s appreciation for human intricacy. . . .

Our Daily Bleg: How to Justify Long-Term Scientific Research?

In response to our bleg request, Rafe Petty of the University of Chicago chemistry department wrote in with the following question(s). Let him know what you think in the comments section, and send future blegs to: I was recently at a lecture by George Whitesides, one of the most well-known living chemists. He gave a very interesting lecture at . . .

The FREAK-est Links

Prostitution gets a technology upgrade. The new pricing scale for prostitution. (Earlier) Could adding vinegar make biofuels less inefficient? (Earlier) Are self-experimenters good for science? (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

Author visits all 22 countries ranked “happier” than the U.S. (Earlier) Scientists study the key to artists’ improvisation Bigger computer monitors may lead to greater worker productivity Will hefty cash prizes stimulate “revolutionary” science? (Earlier)

The Ethanol Mess

One of the perks of being an M.I.T. graduate is that I get an automatic subscription to the magazine Technology Review. I highly recommend it to anyone with a curiosity about science and technology. It is not technical or hard to understand (like, say, Scientific American). Rather, it is loaded with fascinating articles about cutting edge advances in technology, written . . .

The FREAK-est Links

Tips for naming your successful technology company. Does an oil-based economy hurt women’s rights? Why do more disasters seem to occur in election years? Team of physicists capture and store nothing.

I Get to Pretend That I Am a Scientist for a Day…

… because today the Science journal published a short commentary [subscription required] written by myself and John List, on the topic of behavioral economics. Our piece begins like this: The discipline of economics is built on the shoulders of the mythical species Homo economicus. Unlike his uncle, Homo sapiens, H. economicus is unswervingly rational, completely selfish, and can effortlessly solve . . .

Is Space Exploration Worth the Cost? A Freakonomics Quorum

Warning: what follows is a long blog post, perhaps better suited for a newspaper or magazine, and it will at times require your close attention. But I believe it is easily one of the best quorums we’ve ever published here. I’d like to thank all the participants for their thoughtful, well-considered, and fascinating answers, and for taking the time to . . .

The FREAK-est Links

45 percent of Chicago doctors recommend placebos, survey says. What’s the secret to China’s economic success? “Five Myths About How Americans Vote.” Which science topics are the presidential candidates dodging?

The FREAK-est Links

Just how liberal are college professors? Becker and Posner discuss. Study shows hospital staffs lag in responding to cardiac arrests. Most free drug samples go to the wealthy and insured. Indian prime minister pledges a “quantum jump” in science education.

Physics With a Bang!

My daughter Olivia, who is seven, proudly calls herself a scientist. Mostly what that means is that she likes to break things open and see what’s inside. Seeing a fantastic series of scientific experiments done as part of a holiday lecture put on by the University of Chicago Physics Department more or less confirmed her definition of science. In “Physics . . .

The FREAK-est Links

The top 10 science and technology stories of 2007. Can scientists replace sleep with a drug? The key to raising gifted kids: don’t tell them they’re gifted. (Earlier) Libraries see record attendance, computer use from “Generation Y.” (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

Are men inherently better at math & science than women? (HT: Odd Numbers) Strange food tattoo fails to save owner’s restaurant. Working the night shift linked to cancer. (Earlier) New prediction market focuses on software products. (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

PCs on the downswing in Japan. Can brain atrophies among the elderly lead to unintended racist views? The economics of death in the U.S. The Top 10 “wackiest” science experiments.