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Monday, March 21, 2011

Science & Medicine Round-up

[This is a new feature in this undead blog: I'll post quick notes about current articles that popped up in my Google Reader. I used to cover these articles on Twitter, but it has become increasingly annoying to limit my summary/comments to 140 characters. So we'll see if this is going to be the better.]

  • Nature strongly warns that a recent attempt of Congress to overturn the EPA's assessment that climate change is a "threat to public welfare" will lead "Into Ignorance." doi:10.1038/471265b
  • The BMJ reports that the human rights group "Physicians for Human Rights" accuses US psychiatrists in the case of Bradley Manning are "complicit in torture"  doi:10.1136/bmj.d1792
  • Brian Wynne sent a letter to Nature, criticizing the British chief scientist's false dichotomy between science and pseudoscience: "Scientific knowledge should inform public issues, not define them." doi:10.1038/471305b
  • Nature features a review of "Unnatural: The Heretical Idea of Making People" by Philip Ball. The reviewer, Chris Mason, considers myths and literature like Goethe's Faust or Shelley's Frankenstein as irrational impediments to the realities of contemporary biotechnology, but nonetheless asks scientists to take them seriously: "For scientists, clinicians and biotechnology business people, understanding deep-rooted ideas, however irrational, is vital for successful dialogue with the public." doi:10.1038/471297a

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