An anonymous reader writes "As a calculus professor for a small undergraduate institution, I normally lecture students who are majoring in the natural (or 'hard') sciences, such as mathematics, physics, and computer science. In fact, I have done so for almost thirteen years. However, for the first time this fall semester, we have a shortage of professors on our hands. As a result of this, I have been asked to teach a general education statistics class. Such classes are a major requirement for the large psychology student body we have here. I have never lectured social science students in any mathematics-related classes. My question to the Slashdot community is as follows: What are your experiences with teaching natural science classes to social science students? How is the experience the same or different in comparison to natural science students who may be more adept to the nuances of mathematics and other similar fields?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
The L.A. Times reports on a study by UCLA climate researchers who conclude, based on supercomputer analysis of a model "2,500 times more precise than previous climate models for the region" that the area around L.A. will experience more (and more extreme) hot spells in decades to come. From the article: "The study, released Thursday, is the first to model the Southland's complex geography of meandering coastlines, mountain ranges and dense urban centers in high enough resolution to predict temperatures down to the level of micro climate zones, each measuring 2 1/4 square miles. The projections are for 2041 to 2060. Not only will the number of hot days increase, but the study found that the hottest of those days will break records, said Alex Hall, lead researcher on the study by UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability."
ananyo writes "A report presented at the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Massachusetts suggests that patents do not stifle progress when they occur at early phases of research, as some have suggested. Over the past decade, increases in patents have been matched by growth in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors in India, Brazil, Singapore and other countries with emerging economies. The strength of patent rights can be quantified in an index ranging from 0 (no patent rights) to 5 (very strong). Over time, the countries that U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies have invested in have moved up the IP barometer, the report (PDF) says."
Peristaltic writes "Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to determine if an unexpected mutation in a popular GM grass, Tifton 85, is responsible for the sudden deaths of a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas three weeks ago. The grass has been used for grazing since 1992 without incident, however after a severe drought last year in Texas, the grass started producing cyanide in sufficient quantities to kill a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas. Testing has found the cyanide-producing grass in nearby fields as well." Update: 06/23 22:59 GMT by T : Reader Jon Cousins writes with a correction that means the headline above is inaccurate for including "GM." Tifton 85, he writes, is "absolutely not genetically modified. It's a conventionally bred hybrid."
sciencehabit writes "A new video released by the The European Commission — ostensibly aimed at getting girls interested in science — is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts. A male scientist watching them from behind his microscope doesn't seem to mind that none of them are wearing safe lab attire—he just pops his glasses on for a better look. The rest of the video is a mish-mash of heels, nail polish, lipstick, and sexily smoldering Erlenmeyer flasks, arbitrarily punctuated by girly giggles." The Commission denies that the video (since pulled) was a parody, but they've certainly set the bar high for anyone who wanted to make an actual parody.
An anonymous reader writes "People can be trained to forget specific details associated with bad memories, according to breakthrough findings that may lead the way for the development of new depression and post-traumatic stress disorder therapies. New study (abstract), published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, reveals that individuals can be taught to forget personal feelings associated with an emotional memory without erasing the memory of the actual event."
astroengine writes "The two planets circling Kepler-36, a sun-like star in its senior years, are as different as Earth and Neptune. But unlike the hundreds of millions of miles that separate our solar system's rocky worlds from its gas giants, Kepler-36's brood come as close as 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers, or 0.01 AU) from one another — about five times the distance between Earth and the moon. This is yet another weird exoplanetary star system that defies conventional wisdom when it comes to planetary formation theories. 'The weirder they are, the more scientifically interesting they are,' Steve Howell, deputy project scientist with NASA's Kepler space telescope, told Discovery News."
An anonymous reader writes "The second of the two controversial bird flu studies once considered too risky to publish in fears that they would trigger a potentially devastating global influenza epidemic was published Thursday. The study describes how scientists created H5N1 virus strains that could become capable of airborne transmission between mammals. Scientists said that the findings, which had been censored for half a year, could help them detect dangerous virus strains in nature."
An anonymous reader writes "For decades, researchers have been trying to build boats, submarines, and torpedoes that make use of supercavitation — a bubble layer around the hull that drastically reduces friction and enables super-fast travel. Now a company in New Hampshire called Juliet Marine Systems has built and tested such a craft, and says it is the world's fastest underwater vehicle. The ship, called the 'Ghost,' looks like two supercavitating torpedoes with a command module on top, and can carry 18 people plus weapons and supplies. The company is in talks with the U.S. Navy to build a version of the ship that can guard the fleet against swarm attacks by small boats. The question is how well it really works, and whether it can be used reliably and effectively on the high seas."
tekgoblin writes "Well this is pretty awesome, Valve has made an entrance into the education sector. They plan to release a new version of Steam for education uses in schools. Valve will call this service Steam for Schools, an education version of the Steam client that allows administrators to limit what its users can access. The idea of Steam for Schools is to use the platform as a teaching aid. Valve has already put together a number of educational lesson plans for using Portal 2 and its level editor to teach math and physics."
chicksdaddy writes "Software failures were behind 24 percent of all the medical device recalls in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL). The absence of solid architecture and 'principled engineering practices' in software development affects a wide range of medical devices, with potentially life-threatening consequences, the FDA warned. In response, FDA told Threatpost that it is developing tools to disassemble and test medical device software and locate security problems and weak design."
Shipud writes "A collaboration between a group in Imperial College and Media Interaction group in Japan yielded a really cool website: darwintunes.org. The idea is to apply Darwinian-like selection to music. Starting form a garble, after several generations producing something that is actually melodic and listen-able. The selective force being the appeal of the tune to the listener. From the paper published [Monday] (abstract) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 'At any given time, a DarwinTunes population has 100 loops, each of which is 8 s long. Consumers ratethem on a five-point scale ("I can't stand it" to "I love it") as they are streamed in random order. When 20 loops have been rated,truncation selection is applied whereby the best 10 loops are paired, recombine, and have two daughters each.' Note that in 2009 the creators of darwintunes harnessed the power of Slashdot to help 'evolve' their site."
ananyo writes in with a story about an asteroid near miss and a neat video taken by researchers. "It may look like a blurry blob, but researchers using the InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii have posted a video of 2012 KT42 — a small asteroid that zipped past Earth at a distance of just three Earth radii on 29 May — the sixth closest encounter of any known asteroid. The bright asteroid appears fixed, while background stars zip past but in fact the asteroid is zipping along at 17 kilometres per second. 'You get the view of riding along with it,' says planetary scientist Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who led the observations. At its closest, the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii)."
kkleiner writes "What if treating skin cancer was just a matter of wearing a patch for a few hours? At this year's Society of Nuclear Medicine's Annual Meeting one group of researchers presented such a patch. The patch is infused with phosphorus-32, a radioactive isotope used to treat some types of cancer. In a study of 10 patients with basal cell carcinoma located on their faces, the patch was applied for three hours, then for another three hours four and seven days later. Six months after treatment, 8 of the patients were cancer free."