Links for 2012-09-12

In which we learn about a new science communication service, some history of astronomy, a more complete definition of “one-hit wonder,” and a new science award promoting basic research.


  • Bowler Hat Science

    Matthew Francis launches his Media Empire, offering a variety of talks (both public lectures and research talks), and more importantly workshops on communicating science to a general audience.

  • Transit of Venus History: Deaths and Dilemmas – News Blog –

    Western astronomers in 1761 may not have been the first to see a transit of Venus. The renowned Arab scientist Ibn Sina noted, “I saw Venus as a spot on the surface of the sun,” so Sina may in fact have witnessed the transit of Venus in May 1032, said R. C. Kapoor (Indian Institute of Astrophysics). Though scholars previously thought that the transit of Venus would not have been visible where Ibn Sina lived, Kapoor suggested that Ibn Sina might have seen the event from two cities in modern Iran: Isfahan, where Ibn Sina lived after 1023, or Hamadan, where he died, and where a university is named after him.

  • 100 & Single: Three Rules To Define The Term “One-Hit Wonder” In 2012 – New York – Music – Sound of the City

    [N]o chart-related phrase seems to have struck the general public’s fancy like “one-hit wonder.” It’s catchy—not unlike the songs it denotes—and it’s adaptable. We’ve seen it applied to politics and business. But when “one-hit wonder” is meant to describe, y’know, music, it gets a little too adaptable. Sure, there are undeniable, undisputed OHWs like Los Del Rio, the suited, middle-aged Spaniards behind “Macarena” who dominated the Hot 100 in 1996 and never graced an American chart again after 1997. But the term has also been used to describe a slew of acts who generated at least a pair of hits—or more.

  • First Golden Goose Awards Honor Ideas That Hatched Unexpectedly – ScienceInsider

    Martin Chalfie thought the Golden Goose Award was a hoax at first. But now that he knows what it is, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Columbia University says that receiving the award this Thursday in a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., will be “a highlight” of his career. Intended to showcase researchers who pursue oddball topics that eventually lead to significant health and economic benefits, the awards were created by a coalition of science organizations (including AAAS, publisher of ScienceInsider) as a playful rejoinder to the “Golden Fleece Awards” awarded by the late Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), who frequently blasted government-funded basic research as a waste of taxpayer dollars.