Links for February 23, 2015

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  • Oliver Sacks's op-ed in the NYT, "My Own Life," in which he confronts his eminent death from cancer has been making the social-network rounds; here's a related piece from a few years ago, sub-titled "Self-experiments in chemistry" where Sacks describes his history of drug experimentation. 
  • A glimpse into the edit wars raging in the Wikiverse over tense in Star Wars related entries.  
  • How to have a tempered conversation about the bad habit of genetic determinism talk: a happy example of public engagement on the rhetoric of science writing, from Nathaniel Comfort.
  • Natural history collections are an endangered species, and their disappearance means the loss of thousands of valuable specimens whose potential for enriching the study of biodiversity is far from extinct.
  • Historian of medicine and expert in the history of vaccination Elena Conis weighs in on the latest measles outbreak by reminding us how vaccinations shape how we perceive disease risk.
  • A New York Times editorial documents the wide-ranging economic and infrastructural effects of the recent spate of snowstorms in Boston, and argues that long-term weather events like these constitute a natural disaster.
  • Charlotte Connelly isn't entirely pleased with Google's Alessandro Volta doodle.
  • An eco-friendly cruise ship with robot bartenders?
  • Skepticism is the science news du jour: on top of last week's National Geographic cover, another Merchant of Doubt is on the front page in Sunday's New York Times. (Though it seems to at least one of your bloggers that when the paper writes "Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt," it may inadvertently reproduce the problem it attempts to describe.)

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