Discussion:
Science Times 25th Anniversary
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maff
2003-11-11 10:29:26 UTC
Permalink
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html

The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
David Opstad
2003-11-11 15:45:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
Hmmm, seems they missed one:

"Whatever happened to the number 7?"

(It appears to be missing from their list, which skips from 6 to 8)

Dave Opstad
a.a. #1747
Geoff Offermann
2003-11-11 17:39:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
"Whatever happened to the number 7?"
(It appears to be missing from their list, which skips from 6 to 8)
The No. 7 is further evidence of the liberal, Darwinist conspiracy
to keep the evolution-Creation controversy in the bag. But don't
tell anyone, 'kay?
maff
2003-11-11 21:57:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
INTERACTIVE FEATURE

7. What's replaceable?

ADVANCES IN MEDICAL SCIENCE
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
"Whatever happened to the number 7?"
(It appears to be missing from their list, which skips from 6 to 8)
Dave Opstad
a.a. #1747
Marc Carter
2003-11-12 10:46:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by maff
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
INTERACTIVE FEATURE
7. What's replaceable?
ADVANCES IN MEDICAL SCIENCE
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
"Whatever happened to the number 7?"
(It appears to be missing from their list, which skips from 6 to 8)
Dave Opstad
a.a. #1747
Damn. Another good conspiracy theory shot to hell.
Daniel Harper
2003-11-13 03:34:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Opstad
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
"Whatever happened to the number 7?"
(It appears to be missing from their list, which skips from 6 to 8)
Dave Opstad
a.a. #1747
Six is the first perfect number. To have a seven on the list would be to
imply that there are things better than perfect, I.E. better than God.
Therefore, numbers higher than six cannot exist.

"Then why do you have eight and higher?"

No further questions.
--
...and it is my belief that no greater good has ever befallen you in this city
than my service to my God. [...] Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness
brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and that state.

Plato, quoting Socrates, from The _Apology_

--Daniel Harper

(Change terra to earth for email)
maff
2003-11-11 19:59:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
Insert subject titles in Google news (http://news.google.com/ ) and
click on "Search News"

(1) Does Science Matter?

(2) Is War Our Biological Destiny?

(3) Will Humans Ever Visit Mars?

(4) How Does the Brain Work?

(5) What Is Gravity, Really?

(6) Will We Ever Find Atlantis?

(8) What Should We Eat?

(9) When Will the Next Ice Age Begin?

(10) What Happened Before the Big Bang?

(11) Could We Live Forever?

(12) Are Men Necessary? ...

... Are Women Necessary?

(13) What Is the Next Plague?

(14) Can Robots Become Conscious?

(15) Why Do We Sleep?

(16) Are Animals Smarter Than We Think?

(17) Can Science Prove the Existence of God?

(18) Is Evolution Truly Random?

(19) How Did Life Begin?

(20) Can Drugs Make Us Happier? Smarter?

(21) Should We Improve Our Genome?

(22) How Much Nature Is Enough?

(23) What Is the Most Important Problem in Math Today?

(24) Where Are Those Aliens?

(25) Do Paranormal Phenomena Exist?

Commentary: Rousing Science Out of the Lab and Into the Limelight

The Birth of Science Times: A Surprise, but No Accident

Personal Health: Trans Fats to Safe Sex: How Health Advice Has Changed

Essay: Spellbound by the Eternal Riddle, Scientists Revel in Their
Captivity

What Did We Learn From AIDS?

Voices: Scientists Look Ahead
maff
2003-11-16 11:50:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by maff
Science Times 25th Anniversary
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago, on Nov. 14,
1978. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a
collection of answers, but a way of asking questions, an enterprise
driven by curiosity. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 of the
most provocative questions facing science. As always, answers are
provisional.
[...]

(1) Does Science Matter?

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By WILLIAM J. BROAD and JAMES GLANZ

Published: November 11, 2003


Through its rituals of discovery, science has extended life, conquered
disease and offered new sexual and commercial freedoms. It has pushed
aside demigods and demons and revealed a cosmos more intricate and
awesome than anything produced by pure imagination.

But there are new troubles in the peculiar form of paradise that
science has created, as well as new questions about whether it has the
popular support to meet the future challenges of disease, pollution,
security, energy, education, food, water and urban sprawl.


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(2) Is War Our Biological Destiny?

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By NATALIE ANGIER

Published: November 11, 2003


In these days of hidebound militarism and round-robin carnage, when
even that beloved ambassador of peace, the Dalai Lama, says it may be
necessary to counter terrorism with violence, it's fair to ask: Is
humanity doomed? Are we born for the battlefield — congenitally,
hormonally incapable of putting war behind us? Is there no alternative
to the bullet-riddled trapdoor, short of mass sedation or a Marshall
Plan for our DNA?


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(3) Will Humans Ever Visit Mars?

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By WARREN E. LEARY

Published: November 11, 2003


People have been walking on the surface of Mars for more than a
century, in tales of science fiction and fantasy. Now, however, the
possibility is real enough that many people think the question is not
whether humans will go to Mars, but when they will go, how they will
get there and who will go first.


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(4) How Does the Brain Work?

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By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

Published: November 11, 2003


In the continuing effort to understand the human brain, the mysteries
keep piling up. Consider what scientists are up against. Stretched
flat, the human neocortex — the center of our higher mental functions
— is about the size and thickness of a formal dinner napkin.

With 100 billion cells, each with 1,000 to 10,000 synapses, the
neocortex makes roughly 100 trillion connections and contains 300
million feet of wiring packed with other tissue into a
one-and-a-half-quart volume in the brain.


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(5) What Is Gravity, Really?

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By DENNIS OVERBYE

Published: November 11, 2003


"Gravity . . . it's not just a good idea. It's the Law," reads a
popular bumper sticker.

Gravity is our oldest and most familiar enemy, the force we feel in
our bones, the force that will eventually bury us, sagging our organs
and pulling us down, but for all its intimacy, it is a mystery. What
really is the law?


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(6) Will We Ever Find Atlantis?

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By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Published: November 11, 2003


Somewhere in the imagination, at an intersection of the idealized
Golden Age and mankind's descent into manifest imperfection, existed
the island civilization of Atlantis. This realm of divine origin was
ruled from a splendid metropolis in the distant ocean. Its empire,
described by a philosopher as "larger than Libya and Asia combined,"
enjoyed prosperity and great power.


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(8) What Should We Eat?

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By DENISE GRADY

Published: November 11, 2003


In a word - less.

More and more people, young and old, in countries rich and poor, are
fat and growing ever fatter. If there are limits to obesity, our
species seems not to know about them.


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(9) When Will the Next Ice Age Begin?

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By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Published: November 11, 2003


The maxim "what goes around comes around" applies to few things more
aptly than ice ages. In a rhythm attuned to regular wiggles in Earth's
orbit and spin, 10 eras of spreading ice sheets and falling seas have
come and gone over the last million years.

Through that span, in fact, the cold spells have so dominated that
geophysicists regard warm periods like the present one, called the
Holocene, as the oddities. Indeed, the scientific name for these
periods - interglacials - reflects the exceptional nature of such
times.


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(10) What Happened Before the Big Bang?

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By DENNIS OVERBYE

Published: November 11, 2003


Like baseball, in which three strikes make an out, three outs on a
side make an inning, nine innings make a regular game, the universe
makes its own time. There is no outside timekeeper. Space and time are
part of the universe, not the other way around, thinkers since
Augustine have said, and that is one of the central and haunting
lessons of Einstein's general theory of relativity.


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(11) Could We Live Forever?

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By GINA KOLATA

Published: November 11, 2003


"There is no fixed life span," says Dr. James Vaupel, no wall of death
dictated by basic biology that we are edging toward. People are living
longer and longer, he said, and he sees no reason to think the trend
will slow or stop in the foreseeable future.


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(12a) Are Men Necessary? ...

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By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

Published: November 11, 2003


Well, are they?

A recently separated friend sniffed at the idea of a whole 600 words
on the subject.

"Since the answer is `no,' " she said, "I don't quite see what you can
do for the other 599." In fact, if men are on earth solely to preserve
the species, there is already enough DNA in sperm banks to last for
ages. Advances in cryogenics and turkey basting have rendered human
males largely superfluous.


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(12b) ... Are Women Necessary?

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By NATALIE ANGIER

Published: November 11, 2003


Abundant evidence suggests that females are the first sex, the
ancestral sex, the sex from which males are derived.

Boys owe their lives to their mothers in more ways than one. Yet
recent experiments with stem cells hint that women, not men, may
eventually prove obsolete.


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(13) What Is the Next Plague?

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By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN

Published: November 11, 2003

No one knows when or where the next plague will occur, or whether it
will be from a natural or biote rorist attack.

But it is coming.


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(14) Can Robots Become Conscious?

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By KENNETH CHANG

Published: November 11, 2003


It's a three-part question. What is consciousness? Can you put it in a
machine? And if you did, how could you ever know for sure?


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(15) Why Do We Sleep?

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By ERICA GOODE

Published: November 11, 2003


Any second grader knows why humans need food and water. The logic
behind sex becomes obvious with a quick lesson on birds and bees.


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(16) Are Animals Smarter Than We Think?

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By JAMES GORMAN

Published: November 11, 2003


Debating the intelligence of animals can be as unsatisfying as arguing
over free will. Which animals? What do you mean by intelligence?

Dr. Bernd Heinrich, a biologist at the University of Vermont who has
written extensively on animals that certainly seem smart, particularly
ravens, said of the general subject of animal intelligence: "There has
been an incredible amount written about it, books and books. I haven't
read any of them. And I don't think I will."


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(17) Can Science Prove the Existence of God?

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By GEORGE JOHNSON

Published: November 11, 2003


"I have no need for that hypothesis," Pierre-Simon Laplace famously
responded when asked where God fit into his new astronomical theory.
Using calculus and Newton's laws of gravity, he explained the forces
that kept the planets from gradually drifting out of orbit, imparting
some stability to the solar system. Newton had thought the Great
Engineer must step in now and then to readjust the machine.


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(18) Is Evolution Truly Random?

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By CAROL KAESUK YOON

Published: November 11, 2003


In nearly every life, there is a moment when a person realizes, with a
shudder, how easily she might never have come to be: how her parents
nearly missed meeting, or how some other critical genealogical event
almost didn't happen.


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(19) How Did Life Begin?

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By NICHOLAS WADE

Published: November 11, 2003


The origin of life is biology's most daunting problem. Scientists are
good at understanding processes that they can study. But the emergence
of life was a single event that occurred 3.5 billion to 4 billion
years ago. Even the rocks of that era have mostly vanished.


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(20) Can Drugs Make Us Happier? Smarter?

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By ANDREW POLLACK

Published: November 11, 2003


It depends on what is meant by "happy" and "smart."

There are already drugs that brighten moods, like Prozac, and other
antidepressants that control levels of a brain chemical called
serotonin. While originally meant to treat depression, these drugs
have been used for other psychological conditions like shyness and
anxiety and even by otherwise healthy people to feel better about
themselves.


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(21) Should We Improve Our Genome?

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By NICHOLAS WADE

Published: November 11, 2003


Now that we have decoded the human genome, why don't we improve it?

The question is at present theoretical but could well emerge as the
hardest of all bioethical issues. Biologists routinely alter the genes
of mice, with methods that are not yet acceptable for making
inheritable changes in people, but one day genetic engineers may
figure out how to apply safe patches to the human biological software.


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(22) How Much Nature Is Enough?

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By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Published: November 11, 2003


Even some ardent conservationists acknowledge that the diversity of
life on Earth cannot be fully sustained as human populations expand,
use more resources, nudge the climate and move weedlike pests and
predators from place to place.


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(23) What Is the Most Important Problem in Math Today?

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By GINA KOLATA

Published: November 11, 2003


Many mathematicians would say it's the problem they're working on, but
of all the famous unsolved problems, one stands out - the Riemann
hypothesis. Posed in 1859 by the German mathematician Georg Friedrich
Bernhard Riemann, it has tantalized mathematicians ever since.
Recently, efforts to prove it have taken on a new intensity, with
mathematicians turning to physics for insight.


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(24) Where Are Those Aliens?

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By DENNIS OVERBYE

Published: November 11, 2003


It was at lunch in Los Alamos, N.M., in 1950 that Enrico Fermi, best
known for building the first atomic reactor, asked the question that
has haunted those who like to wonder about other life in the universe
ever since.


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(25) Do Paranormal Phenomena Exist?

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By KENNETH CHANG

Published: November 11, 2003


Mention mind reading, ghosts, premonitions, the bending of spoons
through thought or other supposed mysteries of the paranormal, and
most scientists will say there are no such things.

Commentary: Rousing Science Out of the Lab and Into the Limelight
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11EXPL.html?pagewanted=all&position=
By CORNELIA DEAN
Journalists try to tell all sides of the story. But it is not always
easy for us to tell when a science story really has more than one
side.

The Birth of Science Times: A Surprise, but No Accident
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11ANNI.html
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Published: November 11, 2003


Twenty-five years ago, editors of The New York Times had a big
problem: what to do about Tuesdays?

In a bold move to draw more readers and advertising revenue in a
troubled economy, the newspaper was reinventing itself in format and
content. The pages were redesigned to be six columns, instead of
eight, giving the paper a more spacious look. But the most striking
change was abandoning the two-section daily newspaper for one in four
sections Monday through Friday.


Personal Health: Trans Fats to Safe Sex: How Health Advice Has Changed
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11BROD.html?pagewanted=all&position=
By JANE E. BRODY
AIDS changed the way health was discussed. It was not possible to
address prevention and disease transmission unless you could talk
about sexual activities.

Essay: Spellbound by the Eternal Riddle, Scientists Revel in Their
Captivity
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11ESSA.html?pagewanted=all&position=
By ALAN LIGHTMAN
Even though science is constantly revising itself, at any moment a
scientist is studying a more or less definite problem, formulated to
lead to a definite answer.

What Did We Learn From AIDS?
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11AIDS.html
By ABIGAIL ZUGER

Published: November 11, 2003


If AIDS is any indication, the plagues that await us in the future are
certain to leave scientists far wiser than they are today.

Voices: Scientists Look Ahead
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/11/science/11VOIC1.html
By CLAUDIA DREIFUS
Interviews with Sir Paul M. Nurse, Arlie O. Petters, Rudolph E. Tanzi,
Eva Harris and Martha McClintock.

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