Friday, 21 March 2014

Research datasets need to be easy to find if they are to achieve their potential impact.

Research datasets need to be easy to find if they are to achieve their potential impact.

The impact of research data is now of definitive importance for universities, funders and disciplines themselves. Similar to the wave of preprint repositories established for journal articles that helped preserve access to papers in disciplines not otherwise catered for, we are now seeing a steady stream of institutional data repositories emerging. Alex Ball provides the background for a Jisc project looking to establish a national data registry to make finding relevant data across disciplines and repositories quicker and easier.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Deep Sea Mining in the Pacific

Mining the Abyss

Pacific islanders have always been sustained by the ocean. Might it now make them rich – and at what cost?

How to Start a Conspiracy Theory on Facebook

How to Start a Conspiracy Theory on Facebook

 In a 2013 report summarizing global challenges, the World Economic Forum singled out "massive digital misinformation" as "one of the main risks for the modern society." Social networks may be structurally optimized for sharing; their structures, however, don't tend to distinguish between good information and bad. Which means that sites like Facebook aren't just a great repositories for updates from your friends and pictures of your dog; they can also be breeding grounds for rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories. "False information," write Walter Quattrociocchi and a group of colleagues at Northeastern University, "is particularly pervasive on social media, fostering sometimes a sort of collective credulity."

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

FutureLearn — Learning for Life

FutureLearn — Learning for Life

Enjoy free online courses from leading UK and international universities. Good high quality content and an interesting variety of courses, definitly worth a look.

Still-fresh remnants of Exxon Valdez oil 25 years after oil spill

Still-fresh remnants of Exxon Valdez oil 25 years after oil spill, found protected by boulders

 Twenty-five years after the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, beaches on the Alaska Peninsula hundreds of kilometers from the incident still harbor small hidden pockets of surprisingly unchanged oil, according to new research.

Official launch of Programmable City project, 25th March 2014 | The Programmable City

Official launch of Programmable City project, 25th March 2014 | The Programmable City

The Programmable City project will be officially launched on the 25th March 2014, with an all day event in Renehan Hall in NUI Maynooth.  There’s a really great line-up of speakers, so hopefully you’ll consider joining them to learn more about the project and about smart cities, ubiquitous computing, big data and how software is reshaping urban life. Complete bios and abstracts are available.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

University Ranking Watch: Reactions to the THE Reputation Rankings

University Ranking Watch: Reactions to the THE Reputation Rankings

Browse Talks | TED

Browse Talks | TED

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Can the damaged brain repair itself?

Can the damaged brain repair itself?

After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster.

Big Bang breakthrough announced

Big Bang breakthrough announced; gravity waves detected

Friday, 14 March 2014

Thursday, 13 March 2014

RCSB Protein Data Bank

RCSB Protein Data Bank - RCSB PDB

Biological Macromolecular Resource: The PDB archive contains information about experimentally-determined structures of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies. As a member of the wwPDB, the RCSB PDB curates and annotates PDB data according to agreed upon standards.

Use the RCSB PDB to perform simple and advanced searches based on annotations relating to sequence, structure and function, and to visualize, download, and analyze molecules.

Blogging can be a release from all the structural pressures corroding the creative impulse in academic writing.

Blogging can be a release from all the structural pressures corroding the creative impulse in academic writing.

Mark Carrigan
untangles the mixture of creativity and routine when academics sit down
to convey complex thoughts. Waiting for the organic moment of
inspiration when deadlines loom can be unreliable. By making blogging
his main vehicle for intellectual exploration, he was free to explore
a form of creative expression that he found intensely liberating. Is
consistent writing a matter of attentiveness to moments of inspiration
or is it also about cultivating the conditions necessary for this
attentiveness?


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Top Ten Science Stories 2013

AIT Science Blog

Posted by Michael Doheny Subject Librarian for Science at The Athlone Institute of Technology.

Office design's impact on sick leave rates

Office design's impact on sick leave rates

The effect of office type on sickness absence among office employees was studied prospectively in 1852 employees working in (1) cell-offices; (2) shared-room offices; (3) small, (4) medium-sized and (5) large open-plan offices; (6) flex-offices and (7) combi-offices. Sick leaves were self-reported two years later as number of (a) short and (b) long (medically certified) sick leave spells as well as (c) total number of sick leave days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used, with adjustment for background factors. A significant excess risk for sickness absence was found only in terms of short sick leave spells in the three open-plan offices. In the gender separate analysis, this remained for women, whereas men had a significantly increased risk in flex-offices. For long sick leave spells, a significantly higher risk was found among women in large open-plan offices and for total number of sick days among men in flex-offices.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Humans and Climate Change

Anthropocene | Climate change | British Geological Survey (BGS)

 In 2000 the scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer used the concept of the Anthropocene to denote the ever increasing influence of humans on Earth.


The word has entered the scientific and popular literature as a
vivid expression of the degree of environmental change on planet Earth
caused by humans.


Humans are now drivers of environmental change on a scale that is unique in Earth’s history.


Human driven biological, chemical and physical changes to the
Earth’s system are so great, rapid and distinct that they may
characterise an entirely new epoch – The Anthropocene.

Find out more on this excellent British Geological Survey Website.