Science Highlights – May 11, 02018

My dad passed away from glioblastoma two years ago, so I was especially interested in the “Anatomical transcriptional atlas of a human glioblastoma” research report.  While the paper describes a fantastic new resource for researchers, I did note that they found “… insufficient statistical power for analysis of this mutation…” and “We did not identify any mutation … that predicted overall survival better than..”  However – “This atlas and the associated database .. will serve as a useful platform for developing and testing new hypotheses related to the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of glioblastoma.”  Great work of building a foundation to move forward!

The cognitive psychology report (“Efficient coding explains the universal law of generalization in human perception” was a good piece about a new approach to understanding how generalization is done – with measurable predictions about how this approach is better.)

In a great, pure awesome geology piece (quite readable!), Myrow et al describe “Rapid sea level rise in the aftermath of a Neoproterozoic snowball Earth” in which they analyze thoroughly a sedimentary structure in Australia to determine sea level rise rates of 20 -27 cm / years.  YOWZA!  The detailed description of the geological analysis to determine that is amazing.

Finally, the plasma physics analysis of waves modes in an insterstellar cloud in “Magnetic seismology of interstellar gas clouds: Unveiling a hidden dimension” was really cool.  I mean, who doesn’t love some good magnetohydrodynamic analysis of a ~10 parsec structure that is about 150-200 parsecs away from us, to determine that it isn’t actually a cylindrical cloud as had been assumed – but because of the observed plasma wave normal modes, it must be a flat sheet like cloud.  Awesome!

And of course, the better measurement of the neutron lifetime done here at LANL is reported in this issue.

Also, there is really depressing news that NASA is canceling the carbon monitoring research program.

A packed issue with plenty to read.

Science Highlights – May 4, 2018

The challenge of privacy and personalized medicine was the highlight this week – and it is a thorny problem with no easy resolution.  The editorial “Global data meet EU rules” and the Policy Forum on “Scrutinizing the EU General Data Protection Regulation” were the most compelling articles this week.  Others were interesting, but didn’t grab my full attention.

The data/privacy issue was also recently highlighted on NPR’s Science Friday.

Science 02018/04/27 highlights

Gaia ESA data trove released – 1.3 billion stars!  I’m really intrigued by this data release.  I’d love to carve a little time to see about digging into it.

Robotic weather balloon launchers in AK – Some tensions related to automated atmospheric profiling by robotic weather balloon launchers.  Cool technology, but workforce and expertise impacts.

A few interesting quantum entanglement articles.

(Note: I decided to start my personal weekly highlights from Science Magazine – simply to add a bit of discipline on trying to keep up with the important news vs the political noise (see the Long Now’s Pace Layer thinking blog).  I also am partly experimenting with evolving my relationship with social media – so this feeds to twitter automatically.  I value the networking aspect of social media, but not the noise and intrusiveness – in part this is an experiment in trying to find the balance for myself.  Feel free to play along!)

(p.s. This is the time for biology, and while I love all the beautiful molecular diagrams – definitely art! – I’m a physicist, so almost every week there is a bit too much bio for my tastes – my bias will show, I’m sure, so I might as well acknowledge it!  And then, if I highlight a bio item, it must really be broadly interesting.. 😉

Science 02018/04/13 highlights

Quick Note: Hard to find planets around Alpha Centauri – triple star system (the Three Body Problem) – one planet around red dwarf, but likely others we can’t see..

Disaster resiliency agent based models – DOE Labs briefly mentioned

Topological Superconducting

Machine-Learning prediction of C-N reaction cross-coupling – promising

Blueprint for Quantum Suprmacy (a plan/path to see if Quantum Computing is worth it..)

(Nano)porous graphene production (bottom up synthesis, w/ annealing)