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Posts tagged Science

James Clerk Maxwell: Scot, physicist, mathematician … and poet
August 25, 2014 | 1:51 pm

While at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I'd like to pay tribute to one of the city's many great intellectual sons: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), the titanic Victorian scientist whose work was described by Albert Einstein as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton." His genius touched pure mathematics, electromagnetics, optics (color theory), kinetic theory and thermodynamics, astronomy (the rings of Saturn), and many other disciplines. And he was also a poet....

Want to know how to talk to aliens? Start here
July 11, 2014 | 6:14 pm

One of the more interesting free new ebooks to come my way in recent weeks arrived today in the shape of a multi-format multi-contributor offering from NASA entitled: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch, this volume brings perspectives from the soft sciences and  humanities to the issue of communicating with alien intelligences - should E.T. ever decide to place a collect call. According to the NASA blurb: Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the...

Palgrave Macmillan contributes to science publishing peer review debate
January 29, 2014 | 2:51 pm

The question of peer review is one of the central topics of the current controversy over scientific publishing, with Wiley already trialing a "transferable peer review" procedure to speed and refine the process. Now, Palgrave Macmillan is rolling out its own "open peer review trial" as its contribution to the reform of this particular niche. "We’re experimenting to see how open forms of review can contribute to the development of scholarly monographs and Palgrave Pivot titles," Palgrave Macmillan explains. "We’ve placed selected book proposals and associated sample chapters on this publicly-accessible website and are inviting comment from anyone who feels they...

Scientists show that poetry is the music of the mind
October 22, 2013 | 10:29 am

poetryClaims by generations of poets, critics and readers that poetry shares the power of music to directly affect our emotions and feelings have been given some substance by researchers at the UK's University of Exeter, as reported by the University itself and retweeted by the UK Poetry Society. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Professor Adam Zeman, a cognitive neurologist from the University of Exeter Medical School, led a cross-disciplinary team with Psychology and English faculty members to examine which parts of the brain are triggered when readers read poetry and prose. And they found that the areas of the brain which...

The weight of an e-book
October 31, 2011 | 11:15 pm

All those people who cite the fact that it doesn’t weigh anything as a reason they prefer e-books have just been proven wrong. The Telegraph reports that a computer scientist has explained that the more e-books you download, the heavier your e-reader is. Adding 4GB of e-books to a Kindle will increase its weight by a millionth of a millionth of a gram—the approximate weight of a DNA molecule or a small virus. He also notes that e-readers could become slightly heavier in the summer, because they take on more energy from their exposure to sunlight. So there...

The Elements iPad app helps sell printed books
December 20, 2010 | 3:18 pm

elementsPublishing Perspectives has an interesting profile of Touch Press, the company behind “The Elements”, the periodic table app for the iPad that we’ve mentioned a time or two. The company was founded by scientist and author Theodore Gray, who came up with a pictorial periodic table poster now found in many schools. Gray and Touch Press’s CEO, Thomas Whitby, both collect elements, and met through bidding on the same pieces of plutonium on eBay. The Elements, an illustrated, interactive e-book application for the iPad, was one of the first apps that demonstrated the iPad’s full educational and multimedia...

American Council of Learned Societies’ Humanities E-Book Goes Live with Koha; Will Distribute MARC Records
August 28, 2010 | 6:01 am

LogoX.gif From the Announcement: The American Council of Learned Societies’ Humanities E-Book has gone live with Koha. Eileen Gardiner, Director of ACLS Humanities E-Book, says, “ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) needed a secure and friendly environment in which to create and archive the MARC records that it distributes for its collection… Galen Charlton, VP for Data Services at Equinox, says, “I am pleased to welcome ACLS to the Koha community, and I take special note that they will be using Koha not as a traditional library but in support of their e-book MARC record distribution service. The...

Marian the Cybrarian – the role of digital librarians
May 25, 2010 | 7:00 am

digital library.jpegPicked this up from a tweet by librarian Sue Polanka of the No Shelf Required blog. It's an article with the above title from The Chronicle of Higher Education about Marilyn Johnson's new book This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (HarperCollins, 2010). The article mentions the problem of preserving digital archives, something I have a great concern about. Here's an excerpt: Unfortunately, much of our born-digital era will ultimately be lost to history because it was never recorded in the more stable medium of paper. Librarians can observe problems in physical libraries (such as...

The model digital library branch: Reality or just a wish?
May 24, 2010 | 12:26 pm

While many libraries, both public and academic, have implemented digital resources for their patrons in bits and pieces, I would argue that now is the time for libraries to work on putting together a comprehensive digital branch approach, offering millions of books, millions of newspapers and magazines, and open acess 24/7.   Given the facts of mass digitization of titles, free-to-use API's,  and social sharing of resources, the digital library branch is a reality that can be implemented.  Here's how.... Every library needs a place to start, so our digital branch will be created on a branch of the current library web...