April proved a mega-month in terms of ph-news. Can you believe that I even made myself write two posts to cover it? One is here, and with all those pieces manages to sound caffeinated even though it wasn’t. The other one here is about a neutrino-related update that deserves some more explanation.
I’ve also upcycled three pieces written back when The Ph-word was a newsletter. Nobel stories is about historical cases of Nobel prizes not going to women. Ph-bloopers is about “discoveries” of the last years that turned out to be thin air. And You are stardust uses an elegant alternative periodic table. There is also a new post which is actually only a link to a fab short scifi story, “Made of meat”. Btw In the past weeks I tried to make the facebook page of this blog more active, so at least you can get notifications for new posts if you follow it.
Allow me to add a couple of things about science and societal aspects.
If you spend any amount of time thinking about space, then you should probably learn about the american government’s current effort to set a new framework for the use of resources outside of earth. An intro to the issue and some criticism is found in this interview with a person with one of the coolest jobs around.
Now, a thought about some points in the public’s relation with science that became apparent with the corona-crisis, and I hope I’m wrong. It seems that a large part of the public and of serious journalists have the notion that scientific opinions shouldn’t change when new information arrives. When scientific advice gets updated, many think that there is deceipt and incompetence involved. (Often both of them, even though one would have been adequate, but the problem now isn’t this logical fallacy.) Also, I was particularly surprised to see people criticizing taking different measures under different conditions. (Maybe this could be used as an argument for studying science in school even when one is not interested in it professionally, but I think that this argument might get lost on those affected by it.)
Finally on societal aspects, and because The Ph-word likes focusing on the pleasant aspects of things (or using the unpleasant ones as excuses for one more cocktail), space agencies face new problems that are arising from working at home: as this article discusses, they have to worry about cats now.