This a great blog post from Rian van der Merwe , describing the noise you can find on the web now, and especially content just created for SEO purposes or advertisers. As many, Rian is tired of it.
"I used to believe that if you write with passion and clarity about a topic you know well (or want to know more about), you will find and build an audience. I believed that maybe, if you’re smart about it, you could find a way for some part of that audience to pay you money to sustain whatever obsession drove you to self-publishing"
The Scoop.it team can't agree more with this vision...
A new copyright bill proposed in the House would give governments and private corporations unprecedented powers to remove websites from the internet completely, on the flimsiest of grounds, and would also force internet service providers to play...
The hard work and creative thinking it takes to do research worthy of winning a Nobel Prize is certainly enough to give scientists a gray hair or two. But these days, there’s probably a simpler explanation for why these bright lights of science are sporting gray hair—they’re older.
According to a study by economists Benjamin F. Jones, of Northwestern University, and Bruce A. Weinberg, of Ohio State University, the average age at which Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry do their prizewinning work is on the rise (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1102895108) More than half of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to 1960 did their prizewinning work by the time they were 40. Since 1961, prizewinners were more likely to have done their acclaimed work after their 40th birthday.
At first blush, Jones and Weinberg’s study may seem like good news for researchers who don’t have to think of themselves as past their prime just because they’re past their 40th birthday. But Jones tells C&EN that the implication of his finding is a bit less rosy: Scientist may be spending their most creative years being trained, as doctoral students and as postdocs, rather than doing their own innovative research.
“There’s a long-standing view that people are at their most productive as innovators early in their life cycle,” Jones says. But, he points out, if it’s true that people have to become experts before they can innovate, then scientists are spending more of their years training and less of their time innovating. Consequently, their lifetime contributions as scholars are going to be smaller. Jones estimates the decline in a given researcher’s career output is as high as 30%.
Slowly, slowly, synthetic biology has been inching toward clinical applications. Those closest to this decade-old field say the time has come to test it against some of the most pressing global clinical challenges.
The goal of synthetic biology is the manipulation of biological cells in a predictable and rational fashion at the molecular level to carry out a given task efficiently and reliably at a cost of mere pennies. James J. Collins, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Boston University, explains that over time, the community has become more efficient and savvy in manipulating biomolecules “to reprogram organisms and endow them with novel functions.” While some researchers are focusing on environmental, energy, and commodity chemical production issues, others are tackling longstanding biomedical problems.
Almost everyone can identify with the following situation: Your cell phone runs out of battery power, and you need to make a call. A friend graciously offers to let you use his phone, but as you attempt to make the call you realize that you have no idea what the actual number is of the person you are trying to reach. Now flash back 15 years and try again. Odds are you would have had much better luck, because you would have had to memorize that number, instead of relying on the contact list in your phone...
An era of ice that has gripped Earth's poles for 35 million years could come to an end as extreme global warming really begins to bite. Previously unknown sources of positive feedback - including "hyperwarming" that was last seen on Earth half a billion years ago - may push global temperatures high enough to send Earth into a hothouse state with tropical forests growing close to the poles.
Climate scientists typically limit themselves to the 21st century when predicting how human activity will affect global temperatures. The latest predictions are bolder, though: the first systematic forecasts through to 2300 are beginning to arrive.
Business ideas over the past few years have all been about biotechnology and digital; but the next big thing is biomimicry. Bio-what? we hear you ask. Biomimicry is science, engineering, and design inspired by the natural world.
The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
A graduate student at the MIT Media Lab is writing software that can highlight false claims in articles, just like spell check.
You’re reading a wrap-up of the Sept. 22 Republican presidential debate when you land on this claim from Rep. Michele Bachmann: “President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern times.”
Really? You start googling for evidence. Maybe you scour the blogs or the fact-checking sites. It takes work, all that critical thinking.
That’s why Dan Schultz, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab (and newly named Knight-Mozilla fellow for 2012), is devoting his thesis to automatic bullshit detection. Schultz is building what he calls truth goggles...
[Must-read. Is this the coolest app ever or what? Politicians, PR spinners and liars must be trembling in their boots - JD ]
Imagine catching up with your texts, social networking and perhaps the news without having to log on to a computer or even glance at a smartphone. Messages and images would simply appear in front of your eyes, generated by a computerised contact lens.