Some science success

It seems science is fighting back a little. The British Chiropractic Association has dropped libel action against science writer Simon Singh following their recent courtroom defeat. The BCA had been arguing that Singh pointing out in an article that there is no evidence base for Chiropractic therapy was defamatory. The psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman (who tweets here) created this image to celebrate. It is notable that the furor over the case has led to both a popular campaign and promises from all three main parties to proceed with libel reform. Some comments on the result are here.

A dutch nurse has had her murder convictions quashed after scientific evidence finally prevailed to show the seven murders she was convicted of might not even be unnatural deaths. As in the case of Roy Meadows and cot death, statistics were used in an entirely illiterate way in the original conviction.

Meanwhile the race to Mars is back on. President Obama has turned the sights of NASA on a manned asteroid mission for the mid 2020’s and a Mars mission for the decade after. Announcing an extra $6 billion in funding over five years, he also resurrected the Orion capsule (part of the canceled Constellation program) in a modified form as a potential lifeboat for the International Space Station.

…and the BBC is to show a program on the history of science. Presented by Michael Mosley and covering the last three millennia, The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion will look at how curiosity and the tools to act on it came together in humanity’s hands.

In case you were wondering if this was all having some effect, some heartening news from my own bit of the world (or nearby) as an article appeared about some students having a lesson in spectroscopy and the electromagnetic spectrum using night vision goggles.

Meanwhile back in the world of real astronomy, things aren’t good in terms of funding or career paths according to the Science and Technology Facilities Council in a session at the Royal Astronomical Society’s Glasgow based National Astronomy Meeting, 2010. Now if only we had a council whose job it was to show leadership, structure and fight for these things…

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