Summary of “A Quiet Revolution in Botany: Plants Form Memories”

How, when, and why they form these memories might help scientists train plants to face the challenges-poor soil, drought, extreme heat-that are happening with increasing frequency and intensity.
Studying what might be called plant cognition in part because of its association with pseudoscience, like the popular 1973 book The Secret Life of Plants.
One of the most well-understood forms of plant memory, for example, is vernalization, in which plants retain an impression of a long period of cold, which helps them determine the right time to produce flowers.
After a day or two of chilling, the scientists could still “De-vernalize” the plants, but after four days, that possibility had vanished-the plants remained vernalized.
Scientists have now reported plenty of examples of plant memory formation, but naturally they are less likely to publish results of experiments where plants could potentially form memories but don’t.
Beet plants and wheat plants have their own molecular mechanisms of vernalization, which serve the same function but evolved independently.
“Since we don’t see memories all that often maybe plants don’t want to remember things all the time. Maybe it’s better to put their energies elsewhere.” Even when memories do form, they can fade.
The plants that had been trained to associate the two stimuli grew toward the fan; the plants that had been taught to separate them grew away from the airflow.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How We Got From Doc Brown to Walter White”

Westworld, Orphan Black, Masters of Sex, CSI, Bones, House, The Big Bang Theory, and several others have all written scientists as diverse and complex humans who have almost nothing in common with the scientists I saw in the 1980s movies I watched as a kid.
As a result, scientists on screen have evolved from stereotypes and villains to credible and positive characters, due in part to scientists themselves, anxious to be part of the action and the public’s education.
Scientists were smart and rational, the report noted, but of all the occupational roles on TV, scientists were the least sociable.
“We know we need scientists to fix up the mess we’re making of the planet. If there’s any hope at all, it has to come from scientists who monitor the risk and are able to find ways to overcome that risk. Whereas before, scientists were seen as part of the risk.”
Eight years after Doc Emmett Brown sent his mad invention traveling through time in Back to the Future, scientists in Jurassic Park enthralled visitors with creatures from the past.
Although Doc Brown’s chaotic goofiness was still acceptable for scientist characters in 1985, the paleontologists in Jurassic Park were held to a much higher standard.
In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, having long taken note of the good and not-so-good portrayals of science and scientists in TV and film, set up the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a hotline that connects producers and screenwriters to scientists.
White’s blue meth business is also a reminder that while the overall framing of scientists on TV might have shifted toward the heroic, we can’t help but notice that Walter White is still a villain.

The orginal article.

Summary of “My Life With the Physics Dream Team”

We were just hugely grateful to these physicists who had somehow brought the war to an end, and I thought it would be interesting to get to know those people and find out what they’d been doing.
The people in Cambridge whom I got to know personally-Hardy and Littlewood and Besicovitch-were all great mathematicians.
Most people in physics write down an equation and then find the solutions, but that wasn’t the way Feynman did it.
Important people came to visit, so he just didn’t have time for saying hello to the kids.
Biology is moving very fast and so the same kind of people who became physicists in those days now tend to become biologists.
Theoretical biology is now becoming much more of a real subject than it used to be, so a lot of people who are really computer scientists are doing biology.
Is physics a young person’s game? It seems that most great discoveries are made by people under 40 or even under 30.
You knew a lot of people who worked on the atomic bomb.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Amber-Fossil Supply Chain Has a Dark Human Cost”

The Greeks knew that when amber is rubbed with wool, it creates sparks, so they dubbed the substance “Electrum.” Relatively soft, amber has been carved into beads and jewelry since the Bronze Age, and it can be polished to a gleaming finish.
Many people have believed that amber’s warm color and the way the material holds heat signify healing powers; today people in my Los Angeles neighborhood still adorn their babies with amber necklaces, since the succinic acid in amber is believed to ward off the pain of teething.
The island’s amber was used by the indigenous Taíno people for millennia, and when Columbus landed for the second time on Hispaniola, in 1493, he made a strategic trade: He gave a Taíno chief a strand of Baltic amber in return for shoes decorated with local amber.
Raw amber prices are set by the market, and after the release of the movie Jurassic Park, in the early 1990s, prices of amber with insect inclusions-particularly rare mosquitoes-soared.
Though raw amber has a set wholesale price, the price of amber with insect inclusions is more subjective.
The American Museum of Natural History put on a big exhibit on amber-displaying everything from panels from an immense amber room in Russia to late-Stone Age amber carvings to fossils.
Around 2010, China’s own amber mines were tapped out, and the production of Burmese amber grew.
Even if it wasn’t apparent in that room, a handful of scientists are starting to consider the human cost of buying Burmese amber.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our Disabilities Have Made Us Better Scientists”

While our medical conditions have challenged us in different ways, we both have noticed that scientific research is rarely designed to accommodate scientists with medical conditions or disabilities.
Scientists with disabilities have so much to offer: we have diverse, creative and unique ideas that are important for pushing research forward.
We, along with other scientists with disabilities and medical conditions, have found success in our careers, but only because we have had access to health care, emotional support and institutional backing.
Mankin says that his disability has often resulted in “Low expectations from persons who did not know me well and assumed my disability causes reduced levels of productivity.” He feels that he’s had to work extra hard just to show he’s capable of being as successful as a scientist without disabilities.
True access goes beyond legal requirements; it involves thoughtful dedication to creating a culture of inclusion and understanding of all disabilities that allows everyone to perform at the highest level.
He feels a responsibility to be a role model to encourage students with disabilities to go into science.
He says science has become more competitive, so he worries about how discouraged some folks with disabilities may be, especially without better support systems.
We now know that there’s more than one kind of “Successful” scientist, and that those of us with disabilities, differences in thinking, and medical challenges are well-suited for rich scientific careers-as long as we have true access.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why do so many researchers still treat race as a scientific concept?”

In the 16 years since the anthropologist made her observations, scientists have still not found any meaningful biological definition of race.
If you hand a scientist your genome, she might be able to tell you something about the geographical distribution of your ancestors, but she cannot tell you what race you are.
These are all disturbing turns, but what’s more surprising is the way race biology has creeped further into the mainstream: Last year, prominent geneticist David Reich wrote an op-ed for the New York Times calling for a renewed look at this troubling line of scientific inquiry.
Writes Saini, scientists are not immune to the political forces that shape us all: “We automatically translate the information our eyes and ears receive into the language of race, forgetting where this language came from.” Like almost everyone else, Saini writes, scientists struggle to think outside of a biological conception of race.
Taking us from a remote site in Western Australia where recently discovered cave drawings predate those in Europe to a posh area of Paris that contains the hidden ruins of a colonial-era “Human zoo,” Saini connects the dots from the dawn of modern scientific ideas about race during the Enlightenment to their abandonment after the horrors of World War II to their revival by today’s milk-chugging white nationalists in the age of genomics and DNA ancestry testing.
Reich calls race a social construct, then claims, “It is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among ‘races.'” He goes on to provide numerous examples to prove his point, but they confusingly commingle ancestry and race-a distinction Reich makes earlier in the very same op-ed.
In 2016, a team led by public health researchers and former New York City Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett searched the medical literature since 2000 and found 47,855 review articles discussing race and health.
As ethno-nationalism surges, the tacit stamp of scientific approval for race as a biological category is increasingly dangerous.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do Your Data Scientists Know the ‘Why’ Behind Their Work?”

Recently, Ron Kenett, the distinguished Israel-based data scientist, and I compared notes on our own successes and failures – and those of our colleagues – in helping companies with data science.
In many companies, data scientists are not engaging in enough of this softer, but more difficult, work.
First, many data scientists are much more interested in pursuing their crafts – namely, finding interesting nuggets buried in data – than they are in solving business problems.
The second reason: From the company’s perspective, the talent is rare and protecting data scientists from the chaos of everyday work just makes sense.
Second, hire data scientists best suited to the problems you face and immerse them in the day-in, day-out work of your organization.
More senior data scientists know politics can also work in their favor, and they make time to engage all impacted by their work.
Trust is a common thread throughout these recommendations, and managers must insist that data scientists work to earn that trust.
They must do all they can to integrate data scientists into their teams and they must insist that data scientists contribute in every way possible – before, during, and after the technical work.

The orginal article.

Summary of “NASA’s Apollo moon rocks to be studied after 50 years in isolation”

It is a prized piece of the Apollo program’s greatest scientific legacy: nearly 850 pounds of moon rocks.
For 50 years, research on these rocks has transformed our understanding of the moon, revealing the circumstances of its birth and the reasons for its mottled face.
That’s why the materials have been held back since they were retrieved from the moon, said Ryan Zeigler, who curates the Apollo rocks collection.
NASA’s Lunar Sample Laboratory, a maze of gleaming metal cabinets and spotless linoleum floors, was built in the 1970s to house the rocks brought back from six moon missions.
At some point, Wood reasoned, the moon must have been completely covered in a magma ocean, in which anorthosite rocks floated like icebergs.
About 4.5 billion years ago, the theory goes, a long-gone giant planet called Theia, named for the mother of the Greek moon goddess, smashed into the newly formed Earth.
The United States hasn’t taken any new material from the moon since the last Apollo landing in 1972, and no lunar rocks have been brought to Earth since the Soviets’ Luna 24 probe flew four years after that.
In the meantime, she said, the decision to open the Apollo samples is like “a mini mission” unto itself; one more chance to probe a piece of another place; one more chapter in the story of the moon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can Your Personal Choices Curb Climate Change? Not Even Scientists Agree.”

The camp that’s going all out includes a 400-person Facebook group called #BirthStrike, formed in December 2018, for people who have decided “Not to bear children due to the severity of the ecological crisis.” And hundreds of climate scientists have vowed to scale back on flying.
If everyone who already cared about climate change “Reduced their carbon emissions to zero, it doesn’t actually change very much,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Many people who care about climate change are wrestling with what they can do about it.
Climate skeptics have repeatedly called out scientists and activists for their carbon-intensive lives.
“People who use the personal choices of climate scientists as some kind of excuse for not understanding science or refusing to accept science, those are not good-faith arguments, and we shouldn’t really entertain them,” Schmidt said.
“I think putting the onus of climate change solutions on climate scientists – it doesn’t seem fair. But I also realize we have to lead by example.”
Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University regularly engages with the public about climate change.
It’s simply talking to as many people as possible about the perils of climate change.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To save the monarch butterfly, Mexican scientists are moving a forest 1,000 feet up a mountain”

As a boy, Francisco Ramirez Cruz loved hiking with his grandfather up into the mountains of central Mexico.
While the old man grazed sheep or hunted for wild mushrooms, Ramirez would play amid the throngs of monarch butterflies that migrated 3,000 miles to this forest each autumn, turning the blue sky into a sea of orange.
Climate change, with its extreme storms, prolonged droughts and warming temperatures, is poised to eradicate the forest that serves as the butterfly’s winter refuge.
To help his beloved butterflies, Ramirez has partnered with scientists on a monumental experiment: They are trying to move an entire forest 1,000 feet up a mountain.
On one of the scientists’ early scouting trips to the region several years ago, locals suggested they meet Ramirez, a respected farmer with graying sideburns and a thin mustache who lives on a windswept hillside in Ejido La Mesa, a community that overlaps with the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve – a national park 70 miles west of Mexico City.
In the middle of Ramirez’s orchard of apple and plum trees, the scientists helped him construct a small greenhouse, where he tends to several dozen saplings that were taken from the forest and will eventually be replanted.
“There’s no doubt that things are going to change,” said Chip Taylor, a retired ecology professor in Kansas and the director of Monarch Watch, which runs a butterfly tagging program.
Ramirez eased himself down to sit on the soft forest floor and watched in silence.

The orginal article.