22 July 2011

Friday Science Digest

Posted by Dan Satterfield

My daughter suggested I start doing a once a week digest of interesting science news/blog posts from the previous week. So welcome to the first edition!

Kudos to the BBC for asking itself if it's science coverage was accurate.

The Guardian has a great piece today about a study the BBC commissioned on its science coverage, and the results come as no surprise to the science community. That said, I still rate the Beeb as one of the more reliable sources of science news (along with the NY Times). The actual report is on the BBC website here. Joe Romm over at Climate Progress has a cartoon that sums up well the feeling of many of us.

True story: A reporter was on his way back from interviewing an expert on El Nino/La Nina and called the newsroom to tell them they were done. The story was basically that a new La Nina was developing, but the assignment manager asked if the reporter had gotten someone “from the other side”. Hopefully I do not have to explain the inanity of such a comment.
I have a little mention in the Huffington Post today, in an article on NOAA weather radios. If you do not have one, you really should lay out the 30$ for a SAME equipped model.

4 PM 921GMT) CDT temps across North America. Image from NCAR. Click for full res.

John Cook over ( or should I say down under) at Skeptical Science has been publishing a good series on Ocean Acidification. Remember college chemistry?? You will if you read it. Very good though, and needed because understanding the science of ocean chemistry can be very difficult. Kudos to Doug Mackie for making it understandable to non-chemists/oceanographers.
Dulles airport set a new all time record high Friday with 105 degrees F (40.5 deg C). It was the hottest day since 1977 in NYC. Capital Climate has more on the incredible heat along the Eastern Seaboard today. Jeff Masters over at Weather Underground has a post on the heat as well, with the incredible statistic that 2.4% of the U.S. reporting stations broke a record on Wednesday! The Daily What has the obligatory pic of someone baking cookies in their car and Climate Central has another amazing image of the record warm low temps.

I caught some of Ira Flatow’s Science Friday on NPR today and there was a nice discussion on science vacations. That program is always worth a listen.
The HST discovered a 4th moon around Pluto which is a reminder just how much the images from Hubble have taught us. All this in the same month that it’s replacement the James Webb telescope is canceled for budget reasons. Neil de Grasse Tyson pointed out “The DOD spends in 23 days the entire NASA budget for a year”.
Last but certainly not least: A right-wing radio host in America called the heat index a “liberal government conspiracy” this week. I just mention it in case it’s been a bad Friday and you needed a good laugh (or perhaps a good cry for a nation once the world leader in science).