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May actually be against the Tumblr user agreement

Tumblr? Isn't that supposed to be full of furry porn, Teen Wolf fanfiction and teenagers determining the outer limits of priviledge? Not quite, as The Science of Reality shows. Run by Mae, "an aspiring journalist, photojournalist, science enthusiast, writer, & an artist of many fields" who loves "helping people discover the wonders of our universe through science".
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 9, 2013 - 14 comments

Deep Sixed

In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater. - ROVs photograph trash on the ocean floor.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2013 - 37 comments

Jonah Lehrer's new book on love

Jonah Lehrer has reportedly sold a book proposal to Simon and Schuster. In Slate, Daniel Engber examines the book proposal for possible plagiarism and comments: Having read through this proposal, I’ll propose a different lesson: If your underwear is full of grit, it might be time to change.
posted by BibiRose on Jun 7, 2013 - 63 comments

Best of the webbing

MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion, a geometric structure machine-woven with silk thread and then reinforced by the efforts of 6500 silkworms. Watch the beautifully-done making-of video.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 6, 2013 - 16 comments

Your wildflower search engine.

Search for wildflowers by location, color, flower shape, flower size and time of blooming. 3,126 plants indexed. This web site helps those of us with limited knowledge of botany to identify flowering plants that are found outside of gardens. This help is provided by presenting you with small images of plants. You can use a number of search techniques to get to the images that are most likely the plant you are looking for. When you click on a plant image the program shows you links to plant descriptions and more plant images. The site has about 5 ways of searching for a plant. You can use these searches in any combination. Some searches eliminate some plants from consideration. Most searches give a "score" to each plant depending on how well the plant matches the search criteria. The plants with the highest score are displayed at the top of the results. Click here for Instructions. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 5, 2013 - 21 comments

Wait, why does the airlock smell like burnt steak and gunpowder?

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses how senses change aboard the International Space Station: Sound, Sight, Taste, Smell, and Touch. [previously]
posted by quin on Jun 5, 2013 - 10 comments

Are you a liberal baby or a conservative baby?

Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on baby names
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 5, 2013 - 91 comments

Next step: uploaded lobsters in space

"OpenWorm is an attempt to build a complete cellular-level simulation of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Of the 959 cells in the hermaphrodite, 302 are neurons and 95 are muscle cells. The simulation will model electrical activity in all the muscles and neurons. An integrated soft-body physics simulation will also model body movement and physical forces within the worm and from its environment." -- Bonus: explore the worm's cellular anatomy in 3D (WebGL required.)
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 3, 2013 - 16 comments

Who knows what

For decades the sciences and the humanities have fought for knowledge supremacy. Both sides are wrong-headed
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 2, 2013 - 49 comments

Science doesn't teach anything; experience teaches it.

I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television--words, books, and so on--are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science. [...] Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation. What is Science?, a lecture by Richard Feynman.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 1, 2013 - 84 comments

To see a world in a grain of sand

First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds. Remember those college textbook diagrams of molecules? They're surprisingly accurate.
posted by bitmage on May 30, 2013 - 33 comments

A Very Secret Garden

Harvard chemists induce microscopic crystal "flowers" to grow on the edge of a razor blade with beautiful results.
posted by quin on May 30, 2013 - 9 comments

How to be a stuffed animal

The bones had been boiled, the skins salted and soaked in formalin, the hoofs and horns measured and labeled, and the disassembled parts crated and shipped to the Upper West Side. There, on Akeley’s production line, the remains were reassembled and processed into a perfect likeness of what had once been, a “real” copy of reality. The animal had become an “animal."
[more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on May 29, 2013 - 13 comments

Olympus Microscopy Resource Center digital video gallery

The Olympus Microscopy Resource Center digital video gallery, with: live cells, pond life and more, crystals and more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 29, 2013 - 4 comments

No Shit

Can fecal transplants save 14,000 lives a year?
posted by Artw on May 26, 2013 - 51 comments

Madon­nas of Sci­ence

The Madon­nas of Sci­ence, plus selected other work (possibly nsfw) by Chris Shaw. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 23, 2013 - 6 comments

Why Is Science Behind A Paywall?

A large portion of scientific research is publicly funded. So why do only the richest consumers have access to it?
posted by reenum on May 18, 2013 - 62 comments

Beethoven's Hair

On March 26th, 1827 Ludwig Van Beethoven died in Vienna. The day after, a twelve year old boy took a lock of his hair as a souvenir. 167 years later the hair was sold at an auction in London. Its new owners were two Americans, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevera. Between those dates the lock of hair undertook an extraordinary historical odyssey. From hand to hand, from country to country, and from century to century. This is the story of that journey. [more inside]
posted by 23 on May 18, 2013 - 15 comments

THUD! (only slightly bouncy)

Six science projects that kids and adults will love! (and you can do at home).
posted by quin on May 15, 2013 - 17 comments

Space Shack

Skylab, NASA's budget space station, launched 40 years ago today. Designed as an orbiting optical laboratory, she served as a cold war weapon, underwent an historic salvage job, and was the site of America's first space mutiny before landing hard in Australia while waiting for the Space Shuttle to be invented.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 14, 2013 - 37 comments

O, Canada...you're doing it wrong.

"Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value" The Canadian scientific research and development agency has announced a major policy change. Going forward, they will only perform research that has "social or economic gain".
posted by bitmage on May 13, 2013 - 97 comments

One genome, two plants

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From the Same Genome, and a Single Gene Can Make the Difference
One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference.

posted by Joe in Australia on May 12, 2013 - 24 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

On the slippery slope to Mecha-Mothra

Turns out moths are pretty good at operating small robotic vehicles.
posted by prize bull octorok on May 9, 2013 - 17 comments

Every meteorite since 861 AD: watch them fall

From Nogata to Chelyabinsk. [more inside]
posted by Gilgongo on May 8, 2013 - 16 comments

One thousand tubes of lipstick FOR SCIENCE

Do you wear makeup? Are you a giant nerd? If so, you should check out Brightest Bulb in the Box: Beauty for Critical Minds. Robyn examines makeup and beauty care products with a scientific eye, performing comparison tests and debunking pseudoscientific bullshit to the delight of anyone who wants to know what they're buying. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on May 6, 2013 - 22 comments

Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

"One might think that, once we know something is computable, how efficiently it can be computed is a practical question with little further philosophical importance. In this essay, I offer a detailed case that one would be wrong. In particular, I argue that computational complexity theory---the field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve computational problems---leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge, the strong AI debate, computationalism, the problem of logical omniscience, Hume's problem of induction, Goodman's grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality, closed timelike curves, and several other topics of philosophical interest. I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis."

posted by cthuljew on May 5, 2013 - 31 comments

Why I Study Duck Genitalia

In the past few days, the Internet has been filled with commentary on whether the National Science Foundation should have paid for my study on duck genitalia, and 88.7 percent of respondents to a Fox news online poll agreed that studying duck genitalia is wasteful government spending. The commentary supporting and decrying the study continues to grow. As the lead investigator in this research, I would like to weigh in on the controversy and offer some insights into the process of research funding by the NSF.
Come for the passionate defense of basic science, stay for the explosive eversion of a duck penis.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 3, 2013 - 33 comments

The rise of the tick

With incisor-like claws that can tunnel beneath your skin in seconds, ticks are rapidly establishing themselves as the Swiss Army knife of disease vectors. Carl Zimmer walks into the woods to find out why these tiny beasts appear to be skyrocketing in number – and outsmarting environmental scientists trying to control them with every bite.
posted by Blasdelb on May 2, 2013 - 79 comments

Lamar Smith Chairs House Science Committee

The U.S. House has appointed SOPA architect and climate change skeptic Lamar Smith (R-TX) to chair the House Science Committee. His initial proposal (pdf) would strip the peer-review requirement from the NSF grant process and restrict grants to “groundbreaking” research. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 1, 2013 - 148 comments

The weather was unseasonably warm, an astonishing 50 degrees F!

Imaging The Arctic: "In Spring 2013, based out of the small settlements of Niaqornat and Kullorsuaq, expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin will accompany scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre onto the pack ice of Baffin Bay." They are keeping an online field journal detailing Dr. Laidre's study of the effects of sea-ice loss on narwhals and polar bears, with Maria Coryell-Martin's illustrations accompanying field notes.
posted by ChuraChura on May 1, 2013 - 1 comment

She could put her lips together for the first time. “It was beautiful."

Groundbreaking Surgery for Girl Born Without Windpipe: [New York Times] — Using plastic fibers and human cells, doctors have built and implanted a windpipe in a 2 ½-year-old girl — the youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ.
posted by Fizz on Apr 30, 2013 - 16 comments

Pathological Physics: Tales from "The Box"

This is a talk I gave on June 1, 2012, about the numerous crank physics letters and books that had been sent to, and saved by, the Physics Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Don't believe the apparent video length, the talk is 41 minutes long and the camera sticks around for about 20 minutes of the awesome Q&A afterwards.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2013 - 67 comments

CO2 to hit 400 parts per million next month, highest since the Pliocene

Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 25, 2013 - 127 comments

DNA Lab Party at 4 PM: Staph only!

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's structure with a pictorial story behind DNA's double helix and the Rosalind Franklin papers, including correspondences and lab notes that detail some of her crystallography research, findings that laid the groundwork for Watson and Crick's later publication.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 25, 2013 - 6 comments

Public's Knowledge of Science and Technology

Pew Research and Smithsonian Magazine recently performed a survey, looking at the American public's knowledge of science.
Pew: The public underestimates how well American high school students perform on standardized science tests compared with students in other developed nations. A plurality (44%) believes that 15-year-olds in other developed nations outrank U.S. students in knowledge of science; according to an international student assessment, U.S. 15-year-olds are in the middle ranks of developed nations in science knowledge.
An examination of the results from Smithsonian Magazine.
posted by frimble on Apr 24, 2013 - 57 comments

It will have 10-20 failures and two successes. That's my hypothesis.

7-year old Audri builds a Rube Golberg machine to trap a monster. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 23, 2013 - 42 comments

SCIENCE

The Origins Project at ASU presents the final night in the Origins Stories weekend, focusing on the science of storytelling and the storytelling of science.The Storytelling of Science. Part 2. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Apr 21, 2013 - 3 comments

"Ring it Out"

Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2013 - 63 comments

Handmade halftones

Throughout the printing process the human printer assumes the role of the machine and is therefore controlled and restricted by the process of using CMYK halftones created on the computer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 18, 2013 - 2 comments

Cory Nebacterium vs. Sally Staph

Microbiomes & Health "We conducted a study during a flat track roller derby tournament, and found that teammates shared distinct skin microbial communities before and after playing against another team, but that opposing teams’ bacterial communities converged during the course of a roller derby bout." [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Apr 18, 2013 - 11 comments

1993 -> 2013

For WIRED magazine's 20th anniversary, they've "gathered stories for, by, and about the people who have shaped the planet's past 20 years—and will continue driving the next."
posted by zarq on Apr 16, 2013 - 36 comments

I need tungsten to live

Magnetic Putty Magic (Extended Cut)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2013 - 33 comments

belters expanse trajectory: working up the Epstein Drive

How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2013 - 34 comments

Gene genie, let yourself go

After a decade or so of legal back-and-forth between Utah-based Myriad Genetics and medical researchers, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Forum, the US Supreme Court will hear a case next week which attempts to address whether genes — isolated (derivative) or original — can be patented. The stakes are high on both sides: opponents use Myriad's actions to argue that giving short-term monopoly control over humanity's genetic constituency is not in the public interest, while proponents defend the use of patents to spur private research in biotech, alternative energy and other nascent industries.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 12, 2013 - 58 comments

Mars Eats Probes

Russian amateurs may have found the lost Mars 3 Lander.
posted by Artw on Apr 12, 2013 - 13 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

The Future of Political Science Just Showed Up

GDELT data is now publicly available. GDELT stands for Global Data on Events, Location and Tone, and is a dataset that contains information on over 200 million geolocated events. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Apr 11, 2013 - 11 comments

Brains have never looked so pretty

Karl Deisseroth and his team at Stanford University [previously] have developed a completely new technique to make a brain perfectly see-through. They call it CLARITY, and the result has to be seen to be believed. [more inside]
posted by harujion on Apr 10, 2013 - 43 comments

Silicon-based viruses of the analog kind

A selection of glass viruses by artist Luke Jerram (a full gallery and photographs of other sculptural work are also available directly from his site)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 9, 2013 - 9 comments

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