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Scientia Pro Publica 28

May 3, 2010

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! We’ve got tons of posts so let’s jump right into it. Enjoy!


In her observations of a Great Blue Heron, Clare McLean (of Bird Word Girl) writes, “Herons are about as tall as a second grader and have a wing span of six feet. They employ acrobatics, yoga, and hormone-propelled ambition to snap branches off, which are then shuttled back to the nest for precision placement.” Read more—and see photos—in Croak Loudly and Carry a Big Stick.

At Skeptic Wonder, Psi Wavefunction writes about onychophorans (velvet worms) who cuddle and eat spiders much bigger than themselves in Social Onychophorans!

I can’t believe I missed International Beaver Day, but I’m putting it on my calendar for next year! DN Lee tells us all about the holiday and all about beavers in Happy International Beaver Day!

Conservation/ Sustainability

Hilary Miller reports on recent research that finds that some Tasmanian devils may be able to resist devil facial tumor disease in Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease: too good a match for the immune system at The Chicken or the egg.

In Tournament Marlins Get Bigger? Andrew (of Southern Fried Science fame) explores an interesting contrast in fisheries science: commercially-caught top predators (like swordfish) are getting smaller, but fish caught for sport (like marlins) are getting bigger.

If you’re gonna manage a species, you need to know how big the population is…and determining the size of a population (almost any population) is a LOT harder than it sounds. Andrew explains it all in an effort to provide managers and conservationists with the tools necessary to understand population assessments in Crowdsourcing ConGen: Effective size of a population in flux.

Ethical Issues/ Deep Thoughts

At Southern Fried Science, WhySharksMatter explores an issue that’s been bugging all of us (or maybe just me) in Ethical Debate: Should we have freed Willy?

Tom Tritton, of Periodic Tabloid, reports on the ruling that Myriad Genetics’ patent on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 in Patent Medicine.

Octopuses do some awesome s**t, but are they intelligent? Read what Hannah Waters has to say about octopuses doing tricks on the internet and our search for non-human intelligence.

We all get caught up in stuff—life, numbers, religion, faith—but let’s not forget that the coolest things, the things that can teach us the most and make us happiest are all around us. Priscilla Stuckey makes “a plea for natural history” in her inspirational post Where science and religion meet: the natural world.

Environmental Disaster

Earth is pissed. Read all about it in Sarah’s A Letter from Earth at Surprising Science.

In Deepwater Destruction, Rheanna Sand said all the things we left unsaid about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in our SNAFU post.

If April’s eruption of Eyjafjallajökul grounded airplanes, it must have done a doozy on migrating birds. Right? GrrlScientist has all the answers (all the answers that exist, anyway) and a whole lotta questions in (How) Are Birds Affected by Volcanic Ash?

In Oceans of Climate Change, Denis DuBay reminds us that climate change isn’t only about increasing air temperature. The heat content in the oceans is increasing too…

Stuff Scientists Dream About

At rENNISance woman, Cath Ennis shares a couple fantasies (of the scientific research variety, people!) in Science Idol. In one, she hopes to explore a question that has perplexed hockey fans forever (or at least since the first televised game): how do ice hockey goalies react so quickly?

In Nursing Some Thoughts About Science Funding, Bob O’Hara shares Sir Paul Nurse’s big idea for science funding. In my opinion, Nurse’s idea is rather nutty, but O’Hara is generous, concluding that it “may not be totally nuts.”

At Culturing Science- biology as relevant to us earthly beings, Hannah Waters reports that Major universities write open letter in support of FRPAA, open access publishing act.

Humans, Human Health, Medicine and Food

In What a ride, biochemist and molecular biologist Carla Davidson (a.k.a. The Mommiologist) tries to understand the incredible cognitive journey of her now-five-month-old daughter.

Can a plant virus make you sick? Vincent Racaniello examines this question and leaves you thinking differently about Tabasco sauce at Virology Blog.

Jessica Wright reports on Dr. Gottschling’s finding “that getting older [is] linked to funky DNA” in Day 81- Studying the Deep, Deep Details of How We Age at 365 days of science, life, and running through it.

At Contemplation, Akshat Rathi reports on a talk by Dr. Stephen Cartwright in How a Homeopath tried to understand the science behind Homeopathy.

Romeo Vitelli (author of Providentia) is always a wealth of information about fascinating, weird and just plain disturbing aspects of medical history. In Battey’s Operation, he tells us about a once-common surgery to treat women suffering from “hysteria.”

Dr. Shock MD writes, “Often smelling something nice makes me wonder of what it reminds me of. But is this also evidence based or just sentimental crap?” Find out in Dr. Shock’s post Autobiographical Odor Memory.

Do blind people have a better sense of smell than the sighted? Andrew from 360 Degree Skeptic reports on a recent study in The Scent of a Myth.

Christie Wilcox (of Observations of a Nerd) has a new-ish gig at Nutrition Wonderland. Check out her posts When Cutting Calories Doesn’t Cut It and Why Don’t We Just Eat Better?

Meanwhile, at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, Luigi ponders the domestication of the odd little lentil known as the chickpea. In Early Farmers Got High on Chickpeas? He writes, “…early farming communities consuming wild chickpeas would have been more fertile, less hungry, less depressed, more accepting of social complexity, more innovative and more self-confident.”

Evolution, Education, Ferratins and Astronomy

Disclaimer: These posts may be category-less, but they’re all worthy of your time.

At A Primate of Modern Aspect, Zinjanthropus writes about a hominid foot…the foot of an adult that was eaten by a crocodile in How old was the Olduvai Hominid?

Kylie Sturgess ponders the usefulness of magic in the classroom in Is it every little thing she does is magic? Health, Confidence and Teaching Tricks.

In Iron and Stress, S.E. Gould explains the role of ferratins in plants…they’re not just storage bins.

Douglas Watts uses dough, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and a rubber band to explain Olbers Paradox and ask, “Where is the Edge of the Universe?” at Tispaquin’s Revenge.

Finally, for those of you who can read German, there’s …bees do it* by Kerstin at More Than Honey. According to Kerstin, the post is about sperm competition in bees…I can’t read German.

Whew! That’s it, folks. On May 10th, GrrlScientist will be hosting the 29th edition of Scientia Pro Publica at Maniraptora. To submit your fabulous science writing, use this handy form.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 10:52 pm

    Thanks for the effort, Kelsey. I have mirrored this on my blog.

    Doug Watts.

  2. May 4, 2010 12:54 am

    Thanks for plenty of interesting stuff, and for noting our own contribution. Just for the record, the chickpea thing was written by Luigi, my co-blogger.

    • Kelsey permalink*
      May 4, 2010 8:58 am

      Thanks! Jeremy, I’ve given Luigi credit for the chickpea piece.

  3. May 4, 2010 9:20 am

    Hi Kelsey, thanks for taking in the bees despite being in odd German!
    And what great company – very much liked the post on chickpeas and the thorough discussion of Orcas at Southern Fried Science. Off now to work my way through the rest…

  4. May 4, 2010 3:02 pm

    Thanks for including my post! Great edition of the carnival.


  1. Where science and religion meet: the natural world | this lively earth
  2. Science for the People 28
  3. A Letter From Earth | Surprising Science
  4. More Carnivalia « Mauka to Makai
  5. Scientia Pro Publica 28 is up at Mauka to Makai | Dr Shock MD PhD
  6. A Blog Carnival Carnival « Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings
  7. Who Will Read Your Excellent Medical Blog Writing? [Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)] »!
  8. REVISTA DE BLOGS: Scienceblogs ‘10
  9. Weekly Link Conglomerate | Ninjameys
  10. Nature Blog Network » Friday Roundup: May 7…er 8, 2010
  11. Death By Cucumber
  12. Where science and religion meet: the natural world | Priscilla Stuckey Author of 'Kissed by a Fox'
  13. Scientia Pro Publica — It's Almost Here! | This Scientific Life
  14. Scientia Pro Publica is Seeking Hosts and Submissions | This Scientific Life
  15. Scientia Pro Publica (Science for the People) #28 is Published! | This Scientific Life

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