Comment »Posted on Sunday 15 March 2009 at 6:16 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Right, Space & Astronomy, Weekly Roundup

Webcams in spaaace!

NASA have stuck a webcam on the outside of the International Space Station, so that we can watch the world go by. The camera will normally transmit 6pm to 6am GMT, whilst the astronauts inside are asleep. Outside of this time, you’ll see a map of the world showing the current location of the ISS, streamed in from Mission Control in Houston. Pretty cool.

The Map of Science

Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have created a “Map of Science“, which describes how different areas of science link together. Similar projects have been undertaken before, but the team lead by Johan Bollen took a new approach.

“This research will be a crucial component of future efforts to study and predict scientific innovation, as well novel methods to determine the true impact of articles and journals,” Bollen said.

Rather than relying on citations in papers to find links, the new method tracked user requests for online scientific papers. By observing how scientists would hop from one paper to another, Bollen and team were able to study the network of articles and journals.

Whilst the citation method typically places the natural sciences at the centre, this latest map gives prominence to the humanities and social sciences. These areas can act as interdisciplinary bridges that can connect otherwise unrelated areas of science. The map could also be used to indicate emerging relationships between scientific areas, such as ecology and architecture.

What’s the risk?

I stumbled across this interesting tool for exploring risk. As regular readers will know, I can get quite cross about the confusion between relative risk and absolute risk. By playing with this little application, you’ll easily be able to get an understanding of the difference.

The tool allows you to display in various ways the increased risk of cancer from eating bacon sandwiches. There are of course options for relative vs absolute, but you can also choose to see the results in text form, pictorially, or as a variety of graphs. Have a go, and hopefully you’ll find it useful


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