"A deadly fungus, known as Panama disease, is decimating banana plantations around the world and threatens to wipe out the most common species, the Cavendish banana. Scientists in Honduras are working to create a resistant banana before the disease hits Latin America, where the majority of the fruit is grown. NewsHour's Mori Rothman reports."
Genetically modified foods are often regarded as "unnatural" and approached with distrust. Commentator Tania Lombrozo considers the psychology behind these reactions.
Why do so many people oppose genetically modified organisms, or GMOs? According to a new paper forthcoming in the journal Trends in Plant Science, it's because opposition to GMOs taps into deep cognitive biases. These biases conspire to make arguments against GMOs intuitive and compelling, whether or not they're backed by strong evidence.
The authors of the paper — a mix of philosophers and biologists — turn to research in the cognitive sciences to shed light on the mismatch between the public's perception of GMOs (which is fairly negative, especially in Europe) and the state of the evidence about their safety (which is fairly positive).
MeteoEarth is a fantastic website and set of apps that let you view global weather patterns as they occur in real time on your IWB or iPad. ("MeteoEarth – A Global Weather Viewer in the Classroom" looks like useful fun!
On why a Prussian scientific visionary should be studied afresh…In a superb biography, Andrea Wulf makes an inspired case for Alexander von Humboldt to be considered the greatest scientist of the 19th century. Certainly he was the last great polymath in a scientific world which, by the time he died in Berlin in 1859, aged 89, was fast hardening into the narrow specializations that typify science to this day. Yet in the English-speaking world, Humboldt is strangely little-known.
"This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas."
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