LISTEN: Systems thinking and medicine -- brilliant lecture on systemic problem-solving

The lecturer for the BBC's 2014 Reith lectures is Dr Atul Gawande, a celebrated author and MD whose book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is a classic on how to think about systemic problem solving (which pays attention to how different people and activities come together to make and solve problems).

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Detoxing is bullshit


It's true that people with substance abuse problems can "detox" when they get clean, but the kind of "detoxing" offered by stuff in the grocery store or pharmacy has no basis in science and is just a scammy way to scare you into opening your wallet (the companies that sell "detox" can't even say what "toxins" they're getting rid of).

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Why no one wants to hear from James Watson

The co-recipient of the Nobel for revealing the double-helix structure of DNA is selling his medal because "no one really wants to admit" he exists -- but why is that?

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Hour documentary about the nature of reality

From BBC One, an episode of Horizon exploring that good ol' mindfucking question "What is reality?"

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Physics, or sorcery?


This table is being held up by the weight of the buckets that are resting on it!

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Nature makes all its papers free to view


The premiere science publisher will make shareable "read-only" links to its all papers stretching back to 1869, using technology from a startup that its parent company, Macmillan, has invested in.

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Milky Way over Devils Tower

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David Lane's absolutely stunning image of the Milky Way over Devils Tower. If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones.

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Creationist "just can't" with museum's evolution propaganda

This lady just can't with the Chicago Field Museum's evolution propaganda. She rambles on about it for over 30 minutes in this video—and it's as hilarious as you might imagine.

This comes via the Bilerico Project, who had this to say:

Anyone who follows the infuriating "debates" about topics like climate change, vaccinations, and the choice myth of sexual orientation -- where fear, misinformation, urban legends, and pseudoscience are presented alongside scientific consensus as though both "sides" are equally legitimate -- knows that we've got a serious idiocy problem here in America.... (She can't pronounce "eukaryotes," but she knows her facts, you guys!)

Read their full post on the video here.

XKCD versus neurobollocks

In his latest strip, fMRI, Randall "XKCD" Munroe nails the problems with brain imaging studies that claim to have found the neuroanatomical link between certain kinds of thoughts and regions of the brain (see 2013's Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience for more).

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A neural "off-switch" for pain documented

In Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states, a paper in Brain by researchers led from the St Louis University Medical School, scientists document their work in switching off neural pain pathways by activating an adenosine receptor.

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Solar system drinking glasses


The Planetary Glass Set comprises ten glasses (one for each planet, plus one each for Pluto and Sol) representing the bodies of our solar system, very very very loosely sized to express their relative dimensions.

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Youtube nukes 7 hours' worth of science symposium audio due to background music during lunch break

Yannick writes, "We live-streamed our second annual Canadian conference of Citizens' Climate Lobby, a day of speeches, with a very interesting panel discussion."

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Strange thrust: the unproven science that could propel our children into space

For many decades, a fantasy among space enthusiasts has been to invent a device that produces a net thrust in one direction, without any need for reaction mass. Of course, a reactionless space drive of this type is impossible. Or is it? By Charles Platt

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Handbook for fighting climate-denialism


From 2011, Skeptical Science's excellent Debunking Handbook, a short guide for having discussions about climate change denial that tries to signpost the common errors that advocates of the reality of anthropogenic global warming make when talking to people who disbelieve.

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