Framing gone wild?

In my daily Sigma Xi e-mail “Science in the News,” I received the following link titled “Science Not Faked, But Not Pretty” about the hacked IPCC e-mails.

Could it be that the scientists were too accepting of advice that they should pay attention to the way they frame their arguments for the general public?

A “shout out” for my favorite science education (ad)venture

When Pittsburgh Voyager began its unique river-based educational programs, I was in academe and was asked to join its Board of Directors.

When I left my “day job” in 1996 to write full-time, it was time for someone else to take my spot on the Board.

But I still have a soft spot for the organization, which now has a new name that captures its spirit of experiential learning.

I’m breathing easier about Apophis

Ever since I interviewed members of the Alvarez team (who developed the asteroid impact theory of the great Cretaceous/Tertiary extinction) and Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker (of the 1994 “Great Comet Crash” fame) for a 1997 young adult book called To the Young Scientist, I’ve been following news of comet and asteroid impact events closely.

I haven’t lost any sleep over the possibility of a collision with the Earth orbit-crossing asteroid Apophis, but it certainly couldn’t be ruled out in my lifetime (though I’d be quite old by 2036).

Here’s a NASA news release with good news about that asteroid. Note that superstitious people might have been worried at one time about an impact on a certain Friday the thirteenth in 2029.

Following the release are specific links to a few of my books for children and teens.

Gravitational Wave Detection Gets A Boost

Another blogger here has posted regularly with claims of theories that supersede both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. I have been his primary challenger, though others have chimed in. Ultimately, I have concluded that his papers are either erroneous or not novel. But at least he has offered a claim that can be tested by observation. Now the possibility of such a test appears to be closer at hand.

Are we heading for a repeat of 1986-87’s Superconductor-mania?

In the August issue of Physics Today, there is an article entitled “Iron-based superconductors” by the magazine’s senior editor, Charles Day. The magazine summarizes it this way: “For 22 years ceramic oxides of copper seemed to offer the only way to reach high-temperature superconductivity. Now, a new and unexpected route is being charted: through semimetal compounds of iron.”

It makes me wonder whether we are about to see a repeat of the mania of the late 1980s with the discovery of “high-temperature” superconductivity in a family of cuprate ceramics with a particular crystal structure that gave them the designation of perovskites.