The Carnegie Institution for Science reports
"a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.”
There's more at NASA
and the BBC
, and the full paper is available at PNAS
posted by Stan Carey
on Jun 15, 2010 -
"Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors" by Scott Carrell and James West
is the title of an interesting new study in this month's Journal of Political Economy
, a leading journal in economics. (For a summary of the paper, see this review
. An ungated version
, too). The authors are interested in determining the role of "professor quality" in student learning. They do this by exploiting an unusual institutional feature of the Air Force Academy whereby all undergraduates are randomly assigned their professors, and all professors use the same syllabus. The authors also have the professor's student evaluations, as well each student's subsequent performance in the follow-up classes. To keep it simple, they focus only on Calculus I and the follow-up courses in Calculus (which are mandatory), though they note that an earlier study that looked at Chemistry and Physics found similar things. [more inside]
posted by scunning
on Jun 12, 2010 -
is a cross-platform research management tool which features article databasing, PDF annotation, online backup, private, shared and public collections, metadata lookup on Google Scholar, direct exporting of multiple citation styles to Word, OpenOffice and BibTex, the ability to add documents directly from a web browser, and social networking with other members in your field of study. Like Zotero
), but out of the browser and with note-taking abilities. For Windows, Mac and Linux.
posted by l33tpolicywonk
on Jun 11, 2010 -
12 London archives – digitised, marked up and tagged – to "create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London".
page is a good place to start browsing. [related]
posted by unliteral
on Jun 8, 2010 -
Is a Woman's MBA Worth Less? $4,600.
That's how much less women made than men in their first post-MBA jobs, according to research by Nancy Carter and Christine Silva of Catalyst. And it's not because women tend to start at lower positions than men — though they do start at lower positions than men, on average, that's a separate problem. The research controls for job level and industry. What's more, the salary lines aren't parallel; men's salaries start higher, then rise faster. The gap widens over time, even after controlling for factors like having children or differing aspiration levels.
The pay just isn't equal.
posted by infini
on May 8, 2010 -
Odds of Cooking the Grandkids
: "There is a horrible paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at how the limits of human physiology interact with upper-range global warming scenarios. The bottom line conclusion is that there is a small - of order 5% - risk of global warming creating a situation in which a large fraction of the planet was uninhabitable (in the sense that if you were outside for an extended period during the hottest days of the year, even in the shade with wet clothing, you would die)." [more inside]
posted by symbollocks
on May 7, 2010 -
Yesterday (April 15), Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.
-Alliance for Taxpayer Access. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation
on Apr 20, 2010 -
Nothing succeeds like failure. [H]istory shows that breakthroughs often spring not from carefully laid plans, but from mischance or even sheer, ridiculous accidents. A stovetop spill heralded vulcanized rubber; the potency of uranium was revealed when a rock was left in a drawer among photographic plates. And great research seldom follows an unswerving path. At RCA in Princeton in the 1950s, David Sarnoff exhorted his team to invent a flat television that could hang on a wall. “There were an enormous number of failures,” says Princeton historian of science Michael Gordin — and instead of TVs, the world got the Seiko digital watch in 1973.
posted by caddis
on Apr 9, 2010 -
Veronique de Rugy, NRO contributor and George Mason fellow, says her research
indicates that stimulus funding was disproportionately directed towards Democratic congressional districts. Nate Silver begs
to disagree. De Rugy responds here
; Silver responds here
. Others say that this is a model "for the quick, effective peer-review that the internet facilitates." Perhaps this is a new model
for peer review?
posted by lalex
on Apr 3, 2010 -
Have you ever wanted to change the functionality of the GUI of a program that you didn't have the source code for? Prefab
is a tool that was made to allow you to do exactly that. [more inside]
posted by ArgentCorvid
on Apr 2, 2010 -
Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions)
is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers
who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy
has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
posted by harriet vane
on Mar 16, 2010 -
Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, and.... fat? Dr. Russell Keast
, an Austrailian scientist who studies
"perceived flavour, consumer acceptance and preference of foods and nutrition," has conducted research exploring humans' apparent sixth taste perception: fat. The kicker? Sensitivity to the taste of fat was negatively correlated with fat intake and BMI. Dr. Keast discussed the results of his latest research
, and The Sydney Morning Herald
. (via) [more inside]
posted by sentient
on Mar 11, 2010 -
A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work.
The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet
". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter
to the Institut de France.
posted by LobsterMitten
on Feb 26, 2010 -
“For me, augmented reality has to be the future for 2020, together with it's close cousin the internet of things
... It will become commonplace to be able to overlay reviews of a product simply by pointing a screen at it, or check the weather forecast by pointing your phone at the sky.” The Pew Research Center releases its The Future of the Internet IV
report, an online survey of 895 technology stakeholders’ and critics’ expectations of social, political and economic change by 2020. [more inside]
posted by cashman
on Feb 19, 2010 -
is an awful disease. Its symptoms are the four D's -- diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death, unpleasant by anyone's standards. Caused by a deficiency in niacin
, pellagra is uncommon in developed nations thanks to the fortification
of bread products with niacin. But could excess niacin be causing the rapid rise in type II diabetes? [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte
on Dec 26, 2009 -
"We were concerned that the study would raise a lot of controversy and be misused," Pardo said. "We were right." Some practitioners
treat autistic children with the anti-inflammatory intravenous immunoglobulin
, citing a study
by Carlos Pardo, et al. showing inflammation in the brains of deceased autistic patients. Pardo: "modulators of immune reactions (e.g. intravenous immunoglobulins, IVIG) WOULD NOT HAVE a significant effect."
Others, following the work of Simon Baron-Cohen on autism and the male brain
, treat autistic children with testosterone inhibitors
, a prospect which Baron-Cohen says "fills me with horror." Another anti-inflammatory treatment, hyperbaric therapy, is supported by one recent clinical trial
, but looks bad in another
. Side effects include horrible death by fire
(via the Chicago Tribune)
posted by escabeche
on Nov 23, 2009 -
Neuroscientist Lise Eliot finds that claims of sex differences fall apart.
In one study, scientists dressed newborns in gender-neutral clothes and misled adults about their sex. The adults described the "boys" (actually girls) as angry or distressed more often than did adults who thought they were observing girls, and described the "girls" (actually boys) as happy and socially engaged more than adults who knew the babies were boys. Dozens of such disguised-gender experiments have shown that adults perceive baby boys and girls differently, seeing identical behavior through a gender-tinted lens. [more inside]
posted by cashman
on Sep 3, 2009 -
What you don't know about your friends
: The problem, [Francis Flynn, a psychology professor at Stanford] says, is that interacting with people and sharing experiences with them doesn’t necessarily translate into knowing lots of things about them. The main hurdle is the way we talk to those we’re close to: our conversations are usually meant not so much to gather information as to establish rapport and to bond - in short, to make friends.
posted by Korou
on Aug 18, 2009 -