A few important scientific findings have found their way into popular culture where they are often misapplied and not understood. A good example is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which is often stated as the idea that measurement causes change. Here is a short video that gives a high level and math-free explanation.
What happens when the educators of educators don't know much about biology? Richard Dawkins' blog notes a study that makes one wonder about the quality of the education of science educators. the full study is here
La Silla Observatory, ESO, Chile (3,6m ESO telescope, NTT telescope, MPG/ESO 2,2m telescope, Danish 1,54m telescope, among others)
Observatorio Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), La Palma, Spain (10,4m Gran Telescopo Canarias, NOT telescope, William Herschel 4,2m telescope, Liverpool telescope, Swedish 1m solar telescope, 17m MAGIC telescopes, among others)
Las Campanas Observatory, Chile (Magellan 6,5m twin telescopes, among others)
Paranal Observatory, ESO, Chile (Very Large Telescope, VST)
Linnaeus originally began designing and developing his taxonomic system by studying and classifying plants. Originally, it was thought there were perhaps 10,000 plant species out there, but it quickly became obvious that this was a gross underestimate. The vast majority of plant species alive today are classified as flowering plants. In a paper published in 2008, scientists working at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew estimated there are 352,000 extant species of flowering plants (Magnoliophyta). But because many groups of flowering plants have yet to be assessed, the true number probably exceeds 400,000 species.
For more than a century, taxonomic information was locked away in a variety of dusty journals in vast libraries, where most people could not find or access it. In the meanwhile, science has been marching onward at an ever-increasing rate of speed, which makes it important to be able to rapidly access this information. To address this problem, Kew created a global online resource that catalogues the taxonomy of monocot plants. (Monocots comprise roughly one-fifth of all flowering plants.)
This resource, eMonocot, unlocks biodiversity data for the monocots for the first time so anyone -- whether a senior-level researcher or a student writing a school report -- can access the latest tools for identification and descriptions as well as up-to-date checklists, along with links to other resources.
The woman's case presents a fascinating example of neuroplasticity, the process by which one or more regions of the brain adapt to compensate for damage to a different area of the brain, or a loss of some bodily function. If you lose a finger, for example, the neural representations of the neighboring fingers get bigger. Sever someone's optic nerve, and the neurons devoted to vision will be co-opted by neurons associated with other cognitive functions. This is one reason blind people tend to have excellent audio acuity.
In this woman's case, however, the missing body part is not a finger, nor an optic nerve, but a sizable chunk of the brain, itself. The cerebellum plays an important role in motor control. Timing, coordination, fine movement – all of these things rely in large part on this small, sub-hemispheric brain. Yu's team calls the woman's condition a rare example of complete primary cerebellar agenesis. "This surprising phenomenon," the authors write, "supports the concept of extracerebellar motor system plasticity, especially cerebellum loss, occurring early in life."
The primary importance of the Earth's magnetic field is protecting life from cosmic radiation and charged particle emissions from the Sun. It is known to change (try sorting out accurate navigation using a compass and old charts) but global scale observations have been difficult and spotty until the Swarm constellation began to provide information. (via NASA;s Earth Observatory site)