Science roundup

It occurred to me that non-scientists often don’t hear about some of the newest discoveries until months after the work is completed, perhaps when the media starts picking up on it. Even for scientists, finding the important work outside one’s field can be challenging.

So I thought I would share a new study that’s been circulating among the scientists I know. It’s multi-disciplinary research that demonstrates the power of comparing historical climate records against cultural literature to learn about paleoecology.

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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

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I wanted to give a quick plug to the show Cosmos in case you haven’t discovered it yet. Cosmos is basically an educational program about science, but it’s particularly focused on the awesome side of science: the Cosmos. The show is a reboot of a series of the same name that aired starting in 1980.

The first time around, the show was hosted by Carl Sagan, a famous astrophysicist. Sagan is no longer around, but Neil Degrasse Tyson, another astrophysicist well-known for his ability to communicate the science, has taken the reins. And in case you’re curious, the re-imagining of the show for today’s audiences is the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, creator of the cartoon Family Guy (among others).

The first episode of the new series introduced the Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar. Spoiler alert: if you condensed the entire history of the universe into a calendar year, humans wouldn’t appear until 10:48 pm on December 31. How about that for some perspective?

Cosmos is on your local Fox channel on Sunday nights or on the National Geographic Channel on Monday nights. If you’re too new-age for tv,  you can also find it online at www.cosmosontv.com (obviously).