On science blogs

A NASA scientist calls new Martian data "one for the history books." So does that mean Life on Mars? Heavens no, says NASA. It was all just a misunderstanding. Tune in Monday to find out. Meanwhile, Elon Musk wants to send millions of people to Mars. How? Perhaps reusable rockets. Have they found the gene that makes us human? Oh, c'mon. You know perfectly well that no single gene makes us human.

Spyfall: Finding a way to bring science to the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell-Jill Kelley-John Allen-Frederick Humphries II-CIA-FBI-Pentagon-Gmail scandal. Lessons for digital privacy: There isn't any. If only Petraeus had known about oxytocin and the evolutionary trend toward monogamy. An oxytocin variant in C. elegans. A vegetative patient speaks, in a manner of speaking. The people speak too, and vote for legal marijuana. The result: more research and more work for science writers.

Nate Silver's accurate election polling analysis this year has made him a god of science even though his record is spottier than is generally known. Obamacare will not be repealed. But it will probably be revised — and eventually we'll find out if it becomes popular. In his victory speech, Obama finally mentioned global warming. But big action on climate change does not look likely.

Hurricane Sandy and the science of weather. There's no way to know if human-caused global warming made Sandy worse--but humans are definitely responsible for the degree of devastation . Links to many Sandy photos. Sandy killed thousands of lab mice and rats but gave life to birders. Sandy, Presidential politics, and suddenly climate change is an election issue at last. The politics of health care and the Nate Silver backlash. Yes, it's yet more on Jonah Lehrer.

More meningitis and more deaths — and probably more on the way. The new, industrial-strength, compounding pharmacy. "A spectacular failure of consumer protection." Who should regulate compounding pharmacies? A neurosurgeon claims meningitis took him to heaven. And then, big surprise, he wrote a book about it. A neurologist explains what really happened. NASW meeting next week, @ScienceWriters, #sciwri12. How to write and market science and medical ebooks.

Hormone therapy in rehab. Again. New hormone therapy data confirm that timing matters. The Nobel Prizes. Chemistry is biology, and biology is physics. Reprogramming stem cells: betcha didn't know it dates to 1962. G protein-coupled receptors: "bio with huge pharma implications." Physics: uhhhh ... But why not the Higgs boson?

Fraud is the reason for most research paper retractions. Nobelist is trying to clean up social science methodology. Fraudulent peer review and peer reviewers. Is this the End of Science? Politicians misrepresent the facts, too. Lies, damn lies, and statistics about health care and environmental issues clogged the presidential debate between Obama and Romney, but climate change was ignored. Al Gore says Obama's lame performance was due to Denver's altitude.

Jonah Lehrer resurfaces briefly to announce that he's writing about fraudulent science writing. What a surprise. Genetically manipulated organisms, giant rat tumors, and how to promote a book and movie. Scientific research declares that bad science writing is all the fault of scientists.

The mouse retrovirus XMRV does not cause chronic fatigue syndrome, but there's more, much more. XMRV doesn't cause prostate cancer either. But, you heard it here first, maybe some other infection does? Should PLoS have retracted the prostate cancer paper without consulting the authors? Plus, savor the big book of best science blogging.

New York City's Health Department is requiring parental consent for a specific form of Jewish ritual circumcision amid claims that it interferes with religious freedom. The pediatricians' official claim that circumcision is good for you and prevents disease appears to be preaching to the converted. How are bloggers at Discover paid? An encore for the ENCORE dispute. What does it mean to say 80% of the human genome is functional?

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