3639 posts tagged with SCIENCE.
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A rolling blob gathers Omoss

Albert Omoss is an artist who uses computers to explore bodies as rubbery, entangled forms (all likely NSFW) and to make ads and data visualizations. Among other tools, he uses Processing to make hypnotic animations.
posted by a lungful of dragon on May 29, 2016 - 13 comments

Sapiens 2.0: Homo Deus?

In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2016 - 23 comments

Penis snake is neither penis nor snake - discuss

With such headlines as Man-aconda — the snake that looks like a penis (The Sun, natch), and references to it as a "trouser snake" or "floppy snake" might make you think the large, eyeless and limbless creature might actually be a snake. But it is not, it's a Ceacilian, a group of limbless amphibians with no or tiny eyes. But what's really impressive about this large creature is that is is lungless, despite residing in environments like muddy mangrove pools. A paper by Marinus Hoogmoed et al. (PDF, 22 pages, 2011) from Bol. Mus. Para. Emílio Goeldi. Cienc. Nat., Belém, describes several then-new specimens of Atretochoana eiselti from Brazil, which were compared to older preserved specimens that were kept with scant information. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 23, 2016 - 26 comments

Blue flash

The demonstration began on the afternoon of May 21, 1946, at a secret laboratory tucked into a canyon some three miles from Los Alamos, New Mexico, the birthplace of the atom bomb. Louis Slotin, a Canadian physicist, was showing his colleagues how to bring the exposed core of a nuclear weapon nearly to the point of criticality, a tricky operation known as “tickling the dragon’s tail.” - The Demon Core and the Strange Death of Louis Slotin
posted by Artw on May 22, 2016 - 53 comments

“...tapping and talking, browsing and clicking, scrolling and swiping.”

How Technology Is Changing Our Hands by Darian Leader [The Guardian] Doctors predict that our increasing use of computers and mobile phones will permanently alter our hands. What will this mean for the way we touch, feel and communicate? [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 21, 2016 - 34 comments

Tonight I've watched / The moon and then / the Pleiades / go down...

Astronomers crack the secret of this gorgeous poem by Sappho
posted by brundlefly on May 21, 2016 - 25 comments

about time

Magic Mushroom Drug Lifts Depression in Human Trial - "The findings show that more research in this field is now needed. 'This is the first time that psilocybin has been investigated as a potential treatment for major depression', says lead author Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial College London."
posted by kliuless on May 18, 2016 - 51 comments

Defining Trauma on Twitter: An Autoethnographic Sketch

The article - Defining Trauma on Twitter: An Autoethnographic Sketch is a recently published peer reviewed journal article that is under 140 characters long. Making it probably the first tweet to be published in an academic journal (and perhaps?) the first article whose abstract is longer than its contents.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on May 18, 2016 - 43 comments

That's a lot of poo

The making of me and you Just input your date of birth, sex at birth, height and weight, and choose the metric or imperial units that make most sense to you. And instantly find out: The chemical ingredients that make up you, and what your body is worth; How many atoms you are made of, and what can be made with them; How much wee, poo, sperm or eggs you have produced so far; And so much more.
posted by joedan on May 17, 2016 - 44 comments

Audubon Made Up At Least 28 Fake Species To Prank A Rival

Rafinesque (previously) was not known for his social graces; as John Jeremiah Sullivan writes, Audubon is the "only person on record" as actually liking him. During their visit, though, Audubon fed Rafinesque descriptions of American creatures, including 11 species of fish that never really existed. Rafinesque duly jotted them down in his notebook and later proffered those descriptions as evidence of new species. For 50 or so years, those 11 fish remained in the scientific record as real species, despite their very unusual features, including bulletproof (!) scales. Turns out we missed another 17 species that Audubon threw in there for fun.
posted by sciatrix on May 13, 2016 - 34 comments

A Black Eye For Open Science

Recently, a dataset of 70,000 scraped OkCupid profiles from November 2014 to March 2015 was released on the Open Science Framework. The set, which was acquired without the consent of either OKCupid or the profile owners, had no anonymization performed on it, meaning that the profiles could be easily correlated to the people behind them, effectively doxing these individuals, a gross violation of research ethics on a number of grounds. Social computing expert Oliver Keyes described the release as "without a doubt one of the most grossly unprofessional, unethical and reprehensible data releases I have ever seen." [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum on May 12, 2016 - 66 comments

Press the Panic buttons

The Panic Sign - a brief story about a remote-controlled sign on top of a building in Portland, Oregon
posted by a lungful of dragon on May 11, 2016 - 22 comments

When in doubt, do the math.

"Happy Money lists five principles of happy spending:
1) Buy experiences
2) Make it a treat
3) Buy time
4) Pay now, consume later
5) Invest in others
Five principles are four too many for a lazy reductionist, let’s see if we can identify some common themes and combine these ideas into a single framework that would lose all nuance and intricacy but be expressible as an equation. (Spoiler: of course we can, duh)."
posted by zarq on May 11, 2016 - 37 comments

They struggled against all odds but one.

"When he was alive, Lonesome George was a captive reminder of biodiversity loss. One 2006 book called him 'the only one of his kind left on earth—a symbol of the devastation man has wrought to the natural world in the Galápagos and beyond.' After his death, Washington Tapia, a researcher with the Ecuador National Park Service, told the New York Times it was like losing his grandparents. But even for people less intimate with him did his life and demise serve as a reminder of the mass extinction of species currently underway—the sixth in earth’s history but the only one caused by humans." - Human Error: Survivor guilt in the Anthropocene
posted by brundlefly on May 11, 2016 - 5 comments

It was not a good time for Canadian citizens

After nine years of censorship, Canadian scientists can speak about their work. Although it may take time for the policy changes to make their way through the bureaucracy. [more inside]
posted by ursus_comiter on May 10, 2016 - 34 comments

Vacillating mind inputs through text and video from Al Fry

Al Fry is an old-school eccentric, mostly from the pre-internet days. He lives (or lived) out in Idaho, which was his home-base for distributing Fry's Incredible Inquiry's Catalog, covering "technology, alchemy, weird science (PDF), Tesla, anti-gravity, occult, crystal power, and other fascinating fringy topics." And then there are his videos, including Hidden World History and Strange Beings 1, narrated by A. H. Fry himself. His videos have been collected a few times over on YouTube (1, 2). And he has written about making tipis.
posted by filthy light thief on May 10, 2016 - 8 comments

WORLD OF TOMORROW

World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
posted by kliuless on May 7, 2016 - 23 comments

Hangry science

When people get hungry thoughts of food can influence their work, especially in mathematics and related fields. Particularly influential foods (and related things) include cake, pie, pizza, ham sandwiches, more sandwiches, pancakes, spaghetti, cocktails, Chinese restaurants, Indian buffets, sausages, donuts, layer cake, blancmange pudding and potatoes. But in the end, there's no free lunch.
posted by bjrn on May 7, 2016 - 13 comments

An Epigenetics Controversy

Siddhartha Mukherjee's latest New Yorker article "Same but different: How epigenetics can blur the line between nature and nurture" has attracted searing criticism from heavyweight researchers in the field. Mukherjee responds but doesn't retract...
posted by Rufus T. Firefly on May 7, 2016 - 15 comments

I'm not a scientist, but I play one on the internet

Emily Stoneking knits dissections. Frogs. Earthworms. Lab rats. And of course, aliens. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly on May 6, 2016 - 5 comments

Contact! Let's make contact!

"'Too many children think that scientists are all middle-aged white males in laboratory coats,' Edward Atkins, 3-2-1 Contact's director of content, told The New York Times in 1983." The Kids' Show That Taught Me to Ask "Why?", an ode to 3-2-1 Contact. [more inside]
posted by amnesia and magnets on May 3, 2016 - 41 comments

contains the entire word Solar and rhymes with Polaris

33 COSMIC CAR NAMES / Car names -- past & present -- that reference or evoke the Universe.
A list by Neil deGrasse Tyson
posted by timshel on May 3, 2016 - 15 comments

The Cure For Fear

Scientists have discovered a radical new way to treat our most traumatic memories.
posted by MythMaker on May 2, 2016 - 66 comments

how it's made in japan

Ever wondered what a possible Japanese equivalent for How It's Made could be like? The jstsciencechannel has one! There are from 2 to 150, and 151 to 309 videos to choose from. Sadly, they lack English subtitles, however there are a handful of videos that do have them. Starting with mayonnaise, the series takes you through the making of steel balls (available in English), the construction and testing of sewing machines, how rice crackers are made, a thermos factory, the recycling of PET bottles, a matcha tea factory and the creation of bamboo whisks, and plenty more.
posted by aroweofshale on Apr 30, 2016 - 19 comments

What gravity?

Tareq Alsaadi performs gravity-defying aerobatics with the SAB Goblin Nitro radio-controlled helicopter — in one case, with some interesting LED patterns on the blades
posted by a lungful of dragon on Apr 29, 2016 - 12 comments

Slovenia's Astonishing Baby Dragons

What’s Behind Slovenia’s Love Affair with a Salamander?
posted by ChuraChura on Apr 28, 2016 - 9 comments

Drkatzbot

Reverse OCR is a bot that picks a word and then draws randomly until an OCR library recognizes it
posted by a lungful of dragon on Apr 28, 2016 - 19 comments

Scots are mad for citrus!

Scurvy Dogs - A brief overview of the history of the scurvy, brought to you by naval cartoonist Lucy Bellwood
posted by a lungful of dragon on Apr 27, 2016 - 19 comments

Why Do Taxonomists Write the Meanest Obituaries?

Rafinesque’s “absurd” botanical legacy, Gray wrote, amounted to little more than a “curious mass of nonsense.” Gray’s note wouldn’t be the last unkind obituary in the annals of taxonomy, nor would it be the worst. That’s because the rules dictating how taxonomists name and classify living things bind these scientists in a web of influence stretching far back into the 18th century. When an agent of chaos like Rafinesque enters the scene, that web can get sticky fast. In a field haunted by ghosts, someone has to reckon with the dead.
posted by sciatrix on Apr 27, 2016 - 4 comments

Tweeteorology

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology BirdCast: Bird Migration Forecasts in Real-Time. When, where, and how far will birds migrate? Our migration forecasts will answer these questions for the first time.
posted by not_on_display on Apr 26, 2016 - 2 comments

There are no things, there are only truths.

Something terrible happened to you in outer space. All you can remember are the last few moments, the sun fading to a speck as you and your crew broke free from the solar system, the ship’s systems suddenly shutting down, the panic and blackness inside, shouting and sobbing, outside the phosphorescent fringes of the wormhole as it opened up in front of you—and then you woke up, sweat-slick in your own bed at sunrise, with the birds singing outside, in another universe. You are trapped in the world of the popular TV astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and you know this, because here the sunrise isn’t a sunrise at all.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Apr 22, 2016 - 102 comments

The Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the “Impossible” EmDrive

The EmDrive (previously 1, 2) is still getting attention from the scientific community. MIT Technology Review sums it up: The Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the “Impossible” EmDrive Thruster
posted by Harald74 on Apr 21, 2016 - 40 comments

One Part Science, One Part Human Interest

Message in a bottle, promising finder a shilling, bobs up after 108 years “We found an old shilling, I think we got it on eBay. We sent it to her with a letter saying thank you.” [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Apr 20, 2016 - 11 comments

It's the tops

Spintop Snipers
posted by a lungful of dragon on Apr 13, 2016 - 15 comments

He also heard the Hum

From Zug Island to Bristol to British Columbia, interest in a mysterious humming sound continues. Colin Dickey investigates The World Hum Map and Database Project, its creator, and some recent experiments, including the first Deming box. Stops along the way include TACAMO, tin foil hats, school shootings, Jesse Ventura's tv show, and noise-abatement laws. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo on Apr 13, 2016 - 34 comments

D'oh!

The Dodo is extinct. But apparently not for the reasons we long believed. And those pictures of the bird we're used to seeing? Not so accurate. It's a tale of a tradition of Bad Science and the struggle to fix mistakes made long ago.
posted by oneswellfoop on Apr 11, 2016 - 28 comments

The Flying Forest

"While crows and ravens get most of the attention, smaller members of the corvid family like jays and nutcrackers are out in the world busily building and rebuilding forests. Not on purpose, of course, but through a behavior charmingly called “scatter hoarding,” which basically involves stashing seeds around in various places for later devourment." And this allows the trees - oaks, chestnuts, beeches, hickories - to "borrow the wings of birds." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Apr 10, 2016 - 19 comments

If America Wants to Kill Science, It’s on Its Way

Science is desperate. It needs to believe itself honorable. It's threatened by the fact that it's not safe for so many of us. Period. It's just not safe.
- A. Hope Jahren, in an interview about women in science and advancement in plant biology.
posted by divabat on Apr 8, 2016 - 16 comments

The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

The mysterious and useful Vegetable Lamb of Tartary: a plant whose ripe seed-pods yield tiny live lambs. Or was it a plant growing in the shape of a full-size lamb, but with an umbilical tether to the ground? (Oh, and do you know about the barnacle goose?) A tale from the medieval science grapevine. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Apr 8, 2016 - 7 comments

Changing minds on minority rights with a single conversation, revisited

Previously on MeFi, a pair of then-graduate students, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, uncovered that some highly-publicized research, claiming to show that brief conversations with gay canvassers could cause lasting changes in people's opinions on gay rights, was in fact fraudulent, and was based on fabricated data. However, whether or not there was in fact any grain of truth to that paper's claims remained to be seen. Recently, the same team that uncovered the fraud has published their own study, showing that canvassing can really be effective at durably increasing support for transgender rights. [more inside]
posted by en forme de poire on Apr 8, 2016 - 26 comments

Physics, math and science toys

Physics Fun is an Instagram account with short videos of physics, math and science 'toys.' An accompanying blog looks at some in more detail.
posted by carter on Apr 8, 2016 - 7 comments

“Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language.”

Generation Anthropocene: How Humans Have Altered the Planet for Ever. by Robert Macfarlane [The Guardian] We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?
posted by Fizz on Apr 2, 2016 - 35 comments

The centre at the edge

Is There Value in Training Scientific Generalists For Positions at the Edge of Academia? Gopal Sarma says Yes
posted by Rumple on Apr 2, 2016 - 28 comments

A new banana promises to cure blindness in East Africa

"In the winter of 2014, students at Iowa State University received emails asking them to volunteer for an experiment. Researchers were looking for women who would eat bananas that had been genetically engineered to produce extra carotenes, the yellow-orange nutrients that take their name from carrots. Our bodies use alpha and beta carotenes to make retinol, better known as vitamin A, and the experiment was testing how much of the carotenes in the bananas would transform to vitamin A. The researchers were part of an international team trying to end vitamin A deficiency. The emails reached the volunteers they needed to begin the experiment, but they also reached protesters. “As a student in the sustainability program, I immediately started asking questions,” said Iowa State postdoc Rivka Fidel. “Is this proven safe? Have they considered the broader cultural and economic issues?” ... Fidel told me she and her friends had found it nearly impossible to extract information from researchers, or from the Gates Foundation, which is providing funding for this project. Too often conversations about these kinds of issues simply reverberate within their respective echo chambers. So to bridge the gap I took the gist of the students’ questions to people at the Gates Foundation, scientists working on the banana, and the one person who may have done the most to fight vitamin A deficiency — an ophthalmologist who has no interest in either promoting or bashing GMOs." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 31, 2016 - 65 comments

Of Smoothies and (Internet News) Cycles

LIGHTS UP
Buzzfeed: “Gwyneth Paltrow drinks $200 smoothies for breakfast!”
Vanity Fair: “Actually, they’re just $10.52 smoothies.”
Washington Post: “Whatever! It’s a good excuse for us to make a video and talk about the theoretical health benefits.”
fin.
posted by Going To Maine on Mar 24, 2016 - 49 comments

The Harvard Library That Protects The World's Rarest Colors

The most unusual colors from Harvard's storied pigment library include beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 24, 2016 - 18 comments

Not much writing, oddly

Evan "The Nerdwriter" Puschak examines How Hitchcock Blocks a Scene. [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker on Mar 23, 2016 - 13 comments

"This is big science performed on the tiniest of scales"

Take a 360-Degree Tour Inside the Large Hadron Collider
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 21, 2016 - 8 comments

haha cool, ok, we’re friends now, big guy. no problems

so anyway that is the best thing: bobcats are not equipped to make friends, but luckily for this bobcat this homeless lady did not give any shits and made friends anyway. and now they are both happy.
posted by moody cow on Mar 19, 2016 - 31 comments

Unproblematica

The classification of Illinois's state fossil, the Tully monster, has been a mystery since its discovery in 1958. But now a team at Yale has determined that it is a vertebrate ancestor of the lamprey, after studying over a thousand fossils and noticing the presence of a notochord, among other distinctively vertebratey features. The (paywalled) Nature paper is here.
posted by theodolite on Mar 16, 2016 - 11 comments

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