Links for Tuesday, 2/17

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  • Historian of science and religion Adam Shapiro discusses the history of William Paley's watchmarker analogy, technological metaphors more generally, and God in The Atlantic.
  • Ötzi, the 5300-year-old mummy found in the Italian Alps had mad ink. The purpose of his 61 tattoos are now a matter of debate for archaeologists, who speculate they could have preformed therapeutic, religious, or symbolic functions. 
  • A catch-22 of regulatory science: try to get specific testing procedures written into law and risk that they might seem inappropriate or obsolete in five years, or advocate for flexibility and expert discretion, thus risking the possibility of regulatory capture?  Toxicologists weighing in on Congressional plans to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act opt for the latter.
  • The heroin economy, gun violence, urban planning, tax collection, and foreclosure laws meet in Paterson, NJ. A remarkable, sad feature about a broken city.
  • From Alex Wellerstein: Two dozen deaths at Los Alamos, most of which have nothing to do with radiation, reveal a cross section of the lives of those who literally built the Manhattan Project.
  • National Geographic tries to give a scientific explanation for skepticism of scientific facts.
  • Meanwhile, the Smithsonian's American Art Museum has a new show that investigates birds as subject matter in contemporary art. 
  • Punny Valentine: Celebrate a belated Valentine's Day with these groan-worthy science themed valentines.
  • Speaking of Valentine's Day, University of Kent's Ruth Wainman reflects on the role of marriage in the history of science, both for female scientists in dual career couples and the role of domestic partnership in making scientific careers work.
  • "In its heyday, RadioShack was so much more than a store — it was an art gallery, a museum, a school. " As RadioShack files for bankruptcy, a look back on the store's important role in the history of Silicon Valley and the birth of personal computing.
  • "Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks." That is the title of a new AAAS Science Advances paper quantifying just far academia is from a meritocracy.
  • That award-winning rum you love: a kidney disease is killing thousands of the Nicaraguan sugar-cane workers who spend 14 hours a day in the baking heat to make it, and the mill kicks them off its payroll when they get sick, with the acquiescence of the ex-Sandinista president.
  • And David Carr, the brilliant New York Times journalist and media columnist who died suddenly last Thursday, was teaching a class at Boston University on how to be a journalist in the digital world, or what he called "the present future we are living through." The course was built around Medium, and the syllabus is available there for everyone to benefit.

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