Are We Alone? New Analysis Suggests Life Could Be Extremely Rare In the Universe| Statistics Crush Optimism in Search for Extraterrestrials | Search for Life, SETI | Space.com

Again with the mean scientists! Using a statistical method called Bayesian reasoning, they argue that the life here on Earth could be common, or it could be extremely rare — there’s no reason to prefer one conclusion over the other. With their new analysis, Spiegel and Turner say they have erased the one Drake factor scientists felt confident about and replaced it with a question mark. –Are We Alone? New…

Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

After observing children on playgrounds in Norway, England and Australia, Dr. Sandseter identified six categories of risky play: exploring heights, experiencing high speed, handling dangerous tools, being near dangerous elements (like water or fire), rough-and-tumble play (like wrestling), and wandering alone away from adult supervision. The most common is climbing heights. “Climbing equipment needs to be high enough, or else it will be too boring in the long run,” Dr.…

Is Google Ruining Your Memory? | Wired Science | Wired.com

Predictably, Wired celebrates the freedom that comes from depending on computers instead if your own memory. (The story includes a link to Nicholas Carr’s opposing view.) By sharing and comparing our memories, we can ensure that we still have some facts in common, that we all haven’t disappeared down the private rabbit hole of our own reconsolidations. In this sense, instinctually wanting to Google information – to not entrust trivia…

Globster

A typo brought me to this page. Weird. A globster, or blob, is an unidentified organic mass that washes up on the shoreline of an ocean or other body of water. The term was coined by Ivan T. Sanderson in 1962[1] to describe the Tasmanian carcass of 1960, which was said to have “no visible eyes, no defined head, and no apparent bone structure”. A globster is distinguished from a…

The Nature of E.B. White – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education

During my research into the inspirations for and the writing of Charlotte’s Web, which took me back to White’s early childhood, I was intrigued by many aspects of his personality: his anxieties and hypochondria, his passionate defense of free speech and civil liberties, his one-man campaign for world government. But nothing else about him caught my own imagination more than his attitude toward animals. –Michael Sims, The Nature of E.B.…

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For Seton Hall Hill students and professors, iPads open new paths

Because the headline gets the name of the school wrong, it’s a little hard for me to assess this objectively. I’m glad Katie got so much space to share her experiences, and very glad this story mentions the importance of training and tech support. The story of my students reading Emerson’s Nature is a little abbreviated — it was actually a student who noticed the sunset, not me. “I just…