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Knowing history: Behind Civ Vs Brave New World | Polygon June 27, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Academic Technology, Museum History, Video Games.
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DESIGNER ED BEACH ON BRAVE NEW WORLDS ANTIQUITY SITES”What we do is … we have a number of events that are worthy of archaeological data storage. We get one of those on the [game] tile and we write that in there. The oldest one wins.”We want to try to unearth all that ancient stuff. So where that goodie hut was has been recorded. If theres a battle there now, that probably wont get recorded on that tile, just because we want to keep remembering the goodie hut. That was the oldest kernel of information about that site.”When you start to work those antiquity sites and send an archaeologist out there, you have two choices. You can create a landmark there. Thats going to provide culture. Once you get hotels and airports online, it also produces tourism. Or you can bring it back to your museum. Obviously, if its outside your territory, you probably want to bring it back. But the ones that are in your territory, you have to decide which way to go on that.”The amount of culture and tourism generated is based on how old it is. That increases during the game, so its a really simple formula. If youre in the medieval era, which is the third era in the game, and this goodie hut was from the ancient era — where we are right now, the first era in the game — its just two eras further, so you get two culture from it. But as you go, each era you progress through the game, all your sites start building up more and more.”You always want to keep those oldest landmarks possible, because then you get the greater culture out of them. Sometimes you dont remember. Was there really a goodie hut there? But its really cool. Like, occasionally one was in a very interesting spot, where you got it just before some other player got to it, so you remember that. The barbarian camps, I tend to remember them the best, because those usually required a little bit of effort to root them out.”When you get the antiquity site that says, Hey, there was a barbarian camp here and you plundered it, thats kind of fun to remember.”

via Knowing history: Behind Civ Vs Brave New World | Polygon.

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Confirmed: A Star System with Three Potentially Habitable Planets! June 25, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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When we reported on Gregory’s claim back in December, we spoke to Abel Méndez, an Associate Professor of Physics and Astrobiology. At the time, he told io9 that, “the planets as described [in the unpublished paper] are dynamically unstable. Therefore, one or more of the proposed planets does not exist or have different parameters.”

via Confirmed: A Star System with Three Potentially Habitable Planets!.

Institute for Science and International Security › About › About ISIS June 24, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Science Policy.
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About ISISThe Institute for Science and International Security ISIS is a non-profit, non-partisan institution dedicated to informing the public about science and policy issues affecting international security. Its primary focus is on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology to other nations and terrorists, bringing about greater transparency of nuclear activities worldwide, strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, and achieving deep cuts in nuclear arsenals. ISIS is widely recognized both as a source of authoritative information on nuclear programs in states that seek or possess nuclear weapons and an important contributor to efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. ISIS’s projects integrate technical, scientific, and policy research in order to build a sound foundation for a wide variety of efforts to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons to U.S. and international security.ISIS was founded in 1993 on a belief that scientists have an obligation to play an active role in finding solutions to important national and international security problems. Since its inception, ISIS has produced internationally recognized technical assessments of proliferant-state efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. ISIS has an established record of distributing its findings and analysis widely among government officials, scientists, experts, the media, and the general public.  Media and government officials in turn often seek out ISIS for independent analysis on non-proliferation topics. During times of international crisis, ISIS’s balanced and credible analysis is often found at the center of public debates. It has worked regularly in the U.S. and abroad to unite government officials, independent experts, scientists, and the public in efforts to find credible strategies to solve U.S., regional, and global security problems.In two decades of experience, ISIS has demonstrated its ability to employ science in the pursuit of international peace.  ISIS’s effectiveness as a non-governmental organization was recognized in the 2011 and 2012 Global “Go-To Think Tanks” rankings, which placed ISIS in the top 25 Science and Technology Think Tanks in the world.

via Institute for Science and International Security › About › About ISIS.

US NSF – EHR – DRL – Division Static Template June 23, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Academic Technology, Science Education, Science Museum Environment.
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DRL invests in projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM learning for people of all ages. Its mission includes promoting innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all STEM disciplines by advancing cutting-edge knowledge and practices in both formal and informal learning settings. DRL also promotes the broadening and deepening of capacity and impact in the educational sciences by encouraging the participation of scientists, engineers, and educators from the range of disciplines represented at NSF. Therefore, DRLs role in the larger context of Federal support for education research and evaluation is to be a catalyst for change—advancing theory, method, measurement, development, and application in STEM education. The Division seeks to advance both early, promising innovations as well as larger-scale adoptions of proven educational innovations. In doing so, it challenges the field to create the ideas, resources, and human capacity to bring about the needed transformation of STEM education for the 21st century.

via US NSF – EHR – DRL – Division Static Template.

How Darwin helped invent the idea of aliens June 17, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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And, they declared, nothing in this theory contradicted religious teachings. Creation, they said, was not an act of God, but the consequence of natural laws—established by God—which did not require His constant intervention. And, just as God had created laws, such as gravity, which governed the physical realm, so too had the “Divine Author” drafted “beautiful regulations” to guide the development of organic life. “For it may be asked, if He, as appears, has chosen to employ inferior organisms as a generative medium for the production of higher ones, even including ourselves, what right have we, his humble creatures, to find fault?” wrote Robert Chambers, a Scottish geologist and natural philosopher, in his controversial, though hugely popular 1844 book, Vestiges of Natural Creation.

via How Darwin helped invent the idea of aliens.

Water On Mars: NASAs Opportunity Rover Finds Evidence That Red Planet May Have Supported Life June 9, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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NASAs Mars rover Opportunity has made perhaps the biggest discovery of its nearly 10-year career, finding evidence that life may have been able to get a foothold on the Red Planet long ago.The Opportunity rover spotted clay minerals in an ancient rock on the rim of Mars Endeavour Crater, suggesting that benign, neutral-pH water once flowed through the area, scientists said.”This is water you could drink,” Opportunity principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University told reporters today June 7, explaining why the rock, dubbed “Esperance,” stands out from other water-soaked stones the rover has studied. [Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life Photos]”This is water that was probably much more favorable in its chemistry, in its pH, in its level of acidity, for things like prebiotic chemistry — the kind of chemistry that could lead to the origin of life,” Squyres added.

via Water On Mars: NASAs Opportunity Rover Finds Evidence That Red Planet May Have Supported Life.

Never-Before-Seen Alien Planet Imaged Directly in New Photo | Space.com June 3, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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A sharp new photo released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today (June 3) depicts the suspected gas giant (called HD 95086 b) circling its young star (named HD 95086) in infrared light. The star has been removed from the image to allow the planet — shown as a bright blue dot at the bottom left of the picture — to shine through.

via Never-Before-Seen Alien Planet Imaged Directly in New Photo | Space.com.

Alien Earths May Not Be Only Exoplanets Capable Of Supporting Life, Astronomer Says June 3, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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Scientists searching for signs of life beyond our solar system should keep an open mind, for planets very different than Earth may well be habitable, a prominent researcher says.While it may seem natural to zero in on “alien Earths,” such a narrow focus would exclude many potentially life-supporting exoplanets, whose diversity continues to astound astronomers, says Sara Seager of MIT.

via Alien Earths May Not Be Only Exoplanets Capable Of Supporting Life, Astronomer Says.