Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon: A Tight Turning Radius [New York Times]
"Anyone who has watched a cheetah run down an antelope knows that these cats are impressively fast. But it turns out that speed is not the secret to their prodigious hunting skills: a novel study of how cheetahs chase prey in the wild shows that it is their agility — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds."
posted by Fizz
on Jun 13, 2013 -
The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus
(1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus
used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X
(1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X
as X Minus One
(1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding
. 17 of 30 episodes
of 2000 Plus
, all 50 episodes
of Dimension X
, and all 125 episodes
of X Minus One
are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 12, 2013 -
is a volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Andrew and Luda are two Kyrgyzstan-based photographers who wanted to take some video inside an active volcano
was happy to oblige. (SLYT)
posted by Room 641-A
on Jun 10, 2013 -
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 -
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 -
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
posted by MartinWisse
on Jun 3, 2013 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -