Do you have any burning questions about fish, sharks, fishing, or fisheries? Want to ask an expert (or at least an expert-in-training)? Well, today is your lucky day! Starting at 4pm EST, myself and a bunch of other graduate students from the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab will be doing a reddit AMA and will attempt to answer all of your queries. Ask Us Anything!
After putting together a list of lists of top science stories from 2013, I figured I would make one of my own. Some of these things caught my eye recently, others are older than 2013. Either way, here’s a few things science that I thought deserved a look last year:
Maybe one of the biggest stories, at least in terms of scientific misinformation, concerned the failed Japanese nuclear reactor in Fukushima. A nuclear meltdown is big news, and the disaster in Japan is only the second time a level 7 event has occurred worldwide. The fact that the plant was on the coast and that possibly contaminated fluids leaked (and may still be leaking) into the ocean is surely cause for alarm. Or is it? Last year multiple alarmist articles popped up, going viral across social media spreading misinformation like wildfire. One of the best summaries of the science behind what actually happened can be found here (spoiler alert: nothing to see here, folks. Although you might want to check out where your fish oil pills come from!)
On the lighter side of things, apparently dolphins like drugs.
China landed a rover on the moon and sent back the first picture taken from the surface in three decades!
I added to my personal marine animal bucket list with with the bobbit worm and the supersonic mantis shrimp. For more about the mantis shrimp, this fantastic Radiolab episode about color was one of the more memorable radio programs I heard this year.
Not a science story, but a nice infographic of a shocking trend in public employee salaries across the nation.
Finally (and I know this is old but it came in handy last year): Which supplements are worth it and which ones are modern snake oil?
The end of the year is upon us, which means year-end wrap ups. Here is a brief, non-exhaustive list of lists of the Best Science Stories of 2013. I never seem to have enough time to peruse these, so I am storing them here for myself; of course I hope you enjoy these as well!
Southern Fried Science’s 13 Amazing Things Scientists Discovered About Sharks in 2013
Discover Magazine’s Top 10 Science Stories of 2013
Wired Magazine’s Top 13 Stories of 2013
Minnesota Public Radio’s Best Science Stories of 2013
This video is pretty wild:
I love the arcs of Neptune and Pluto with their long, slow
revolutions vortices. Watching this makes me feel a bit uneasy, much like I imagine Pope Clement VII must have felt when hearing Copernicus’ heliocentricity theory for the first time. But as Kottke warns, take this with a grain of salt – I don’t buy the “lagging” bit. The follow-up is even tripper and had me wondering such deep thoughts as, “Gee, I wonder if it matters how close to the Galactic Plane we are right now?”
From Deep-Sea News:
Why is it that we now condemn the man on the left but celebrate the dudes on the right? What is fundamentally different about these two photos?
I think it is because we can readily see the impact of killing a lion but the ecological effects of removing upper level pelagic predators are practically invisible to us. What do you think?
Two things that caught my eye this morning, the first is a story about students gaming a professor’s grading scheme on the final exam:
“‘The students refused to come into the room and take the exam, so we sat there for a while: me on the inside, they on the outside,’ Fröhlich said. ‘After about 20-30 minutes I would give up…. Then we all left.’”
Why would the students boycott? Because the prof curved his grades based on the top performer… so if the top score was a 0, then everyone gets an A! The prof was cool about the whole thing, but he has since changed his protocols so it can’t happen again. Full story here.
Ever thought about getting a tattoo? Perhaps you already have one, maybe you are totally against the very idea. I personally don’t have any, but I’m not against them – I just haven’t found anything I’d like to have permanently imprinted on my body. This may, however, have changed this morning, when I saw this:
which of course sent me on a random walk through nerd tattoos on the web, and wow there are a lot! Including this one, based on Darwin’s original mock-up of the tree of life:
Now I’m imagining where these would look good on me. Do you have any science tattoos? Would you consider getting one?
Good news today! It seems that the Aquarius Reef Base mission has secured funding… enough funding to keep it alive anyway, if not actively doing science. Full story from BoingBoing here, self-promoting links to where I’ve talked about this before here, flickr photostream of pictures of Aquarius so that you can spend too much time dreaming about diving on an awesome undersea lab here.