The myth of ‘settled science’

Charles Krauthhammer says there is no such thing as “settled science”:

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. [Read more...]

Abortion and 19th century science

Great comment on the Justice halts birth control mandate post from Kerner:

The majority opinion of Roe vs. Wade balances the “right to privacy” of the mother against the “potential human life” of the unborn child. Basically, a small group of men who were born in the 19th century, applied 19th century knowledge about biology, genetics and obstetrics to determine that a human fetus was not really human and therefore not entitled to Constitutional protection. By considering this as purely a women’s rights issue, we ended up with Roe vs. Wade. . . . [Read more...]

The NSA’s encryption-busting quantum computer

The NSA is working on the development of a quantum computer that could foil all public encryption systems.  The description of this technology, after the jump, combines weird physics, weird mathematics, and weird surveillance. [Read more...]

Reading a novel is good for your brain

The kind of research that we literature professors appreciate:

Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading, scientists have said. [Read more...]

The geometric form of the year

Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions.

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Scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of the year?

Along the lines of the amplituhedron, above, what would you say was the top scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of 2013?