Censoring Science and Nobody Cares

I don’t know why a bigger fuss isn’t being made over this. Continue reading

ScienceBlogs Jumps The Shark

Pepsi has a blog. What’s next? HuffPo Woo meistering?

Update 1: Okay, I have to admit that Badger3k makes a good point:

If SciBlogs can host Nesbitt without losing credibility, what is a corporate “blog” going to do to it?

Interesting Science News From Around The Web

Ruminant diets and the Miocene extinction of European great apes in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. From the abstract:

The successful evolutionary radiations of European hominoids and pliopithecoids came to an end during the Late Miocene. Using ruminant diets as environmental proxies, it becomes possible to detect variations in vegetation over time with the potential to explain fluctuations in primate diversity along a NW-SE European transect. Analysis shows that ruminants had diverse diets when primate diversity reached its peak, with more grazers in eastern Europe and more browsers farther west. After the drop in primate diversity, grazers accounted for a greater part of western and central European communities. Eastwards, the converse trend was evident with more browsing ruminants. These opposite trends indicate habitat loss and an increase in environmental uniformity that may have severely favoured the decline of primate diversity.

The article is open access.

Continue reading

An Open Letter To The New York Times

Dear Publishers of the New York Times,
This is why newspapers are going the way of the dodo bird.

Sincerely,
Afarensis

(Hat Tip to John Hawks)

Australopithecus sediba: Was the Embargo Broken

I will have more to say about the find itself this evening (hopefully), in the meantime time there have been more than a few accusations of someone breaking the embargo on the story. Ivan Oransky at Embargo Watch looks at the issue. Turns out it was a case of a reporter doing some interesting detective work and scooping the competition. The reporter in question emailed Ivan Oransky and I would like to quote one small part of it – a part that raises some profound questions about science journals and the embargo process:

We did not receive any embargoed press releases on this paper or the find until Monday morning and gathered information about the story in a perfectly reasonable journalistic manner. On Saturday evening I also checked to see if there were any embargoed press releases on Eurekalert and could find none.

Can this be an embargo break if no official embargo has been issued?

Should Science be able to put an embargo on information that has not come from them and has been obtained from other sources? [bolding mine – afarensis]

Does this mean that if I speak to any scientist who is hoping to have a paper in Science in the future, then I am prevented from publishing anything about this until it appears in Science?

The bolded question is , IMHO, incredibly important. I would say that, no Science does not have that right nor should they. But that is just me and I could be wrong.

NPR Science Friday: Update

As I have previously mentioned NPR’s Science Friday is coming to St. Louis on March 12th. Last I heard tickets were all spoken for but earlier this week a pair of tickets arrived in the mail. So, Mrs. afarensis and I will be attending.

NPR’s Science Friday Is Coming To St. Louis

NPR’s Science Friday is coming to the St. Louis Science Center according to a “new” story in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Unfortunately, tickets to the event are already sold out. Sigh.