February 2, 2012

Why We’re Unlikely to Find Another Planet That Looks Like Earth
Astronomers are finding lots of exoplanets that are orbiting stars like the sun, significantly raising the odds that we will find a similar world. But if we do, the chance that the surface of that planet will look like ours is very small, thanks to an unlikely culprit: plants. (Mark Fischetti, Scientific American)

Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Bronnie Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.” (Susie Steiner, guardian.co.uk)

“Creation Science” Bill Passed by Senate in Indiana
The Indiana State Senate approved a bill that would allow its schools to teach the origin stories of various religions when a class touches on the origin of life. It now moves on to the state’s House, where one of its co-sponsors is currently the Speaker of the House. Although the bill as written could be used to create a comparative religion class, its sponsor, Senator Dennis Kruse, has made it clear that he hopes to see it foster the teaching of creationism in science classes. (John Timmer, Ars Technica)

A New Strategy for Fighting Anti-Evolution Bills
Hear what Vi Simpson, the Indiana State Senate Minority Leader, had to say about the way she crippled the latest creationism-in-the-schools bill with a brilliant stratagem: by convincing the radical Republicans in the Indiana State Senate that if they want to teach Christianity in the schools, they’re also going to have to teach Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Scientology. (Tony Ortega, The Village Voice)

Best Science Pictures of 2011
Sponsored jointly by the journal Science and the National Science Foundation, the annual International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge was founded because “some of science’s most powerful statements are not made in words,” according to NSF. (Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic)

EXHIBIT
Art by Animals

What is the difference between paintings by humans and other animals? Can animal art truly be considered ‘art’? The exhibition showcases paintings by elephants, apes, and humans, dotted throughout the existing displays of skeletons and preserved animals. (Rebecca Hill, CultureLab, New Scientist)

Category: Field Notes

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