5.21.2018

Can memories be transferred? Is there a loneliness epidemic? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of May 14-May 20 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

Ebola is rearing its head again, but World Health Organization experts say it's not yet a global emergency, while we also now have a vaccine ready to fight it with. These subjects and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
An Aplysia sea slug (or sea hare), the species which
scientists claim to have transferred memories between
members of.
Credit: Géry Parent, used via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0 licence.
Check back next week for more great picks!

5.14.2018

Could a hangover cure finally be on the way? What is time? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of May 7-May 13 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

We worry about the environment - but in Sumatra and the Antarctic we've had some wins, and gene editing, psychology, and space offer potential ways out - or possibly just new problems. These subjects and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Could we avoid feeling like this if we drink too much?
Image credit: Mislav Marohnić used via Flickr CC BY 2.0 licence
Check back next week for more great picks!

5.07.2018

What's the latest theory on consciousness? Can dogs understand us? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of April 30-May 6 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

While we are learning more about how the moist warmth of a sauna is good for us, we have also discovered that the fact we live in cold climates seems to have given humans migraines. Also: contact lenses that turn eyes into lasers! Yes, really! These subjects and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Check back next week for more great picks!

4.30.2018

How can you remember dreams? Can chocolate boost your memory? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of April 23-29 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

Space is beautiful, mind-bogglingly enormous - but also kind of funky-smelling on one of our notorious solar system neighbours. These subjects, a number of intriguing life hacks, and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:



Check back next week for more great picks!

4.23.2018

How do we find new stars and planets? How does meditation benefit people? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of April 16-22 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

Meditation can apparently influence gene expression and enables attention without control - or can it? These and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Stellar scientist Annie Jump Cannon
used star-hunting techniques that
are still to be found in software
named after her



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4.19.2018

Causation vs Correlation: How tell when someone's trying to feed you baloney

Don't fall for people misusing evidence to
tell you what you're doing is wrong.
Credit: Arlette Cifuentes Meneses via Flickr CC BY 2.0 licence.
by Gaia Cantelli, PhD

Last time that somebody told you that what you were doing was bad, did they offer evidence - and did you believe it? 

In an age obsessed with fake facts, hopefully you have an armour of skepticism forming already. But here's a chink in the armour you may not have thought of: perfectly true facts can also be warped to manipulate people. One of the most common ways to do this is by mixing up causation and correlation.

Causation and correlation are both extremely boring statistical words that underlie very simple concepts. Two events are correlated if they happen at the same place, or at the same time. For example, in children, shoe size is most likely correlated with the number of books they have read – older children have both read more books and have bigger feet. The two things do not cause each other but do happen at the same time. Causation, on the other hand, means that one of the two events is happening because of the other. For example, students who do better in exams also have a higher acceptance rate into college - because grades are one of the things that college considers when evaluating an applicant.

4.16.2018

What do coffee, ayahuasca, and being ill do to our brains? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of April 9-15 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

From South American psychedelic substances to coffee to sickness, many things in our world influence how we think and who we are. These and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
This neutron star is glitching. Image credit:
NASA/CXC/University of Toronto/M. Durant, et al.
Check back next week for more great picks!

4.09.2018

Towels or air driers after cleaning hands? Why are whales so big? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of April 2-8 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

Is who we think we are defined by the people around us? Or can behaviour like infidelity be determined by our genes? Or are both things true? These and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Whales are awesomely large - but why?
Image credit: Leigh Hilbert, used via Flickr
CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
Check back next week for more great picks!

4.02.2018

How can you get involved in science? Why can vampires handle candles but not the sun? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of March 26-April 1 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

How we do in school is less tied to our genes than has recently been suggested, which may be just as well as infertility treatments are removing one element of human evolution. These and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Come on, smile, make my brain light up!
Credit: Natalie Holmes
Check back next week for more great picks!

4.01.2018

Announcing the Winners of the Science Seeker Awards 2018!

No, it's not an April fool - we are announcing the winners of the return of the ScienceSeeker Awards! Thanks go out to everyone who entered.

As a reminder, there were nine categories, from each of which we selected winners We then picked the overall winner from among the winners from each category. Without further ado, the winners in each category were:

  • General science posts and graphics: Including posts from sites that correspond to our art, photography, general science and science communication bundles. Winner: Darcia Schweitzer at Promega Connections for Knots: Friend or Foe? 
  • Cells and molecules: Including posts from sites that correspond to our biotechnology, cell biology, chemistry, and microbiology bundles. Winner: Kate Bredbenner for 2017 Nobel Prize for Circadian Rhythm
  • Humanities: Including posts from sites that correspond to our development, economics, ethics, gender, history, language, law, philosophy, policy, political science, religion and atheism, social science and sociology bundles. Winner: Philip Strange for A Cough Medicine That Really Worked, and it Contained Opium - The Story of Fudge's Firewater
  • The environment and our place in it: Including posts from sites that correspond to our anthropology, archaeology, climate science, conservation, evolution, geography, geosciences, oceanography, palaeontology and oceanography bundles. Winner: Shreya Dasgupta at Mongabay for Experience or evidence: How do big conservation NGOs make decisions?
  • Health, medicine and brain science: Including posts from sites that correspond to our clinical research, clinical psychology, health, medicine, neuroscience, nutrition, psychiatry, psychology, public health and veterinary medicine bundles. Winner: Maya Gosztyla at AlzScience for How Sleep “Cleans” Your Brain and Fends Off Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Academia: Including posts from sites that correspond to our academic life, student life, grants, career, education, publishing and library science bundles. Winner: Pete Etchells at Head quarters for The human cost of the pressures of postdoctoral research
  • Podcast: Including posts from sites that correspond to our podcast bundle. No overall winner. 
  • Physical sciences and technology: Including posts from sites that correspond to our artificial intelligence, astronomy, computer science, energy, engineering, mathematics and physics bundles. Winner: Paula Rowinska at Certain about uncertainty for Simpson in: “Kidney Trouble”
  • Big biology: Including posts from sites that correspond to our behavioural biology, biology, ecology, marine biology and plant science bundles. Winner: Bridget Menasche at Science Buffs for Field Study. 
And the overall winner is: Pete Etchells at Head quarters for The human cost of the pressures of postdoctoral research

Congratulations to all the winners! We'll be in touch shortly with badges to show that you won.

Thanks also to the judges, our editors: Shriyaa Mittal, Jesse Zondervan, Teodora Stoica, Thanassis Psaltis, Joana Neto, Natalie Holmes and Kayla Matz.

3.26.2018

Where does gold come from? What did Hawking's last paper mean? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of March 19-25 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

If you're wearing any gold jewellery, there's a probable, and awesome, prospect that the gold atoms themselves were forged in a collision between neutron stars. This and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Image credit: Penny4Nasa
Check back next week for more great picks!

3.19.2018

Is daylight saving bad for you? Why do lemons taste sour? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of March 12-18 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm


This week, as we say goodbye to Stephen Hawking, we coincidentally welcome a newly identified type of 'northern light' aurora to the sky, called Steve. These and many other topics are among ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:

Check back next week for more great picks!

3.12.2018

Why do we listen to songs on repeat? Do adults still produce new neurons? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of March 5-11 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

There's a lot of good astronomy writing this week, on weird stars, Jupiter's weather, and why all the solar system's planets can be found along the same flat plane. But these are just some of the many topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
No, it's not a space pizza. This is a picture
of cyclones on Jupiter. Credit: NASA
Check back next week for more great picks!

3.05.2018

How does fruit ripen? How did the moon form? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of February 26-March 4 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

This week's best science posts include new ways of looking at this year's bad flu outbreak, wound healing and archaeology myths. But these are just some of the many topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Check back next week for more great picks!

2.26.2018

How does friction win medals? Do antidepressants work? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of February 19-25 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

There were lots of exciting findings about our brains this week, and much was said about ice. But these are just some of the many topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
In a Spanish cave set of lines painted by
Neandertals was amended by later artists. Credit: Pedro Saura
Check back next week for more great picks - and if you're a science writer or communicator, don't forget to enter ScienceSeeker's 2018 awards - deadline this Wednesday 28th February!

2.19.2018

What's the biggest quantum physics myth? What does VR do to your brain? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of February 12-18 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

There were lots of exciting space data this week, while physics posed some fascinating puzzles. But these are just some of the many topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past seven days. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
Check back next week for more great picks - and if you're a science writer or communicator, don't forget to enter ScienceSeeker's 2018 awards!

2.12.2018

How future-thinking are Americans? Why are relationships important? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of February 5-11 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

SpaceX's exploits last week were exciting, which says a lot about humanity, and there's also a lot of science involved in the Winter Olympics. These are among the topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past week. Here is the full round-up of the ScienceSeeker Editors’ Selections:
A car flew into space this week - but what does that say about
us? Credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX
Check back next week for more great picks - and if you're a science writer or communicator, don't forget to enter ScienceSeeker's 2018 awards!

2.07.2018

A snowball’s chance in hell? How understanding probability can change your life

Even though there have been many lottery winners, the
chances of any one of us winning are hard to think about.
Credit: adrigu, used via Flickr Creative Commons licence. 
by Gaia Cantelli, PhD

What are your chances of winning the lottery? How about of making it big in Hollywood, transmitting a genetic disease to your child or dying of cancer? Some would say it’s 50:50, you either do or you don’t. But they’d be wrong.

Many decisions in life, big and small, are based on understanding probability. But how well do you really know how probability works? Taking the time to understand it could change your life.

Probability 101
We are all familiar with the idea of probability as the likelihood that any given event is going to happen. In mathematical terms, however, it is defined as the ratio of “favourable” cases, or the scenario whose probability you are measuring to the whole number of possible cases. This sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Say that you have a drawer full of pens and you know that ten of them are blue and three of them are red. You want a red pen – this is your favourable case. What’s the chance of getting a red pen?

The probability of you putting your hand in the drawer blind-folded and pick up a red pen is the number of red pens – three – divided by the overall number of pens – the three red pens plus the ten blue pens, which makes thirteen pens. Three divided by thirteen is 0.23, or 23%. So you have a 23% chance of picking up a red pen if you stick your hand in the drawer.

A simple calculation of probability is very useful for some events where everybody’s chances are the same, like buying a lottery ticket. For example, the US Lotto sells about 30 million tickets every draw. Therefore, if you only buy one ticket your probability of winning is one over 30 million, which computes at about 0.000003%. That’s much, much less than 50:50. But what does such an extreme number actually mean? Hold on, we’re getting to that.

2.05.2018

Do Buddhists fear death? Did Harry Potter create a demand for pet owls? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of January 30-February 4 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

If the prospect of dentists regenerating teeth rather than just filling cavities makes you swear it's OK - it's good for you. Swearing and tooth regeneration are just two topics tackled by ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past week. Here is the full round-up of the Science Seeker Editors’ Selections:
Did people want owls as pets because of Harry Potter?
Public domain via Wallscover.com
Check back next week for more great picks - and if you're a science writer or communicator, don't forget to enter ScienceSeeker's 2018 awards!

1.29.2018

What does global warming sound like? How are religion and intelligence linked? Find out in ScienceSeeker's picks of the best posts for the week of January 22-29 2018 #sciseekpicks #scicomm

Big news in evolution and genetics this week, with pioneering primate cloning, work on genetically engineering corn for nutrition and a rethink of humanity's history. These are just some of the ScienceSeeker editors' favourite posts within their respective areas of interest and expertise for the past week. Here is the full round-up of the Science Seeker Editors’ Selections:
Fossils at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco suggests humans left 
Africa earlier than previously thought. 
Credit: Rolf Quam, Binghamton University

Check back next week for more great picks - and if you're a science writer or communicator, don't forget to enter ScienceSeeker's 2018 awards!