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How Do You Keep Up With Science Developments?

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the update-please dept.

Science 337

malraid writes "As a nerd who used to love science back in high school (specially physics), I now find myself completely disconnected from any and all scientific developments and news. How do you try to stay up to date with scientific developments? Science journals? Whatever makes it into Slashdot's front page? Books? Magazines? I'm looking for something engaging and informative, for not something that will require me to go and get a PhD just to be able to comprehend."

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The Internet, where else? (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 3 years ago | (#36904958)

Seriously though, the Internet is actually where just about everybody goes in academia to stay on top of the latest research and most areas of focus have their own resources like PubMed for biomedical research.

Also, a good way to make sure you keep up with the absolute torrent of work out there (slowing due to budget cuts) is by keeping a blog generated around the area of science interest you have. Webvision http://webvision.med.utah.edu/ [utah.edu] is such an effort to keep up with the latest and greatest in vision research. While this one is tuned to be slightly more accessible to the general public, it has not been uncommon for other lay individuals to rapidly become "experts" in their fields through their blogs. This high school kid, Sawyer has established a blog http://www.talkingspaceonline.com/ [talkingspaceonline.com] that already has him winning awards and getting international accolades from folks like Xeni Jardin and Miles O'Brien.

Re:The Internet, where else? (2)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#36905372)

While I agree with your post and hope that it continues. The internet cannot contain all the information.
Due to the corporate mentality of I.P. and the subsequent patent/copyright laws that go with it, not everything is on the internet.
The medical field for example has multiple white papers, theories, and discoveries hidden behind a wall of corporate "foundations" that require $$ to gain access to.
Something that is the exact opposite of what the internet was originally intended.
Perhaps one day these barriers will be broken, but until then journals and subscription requirements will be required for some of our higher level knowledge.

Re:The Internet, where else? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#36905378)

Or science blog-aggregators:

http://cb.openmolecules.net/blogs.php [openmolecules.net]

(for chemistry). I suppose that there are notable individuals as well, like http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ [scienceblogs.com] (PZ Myers).

Re:The Internet, where else? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#36905430)

Actually, not pharyngula. If you want atheist polemic (and I say that as a non-believer) then fine. If you want actual science, maybe not.

Re:The Internet, where else? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905404)

That's the POINT.

There isn't one good site.
There are very specialized sites, and a shitload of shitty blogs.

I want something like this magazine, as a website: http://www.spektrum.de/artikel/1116381 [spektrum.de]
(German edition of the Scientific American, but with a long pre-S.A. tradition.)

Maybe a bit more physics-centered. But that's my personal preference.

Keep it simple (5, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | about 3 years ago | (#36904960)

Just read slashdot.

Re:Keep it simple (1)

nightranger (149267) | about 3 years ago | (#36905050)

agreed 100%.

Re:Keep it simple (2)

LyndonL (2309894) | about 3 years ago | (#36905054)

I just use an RSS reader (Google works for me since it syncs over all my PCs and Mobile) and then I have feeds for: Popular Science (Popsci) Gizmodo Gizmag Slashdot obviously The RSS tells me when I have and haven't read an article so I can keep up with where I'm at.

Re:Keep it simple (4, Funny)

Nasajin (967925) | about 3 years ago | (#36905092)

I just come here and hit F5 as fast as I can, just in case I miss something.

Re:Keep it simple (2)

xTantrum (919048) | about 3 years ago | (#36905126)

ahh yeah. how about don't do that. start here [eurekalert.org] . Then just browse and follow your interests, wherever it may take you.

Re:Keep it simple (5, Insightful)

tloh (451585) | about 3 years ago | (#36905338)

Slashdot is a great community for smart people. But, with respect, a person can be smart in one area but be embarrassingly ignorant in almost everything else. Slashdot is strong in technology and select physical sciences - perhaps to a fault. But those of us who've participated here for a while can relate a few cringe worthy episodes involving context in the biological sciences, history/geography, social/cultural awareness, etc. There is a fanatically liberal, pro-western slant to topics and opinions to the point where innovations, tech, or ideas originating in "the enemy camp" (Chinese, GOP, etc.) is regarded with derision.

Don't get me wrong - on most subjects, my personal views align more often than not with what I see on slashdot. But I experience intolerance/extremism and narrow-minded ignorance here more often than I would like from my own camp, and I am embarrassed by it. Slashdot is enjoyable as thought provoking entertainment that at times can be delightfully silly. But I would not trust Slashdot as a serious way to keep up with science developments.

Re:Keep it simple (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 years ago | (#36905612)

There is a fanatically liberal, pro-western slant to topics and opinions to the point where innovations, tech, or ideas originating in "the enemy camp" (Chinese, GOP, etc.) is regarded with derision.

True to a point but your own post goes some way towards proving you wrong. Yes, slashdot does have biases. However, it is a much more open discussion forum than any other website I have visited and there are usually people either playing devils odvocate for the hell of it, or who simply hold different views. There are enough moderators that these views can and do become visible, too.

This is the reason I keep coming back here. I have actually had my opinions changed by slashdot discussions before.

As for keeping on top of science without ploughing through all new research by hand, it's probably worth using a mix of things like New Scientist, SciAm and yes, slashdot (for physics, engineering and tech).

Journals, websites.... (2)

Nikker (749551) | about 3 years ago | (#36904964)

Where ever you can get it. Sciencedaily.com is one and a subscription to Science (AAAS) is another.

Re:Journals, websites.... (4, Informative)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | about 3 years ago | (#36905042)

Sciencedaily is good, but the sheer volume of content is very difficult to keep up with.

I personally like arstechnica's science coverage. Their articles are *always* well researched and written and usually very interesting. http://arstechnica.com/science/ [arstechnica.com]

MIT Technology Review and The Economist (5, Informative)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 3 years ago | (#36905194)

As a CS PhD myself, I also feel the need to keep up with the general sciences. My favourite sources of science news are two magazines: MIT Technology Review and the technology section of The Economist. Both are extremely well-written and distill recent cutting-edge science down into laymen's terms. Both have great websites and great iPad applications. The Economist additionally has a Technology Quarterly issue once every 3 months (duh) that should definitely not be missed.

For Computer Science-related technology articles from research labs and academia that's written for laymen, IEEE Computer Society's Computer magazine and the ACM's Communications of the ACM are great.

If you want something a bit more dumbified, then Wired magazine is very good. I've been subscribing for over 10 years and just recently switched over to an iPad subscription.

Re:MIT Technology Review and The Economist (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#36905456)

the technology section of The Economist. The Economist additionally has a Technology Quarterly issue once every 3 months (duh) that should definitely not be missed.

Agree with this; Economist does a good review (possibly with a free-market slant, but hey :) and can be balanced with the New Scientist. I don't really like the american one ("Science"?) but that might be a cultural thing.

Science News magazine (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 3 years ago | (#36904966)

sciencenews.org

Slim weekly, decent reporters.

Re:Science News magazine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904992)

Physorg agregates nearly all the science news i can handle. I've been using that one sites for years.

Re:Science News magazine (3, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 3 years ago | (#36905000)

Absolutely. Read it before it hits Slashdot (sometimes days before) at that site. The paper mag is well worth the cost also if you don't like trees.

Re:Science News magazine (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 3 years ago | (#36905090)

I like sciencenews.org, but I also like http://www.sciencedaily.com/ [sciencedaily.com] as a good source on a variety of science related subjects.
Oops,I almost pulled a Palin and typed "sciency".

go with twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36904972)

Follow scientists on twitter. Works for me in topics not within my own research.

As an American (5, Funny)

Riktov (632) | about 3 years ago | (#36904980)

Here are some great science sites that I, and many of my fellow countrymen, can recommend.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/ [answersingenesis.org]
http://www.globalwarminghoax.com/news.php [globalwarminghoax.com]

Re:As an American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905040)

Is this guy serious?

trolololooo

Re:As an American (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905386)

With a 3 digit UID, he's as close to Allah as you will ever get.

Re:As an American (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 3 years ago | (#36905102)

No I think he was actually looking for real science, not pull-it-out-of-your-ass bullshit science.

Re:As an American (2, Informative)

DrBoumBoum (926687) | about 3 years ago | (#36905360)

I think you got wooshed.

Re:As an American (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 3 years ago | (#36905170)

Well played Riktov, well played indeed.

Re:As an American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905348)

I randomly clicked all the links that were +5 then stumbled upon the two above. This should be modded +5 scary. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/1999/11/05/dinosaurs-and-the-bible -----WTF

Re:As an American (2, Interesting)

cbarcus (600114) | about 3 years ago | (#36905512)

Science is a relatively recent human development, and our mentality is still very much in transition from one that is religious and superstitious, to one that is rational, impartial, contemplative, curious, humble, and never satisfied. The above post is a good example of what is currently seen as a cognitive disease of ignorance, which unfortunately has likely propagated due to our failure to reduce the cost of energy.

I hate to have to repeat what is indisputable fact, but Evolution and Global Warming are not seriously contested within Science. The Universe is currently estimated to be about 13 billion years old, while the Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago (knowledge made possible by advances in physics). Most life began about 500 million years ago with the Cambrian Explosion, most likely instigated by a dramatic increase of oxygen in the atmosphere. Humans evolved as a particularly virulent branch of hominids, and we as a species are most notable due to our advanced culture, which I am sad to add is still not sustainable.

What is not particularly well known is how serious the Energy Crisis is, how it is affecting the economy, and what is likely to be the only practical solution in the short term. The central issue with energy is how much one gets out of what one puts in. This principle is known as Net Energy. Our return from our energy system has probably been in decline for some 40 years- or about the time when domestic US oil production peaked. Since then, on essentially borrowed time, we have failed to come to terms with this problem. As energy becomes more expensive to harvest, more of the economy must be devoted to harnessing that energy. To further exasperate things, the dominate form of energy today, fossil fuels, basically involves taking what was once sequestered from the atmosphere, harvesting it for energy, and releasing a particular byproduct back into the atmosphere (CO2). This gas acts in such a way as to cause the climate system to retain more energy, which in turn alters the weather. Long-term, the effects are very likely to be catastrophic for civilization, which has largely adapted to inhabiting coastlines.

Since renewables solve, in theory, the carbon problem, many have seized upon them as the solution. What they do not solve is the net energy problem, so while you can “farm” energy in a bewildering variety of ways, they are fundamentally energy sparse, and so energy will remain expensive, regardless of what is done. This conundrum has basically driven our society over the edge with one side trying to impose an unworkable solution on a completely non-compliant and denying opposition.

Nuclear energy remains the only source with the energy density to solve this problem. Unfortunately, the current technology is expensive, fault-prone, inefficient, non-scalable, inflexible, and dirty, all of which has fuelled detractors. Many nuclear alternatives have been proposed, but they remain to date completely unproven (FocusFusion, General Fusion, TriAlpha) or distant and expensive (ITER, NIF).

We do have a technology that is proven, affordable, clean, flexible, efficient, and scalable, but we have to do some work to get it ready for commercialization. Back in the 60s, some intrepid scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratories invented an amazing machine that used a liquid fuel based on U-233 that could be produced from the abundant element thorium. The beauty of this invention is that it solves many of the problems that plague our current technology, delivering an inherently safe and super efficient source of energy that will last indefinitely. China already announced earlier this year that they are pursuing Green Nuclear, and it would be prudent for us to join the Thorium Race at this juncture. Doing so almost guarantees that we will eventually have the resources to end poverty, provide social services to everyone, ensure world peace, and have flying cars! This isn’t science fiction, but it could be our reality if we act with intelligence.

Ted (4, Interesting)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 years ago | (#36905008)

I'd advise Ted [ted.com] . The short films are quite comprehensible.

Re:Ted (1)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#36905046)

I'd advise Ted [ted.com] . The short films are quite comprehensible.

TED was great but it's not what it use to be. Nor are most of the podcasts I use to listen to like Astronomy Cast and Radiolab.

Re:Ted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905426)

Ted has the huge problem, that it's nothing but opinions.
No science there. Just fascinated people telling pseudo-smart stuff to a set of people too dumb to know what real science is.

It's nice for some insights into things. But it's not what you want, when you want science. You know... stuff that's actually backed by something.
Instead of ... at best... just somebody saying that there was this study, and hoping you never Google for it, since it doesn't exist or says something completely different. Or ...at worst... utter bullshit opinion pieces wrapped in a smart and serious sounding tone.

http://www.eurekalert.org/ (1)

ihaveamo (989662) | about 3 years ago | (#36905010)

I read http://www.eurekalert.org/ [eurekalert.org] . Fantastic stuff.

you don't need a PhD to get a BSc (1)

lanc (762334) | about 3 years ago | (#36905020)

I recommend online studies.
No, not those online degree spams. But for example on www.studyastronomy.com I found that being able to choose the courses I'm really interested in (mostly cosmology/astronomy) while taking just a single course a year instead of four if I want to, puts the fun right back into studying the subject I'm interested in.
Just my 2 EUR cents.

new scientist (4, Informative)

thephydes (727739) | about 3 years ago | (#36905024)

is amongst the most accessible (easiest to understand) general coverage science magazines. Scientific American is amongst the least accessible of this type imo. The zinio http://zinio.com/ [zinio.com] subscription to New Scientist is less than half the shelf price, and can be read on your computer or an ipad (don't know about other e-readers)

Re:new scientist (2)

dadioflex (854298) | about 3 years ago | (#36905056)

Beat me to it. Of course there's also the New Scientist website [newscientist.com] .

Re:new scientist (4, Interesting)

dcmeserve (615081) | about 3 years ago | (#36905116)

Scientific American is amongst the least accessible of this type imo.

Not sure what you mean by "accessible", because I find it very readable in every subject area -- physics, biology, geology, what have you -- even though I have little or no training in any of those beyond some basic high school or college classes. (my degree is in C.S.)

And I still find new ideas and concepts in there that just knock my socks off -- the small-molecule theory of the origin of life, for example. This even though I've been reading it and Science News for nearly 30 years now.

Re:new scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905140)

+1. I am doing research myself and find scientific american to be the best general source of getting updated (even, to some extent. in my own field). I only stopped subscribing due to all the spam they sent me - by snail mail.

Re:new scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905124)

My vote also goes to New Scientist. If you receive the weekly subscription, it is a good 2 hour read of all the latest goings on. It comes with deep reviews of certain areas of science, general science news, and the bleeding edge science. Highly recomended.

Google Reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905036)

Sign up for "Not exactly rocket science".
Sign up for "Bad Astronomy".
Sign up for "gnxp"

Not easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905044)

Science news sites like Science Daily, Scientific American, etc. can help some. Familiarize yourself with the classics, the Great Theories, and the great problems like the Obesity Epidemic, Global Warming, and Peak Oil. Currently there is a major scientific dispute over the theory of nutrition (low-carb vs low-fat) and the appropriate response to the energy crisis. Be patient and humble!

Science podcasts (3, Informative)

emurphy42 (631808) | about 3 years ago | (#36905048)

TED [ted.com] has already been mentioned. There are some others out there, I'm sure.

Re:Science podcasts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905352)

The Guardian's weekly science podcast is excellent:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/science

I've got just the site for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905060)

Physorg.com has every type of science news, including physics. All available in RSS as well. It is sometimes where slashdot links to. But, if you read the news from the source that is physorg (sciencedaily.com is also a easily comprehendable news source, but doesn't have as much news as physorg) you will find many big breakthroughs in science that are not covered by slashdot alone. I think Physorg uses all of the universities' website feeds from around the world, and puts them into one place. The RSS feeds on physorg can be found through the top tab Follow Us>RSS Feeds> and then More if you only want only the physics news, or whichever and however many specific topics you choose to be each in their own feed.

Not possible (1)

lazy_arabica (750133) | about 3 years ago | (#36905062)

Sorry to say that, but just reading sensationalist headlines, or even more "in-depth" explanations from knowledgeable scientists won't allow you to "keep up with science developments". Sure, you may learn (for example) that the Higgs boson has been found (or not), but you won't know:

- How.
- Nor which role it plays in the standard model, besides that "it allows to explain why some particles have a mass".

I fail to see what differentiates such knowledge from the belief our ancestors had that earth was flat, heavier body fell faster in vacuum than lighter ones, or that our body was filled with "humors", an unbalance of whom caused illnesses. Sure, we all think modern scientists are more trustable than the scientists of these times, but that does not change the fact that our belief in latest science developments are not more grounded than were the beliefs of the past.

Re:Not possible (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905312)

In which case those of us in active research have failed.

How would you prefer this to be addressed? We normally try and be open about how we research, why we research, the techniques that are used, the conclusions that can be drawn, flaws with the model, alternative explanations, and our level of certainty that we're right. We also try very hard to make sure that that last is quantifiable and not just some subjective feeling.

(In reference to the Higg's boson discoveries, for example, the last I knew (and it's not my field) they were claiming roughly 3.5 sigma or so. That's a nice discovery, given that one sigma is a standard deviation. In cosmology we tend to believe something if it's at 3.5 sigma... and particle physicists laugh at us. We *have* to do that because of a lack of data; they don't. They want to push it to 5 sigma or so. This holds in other fields. People try and actually quantify how sure they are that this result is better than some control. In cosmology there's even a trend to go further and attempt to quantify whether this *model* is better than another.)

What would you like improved so that we're not as bad as the mediaeval scientists?

Re:Not possible (1)

lazy_arabica (750133) | about 3 years ago | (#36905434)

Actually, I'm not saying that you failed. I'm just saying that believing in science is no better than believing in anything else. For us mere mortals, it's not possible to "keep up with science" as we'll never understand the scientific background of these new discoveries, nor what they fully mean.

I /do/ believe in the scientific process, and I'm sure you guys are much more rigorous than mediaeval scientists were :) I'm just saying that for many people, geeks included, science is just a new religion. Keeping up with the "dogma" is a noble goal, but it doesn't make you really understand modern science.

Re:Not possible (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905494)

Hmm OK. Thanks for the response, I don't know if I came across as over-defensive while I'm actually interested in knowing whether we're communicating properly with the people who pay our wages.... Then would you say that things are open enough that someone wanting to understand how the conclusions are drawn can find that out?

I know in my field that to do that in full would be *extremely* tough -- the example of redoing the WMAP CMB angular power spectrum is a real one. There's a Chinese team, just two people, who took the raw time-ordered data and went through the entire process a couple of years back. The reaction in my university, and amongst anyone else I've talked to about it, is blank astonishment that they'd even do it. It seriously must have taken years. It's brilliant that they did it (although the prevailing belief is that they made a slight mistake at one point, which produced their only significant difference from WMAP; if they did that's hardly a surprise and quite excusable, and if they didn't then they should probably make more of a deal about it) but it's amazing. I don't have the time, or the ability even, to go through that process. Other fields can't be any more accessible. I'm really just asking whether further and more detailed information is easy enough to find, or whether there's a massive, unbridgable gulf between the basic "This happens! Ain't it magical?" level and the hardcore specialist journals.

Re:Not possible (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905508)

Oh, hang on, my CMB angular power spectrum response was to someone else. (And I think I *was* being a bit over-defensive there. All he was suggesting is that it's not real science if you can't get the data and reproduce it... at least in principle. And I totally agree with that.)

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2352470&cid=36905322 [slashdot.org]

Re:Not possible (1)

lazy_arabica (750133) | about 3 years ago | (#36905574)

Well, I'd say it is possible (it surely is, as some people actually do it !), but is indeed extremely hard.

Attaining the level of a master degree in any field seems possible to anyone with the required intelligence and power of will. The real gap might lie somewhere between master degree and PhD. At this level, the resources are pretty rare and sparse, and there is no easy entry point. It's quite understandable, as there are much fewer PhDs than BSc's, so few books are written for this audience. Also, I believe the field is not always cleared enough to be explained in one, standardized way like undergraduate or even graduate-level science: the didactic tools, standard exercises etc. might not always have been built - but that's only my impression, I might be wrong. And at this level, it's usually expected that you'll be guided in the field by some older, more experienced scientist, who knows what's most important and what you have to study first to understand some concept.

Re:Not possible (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905602)

To be honest, I'd say even at PhD level, anyone with reasonable intelligence and dedication can get a PhD. Not in every field (I'd never be able to get a PhD in pure maths or computer science, let alone in comparitive theology), but in *some* field that fits their interests. As you say, though, resources are very scarce in anything other than some areas of the sciences, and competition can be fierce. It doesn't get better down the line, either. There are too many PhDs being produced for the number of post-doctoral positions, and too many young post-doctors (each costing more than a newly-qualified PhD due to their experience) for the same posts, and then too many of them for the 5-year/tenure-track positions and too many of *them* for the permanent posts. There's a cut-off at each step.

It wasn't entirely what I was meaning, though. It's ultimately unrealistic for a layman in a field to be able to reproduce, or even entirely understand, a scientific report. I'm out of my depth if I just go and talk with people down the hall, and we're all theoretical cosmologists. When I'm visiting other universities I get to talk to people doing another part of astronomy, and I'm floundering even more... Expecting someone who hasn't been steeped in this for the last 14 years to understand would be pretty silly of me.

I was meaning whether there's a feeling that the tools and explanations are there at each level of sophistication -- so that you can read a brief press release, go into more detail, go into a bit more, and find an explanation at roughly the level of sophistication you're looking for, and the feeling that you *could* eventually be able to reproduce the results. Basically, whether there's an openness and a communication, or whether it looks like we're living in a locked world and occasionally throwing out crumbs to the public while we scoff the cake.

mags (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 3 years ago | (#36905066)

Been fairly happy with Discover Magazine.. cheap to get with regular deals and has some good stuff. There are all sorts of others too

Discover Magazine (1)

bar-agent (698856) | about 3 years ago | (#36905072)

Discover magazine serves my science news needs admirably. I see a lot of people recommending online sources, but really, reading things online sucks.

Science News (2)

AstroMatt (1594081) | about 3 years ago | (#36905084)

Science News is good if you like printed material. It's bi-weekly and gives moderate detail. http://www.sciencenews.org/ [sciencenews.org]

Inside Science News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905086)

http://www.insidescience.org/

Scientific American (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905088)

Scientific American is readable by anyone who deserves a high school diploma. At least half of every issue is devoted to quantitative sciences. I strongly recommend a subscription.

RSS reader and subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905094)

RSS reader

Got
http://www.newscientist.com
www.space.com
http://singularityhub.com (Bit of a odd vibe to this one though, but lots of interesting articles)

Now thanks to this post got about 5 more to add.

You really can't, for free (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | about 3 years ago | (#36905128)

You can keep up on a superficial level with the links people provided. But it's all basic science via "cause I said so!" It's not really science if you can't get full access to, well, the experimental data that makes it science. And the majority are still locked up, with high fees if you're not getting access from some paying service. It's true that a lot are free through various means, but for the most part it's a safe assumption that they won't be.

Re:You really can't, for free (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905322)

Jesus. He said that he wants to keep up to date with developments, not reanalyse the fucking data himself. What do *you* do when we release a new CMB angular power spectrum? Do you run off to NASA and download the entire WMAP raw data stream and then sit there and go through the entire analysis, from pipeline and beam correction through to foreground removal and then the full analysis of the cleaned sky? That's a two- or three-year job, on top of about 7 years training.

Christ almighty.

Re:You really can't, for free (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905516)

Sorry, I'm being way over-defensive here. If I understand your point properly I totally agree - science means someone should be able (in principle) to take the data and reproduce the results, or to *re-take* the data and reproduce the results. In practice that's basically impossible, but in principle, I totally agree with you.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2352470&cid=36905508 [slashdot.org]

Reddit! (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | about 3 years ago | (#36905130)

More specifically: www.reddit.com/r/science

My daily pop science rounds... (1)

graveyhead (210996) | about 3 years ago | (#36905132)

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/ [discovermagazine.com]
http://www.physorg.com/physics-news/ [physorg.com]
http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/ [scienceblogs.com]

Startswithabang especially goes into some very nice details about astrophysics topics and has some smart people commenting.

Depends on interest level and area (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 years ago | (#36905144)

I am a PhD student, so my specific topic I have a very high interest level in obviously. I have a google alert and an alert from pubmed (digital database of biomedical research) for certain key words on that very narrow topic. Partially so I my knowledge of that area is up to date, and partially because I'm worried someone else will publish similar conclusions to the ones I'm coming to.

If you have a broader, but still specific field you're interested in (like cell biology, or astrophysics), you might just skim through a relevant journal. There are several free online ones, like Plos one. Some other journals have highlights pages, with brief summaries of some of the most interesting research. They have very dense research articles in them written for experts in those particular fields, but the first parts of the printed journals are written for a general science audience. They'll have the highlights of the most interesting research and explain the significance, some interesting editorials. Some of that content is available for free on their websites. I don't see much use in getting a printed version delivered to you, but maybe a local library gets a copy. But if you know you're more interested in one general area that just "any science" then maybe work on regularly skimming the relevant journals.

Science at large, mostly slashdot. I seem to recall seeing some real fluff pieces, or fairly inaccurate posts on general science blogs like new scientist, but the real reason I don't frequent such websites is because I don't have much interest in such a wide scope of science. In high school I liked reading some introductory books about physics or ecology, but now if it's not cell science I feel like a fish out of water, I just don't have the background. Maybe I'm getting more closed minded. I hope not.

I read "Science" (4, Informative)

hey hey hey (659173) | about 3 years ago | (#36905152)

I subscribe to the journal Science [sciencemag.org] . While I admit the actual research articles might as well be written in Linear B, the news articles, and the in-depth sections in front are written assuming the reader is intelligent and educated, but just not an expert in the particular field. It is such a joy to read articles that aren't aimed at the lowest common denominator!

I'm sure Nature, or other similar quality journals, would work as well (I choose Science, mostly because I found a subscription card for them).

I live in Vietnam... (2)

wisebabo (638845) | about 3 years ago | (#36905160)

so keeping up with science developments is really just restricted to what I can get over the Internet.

That said, I've found the best site for news is sciencedaily.com. I found it because it was rated one of the top 100 web sites on the Internet I think by PCMag. It's really good at giving a very comprehensive (they must have several dozens of articles a day) run down on what's going on in a fashion that's accessible to the intelligent technical professional.

If technology is your thing then I'd recommend MIT's technologyreview.com. It's articles are a little more in depth and focus also on societal implications of the technology being discussed.

Finally, if you're a space nut like me, I'd recommend spacedaily.com (published by the same people who do science daily). Again it's a "just the facts ma'am" web site that is clear and to the point.

There are many other good sites but these give me what I want in the least amount of TIME (which is to me a very precious resource!).

Journals online & from libraries (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 3 years ago | (#36905176)

Since you're especially interested in physics, I'd recommend magazines like Physics Today [physicstoday.org] , which I guess is accessible from decent libraries in both online and dead-tree formats. It's not a research journal and is intended for the general audience, but is somewhat more advanced than the material you usually find online. The American Physical Society also carries an on-line journal "Physics" [aps.org] which is free to read and provides a view into what physicists from around the globe are doing. It provides commentary and explanations to notable articles published in the Physical Review journals that are only open to subscribers.

You may also want to check some open-access journals [wikipedia.org] such as the New Journal of Physics [iop.org] , and the upcoming Physical Review X [aps.org] (no content yet). But reading "real" research papers doesn't usually makes you feel it's "engaging"..

Re:Journals online & from libraries (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 3 years ago | (#36905222)

By the way, don't forget arXiv [arxiv.org] , if you're really interested in the actual research. It is where people upload the preprint versions of their papers so that they can be accessed by the public. However the articles are (mostly) unedited, raw material not yet passed peer review. It does contain some noise and rubbish, but you can get a pretty good impression of what the scientists are doing by having a look at it.

Re:Journals online & from libraries (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 3 years ago | (#36905368)

A quick correction: arXiv is the site where people post preprints, which are the versions of papers that they submit to journals. Many papers are revised once -- the authors upload the version of a paper accepted by a journal. The changes are often very minor apart from formatting. There are badly-written papers on there (and an increasing amount where someone hasn't used a spell-checker, or evidently even re-read it) but the very vast bulk are just the submission-quality paper. What a lot of authors do is prepare the preprint using the same style-file as the journal they'll submit to, meaning that the article on the arXiv is likely to be very close to the published version. Authors will then add a journal reference when the paper is published.

There's no cachet in submitting dross to a journal and expecting it to be smartened up through peer-review. Referees are busy people, refereeing out of a sense of duty to their field. They have neither time nor interest in polishing someone else's work. Likewise, journal staff are overworked and want to devote their time to dealing with the formatting, the type-setting, the layout and the image quality of a paper. They've got absolutely no interest in correcting badly-written, badly-spelled papers -- and no interest in cleaning up horrific formatting. People are aware of this, so generally what hits the arXiv is clean enough to pass through referees, editors, sub-editors and type-setters without being held up at any step.

In my field, at least, the arXiv is the first stop to find a paper that was published from about 1997 onwards. (It was there before, but in the mid-late 90s it became hard to find a paper that wasn't on the arXiv.) Only if that fails do we go off and look elsewhere.

Stick all these in your RSS (4, Informative)

Sarusa (104047) | about 3 years ago | (#36905212)

This is the best website for science news for reasonably educated but not specialized people: http://www.sciencedaily.com/ [sciencedaily.com]

Science News has a website - http://www.sciencenews.org/ [sciencenews.org] and a weekly magazine which are always good, if overly sober, though the magazine doesn't have near enough content to cover everything that happened that week.

New Scientist is a weekly mag that has drifted towards Omni or PopSci lately ('IS SENSATIONAL THING TRUE? (...no)'), but will still keep you up to date on most happenings including things you might miss online. http://www.newscientist.com/ [newscientist.com]

Scientific American is a monthly mag that's a bit too political but has some good articles: http://www.scientificamerican.com/ [scientificamerican.com]

Then there's Discover Magazine, which is a step down from either but has some good blogs: http://discovermagazine.com/ [discovermagazine.com]

Live Science is a further step down, a good site for training wheel science: http://www.livescience.com/ [livescience.com]

I won't recommend the mag Science, because even though it's The Magazine, it's not suited for the dabbler.

My balanced suggestion is add the news feeds for all of these to your RSS reader (like Google Reader), click on what looks interesting, and subscribe to New Scientist in print or on Zinio and read it every week.

Slashdot and Ars Technica (2)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | about 3 years ago | (#36905216)

Reading both feeds me with enough scientific articles for my limited appetite... Ars has some surprisingly in depth stuff at times.

Quirks & Quarks (3, Informative)

psychonaut (65759) | about 3 years ago | (#36905218)

For the last thirty years I've been getting my weekly dose of science news from Quirks & Quarks [www.cbc.ca] on CBC radio. Shows are available for download or streaming online as soon as they air, and their online archive of episodes goes back to 2000.

Email newsletters are convenient (1)

azoblue (842509) | about 3 years ago | (#36905230)

Science news delivered periodically to your inbox. Some of them are customizable, so you can receive updates only on topics of interest to you.

Highly recommended:
American Scientist [americanscientist.org]
Physorg [physorg.com]

Also interesting:
Spaceweather [spaceweather.com]
Nasa Science News [nasa.gov]
Nasa Earth Observatory [nasa.gov]
Discover Magazine [discovermagazine.com]

I imagine there are RSS feeds for most of these as well if you prefer that format.

Filtered RSS feeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905250)

I use RSSOwl.
I subscribe to about ~100 feeds.
Then create search filters for the content you want.
Only read the search filter results once a day.(once you have built them up)
The science mags have feeds, arxiv.org has fees, so do the blog sites (Bad Astronomy for example)

The only down side to this is that if something is popular you end up with it popping up many times over.
e.g. pluto's new moon etc

I'd love it if someone could produce an rss feed reader with more complex search filters (eg. word x and word y within 5 words of each other but not with word z anywhere) and with a bayesian filter (matching all of the rss feed items against each search result) to suggest things you might have missed.

No one else gets "Nature"? (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 years ago | (#36905262)

The nice part (which definitely is NOT the price for a personal subscription) is that the front has readily-accessible news articles, the middle has the "some math helps for the physics" research papers and inside the back cover are "speculative fiction" short stories ranging from good enough to AWESOME.

I wish they'd publish the short story wherein a reindeer-drawn sleigh makes a forced landing on an RAF base, which IMO, is the best Christmas story ever.

John Baez (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 3 years ago | (#36905266)

I love the mathematical physicist John Baez's stuff. (He's the singer Joan Baez's cousin.) He has a blog [wordpress.com] and a bunch of stuff [ucr.edu] on his web page including several hundred issues of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics [ucr.edu] (be warned: it's incredibly mathy, and high-level). There's tons more on his web page that's just plain interesting. I love that you can tell from his horrible site design that it was made by someone who's interested in content rather than fluff.

Using StumbleUpon to keep up with science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905292)

I find that StumbleUpon is a great tool for keeping abreast of interesting new developments in your areas of interest, including many diverse branches of science.

Google Reader for RSS Feeds (1)

Ramin_HAL9001 (1677134) | about 3 years ago | (#36905304)

I use Google reader [google.com] to read RSS feeds. I just keep a tab open all day, new items show up almost as soon as they are published. Then, I use Google reader to subscribe to RSS feeds from ArsTechnica.com, TheScientists.com, NewScientist.com, Gizmag.com, and other sites like these. Then, you can just browse through your subscribed RSS feeds for articles. Every RSS item has an article summary and links to the source article, and I read through the ones that catch my eye.

Sometimes it is hard to keep up, but I feel like I am keeping on top of things this way.

arXiv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905306)

You should visit the arXiv.org. There are plenty of good papers and discussions there. You could start with Quantum at the Crossroads by A. Valentini.

There are a lot of exciting things going on in the world of physics, and the arXiv is where a lot of discussion is happening.

IEEE spectrum, New scientist (2)

NtwoO (517588) | about 3 years ago | (#36905336)

Two mags with nice info.

zhuzhu (-1)

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Science News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905366)

EurekAlert.org

I read /. (1)

X10 (186866) | about 3 years ago | (#36905370)

I used to read New Scientist. Now I read /.

RSS (1)

amn108 (1231606) | about 3 years ago | (#36905374)

Slowly but surely make yourself familar with publications (websites) on Internet that you think you like. Find their RSS feeds and subscribe to them using your favorite RSS aggregattor application. That way you'll always have a list of what's going on, from (mostly) independent sources and without having to manually walk through a set of websites, although you can always do that too.

So, in short: websites of your liking / relevance + RSS = answer to your enquiry

Science Daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905376)

One good site that I use is Science Daily

http://www.sciencedaily.com/

RSS feeds (1)

EnigmaticIndustries (606450) | about 3 years ago | (#36905384)

I mostly use the one from Science Daily,

i get my news from sciencedaily.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905402)

Dont be fooled by 'daily'. You got cosmology, quantum physics, neural nets and everything in between (biology) .

reading is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905408)

but classes are better! maybe you can go take a night class at your local community college just for fun. it can't hurt, and who knows you might like it!

Some sources (1)

BenBoy (615230) | about 3 years ago | (#36905464)

Net: scitechdaily.com Mag: scientific american (dumbed down these days, but still a good read), the magazine "science", the magazine "nature" (both hard reads, but if you bull through, you'll be rewarded) podcast: Science Friday, RadioLab (sometimes science-y, always fun). I like working my way through the web of associations on amazon between books I've enjoyed (say "parasite rex") and books I might like ("Fever" (about the history of malaria)). Ask a friend what his/her cool ref's are ... start a salon where people bring in cool stuff they've read about.

Favourite RSS Feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905472)

PhysOrg.com has a good RSS feed

Social Media (1)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36905476)

Seriously.

Create twitter and facebook accounts

Use these as "rss feed" of people/agencies you follow that post to them.

???????

Profit.

--
BMO

American Scientist site has a nice list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905480)

Lot's of external resources and a feed of science in the news:

http://amscicms.e-resources.com/science/

Captain Obvious strikes again! (1)

Qbertino (265505) | about 3 years ago | (#36905482)

Errrm, ... Nature magazine [nature.com] ? Just get a subscription.
Sorry, but this seems so much like a blatantly obivious no-brainer to me.

Twitter...seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905486)

You can follow the source ( @CERN, @NASA,) and/or you can follow the places where many of slashdot's science stories come from (such as @physorg_com). Just look through the new headlines they send out and decide which ones you want to read. Of course you could just follow @cmdrtaco and @slashdot and be happy with life!

Invest in hitech companies and you will read 24x7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905536)

I am not joking!

I just (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36905562)

do drugs

Journals (1)

glwtta (532858) | about 3 years ago | (#36905582)

The old fashioned way: scan through the abstracts for about a dozen journals in molecular biology, genetics, and comp bio (most journals have handy feeds for new articles), and, at least theoretically, read the papers relevant to my work.

It's sometimes informative, less often engaging, but (apparently) doesn't require a PhD.

For non work-related stuff I enjoy the Discover blogs [discovermagazine.com] .
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