December 20, 2010

The Most Popular Science Stories of the Year
ScienceNOW compiles a Top 10 list of our favorite and most popular stories. As usual, the 2010 batch is an eclectic mix. And this year’s list contains something special: our most popular story of all time. (David Grimm)

What Do Americans Hold Sacred?
Gary Laderman: Rather than list the most popular or significant stories from the past year, let’s ask a different kind of question to guide and sharpen our focus on religion in American life. When you reflect on all that’s transpired since January 1, what stand out as the top 10 most sacred concerns of Americans? (Religion Dispatches)

A Period of Genetic Innovation
MIT computational biologists discovered that 27 percent of all living gene families came into existence during a single period, between 3.3 and 2.8 billion years ago. They’ve called this period the Archean Expansion, and it’s one of the most productive periods in the entire history of life … but what caused it? (Alasdair Wilkins, io9)

Perceptual Psychology
Tyler Burge: Rigorous science of mind begins with perception, the first distinctively psychological representation. Maturation of a science of mind is one of the most important intellectual developments in the last half century. Its momentousness should not be obscured by neurobabble that baits with psychology, but switches to brain science. (Opinionator, The New York Times)

U.S. Catholic Universities See a Spike in the Enrollment of Muslim Students
Muslim students say they enroll at Catholic schools for many of the same reasons as their classmates: attractive campuses, appealing professors, and academic programs that fit their interests. But there is also a spiritual attraction to the values that overlap the two faiths. (William Wan, The Washington Post)

The White House Releases Scientific Integrity Guidelines
The White House has finally issued new guidelines for science after 18 months of waiting. The idea was part of the Obama administration’s promise to restore science to its rightful place and “insulate government scientific research from political meddling and to base policy decisions on solid data.” (Adam Frank, 13.7: Cosmos and Culture)

Category: Field Notes

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