09 July 2010

Science online, not so pristine anymore edition

I'll start with the online science meta-news: The ScienceBlogs PepsiCo saga achieved a preliminary resolution yesterday, when Science Blogs pulled the PepsiCo blog. Many SBers who left in protest, however, are apparently not returning, including Brian Switek (of Laelaps) and Rebecca Skloot. Skullsinthestars has taken on the public service of tracking departing SBers, which include some of the biggest names on the site. Carl Zimmer compiles his own list, and adds some scathing remarks. David Dobbs gave his reasons for not returning, Martin Robbins of the Lay Scientist neatly summed up the issues of reader trust and respect for individual writers underlying the fracas, and Curtis Brainard weighed in at the Columbia Journalism Review. No word yet on coverage by On the Media, but I'm still hoping.
Say it ain't so, Glacier National Park. Photo by jby.
Meanwhile, in actual science news:
  • Still gushing. As of today (Friday), it's been 81 days since BP broke the Gulf. Yet another projection of long-term surface dispersal of the oil suggests the U.S. east coast is in trouble. At Deep Sea News, Dr. M rounds up the latest news and Allie Wilkinson flies over the slick with the Coast Guard. Meanwhile ProPublica digs into BP's horrendous safety record and foot-dragging on compensation and cooperation with scientists.
  • Missed this earlier. BlagHag reports on Portland and Evolution 2010.
  • I'm confused. What about spinach? A new study of bone structure suggests Neanderthals were totally pumped, with "Popeye-like forearms," possibly because of a highly carnivorous diet. (Discovery News)
  • Well, it doesn't look its age. New fossils reveal that multicellular life is at least 2.1 billion years old, more than three times as old as previously thought. (ScienceDaily)
  • This just makes me sad. Environmental pollutants, including pesticides, are extensive at national parks—with particularly bad levels at Glacier and Sequoia. (Conservation Maven)
  • It works for cpDNA, anyway. A new method for extraction and amplification of DNA from plant tissue may make life simpler for lab rats like me. (Uncommon Ground)
  • Cichlids do it wherever they can. Since colonizing a volcanic crater lake in Nicaragua—as little as a century ago—a population of Midas cichlid fish has evolved into two distinct forms, with marked dietary differences. (NeuroDojo)
  • Dudes should not wear corsets. Because they may cause you to grow a bone in your penis. Really. (scicurious)
And, as a video-based closing thought, here's footage of a cuckoo chick evicting the other eggs—and chicks!—in its adoptive nest. The initial, um, cuckholding is captured here

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