SN Prime | March 11, 2013 | Vol. 3, No. 10
Depending on your age, the word troll might evoke a nasty creature who lives under a bridge — or a nasty creature who posts inflammatory comments online. The former, found mostly in Scandinavian folktales, is typically a dim-witted beast, not inclined to help humans. The latter (judgment on wits aside) is also rarely considered helpful. But new research suggests a more nefarious role for these postmodern trolls: Their uncivil, rancorous remarks can influence how readers perceive science.
Social scientists have long studied how and whether ...
This history of science programs illustrates the shifting line between education and entertainment.Univ. of Chicago, 2013, 306 p., $45 (p. 30)
A team of scientists tells the story of ice on Earth, from ice ages to the latest discoveries from ice cores.
Princeton Univ., 2013, 306 p., $29.95 (p. 30)
Amazing photos make visible the reasons behind efforts to save a biological wonder: the coral reefs of the South Pacific’s Phoenix Islands.
Univ. of Chicago, 2013, 170 p., $40 (p. 30)
A physicist explores the growing role of scientists in Wall Street decision making and recent financial abuses.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, 286 p., $27 (p. 30)
This history of the American space program illuminates the obstacles facing future space expeditions.
Columbia Univ., 2013, 279 p., $35 (p. 30)
Grand Canyon rising
If the geology of the Grand Canyon dates back to 70 million years ago “Grand Canyon’s age pushed back,” (SN: 1/12/13, p. 15), that would be around the same time the Rocky Mountains were being pushed up by the subduction process originating off the western continental coast. Could the lifting of the Colorado Plateau be related to the lifting of the Colorado Rockies?
Joe Flynn, Spanaway, Wash.
The timing of the Colorado Plateau’s uplift remains fairly controversial, including whether it occurred all at once or in several discrete stages. But many geologists thi... (p. 31)
The surface of the moon may be covered with deep layers of fluffy material into which landing vehicles could sink out of sight…. Research so far has shown that loose particles hit by meteoroids settle down into the moon’s rock or mineral surface. This surface becomes exposed to radiation and breaks down into fine particles of dust. The dust coagulates into larger and larger clumps…. Observed characteristics of a cement powder have been found to match the reflection characteristics of the lunar surface. The conclusion is that the surface of the moon is likely to be composed of cement powd... (p. 4)
April 5 – 6
Texas A&M University hosts a physics and engineering festival. See a bubble show or meet an astronaut and two Nobel laureates. More at bit.ly/SFtamu2013
Deadline for entries to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology illustration awards, honoring the best in art depicting dinosaurs and other ancient life. See bit.ly/SFpaleo2013 (p. 4)
EARTH IN ACTION
Alexandra Witze ponders Earth’s odds in “When an asteroid heads for Earth, it’s time to reconsider those doomsday plans.”
Nanoparticles (below, blue) detect viruses (pink) in “Synthetic nanomaterial can recognize viruses.”
HEALTH & ILLNESS
Allergic people became able to tolerate up to a full glass of milk. See “Therapy for milk allergy offers hope, and caution.”
Pregnant women taking an omega-3 fatty acid have bigger babies. Read “Fish oil component boosts newborn health.” (p. 4)