May 21, 2010

Synthetic DNA Boots Up a Cell
In another step forward in the quest to create artificial life in a test tube, a team of genetic engineers led by Craig Venter has built a synthetic genome and proved that it can power up when placed inside an existing cell. (Eliza Strickland, 80beats, Discover)

Joking About Unusual Experiences
A Canadian researcher has found people who laugh at things that don’t make sense are less threatened by them. “Humor is actually a great antidote for things that don’t make sense,” said British Columbia psychology professor Travis Proulx. (David Wylie, Canwest News Service)

Big-Name American Jews Answer Two Big Questions
What does it mean to be a Jew today? What do Jews bring to the world today? (Moment)

Differences Inherent in Science and Religion
Michael Zimmerman: I believe that religious leaders who understand the nature of science and are willing to speak out about it deserve to be praised. I have no problem being labeled an “accommodationist” for taking such a stand. I also have no problem arguing vehemently when anyone, religious or otherwise, crosses the line from science to nonsense. (The Huffington Post)

The Whole “Lost” Plot in One Tweet
In honor of the final episode, we place a challenge to our readers: Summarize everything that happened since the show started into a single tweet of 140 characters or fewer. (The Atlantic)

Q&A
Lily Asquith

Lily Asquith is one of hundreds of physicists searching for the Higgs boson—also known as “the God particle”—in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Recently she began wondering what a Higgs-producing event inside the LHC’s ATLAS detector might sound like. So she got together with particle physicists, musicians, and artists to create the LHCsound project. (Amanda Gefter, CultureLab, New Scientist)

BOOKS
The Purpose-Guided Universe

In The Purpose-Guided Universe, physicist Bernard Haisch makes his case for a physical cosmos that is deity-driven. The principal piece of evidence he uses is the apparent fine-tuning of the laws of physics for us to be here. (Marcus Chown, CultureLab, New Scientist)

Category: Field Notes

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