This week in science: All that is and all that will ever be

This week in science: All that is and all that will ever be

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An old friend will reappear in modern guise in a few weeks. The choice of venue is a little bit controversial in some circles. But Heidi Hammel writing at the Planetary Society makes a fair case for it:

Remember Carl Sagan’s TV show, Cosmos? There is a new version, Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey (see its trailer) hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Fox. Wait, why Fox, you ask, aren’t they anti-science? The answer is: indeed Fox – because of the people who watch Fox. These are precisely the people we need to reach if we want to rekindle a fire for space science exploration in the heart of America. The premier episode airs on 9 March 2014. Leverage this: offer to be the host at a Cosmos kick-off event at your local library or middle school; invite your non-astronomy buddies over to watch an episode of Cosmos. Let me know some of your other ideas.

Analytically, she’s right. And Fox is not the same as Fox News. But it’s still annoying for some reason.

  • We’re not trying to scare anyone here, this is not an apocalypse, but the sun is not behaving quite like it should at this point in its decade-long cycle:

    “It’s completely taken me and many other solar scientists by surprise,” says Dr Lucie Green, from University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory. The drop off in activity is happening surprisingly quickly, and scientists are now watching closely to see if it will continue to plummet.

  • Speaking of what’s coming soon to a big screen near you, it’s not exactly science but the History Channel’s series Vikings will resume in about a month and I’m hooked on it. There’s no magic —no flying dragons—but there is superb period authentic scenery and attire in this fictionalized account of the violent Norse expansion into western Europe, led by the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, brilliantly played by Travis Fimmel.
  • There is no jelly donut on Mars!
  • This has huge potential and may already be offering relief from genetic forms of blindness:

    This makes treating choroideremia with gene therapy attractive because we know what is going on. It is not an overly complex network– its a deleted gene that is causing the trouble. We can make a virus to deliver a functional copy of that gene. Heck, it is even great the gene is actually deleted instead of just mutated– the ‘new’ functional gene won’t be competing with junk REP1 RNA.

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