In Washington, budget cuts have left the nation’s research complex reeling. Labs are closing. Scientists are being laid off. Projects are being put on the shelf, especially in the risky, freewheeling realm of basic research. Yet from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, science philanthropy is hot, as many of the richest Americans seek to reinvent themselves as patrons of social progress through science research. The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation. “For better or worse,” said Steven A. Edwards, a policy analyst at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “the practice of science in the 21st century is becoming shaped less by national priorities or by peer-review groups and more by the particular preferences of individuals with huge amounts of money.”

Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science - NYTimes.com

I was very enthralled with the thrill of discovery and the drive for research and not as much paying attention to the consequences of, ‘If we answer these questions, what’s going to happen?’" he says. What was going to happen soon became apparent: Robotics started moving out of the labs and into the military-industrial complex, and Mr. Arkin began to worry that the systems could eventually be retooled as weaponized "killing machines fully capable of taking human life, perhaps indiscriminately.

'Moral' Robots: the Future of War or Dystopian Fiction? - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We’ve observed a new particle. We have quite strong evidence that there’s something there. Its properties are still going to take us a little bit of time,” Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS experiment, one of the main Higgs-searching experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, said in the video. “We think this is pretty darned significant.

Leaked Video Appears to Accidentally Announce Higgs Boson Discovery | Wired Science | Wired.com

Princeton Review Founder Launches Noodle, A Search & Recommendation Engine For Education

Knowing that it can take weeks or even months to refine a search and make a decision on all matters education, Noodle Education is today launching what it believes is a better solution: A search and recommendation engine that helps refine the process and suggest educational opportunities based on what’s important to you.

Like Google, Noodle is attempting to organize an enormous amount of data, aggregating information on a wide range of learning options. As it is today, the search and discovery process for education is fragmenting, as you navigate to one resource for test prep, another for pre-K schooling options, another for guidance counselors, and so on. So, Noodle is attempting to create the first education discovery engine that combines aggregated data with socially-enabled search to help find formal and informal educational opportunities — from tutors and schools to study abroad programs and guidance counseling.

» via TechCrunch

Passing tests doesn’t begin to compare with searching and inquiring and pursuing topics that engage us and excite us. That’s far more significant than passing tests and, in fact, if that’s the kind of educational career you’re given the opportunity to pursue, you will remember what you discovered.

Noam Chomsky on the purpose of education. (via explore-blog)

(via explore-blog)

When we venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art.

Jonah Lehrer on creating a “fourth culture” where we “freely transplant knowledge between the sciences and the humanities, and focus on connecting the reductionist fact to our actual experience.” (via explore-blog)

Hubble Discovers the First 'Waterworld,' an Exoplanet Covered in Water

The James Webb Space Telescope may someday put Hubble out of business, but until then NASA’s old standby is still making new discoveries. Today, that comes to us in the form of the first exoplanet “waterworld”—a water-covered planet shrouded by a dense, steamy atmosphere, the first confirmed planet of its kind.

The planet, known as GJ1214b, was discovered in 2009 by ground-based observations. But at that time it was difficult to glean much from the data other than the fact that the planet was indeed out there orbiting a red dwarf and is roughly 2.7 times Earth’s diameter. But its nearness to its star—just 1.3 miles away—meant that scientists could be reasonably sure it is hot there, likely around 450 degrees.

» via Popular Science