Teaching Angela to Appreciate History
April 24th was the 21st birthday of the Hubble Space Telescope. Achievements of special note: the Hubble Ultra Deep field and determining the value of the Hubble constant. Hubble successor, the James Webb Space Telescope is going to be even more awesome.
A new study in Animal Behavior complicates our view of sexual selection and the peacock’s tail. It follows a similar Japanese study from 2008. There’s a nice write-up in Nature about the findings.
A Karroo monster? (Hint: probably not).
The South African cabinet has imposed a fracking moratorium in the Karroo pending an environmental impact assessment. Good for the SKA and SALT. For the controversy about the general impact of fracking, see here and here and here.
Sai Baba has died.
Ben Goldacre reports on problems Richie, French and Wiseman are having publishing a (negative) replication of Daryl Bem’s “feeling the future” [pdf] paper. Bem’s paper, incidentally, was problematic all by itself: see this exchange. That great xkcd is here.
Vaccines. Selected links:
- The seasonal flu vaccine isn’t all that effective: see the Cochrane Collaboration studies for adults, children and the elderly. (But also see this).
- Studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry are much more likely to be reported as positive.
- For a lot of information on the autism-vaccines (media) controversy, see this.
- Jenny McCarthy Body Count.
- The Andrew Wakefield profile in the New York Times Michael mentioned is here.
- Brian Deer’s fraud allegations against Wakefield are here.
The Scopex Astronomy and Telescope Expo 2011 (Facebook / Plancast / Main Site) starts on May 7th. http://www.archive.org/download/ConsilienceEpisode7/Consilience07.mp3