Geometric Boners and Stayin’ High on the Hog in Dog-Worlds

Some great stuff out there in science blogland, once again confirming that spring is a time of spirit renewal and expanding thoughts. In the esoteric realm, Chad Orzel over at Uncertain Principles offers a hilarious dialogue with his dog – who claims to be able to sniff out extra dimensions with her canine nose – about alternate universes, the meaning of quantum superposition and decoherence. Many Worlds, Many Treats gives us a dog’s grasp of quantum mechanics, which is more than enough for me! Besides, Orzel’s dog is very pretty even though he says she is rather silly. I can pretend he’s talking about me…

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Superman’s Evil Baby Nemesis Wagging Dogs and Reading Palms

Good news! These past couple of weeks have seen a resurgence of actual science and interesting science factoids for all the sci-blog watchers out there, the political infighting has thankfully moved into the background where it belongs. Not that political infighting isn’t fun for political junkies to watch and get a giggle out of, but when science bloggers won’t blog about science there’s a real dearth of fun stuff to write about.

As you can probably tell from this installment’s title, there is humor, fear, factoids and stranger-than-comic book discoveries out there to delight the seeker. Starting with stranger-than-comic book discoveries, Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous blog informs us that Scientists have discovered ‘Kryptonite’ !

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All Hell Breaks Loose In Sci-Blog Land!

The science blogging community has been inundated over the last week-plus with commentary on the subject of “framing” and whether scientists should be framing things in easy-to-digest sound-bytes for consumption by the general public. It started with an article in Science Magazine by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney, entitled “Framing Science.”

This was followed by an NPR On the Media segment and another article by Nisbet and Mooney in Sunday’s Washington Post titled Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them., and it seems like everyone who is anyone has weighed in on the topic.

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The Most Silent Spring, ‘Going Grad’ and Neuronal Equality

Happy April to one and all! This year it went from freezing all the way to mid-summer 80+ degrees in 12 hours, making me just that much more concerned about global warming. In this science blog round-up I’m going to start out with some positively apocalyptic signs and omens almost as weird as the fact that dogwoods beat azaleas this year for early blooming. Before I get into regular old ‘weird science’ and brain-stuff, that is.

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Spring: The Season for Scientific Fun and Games!


Spring Is Here! After too many dark, cold February days spent poring over seed catalogues and nearly 5 months worth of winter time-switching designed for no rational purpose I can think of other than to mess with our internal clocks and depress half the population with induced SAD [Seasonal Affective Disorder], it’s about time! But in case it’s still cold where you happen to be, thus you aren’t spending your so-called “free time” preparing your garden or listening to birds from a porch chair, there are some good science blog outings I can recommend in this installment.

Better yet, they switched to Daylight Savings three weeks early too. Now if we can just convince them to leave it alone we might find that human beings actually CAN handle the seasonal shortening and lengthening of daylight hours without induced economic productivity losses or suicidal tendencies.

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Silly Science, Head Cheese, and the Hairless Vulpes of Carolina

This edition of science blogging is going to look at some scientific tidbits about brains… and minds, as those seem to come attached to brains. There has been quite a lot on the subjects these past couple of weeks, thus lots of meaty stuff (apologies to those who gag at the thought of head cheese) to learn from.

On the subject of food, Berkeley professor of psychology Seth Roberts offers two blog posts about Brain Food, from the Scientific Blogging site. In Part 1, he talks about omega-3 fatty acids taken as supplements to improve sleep. His sources include walnut oil, flax oil capsules and salmon. His informal research on himself and from reports on nutrition forums indicate increased intake of omega-3s also helps symptoms of mood disorders, and in other studies has shown decreased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Which looks to be a pretty good reason to put omega-3s into one’s diet even if you sleep like a baby!

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Real Science Blogging, Endless Love and Morning Sickness

Greetings, intrepid seekers of scientific knowledge and useful trivia! The longest month of the year is more than halfway over, and we are still alive. At least I presume so, since I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it if that were not a reasonable presumption. Thus we’ve much to be thankful for that has nothing to do with how many snowflakes will collapse the roof, or the exact wind chill projection that equals instant frostbite in a 50 mph pre-March breeze…

In case you missed it, there was an entire week (Feb. 4-10) of science blogging called “Science Week” – when an entire stable of science bloggers committed to at least one blog a day actually focused on… Science! [Read more…]

How SEO Confronts Its PR Challenge In The Blogosphere


I got a lot of attention from the search engine optimization (SEO) community this past week for a post on “What Gives SEO A Bad Name” — the example I used, a parked domain appearing as a #2 Google search results, turns out to be Google’s fault, not the work of an unethical SEO. Or so it appears, based on some very plausible explanations posted by some smart SEOs in the comments of the post — but I can’t know with 100% certainty what’s going on inside Google’s black box, and that’s a problem for SEOs.

Some SEOs got upset with me for appearing to unfairly perpetuate negative perceptions of SEO — but if my post was a mistake, it was an honest one (I posted a correction). The point I’ve been trying to make to the SEO community, not always successfully, is that because they live in a black box, SEO’s PR challenge involves correcting a lot of misperceptions. Many of those misperceptions are unfair, but they are not always intentionally malicious — and they exist among potential SEO clients, like me

UPDATE: Speaking of great search ambassadors, Google’s Matt Cutts showed up on my original post and all but confirmed that my example is likely a problem in Google’s algorithm, although it’s pending investigation. Matt said that if it does turn out to be a problem in the algorithm, it could lead to a larger fix, which would certainly be a happy ending to this tale.
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False Positives and Better Akismet Spam Management

I’ve just spent about two hours rummaging thru 64 pages of spam flagged by Akismet (that’s over 3,150+ spam comments/trackbacks in the last 4 days alone). Of the lot, I found at least 4 legit comments and 7 trackbacks which I had to un-mark as spam and they were not all easy to spot amongst tons and tons of actual spam. A margin of error for false positives of about 0.3% is actually pretty good but don’t we all want those precious comments and trackbacks to get thru without a hitch, right? [Read more…]