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.