Monday, March 1, 2010

February Science Talks Round Up

Some listenable science talks I came across this past month:

1) Steven Strogatz Talks Math - What is the difference between an extroverted mathematician and an introverted mathematician?....the extroverted mathematician stares across at your shoes when talking!  Steven Strogatz who writes on the NY Times Opinionator blog talks engagingly about math, road blocks to understanding it and how it connects seemingly disparate things in life.

2) Darwin and "Creation" - Darwin's great great grandson Randal Keynes and movie director Jon Amiel discuss a movie on Darwin's family life and his work before he wrote up the Origin of Species and became famous. 

3) The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks- In the 1950's researchers took a tissue sample of cervical cancer cells from Henrietta Lacks without her permission and have been using them for research. That was common practice then. But issues of patient consent, privacy, patents and medical ethics intrude on our lives more and more. Science writer Rebecca Skloot talks about them.

4) Communicating Science - With more people turning to the web and blogs for news...can locking yourself in an echo chamber be prevented? Would you end up reading only news and opinions you already agree with..? Will readership be fragmented on ideological lines to the point of no return?...the recipe I follow..Educate yourself...listen and read from multiple sources...take the time to read views contrary to your personal biases and pet theories...keep an open and skeptical mind.

I use these guiding points no matter what I am reading..."reputable" mainstream media articles or blogs or twitter feeds.


  1. But do you agree with Skloot's take on the issue?

    i for one cannot see what the fuss is all about.

  2. I guess our sense of ethics have changed and such incidents seem more jarring today than say 60 years ago.. but still Henrietta Lacks didn't have a choice or a say in this matter.. do you not agree patients should be informed and their consent taken?