Monday, February 28, 2011

Fire Alarms, "Gasland," and How Policy Changes

Yesterday morning I watched Josh Fox's documentary Gasland and it got me thinking about something that I've been meaning to write about for a while: how and when Congress changes laws and, in particular, laws affecting things like environmental and financial regulation. The basic ideas of this topic are actually among the least complicated I've discussed here at Nathan Explains Science, so this will be (mercifully?) short.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Metaphors and Crime at ScienceNOW

I have a brief story up at ScienceNOW on how the metaphors others use to describe crime affects how we think about dealing with crime. This is part of a broader research program — both on the authors' part and on the part of the political science, communications, and psychology fields — focusing on how subtle changes in language affect how we think about all manner of things.

In fact, I've written on this before, when I wrote about Teenie Matlock and Caitlin Fausey's research on the effects of grammar on electability. Caitlin, who I knew when we were grad students at Stanford, was a student of Lera Boroditsky, one of the authors of the crime and metaphors paper — but, like I said, lots of people are interested in this stuff.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Babies Make Brains et al at Scientific American Mind

A quick note to tell you I've got two stories in the latest (March/April) Scientific American Mind, on newsstands now. Seriously. I picked mine up yesterday at the newsstand on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

But for you youngins, check the stories out here: A New Mom's Changing Brain and Accent Trumps Appearance.

Fun fact: yes, that narcissism story under "Head Lines" is the same one I wrote about last Fall.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Brief Note on the Myth of the Astrophysical Vacuum Cleaner

I've done some reporting on physics but have yet to write about my favorite science topic, gravity, here on the 'blog. Today, I want to tell you a little bit about something I know a fair bit about, black holes.