October 15, 2012

The Spirituality and Community of the “Nones”
Elizabeth Drescher: Nones, the latest Pew report states, “attach much less importance to belonging to a community of people with shared values and beliefs; 28% of the unaffiliated say this is very important to them, compared with 49% of all adults.” (Emphasis added.) Does this mean that Nones eschew spiritual community? My own research for a forthcoming book on the spiritual lives of Religious Nones suggests otherwise. (Religion Dispatches)

Smile Back
People who feel powerful are more likely to mimic the smiles of those they perceive as low status, according to research presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans. They are less likely, however, to return the smiles of people they consider of higher status than themselves. And when people are not feeling particularly powerful, they return everyone’s smiles almost equally. (Alok Jha, guardian.co.uk)

Do Animals Feel Guilty?
When your dog looks at you with those big sad eyes, is he guilty or is he just aware that you’re angry with him? And can animals, on their own, develop a sense of guilt for what they do to other animals? We take a look at a few experiments that examine these questions. (Esther Inglis-Arkell, io9)

Big Theological Questions Science Fiction Should Address
We asked five theologians what questions they would like to see science fiction tackle—and here’s what they told us. ( Charlie Jane Anders, io9)

Skepticism About Claims of Stem Cell Transplant
Days after Kyoto University biologist Shinya Yamanaka won a Nobel prize for his 2006 discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, Hisashi Moriguchi—a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo—claimed to have modified that technology to treat a person with terminal heart failure. Eight months after surgical treatment in February, said a front-page splash in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, the patient was healthy. But after being alerted to the story by Nature, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where Moriguchi claimed to have done the work, denied that the procedure had taken place. (David Cyranoski, Nature)

Opponents of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Petition the Supreme Court
Two scientists who have fought a three-year, losing court battle to block federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research have now taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in Sherley v. Sebelius filed what’s known as a writ of certiorari with the land’s highest court. In their 36-page petition, they ask the court to consider two questions that were raised when a federal appeals court ruled against them in August. (Jocelyn Kaiser, ScienceInsider)

Category: Field Notes


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