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What I Learned in School

时间:2013-09-21 11:12:37  来源:  作者:

 Science is moving up the ranks on a list of the most important courses Americans take in school. A Gallup poll of 2059 U.S. adults, released earlier this month, found that 12% think science was "the most valuable" subject in their academic careers. That's up from 4% in 2002, the last time Gallup asked the question.

The perceived value of studying science also rises with level of education. Those with no more than a high school diploma chose math over science by a whopping margin of 43% to 9%. But those with postgraduate training ranked science third, at 17%, only slightly behind math at 19%. English topped their list of most valuable subject, at 25%. Overall, math and English still claimed the top two spots in this year's survey, at 34% and 21%.

They Said It

"I think that we've stopped evolving."

—87-year-old British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough, in an interview with Radio Times, adding that, with so many babies now surviving childhood, natural selection cannot act on humans anymore. The comments drew heat from scientists, who note that his view doesn't reflect scientific consensus. http://scim.ag/Attenevo

Ig Nobels Honor Dung Rolling and Shrew Swallowing

CREDIT: ANNALS OF IMPROBABLE RESEARCH
 

"Some people say our science is crap," declared Marie Dacke, a biologist at Lund University in Sweden, while accepting the 2013 Ig Nobel joint prize in biology and astronomy for the discovery that African dung beetles use the Milky Way to navigate.

The annual ceremony honoring research that "first makes people laugh, and then makes them think" was hosted last week by Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, in a packed theater at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In their prizewinning work, Dacke and her colleagues observed that beetles rolling dung across the floor of a planetarium changed their direction in response to the Milky Way's orientation.

Brian Crandall, a science educator based in Hudson, New York, dedicated his archaeology prize to the people who ate whole parboiled shrews for his undergraduate study at the University of Victoria in Canada. He was studying the effect of human digestion on tiny mammal skeletons.

A team led by Masateru Uchiyama, a biologist at Teikyo University in Tokyo, won the medicine prize for its study of the effect of music on mice that had received heart transplants. Control mice died after a week; those exposed to opera recordings survived as much as three times as long. The researchers arrived on stage in head-to-toe mouse outfits.

The prize consisted of a hammer sealed within a glass case with instructions to "use hammer to break glass in case of emergency" and $10 trillion … in Zimbabwean dollars. http://scim.ag/IgNobel2013

By the Numbers

6.6 million — Children worldwide who died in 2012 before reaching age 5—50% fewer than in 1990, according to a U.N. report.

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