Salih Heads South

Khaled al-Hammadi of al-Quds al-Arabi has this excellent report from Aden today on what he describes the increasing tensions in the south.

He opens the article by quoting some of the chants he heard in Radfan on Monday. For those interested in rhyming Arabic chants of opposition I would recommend the opening paragraph, the first of which I'm translating (loosely) as "Revolt, Revolt O' South/Out, Out O' Colonialism" - it sounds much better in the original Arabic, trust me. And if anyone has a better translation for barra', I'm all ears.

Al-Hammadi claims that the increasing tensions have led Salih to make his first trip south this summer under the guise of a military tour. The assumption here, of course, is that Salih's tour will give him a better impression of how to ease the rising pressure and somehow find a way to limit the conflicts between the military and protesters. But Salih's description of the military as a cork to preserve the integrity of the country's unity does not sound promising, at least for those hoping for fewer clashes.

​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

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NASA and ESA team up for historic planetary defense test

Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/
Surprising Science
  • NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
  • The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
  • A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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