Communication is key…
As a species, much of our existence is defined by the way we share information. From casual weather-chat amongst strangers on a train, to those momentous exchanges between teacher and pupil, novelist and reader, even musician and listener, communication allows individuals to contribute to or plunder the riches of our collective intelligence. Today, the discourse is global. Not only can we weather-chat across continents, but thousands of University courses are available online for free, and it is possible to self-publish from a smartphone.
Much attention has recently been drawn to the fact that areas of science appear untouched by this revolution. With journals reluctant to publish ‘unexciting’ results, and researchers often unwilling to share original datasets or detailed methods, a wealth of information remains inaccessible. This crisis of communication has in part been attributed to the pressure to advance new and fashionable theories. This leaves little room in print for sound observations that may disprove hypotheses, or leave current conclusions uncertain. The importance of providing an equal platform for all good scientists to have their say has never been more important.
Taking communication as our broad theme, in this issue of Bluesci we discuss the beauty of the language of numbers, examine how teaching human evolution in schools became legal, and delve into the mysteries of the body’s own information collection system: the senses. We go back in time to look at the extraordinary histories of the women who pioneered the digital revolution, and up to the moment as we quiz science journalist Mo Costandi about his career. In the FOCUS article, you’ll find details of the phenomenal diversity of communication systems, both natural and artificial, from phosphorescent bacteria and dancing bees, to top secret codes and the subtleties of a glance.
Of course, other topics have also caught our interest; we make the economic case for conserving biodiversity, discuss the global water shortage, and reveal how the physics of boiling water has consequences for an astonishing variety of species. Hardly pausing for breath, the quest for a cure for rare black bone disease is pursued, the pros and cons of genetically testing embryos weighed up, and the surprising world of archeaological genomics unearthed.
At BlueSci, we are keen to see your passion for communication! There are plenty of ways to get involved in the next issue, including writing, editing, illustrating and producing. If any of this takes your fancy, don’t hesitate to send us a message. Elly Smith
Issue 29: Lent 2014
Editor: Elly Smith
Managing Editor: Sarah Smith
Business Manager: Michael Derringer
Second Editors: Camilla d’Angelo, Shirin Ashraf, Aaron Critch, Helen Ewles, Catherine Griffin, Sophie Harrington, Alissa Lamb, Nicola Love, Jannis Meents, Greg Mellers, Maire Payne, Emily Pycroft, Jeremy Schwartzentruber, Tam Stojanovic, Kerstin Timm, Chris Tsantoulas, Koi (Arporn) Wangiwatson
Copy Editors: Ornela De Gasperin Quintero, Nicola Love, Nicole Rossides, Sarah Smith, Tam Stojanovic
News Editor: Joanna-Marie Howes
News Team: Camilla d’Angelo, Ornela DeGasperin Quintero, Nele Dieckmann
Reviews: Toby McMaster, Sarah Smith, Marinka Steur
Focus Team: Shirin Ashraf, Ornela De Gasperin Quintero, Ana Leal Cervantes, Nathan Smith, Tam Stojanovic
Weird and Wonderful: Ornela De Gasperin Quintero, Elly Smith, Nathan Smith
Production Team: Ornela De Gasperin Quintero, Philipp Kleppmann, Nicola Love, Jannis Meents, Benjamin Schilperoort, Beth Smith, Nathan Smith, Sarah Smith, Tam Stojanovik, Chris Tsantoulas
Illustrators: Josie Best, Alex Hahn, Emily Pycroft, Elly Smith
Cover Image: Mubeen Goolam
Genomes from Beyond the Grave – http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111025/full/478444a.html
Making Sense of the Senses – http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/gpcr-14047471
Bubbles of Trouble – http://www.sciencemag.org/content/289/5487/2114.abstract
Finding a Cure for Black Bone Disease – http://www.akusociety.org/
Tapping into New Water Sources – http://www.pub.gov.sg/
No Monkey Business – http://www.tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/scopes/index.htm
Counting Out Loud – http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number.htm
Designer Babies – http://www.hfea.gov.uk
The Women Behind the Science – http://www.athenaswan.org.uk/
T4 phage – http://www.lukejerram.com/glass/
Not Just Neuroscience – http://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy