Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Starship Sofa Episode #114

Not much to this episode, just one article, the story, and an introduction to the story.

First up is Science News with J.J. Campanella:
Australian Deep Sea Life Survey Discovers New Species Of Shrimp, Sells Naming Rights On Ebay
Marijuana As Substitute To Ween Patients Off Harder Drugs
Contagious Emotion Silliness
Caterpillars Tricking Ants Into Feeding Them
Loss of Heterozygosity May Be Worse For Cancer Than Lacking Tumor Suppresser Genes Altogether
Rating: A

The bit on why the Contagious Emotion study is ridiculous is the most valuable thing in this episode, this bad science has been getting a little too popular and I wish more scientists, much less the news-consuming public could understand one simple concept: CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION. 100 thank yous to Mr. Campanella.

The Caterpillar study is one of the more interesting things I've learned in some time, and the cancer study is worth watching where it leads in the future. One of the better Science News pieces.

Next up, Jeff Carlson's Introduction: WHITE GUYS IN SPACCCEEEEE
A bit of patting himself on the back about having a black woman who is brilliant and sexy in his story and how stupid it is that some people got angry that this (and this alone) made the story sooooo liberal and politically correct. It's a point worth making. Also a Star Wars joke.
Rating: B

Then the story, A Lovely Little Christmas Fire by Jeff Carlson, narrated by Amy H. Sturgis.

I already recommended the story when it was in Asimov's, to the tune of a 3.5, and Sturgis is a good narrator for it. The editorializing by the author was a bit longer than it needed to be, and wasn't all that interesting, although it was worthwhile, I guess. Honestly I think the highlight of this issue was Science News. As a whole, I give the issue a B.

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