Science online, socially un-contagious edition

You probably won’t catch bad eating habits at that cocktail party. As long as you go easy on the canapés. Photo by rocketlass.

Big blogging news this week: Bora Zivkovic and the team at Scientific American have launched a big new network of science blogs, sweeping up a large chunk of my RSS subscriptions, including Kate Clancy, Eric Michael Johnson, Christie Wilcox, Krystal D’Costa, Kevin Zelnio, Jason Goldman, and SciCurious. And just like that, SciAm is the center of the science blogosphere. Congrats to everyone involved!

  • When the press release precedes peer review, check your wallet. A whole series of studies proposing that behaviors from divorce to overeating are “contagious” via social ties may be bunk.
  • Hoisted on their own statistical petard. A study of dinosaur morphology data using statistical methods invented by Creationists ends up confirming descent with modification.
  • Solution: either more funding, or fewer deaths. US Federal funding for research into solutions to infection by drug-resistant Staphylococcus comes to less than $600 per MRSA death.
  • Darwin was polite even in pencil. Robert Krulwich examines Charles Darwin’s marginalia.
  • They’re elephants with wings! Why you should never piss off a crow.