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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fresh Science 6 August 2007

We do the hard work of zapping the globe for the slickest science articles - so you don't have to.

Swarm behavior (Bayblab - Canada)
Simple interactions can result in complex emergent behaviours...

The obvious and not-so-obvious in psychology (Mind Hacks - USA)
Common sense can be wrong - some notable examples of counter-intuitive discoveries...

Art vs Science (Rat in the Lab - Singapore)
Just make it up as you go along...

A toothbrush that can redirect water from the faucet to your lips for easy rinsing (Sour Grapes - USA)
You always needed one - just never realized it...

Dinosaurs as Art: Royal Tyrrell Museum (The Flying Trilobite - Canada)
Illuminating the unknown, one spotlight at a time...


John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

I would love to see a book about the counter-intuitive findings of science (not just those in a specific field, but across the spectrum). I think lay-persons could learn a lot about how science works and the value of it by reading about such findings.

In fact, it seems to me like the more we learn, the more that counter-intuitive comes into play. Even very straight-forward things have counter-intuitive aspects.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

I think there were some public talks about counter-intuitive scientific results before, but a quick search doesn't yield any book about this topic.

A recent topsy-turvy result is the discovery that wearing bike helmets puts cyclists at risk, because it changes the perception of the cyclist by motorists.

University of Bath press release

You are absolutely right that a such a book would be valuable to many people, experts or lay-people alike.

Let's discuss this.

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Well, for a smart post doc like you, this would appear to be a wide open field that you can make your own. Go For IT!!

I'm not surprised by the helmut problem. I guess it would make you MORE likely to get into an accident but LESS likely to crush your head from it! I guess more research is needed to deterimine whether the second offsets the first enough to make it worthwhile.

It's kind of like DDT. It kills insects extermely effectively. However, it causes various environmental problems. But it is SO effective against one particular pest - misquitos carrying plasmodium parasites which cause malaria - that it can save, potentially, millions of human lives.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks for the insight and your encouragement.

Every field of science has its own unexpected results.

I'll start small and put up a few posts about notable counter-intuitive results in biology.


John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Yeah, I don't think it ONLY has to come from your own field either. Include anything you find. Maybe you see that you have enough to publish. I'll keep my eyes open. I don't DO science but I read a lot of it.