Posted August 20, 2013 by Dr. Henri Montandon in abnormal psych

See cartoons: The new New Yorker science site


Dramatic pictures and funny cartoons! Serious science and trending technology! Snappy editing and peppy prose! How would you pitch such a thing? Like combining National Geographic, Scientific American and The New Yorker . Holy Harold, what a concept!

But given The New Yorker’s penchant for subjects which can be unusually unusual, unusually timely, or both, this should be quite a production. And also because the editors have on offer not a series of articles but a series of blogicles dated from the ides of March up until today, May1, 2013. There are 69 of them.

Unfortunately, I will be reading many of them. Gary Marcus’ discussion on the ethical crisis in science, what he terms the crisis of replicability. Michael Lemonick’s post on how amateurs via the internet are involved in real data gathering: actually one of the oldest uses of crowdsourcing. Here’s an excerpt from Michael’s blogicle:

Then they hit on the idea of recruiting ordinary citizens to help out. The scientists would tell people how to sort baby galaxies into categories, and visitors to their Web site—it was initially called “Galaxy Zoo”—would go about sorting through them. Some citizen-scientists would be better at the task than others, of course, but Lintott and Schawansky figured that the combined “votes” of large numbers of people could be trusted.

What Lintott and Schawinski didn’t expect was how popular the site would be: thousands of volunteers arrived shortly after Galaxy Zoo launched. Suddenly, they had an incredibly powerful tool at their disposal. They invited proposals for additional projects; currently, the Zooniverse site hosts fourteen, and on a recent Tuesday morning more than eight hundred and twenty-five thousand people were registered to work on at least one of them.

Now if that ain’t a mélange of fascination, I can’t imagine what is. It’s the cherry picker’s cherry picker. I find 16 out of 69 have a high interest factor for neuroscience.

And now what you have been waiting for, the weekly cartoon.

Dr. Henri Montandon