Great science reads of the week – Oct 26 2012

1. Six earthquake scientists were sentenced to six years jail for manslaughter because they failed to communicate the risk of a quake in L’Aquila. This was shocking news for the global science community. Scientists understand and deal with uncertainty in all their work but governments don’t like uncertainty. Will scientists be unwilling to advise governments on policy in the future in Italy?

A chilling verdict in L’Aquila by Tracey Brown

2. We extract a lot of ground water in Australia, especially in times of drought. A warning tale of how 50 years of extraction created a 250-metre drop in the groundwater level that might have caused an earthquake in Spain.

Deadly 2011 earthquake linked to groundwater extraction by Deborah Zabarenko

3. My mother fed me poison mushroom soup once so I was naturally interested in this article about a mushroom that is only poisonous sometimes. Read the article to find out why…

Mushroom of the Week: Inky Caps. The Bane of Frat Boys Everywhere

by Rachel Feltman

4. This story about a beluga whale who could mimic human voices is kind of sad and fascinating at the same time. Scroll to the bottom of the story for a link to sound recordings of the whale called NOC.

Captive Beluga Whale Imitated Human Voices by Ewen Callawa

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