ChemEd X contributors and staff members are continually coming across items of interest that they feel others may wish to know about. Picks include, but need not be limited to, books, magazines, journals, articles, apps—most anything that has a link to it can qualify.
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Chances are that you have a computer mouse in your hand as you read these words. That object, now ubiquitous throughout the world, originated in the mid-1970's in Xerox's PARC laboratory in Palo Alto, which was a competitor to the famous Bell Telephone Labs in New Jersey.
Just about all of us who teach introductory courses in chemistry have a significant fraction of our students who intend to apply to medical schools and attempt to become doctors. However, very few of my students have a good idea of what that career path looks like, beyond graduation with an undergraduate degree.
If information about information is metadata, that's what we have here. As most of us are trying to drink from a firehose of information that clogs our eyes, ears, and every mailbox, James Glieck (author of "Chaos") helps us to step back to view the larger picture, with a longer perspective.
Brian Greene has emerged as the most significant spokesperson for modern physics. It isn't just that his two previous best-selling books ("The Elegant Universe" and The "Fabric of the Cosmos") were written to be accessible to the interested non-specialist, but also to excite the imagination of laymen.
One cold morning last week, as I was out to pick up our newspapers, a group of perhaps 250 starlings took off from a neighbor's trees, rose as a mass, wheeled a couple of circles in the air over the trees and settled in other trees nearby. There were no predators in evidence, so iIt was not clear what made them fly or how they decided when and where to land.
Magic shows don t work on children if they are not old enough to have developed the expectation that causes have predictable effects. They accept what their senses tell them, without constructing models that that make the surprising result unexpected.
This is the article that was hyped by NASA as possible justification for an expanded notion of the limits of "life as we know it", an attempt to boost their own stock in astrobiology.
I have always thought that the answer to the question in the subtitle of this David Owen article was clear: make the things we do with energy using less of it. Now I am rethinkng that proposition. Owen writes about the application of "Jevons paradox" to energy consumption: the economical use of a resource results not in less consumption, but of more!
"Trick or Treatment" is a critical (very critical) examination of several varieties of alternative medicine. I was surprised to see Simon Singh as lead coauthor of a book about health because I know him as author of a book about math, "Fermat's Enigma", that I recommended in December of 1999. I thought it was the best science/math book of that year.
I am a fan of Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" column in The Guardian. Several hundred of his articles are available free online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/badscience. His pieces are always well-researched and well-reasoned, and he writes with flair and wit. This slightly edited collection of his essays has recently been released in paperback in the US, after having been on the market in the UK since 2008.