Critical Thinking Web

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May 15, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 10)

Critical Thinking Web

URL:philosophy.hku.hk/think/sci/hd.php
  • Lots of content, easy to understand

Critical thinking, logic, and creativity are three important traits for scientists (and anyone, really) to possess. The Critical Thinking Web, hosted by the philosophy department at the University of Hong Kong, is an online resource composed of tutorials covering various aspects of “thinking skills.” For example, visitors to the site will find tutorials about logic, scientific reasoning, strategic thinking, and fallacies, among many other topics. The tutorials are largely presented as text descriptions and case studies, and are sometimes accompanied by diagrams or other visual aids. Beyond the tutorials, the “resources” page includes a few downloadable documents such as critical thinking exercises, and there are also book recommendations and a link to an online directory of critical thinking web resources.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions have increased based on data from 32 global energy providers

US “Thomson Reuters releases greenhouse gas emissions data on Global Energy Providers – 21 May 2015

Thomson Reuters has released a new research Global 500 Greenhouse Gas Report: The Fossil Fuel Energy Sector, revealing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from 32 global energy companies, a key subset of the world’s largest publically traded businesses. The report, written in collaboration with global sustainability consultancy BSD Consulting, is the second in a series of GHG reports designed to create transparency and enable sound management of global GHG emissions.

Building on the previous report, the new report includes data around consumers’ use of a company’s products, called Scope 3 data, to present a fuller view of the business’s overall contribution to GHG emissions. Among the data included in the report, 31 percent of GHG emitted globally on an annual basis comes from 32 global energy companies and the population’s use of their products.

From 2010 to 2013, GHG emissions from the 32 energy companies and use of their products increased by 1.3 percent, a sharp contrast to the 2014 United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report, which recommended a 4.2 percent reduction of GHG emissions over the same time period to keep global temperatures within manageable limits.

In addition to contributions from the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Climate Accountability Institute, self-reported GHG emissions data was gathered from energy sector businesses and combined with estimates pulled from Thomson Reuters ASSET4, a provider of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data. ASSET4 gathers standardised, objective, quantitative and qualitative ESG data on more than 4,800 publicly listed companies.”

Knowledgespeak Newsletter 21 May, 2015

Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

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“This image sparked scientific debate when it was released last year, with researchers arguing over whether newly forming planets were responsible for gaps in the dust and gas swirling around the young star.”
Credit: Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
“University of Toronto, May 5, 2015.  Summary: A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we’ve seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by astrophysicists. The team found that circular gaps in a disk of dust and gas swirling around the young star HL Tau are in fact made by forming planets.”
Daniel Tamayo, Amaury H. M. J. Triaud, Kristen Menou, Hanno Rein. Dynamical Stability of Imaged Planetary Systems in Formation: Application to HL Tau. Astrophysical Journal, 2015 [link]
University of Toronto. “Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2015.

arXiv hits 1 million submissions

From the “Cornell Chronicle”, Jan. 15, 2015, and seen in the “Fast Facts” column of “College & Research Libraries News”, Vol. 76(2)  p. 108, Feb., 2015,

“As an open-access service, it allows scientists from disciplines encompassing physics, statistics, computer science and others to share research before it’s formally published. One million papers have now been uploaded to the repository.”

“arXiv received more than 97,000 new submissions in 2014. More than 150 subject experts from around the world evaluate and categorize every article posted on arXiv.”

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/01/research-repository-arxiv-hits-1-million-submissions

 

Black holes gorging at excessive rates

Date:May 3, 2015  Science Daily

Source:NASA

Summary: A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.”

Illustration of an extremely ravenous black hole devouring material.
Credit: Illustration: CXC/M. Weiss; X-ray images: NASA/CXC/Penn State/B. Luo et al.

A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.

Journal Reference:

  1. B. Luo, W. N. Brandt, P. B. Hall, Jianfeng Wu, S. F. Anderson, G. P. Garmire, R. R. Gibson, R. M. Plotkin, G. T. Richards, D. P. Schneider, O. Shemmer, Yue Shen. X-ray Insights into the Nature of PHL 1811 Analogs and Weak Emission-Line Quasars: Unification with a Geometrically Thick Accretion Disk? The Astrophysical Journal, 2015 [link]

Conversations in Genetics History

Oral History of Genetics Now Available Online

“The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and Executive Producer Rochelle Easton Esposito, PhD, are pleased to announce that Conversations in Genetics, an oral history of our intellectual heritage in genetics, is now available for free online viewing at http://www.genestory.org/.”

Source:  Newswise SciWire for 30-Apr-2015

Other interviewees to come:  King, Cavalli-Sforza, Meyerowitz, Horowitz

National Science Foundation YouTube Channel

“National Science Foundation YouTube Channel

  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRuCgmzhczsm89jzPtN2Wuw

    Nearly 13,000 viewers have subscribed to the National Science Foundation’s YouTube channel. It’s not a secret why. These well-produced and often poignant presentations have managed to pack so much into such a small space. Nearly all the videos clock in at less than four minutes. Many of the clips are just two or three minutes long so readers can easily learn about the birth of planets, the details of the tropospheric ozone, and the wonders of biomedical engineering – all within the timespan of a quick coffee break. The hundreds of available videos are broken into categories such as Computer Science, Brain Research, and Education, among others. Whether you are looking for an interesting tidbit to add to your lecture on Geoscience or you are simply curious about conservation efforts in Central Africa, there is much to enjoy here. [CNH]

  • Source:  Scout Report, University of Wisconsin, Mar. 27, 2015, Vol. 21(12)

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space — website

“The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space

  • http://www.iss-casis.org/

    The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2011 to manage the International Space Station. In addition to making access to the station faster and easier, connecting funders to scientists, and making research accessible to the public, CASIS hosts an excellent website packed with information about the space station. Readers may view the short videos on the homepage for more information on the projects CASIS sponsors, or peruse articles under the News & Events tab. Perhaps the most interesting part of the site, however, are the three tabs set aside for researchers, businesses, and educators. In fact, the For Educators tab is especially helpful, as it features Lesson Plans on topics such as “The Laws of Newton” and “Tracking Satellites,” a Q&A section, and Additional Resources for teachers. [CNH]

  • Source:  Scout Report, Univ. of Wisconsin, March 27, 2015, Vol. 21(12)

Addressing our Greatest Engineering Challenges

From today’s WhatsNew@National-Academies.org:

Engineering Schools throughout the U.S. are committing to educate certain numbers of engineers with special interests and talents in helping to solve our greatest challenges.

“In a letter of commitment presented to President Obama today, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. Read More

Princeton University’s Prof. Robert Socolow is a member of this Committee on Grand Challenges.

There is also a 6-min video at http://engineeringchallenges.org/

Viruses: Timeline, Structure, Biology

From Genetic Engineering &  Biotechnology News (GEN), March 15, 2015

URL:virologyhistory.wustl.edu/index.htm

“Sure, the year 1941 may best be remembered for being the year of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it was also the year in which X-ray diffraction patterns were obtained for the tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). You can find this and other world history/structural biology history side-by-side comparisons in the nifty timeline feature on the Viruses: From Structure to Biology website. This site—the creation of Sondra and Milton Schlesinger at Washington University School of Medicine —provides some nice background on key milestones in structural virology and the resulting biological breakthroughs in the field. There isn’t a ton of information on the site—one might call it a single-serving website—but within that serving you’ll be able to chew on some interesting science history.”