Science Writing, Predicting Rainfall, and Language: Lux Recommends #298

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #298, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

Articles

Sunlight affects whether languages have a word for ‘blue’: “Culture and topography also play important roles” — Sam

Researcher explains how girls are socialized to have limited political ambitionDeena

A one-way ticket. A cash-stuffed teddy bear. A dream decades in the making: “For Katalin Kariko, a life in full: Awe-inspiring ideas, careful experiments, unnoticed successes and the repeated sting of rejection” — Ankeeta

Slowed canonical progress in large fields of scienceSujude

Ladies who launch: Women are powering the private space industry: “The billionaire flyboys of space tourism get all the attention, but women are developing some of the most promising technologies designed for the final frontier.” — Deena

DeepMind AI predicts incoming rainfall with high accuracySam

How Artificial Intelligence Completed Beethoven’s Unfinished Tenth Symphony: “On October 9, the work will be performed in Bonn, Germany, and a recording will be released” — Deena

Charted: McRib meterSam

What Even Counts as Science Writing Anymore? “The pandemic made it clear that science touches everything, and everything touches science.” — Deena

An Inconvenient Truth About AI: “AI won’t surpass human intelligence anytime soon” — Sam

Books

Paths of Innovation: Technological Change in 20th-Century America by David C. Mowery and Nathan Rosenberg: “The first digital electronic computer, the ENIAC, was over 100 feet long, with 18,000 simultaneously functioning vacuum tubes. Now virtually every business and home in America has its own compact PC. In 1903 the Wright brothers’ airplane, held together with baling wire and glue, traveled a couple hundred yards. Today fleets of streamlined jets transport millions of people per day to cities worldwide. Between discovery and application, between invention and widespread use, there is a world of innovation, of tinkering and improvements and adaptations. This is the world David Mowery and Nathan Rosenberg map out in Paths of Innovation, a tour of the intersecting routes of the technological.” — Ankeeta

Movies

The Many Saints of Newark: “A prequel to Chase’s HBO crime drama series The Sopranos, it takes place during the 1960s and 1970s in Newark, New Jersey.” — Jon Brantz, friend of Lux

Videos

Recording an Audio Track Using a Paper CupAdam K

Watch COVID-19 spread across the United StatesPeter

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