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Chris Hadfield
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Scientific Journal Publishes Brief Papers (200 Words or Less)

The Journal of Brief Ideas wants to encourage researchers to publish their work in 200 words or fewer as a way to network with other scientists and find ideas.

Doing research is a nightmare sometimes. There's no network to connect with other researchers — to collaborate or inform others of their work. It's kind of a mess. Grad students working on their theses will be able to relate. Combing through journals and papers, trying to find if anyone has already worked on your topic — it's maddening. Physicist David Harris shares this sentiment, which is why he founded the Journal of Brief Ideas.


He said to The Scientist:

“There is intellectual capital locked up in the heads of scientists rather than circulating in the scientific community ... people often get similar ideas around about the same time, frantically work on it for quite a long time, put a lot of resources into it, without even necessarily knowing if there are other people doing the exact same thing.”

The premise behind his site is for scientists to be able to quickly publish something akin to a hypothesis on their research (in 200 words or less). This would enable other scientists, who may be working on the same project, to connect — it's like a social network for research. It could also help settle any disputes on the “whose idea it was first” debate.

Also, researchers can receive feedback on their mini-hypotheses through the voting scheme on the site. However, it's uncertain how scientists will react to this new form of “publishing research” — if they even want to call it that.

Any published scientists out there? It would be wonderful to get your opinions on this new site.

Photo Credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

Future of Learning
  • Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
  • One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
  • "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Personal Growth

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

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