Weekly Round up: Brains, guns, Romans and Progress

intriguing issues from the last week

What makes human brains special? Obviously they are; or your cat would be reading this as well as you. We like the way Emmanuel Stamatakis and his team have borrowed from information science to try to answer this intriguing question. In the Conversation-where else?


American Guns Talking of making neural connections-what would it take to make Ted Cruz and his little friends see the connection between tighter gun controls and less massacres? Nature Briefings showcases heartfelt pleas from two of America’s finest publications-but we bet they fall on deaf ears:

Leading journal Science and magazine Scientific American have simultaneously published impassioned editorials calling for changes to gun laws in the United States.

“The science is abundantly clear,” write the editors of Scientific American. “More guns do not stop crime. Guns kill more children each year than auto accidents. More children die by gunfire in a year than on-duty police officers and active military members. Guns are a public health crisis, just like COVID, and in this, we are failing our children, over and over again.”

“Scientists should not sit on the sidelines and watch others fight this out,” argues Science editor-in-chief H. Holder Thorp. “If children do not feel safe, they cannot learn. And a country that cannot learn cannot thrive. A nation of children threatened by gun violence does not have a future.
Science | 5 min read Scientific American | 6 min read

DNA Archaeology One of the most thrilling advances of the last few decades has been molecular archaeology. The way the study of proteins and nucleic acids have given us new insights which would would have been impossible from just bones and bits of pottery. One recent example is extracting DNA from the famous Pompeii eruption in 79 AD. Here’s the BBC


Advance Australia fair Recent developments in Australia are a rare win for rational science and a rare defeat for the Murdoch Media, as Michael Mann and Malcolm Turnbull explain for the Guardian. But its got to happen in a lot of other places, and soon, if there is to be any chance of stopping climate change.


We’ll leave you with A book tip: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Published in 2009, its’ still a great and readable way of getting a toolkit to help you sift bad ideas from good ones.

#climate science #rupert murdoch #gun control #massacres #human evolution #dna #neurology

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