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This Week in Science 2017–09–03

2022-12-10

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/09/03

“Leaf size varies by over a 100,000-fold among species worldwide. Although 19th-century plant geographers noted that the wet tropics harbor plants with exceptionally large leaves, the latitudinal gradient of leaf size has not been well quantified nor the key climatic drivers convincingly identified. Here, we characterize worldwide patterns in leaf size. Large-leaved species predominate in wet, hot, sunny environments; small-leaved species typify hot, sunny environments only in arid conditions; small leaves are also found in high latitudes and elevations. By modeling the balance of leaf energy inputs and outputs, we show that daytime and nighttime leaf-to-air temperature differences are key to geographic gradients in leaf size. This knowledge can enrich “next-generation” vegetation models in which leaf temperature and water use during photosynthesis play key roles.”

Source: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6354/917

“The head of the world’s largest general science organisation has accused the Trump administration of paying “scant attention” to research and lacking understanding of scientific thinking.

Dr Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), pointed to the “great slowness” in appointing people with a scientific background to senior positions.

And he said that scientists had “not been at the table for most of the policy discussions”.”

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/donald-trump-administration-science-scientific-thinking-climate-change-white-house-a7925681.html

“A new partnership between The Neuro and F1000 will create a publishing platform for researchers that will speed the progress of neuroscience discovery.

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University (The Neuro) is partnering with F1000, a provider of support services for researchers, institutes and funders, to create a new open research publishing platform called MNI Open Research.

MNI Open Research will allow Neuro researchers to publish research outputs within days of submission. Through this platform, invited peer-review will take place on an open basis, ensuring transparency. All data involved in studies will be published, including null results, so that researchers from other institutions can avoid wasting time on experiments that have already proven fruitless.”

Source: http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2017/08/onward-to-open-science/

“In the first episode of the space drama “The Expanse,” two characters are getting busy when the artificial gravity malfunctions. Elegantly, the pair floats up into the air, their cosmic coitus uninterrupted by the glitch, until the gravity slams back on and they collapse onto the bed below.

As it turns out, sex in microgravity is a bit more complicated than that and other onscreen depictions might have you believe.

With NASA, the European Space Agency and other outfits declining to address the subject of hanky-panky in space, the official position seems to be that there has never, ever been any. (If there has, nobody’s talking, not even the only married astronaut couple to have been in space together, NASA’s Mark Lee and Jan Davis). It’s also possible, though, that nobody has had space sex — and for good reason.”

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/space-sex-science-nasa-esa-zero-gravity/

“So you fell asleep easily enough, but now it’s 3 a.m. Your mind is spinning, and rest is elusive. You’re reliving every foolish or embarrassing thing you did in the past 24 — or 48 or 72 — hours, and that is a lot of material to run through. And you simply can’t stop.

Except maybe you could, if only you knew how to be mindful.

“When you’re caught in that loop of rumination, that’s very real, and it creates very intense feelings,” explains psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman, who reported on brain and behavioural sciences for the New York Times. “If you’re mindful, you realize it’s just a thought. You don’t have to believe your thoughts. You can question them, and that changes them. It takes energy from the brain that creates the heaviness. Looking at it in a different way makes the rumination less intense.””

Source: https://www.thespec.com/whatson-story/7533371-what-science-says-about-meditation/

“You know the drill. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has been asked about something scientific and has said something ludicrous in response.

Shortly after announcing that he wants climate researchers to “debate” climate deniers on live TV, he gave a characteristically painful interview to a Texas radio show. Just after appearing to endorse peer-reviewed science, he added that “science should not be something that’s just thrown about to try and dictate policy in Washington DC.”

The idea that science should not dictate nor influence policy is insane. It really doesn’t need to be said that science is one of the key foundations of modern society.”

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/epa-chief-scott-pruitt-science-dictate-policy/

“We live in a bewildering, interconnected world of technology and massive datasets underpinned by major advances that science is delivering at an apparently accelerating pace. However, it seems that the population is increasingly isolated from any understanding of the science and technologies that seem to rule our lives.

How do we gain access to what is really happening in a world where pseudoscience is digested by the masses, while real science influences nearly everything and provides those who can use and manipulate it with great power?

How can we ensure that people are better able to assess information in a way that leads to better choices for society and the planet? For me, the answer is education, including robust science education, at every level of society.””

Source: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/letters-science-for-all

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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