February 18, 2014

ScienceInsiderStem Cell Papers Are Being Investigated
The stem cell research world was set on its ear January 29 when Japanese and American scientists reported an astoundingly simple way to generate stem cells that can theoretically develop into all of a body’s cells. But anonymous bloggers and some experts have spotted possible image manipulation in the papers. The lead researcher’s institution is investigating. (Dennis Normile, ScienceInsider, Science)

Reality Show Snake-Handling Pastor Dies of a Snakebite
A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling in church has died—of a snakebite. Jamie Coots died Saturday evening after refusing to be treated, Middleborough police said. On Snake Salvation, the ardent Pentecostal believer said that he believed that a passage in the Bible suggests poisonous snakebites will not harm believers as long as they are anointed by God. The practice is illegal in most states, but still goes on, primarily in the rural South. (Ashley Fantz, CNN)

Happiness and Creativity
In a study of college students, “people who reported feeling happy and active were more likely to be doing something creative at the time,” a research team led by Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro writes in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. What’s more, the researchers add, you don’t have to be a master poet or painter to reap the emotional rewards. Even if the results of one’s creative activity are “frivolous, amateurish or weird,” this research suggests “the creative process that yielded them appears important to positive psychological development.” (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

Amazing Fossil Site Found in Canada
Scientists say a recently located fossil site on the Alberta-B.C. border is already yielding major new discoveries about early animal evolution. The Marble Canyon fossil beds were located in 2012 by a team of Canadian, U.S., and Swedish researchers in Kootenay National Park, about 40 kilometres from the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park—which is considered one of the most important fossil fields in the world. ​​In a paper published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, researchers reveal they unearthed 50 animal species in just 15 days exploring the new site. (CBC News)

Elaine Howard Ecklund Discussing Science and Religion

Elaine Howard Ecklund appeared on BBC World Service’s Newsday to discuss her new research on the relationship between science and religion.

Category: Field Notes


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