Did you know that mnemonic memory techniques are 2,500 years old?
Their origin is a legend, passed along by Cicero. Greek poet Simonides (c.556-c.468 BC) demonstrated a feat of recall that jumpstarted the theory. He had attended a banquet, where he presented a poem. Afterwards, he went outside, which saved him when the roof collapsed, killing the other guests. Simonides was able to identify the bodies by using visual recall, who sat where during the banquet. Continue reading
The first live radio broadcast from a trial was the Scopes trial in 1925. John Scopes, a Tennessee high school biology teacher, was convicted of violating the Butler Act, which prohibited teaching evolution in schools. His trial highlighted the divide between science and fundamentalist (literalist) religion in the United States.
Flash forward to 2011: only one contestant in the 2011 Miss U.S.A. pageant (out of 51) said that she believed in evolution (“I’m a big science geek”) when asked if evolution should be taught in schools. That was Miss California, Alyssa Campanella, and she was crowned the winner on Sunday. Runner-up, Miss Tennessee, Ashley Elizabeth Durham, on evolution: “that’s not my belief” although she said evolution should be taught in schools. Most contestants said that evolution should be taught alongside other points of view, like creationism (or “Biblical stuff”).
It is almost a full century after Scopes and 202 years after Darwin’s birth, yet evolution remains controversial here, and Americans are scientifically illiterate. Read my complete analysis at The Moderate Voice.
Note: The two articles that tipped me to this story have incorrect headlines/information. Think Progress says two contestants “believe in evolution” — that’s not supported by the video clips on YouTube. USA Today (the primary source for Think Progress) is incorrect on several points.
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Monsanto is shelving its genetically modified wheat due to consumer reluctance to embrace the product. CBC reports that those most opposed live in countries that buy wheat from Canada.
Thus ends eight years of research into the latest “frankenfood.” Monsanto sought to create a crop that was resistant to disease by adding genes from soil bacteria, a petunia plant and a cauliflower virus. This is far cry from the genetic manipulation pioneered by Mendel in the mid-1800s.
Links: CBC (11 May); Seattle Times (11 May)
The Mac has long been the dominant platform in graphic arts and now digital movie-making. A research survey indicates that approximately 30% of life scientists now use the Mac, suggesting the platform is on a comeback in science.
This is a different sub-set of science than that illustrated by the Virginia Tech super-computer, based on networked G5s. Not suprisingly, Apple has a web site devoted to science successes.
Links: ADTmag.com (6 Apr)
The discovery that monkeys have been able to control a robotic arm via brain waves is slowly making its way from scientists to the popular press. In addition to the possible benefits for those who are paralyzed, the research has implications for manipulating items on a computer screen.
WAFF.com (Alabama); SanDiego.com (AP); Syndey Morning Herald; Wired.com; PLOS Biology Online Journal; MIT News Release (6 December 2000).
Information about the new online journal