I promised to return to reality today after a three day weekend devoted to entertainment. I was planning on blogging about the Electoral College or the Flint Water Crisis, but I decided to write about something positive about the past year instead, the year in science. Following my own adage of "if it moves, it leads," here is New Scientist's The 12 biggest science stories of 2016.
Gravitational waves, humming gorillas, a new neighbour and more: here are New Scientist's stories of the year.Science News, Gizmodo, and Newsweek have their own reviews of the top science stories of the year about to end. Every one of them included the discovery of the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein, so it's the top science story of the year by consensus. Planet Nine and Proxima B showed up in three of the four. The remaining stories that showed up in half the lists were human gene editing, a three-parent baby being born, Google's A.I. beating a human Go master, and Zika. No single environmental story showed in more than one list, although two different climate change stories were mentioned in different articles. Also, no one story about fighting aging made more than one list, but several different ones also were mentioned, so I'm giving climate change and anti-aging breakthroughs honorable mentions.
The New York Times had its own science, environment, and health year in review articles, but I found them next to useless. The science summary mentioned none of the above stories, the environmental review was all about climate change, and the health one only mentioned Zika. I suppose that reinforces my awarding climate change an honorable mention and allows me to break the tie among the third place stories in favor of Zika, but that's about it. Still, it's enough to convince me to blog about Zika; today's entry is the first time I've mentioned the disease here.
Tomorrow is the winter (hibernal) solstice. I have something special planned for the occasion. Stay tuned.