July 29, 2013

The Power of the Speaker to Act on What Is Said
A study finds that the social status of a speaker makes a significant difference in how we interpret statements they make. (Christie Nicholson, Scientific American)

Paranoid Thinking in the Writings of Mass Shooters
A trio of University of British Columbia psychologists led by Donald Dutton report the gunmen appear to have suffered from an intense form of paranoia. Far from being cool or detached, these young men were enraged, their delusions of persecution becoming ever more intense and intolerable. (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

When Do Kids Understand the Concept of Death?
No matter what your age, death is not easily defined. But for the purposes of research, scientists define a child’s understanding of death by looking at three specific aspects of the concept. (Virginia Hughes, Phenomena: Only Human, National Geographic)

More on “Very Small Embryonic-Like Cells”
Arthur Caplan: When the power of religion is used to cheer for a particular research strategy not because of evidence but because of morality, that creates a huge potential for trouble. Until someone other then those tied to the power of VSELs for religious or business reasons can find them, be wary of any claims about their power to heal. (NBC News)

Update on the Rennan Pekünlü Case
A Turkish astrophysicist faces two years of jail for forbidding access to a university building to a student wearing a headscarf. Ankara’s Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s verdict against Esat Rennan Pekünlü, an astronomer at Ege University in Izmir. (Michele Catanzaro, Nature News Blog)

Category: Field Notes

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