Water Is…

“An unforgettable, mesmerizing journey with water that will alter the reader’s perception of the universe forever … I took Nina Munteanu’s “Water Is …” on a journey, an unexpectedly exciting and unusual one. The more I read the book, the more I began to take note of the very presence of water and its impact on the environment around me. Munteanu explains the meaning of water, both in scientific and spiritual terms, in this fun,…

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NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer

By Paula JohansonThere's been a new job posting at NASA, for a Planetary Protection Officer.Sounds like something from the film Men In Black, doesn't it? But for NASA, planetary protection isn't so much about people resisting invasion by giant space bugs. It's about tiny germs.NASA needs to avoid "organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration." Policies for planetary protection apply to all space flight missions, whether they might carry Earth microbes or…

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Friday Fun: Is Game of Thrones an allegory for global climate change?

After a bit of an unexpected summer hiatus, I’m back to regular blogging, at least as regular as it’s been the last year or two. Of course, I’m a committed Game of Thrones fan. I read the first book in paperback soon after it was reprinted, some twenty years ago. And I’ve also been a fan of the HBO series, which though a bit inconsistent and wobbly at times, has been quite worth watching. And…

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#435 Total Eclipse of the Sun

On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse is going to appear, visible to most of the continent of North America. Bethany is very, very excited. What's going to happen, and what are scientists doing to take advantage of the event? Bethany Brookshire starts with a primer on the upcoming eclipse with Lisa Grossman, astronomy writer at Science News, then discusses three eclipse-related citizen science projects that need data: Smithsonian Astrophysicist Trae Winter tells us about…

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Using music to improve hearing, build social connection

SMART Lab’s senior choir, Brainstem Malfunction, performs with director Frank Russo on guitar and graduate student Ella Dubinsky on keyboard. Researchers at Ryerson University’s SMART Lab are making more than just music. With the help of the Chang School, industry partners, and a couple of dozen or so seniors, they’re making a social impact as well. Frank Russo, psychology professor and director of the Science of Music, Auditory Research, and Technology (SMART) Lab, and graduate…

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How good (a manuscript) is good enough?

Image: © (claimed) Terrance Heath, CC BY-NC 2.0 “How good a manuscript”, I’m sometimes asked, “is good enough to submit”?  It’s a natural enough question.  A manuscript heading for peer review isn’t the finished product.  It’s virtually certain that reviewers will ask for changes, often very substantial ones – so why waste time perfecting material […]

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Slovenia Makes Water a Constitutional Right

Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right—Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General   Slovenia In 2016, Slovenia’s parliament voted unanimously to amend its constitution to make access to water a fundamental right for all citizens and halt its commercialization. This makes it the first European nation to do so. Earlier, in 2007, Ecuador rewrote its constitution, ratified by referendum by the people of Equador in September 2008,…

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