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Living Books About Life

"... a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences." Although they offer "frozen PDFs," these books—on topics like biosemiotics, animal experience, and air—are curated collections of links to open access science articles, reviews, interviews, podcasts, sometimes with embedded sounds and videos. They have ISBN numbers and editors vetted by the Open Humanities Press, which is generally a gold mine of interesting books and journals. They feel perfectly at home on the open internet, evoking hope and nostalgia for a flourishing academic world wide web, without paywalls and login screens. [more inside]
posted by mbrock on Jul 29, 2014 - 6 comments

‘Put anything you want in me’ said Space to Time, ‘and you'll see.’

Leo Vroman, a Dutch scientist, artist and poet who lived in the US for many years, died in February of this year. Elsevier Connect did a great article back in 2012. It's rare that we see people who are great poets as well as passionate scientists. Leo Vroman was both; he needed more than just one outlet for an exceedingly curious and creative mind. His was an extraordinary life; he was a survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, who managed to be reunited with his fiancée Tineke after the war. They married and remained together until his last day. [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky on Jul 29, 2014 - 1 comment

Datagenetics

DataGenetics is "a technology consultancy specializing in unlocking the value stored in large databases" and which runs an interesting blog. [more inside]
posted by alby on Jul 28, 2014 - 2 comments

On Lionfish, research, and science fairs

Last month, a twelve-year-old girl named Lauren Arrington was credited with research showing that lionfish, an invasive species, were surviving in water with a much lower percentage of salinity than was thought possible. [more inside]
posted by PussKillian on Jul 22, 2014 - 82 comments

Science science science science science science science

Musical proof that Scully Likes Science.
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 22, 2014 - 9 comments

OK: Now explain midichlorians.

With growing fascination for the large land vertebratomorphs that are so startlingly diverse on Tatooine, I secured Imperial funding for an expedition to Tatooine, to survey the exotic megafauna and search for fossils of Tyrannodraconis that might further illuminate their evolution. My ensuing report summarizes my trilogy of investigations and discoveries from this “holiday in the suns." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 22, 2014 - 5 comments

"Transmogrification event caused by incorporation of alien bacteria!!!"

Alien viruses from outer space and the great Archaeopteryx forgery [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 21, 2014 - 14 comments

A1 vs. A2 milk

You're Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk: "The A1/A2 debate has raged for years in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, but it is still virtually unheard of across the pond. That could soon change..." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 17, 2014 - 40 comments

Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

Understanding creationism: An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 17, 2014 - 13 comments

"JIBO can’t wait to meet you."

JIBO: The World's First Family Robot [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jul 16, 2014 - 81 comments

The man who saved the dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were lumbering, stupid, scientifically boring beasts—until John Ostrom rewrote the book on them.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 11, 2014 - 12 comments

That's a lot of decaying plant matter

Word association time: I say "peat", you say… "Scotland", right? Not necessarily! Peat is found around the world, including in many African countries. Earlier this year, scientists trekked through a Congo swamp, braving gorillas, elephants, crocodiles, and more. Their reward? Discovery of a peat bog the size of England. The team estimates that the bog covers between 100,000 and 200,000 square kilometers (40,000 to 80,000 sq miles), with the peat-layer reaching up to 7m (23ft) beneath the ground.
posted by Lexica on Jul 11, 2014 - 28 comments

There is no such thing as concrete, binary "biological sex."

Secular trans feminist Zinnia Jones debunks the myth of biological sex and the inaccurate ways the concept has been used to invalidate trans people.

Mey from Autostraddle explains why it’s time for people to stop using the social construct of “biological sex” to defend their transmisogyny.

Inter/act explains that intersex people, despite having disorders of sex development (DSDs) that contribute to what doctors define as a "biological sex other than male or female," may identify as male, female, or somewhere else on the gender spectrum. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jul 11, 2014 - 96 comments

21st Century Wiener

Norbert Wiener: The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) - "The most direct reason for Wiener's fall to relative obscurity was the breakthrough of a young mathematician and engineer named Claude Shannon." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 11, 2014 - 12 comments

Faking Galileo

Art forgeries have long been the stuff of thrillers, with fake da Vincis or Vermeers fooling connoisseurs, roiling the art world, and moving millions of dollars. We don’t think of ancient books driving such grand forgery, intrigue, and schadenfreude. This is changing thanks in part to a clever forgery of Galileo’s landmark book Sidereus Nuncius, published in Venice in 1610. Arguably one of the most extraordinary scientific publications of all times, Sidereus Nuncius turned Galileo into the brightest new star of Western science. Four centuries later, a faked copy of this book has disarmed a generation of Galileo experts, and raised a host of intriguing questions about the social nature of scholarly authentication, the precariousness of truth, and the revelatory power of fakes.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 9, 2014 - 9 comments

Judges Explaining Technology

"As a matter of science, traditional adoption does not provide a woman with the opportunity to be pregnant.” Reber v. Reiss, 42 A.3d 1131, 1138-39 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2012). Judges Explaining Technology.
posted by dzkalman on Jul 8, 2014 - 25 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Women in archaeology, geology, and palaeontology

"TrowelBlazers is a celebration of women archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists who have been doing awesome work for far longer, and in far greater numbers, than most people realize." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 7, 2014 - 4 comments

“With animals, we often don’t know the reason for a behavior,”

Zoo Animals and Their Discontents [New York Times]
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2014 - 20 comments

I'm leaving my body to science, not medical but physics

Let's Talk About Science is a blog devoted to discussing the world of science and technology communication with clear, beginner-friendly language, written and compiled by nanoscientist/physicist Jessamyn Fairfield and science educator ErinDubitably. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 3, 2014 - 4 comments

Math is Hard!

Inspire Her Mind [more inside]
posted by kagredon on Jul 3, 2014 - 12 comments

'Whoa… big brain huh… cool!'"

Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2014 - 37 comments

The Call Is Coming From Inside The Grave

"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science - The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 25, 2014 - 53 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

Having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over.

The first Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit took place at MIT on June 13-15. Here's a brief roundup, with plenty of links and stats that look at gender bias and harassment in science journalism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 24, 2014 - 27 comments

“It’s depressing,..We were definitely depressed,” he repeated

I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT: why do people persist in believing things that just aren't true? The New Yorker asks. Alternatively, a BBC Future author offers up some beguiling and subtle solutions in The best way to win an argument.
posted by quin on Jun 21, 2014 - 61 comments

No, that's not a video of a bee rescuing its friend from a spider

Evolutionary biologist debunks viral video. Science!
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jun 18, 2014 - 21 comments

contempt, they found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart

science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 17, 2014 - 91 comments

You know; Arsenic is "Natural..."

10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing.
posted by quin on Jun 16, 2014 - 111 comments

The Machine

HP scaling memristor and photonic computing: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 16, 2014 - 66 comments

Project Mogul

You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Jun 8, 2014 - 14 comments

Explore the world and beyond!

In August, Lego will launch a new line depicting women scientists, that will include an astronomer with a telescope, a paleontologist with a dinosaur skeleton and a chemist in a lab. The idea for the set was submitted by Dr. Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist in Sweden. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 5, 2014 - 44 comments

Alexander Shulgin: Godfather of psychedelics has died (1925-2014)

Alexander Shulgin has died at 88. Infamous for TIHKAL and PIHKAL, chemistry manuals for psychonauts, the chemist pioneered psychedelic research primarily through self-experimentation. He is survived by his wife Ann.
posted by bodywithoutorgans on Jun 2, 2014 - 75 comments

Einstein reportedly bitter about not getting spooky action at a distance

Researchers at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a technique for quantum data teleportation that uses deterministic methods to offer one hundred percent accuracy. Previous methods only worked reliably one in every 100 million attempts. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 30, 2014 - 87 comments

A story of miniature cryptography and a password protected home

Genius in a tiny mother bird, who learned to give her babies a password so they wouldn't die. A musical password. The Superb Fairy Wren sings to her eggs. The unborn baby birds, still in the egg, learn that musical password and sing it on being hatched.
posted by nickyskye on May 30, 2014 - 36 comments

Prodigal probe

Back in February (mefi), things looked grim for the ISEE-3/ICE probe. A lot can change in 3 1/2 months. [more inside]
posted by dendrochronologizer on May 29, 2014 - 20 comments

"Everyone On Wall Street Is A Dick."

The two-day Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) graduate showcase at NYU was a madhouse, with some 100 projects on view, ranging from groundbreaking innovations to timely trinkets. But the most talked about project by far was Peiqi Su's "Penis Wall" - an array of 81 robotic phalli that rise and fall in response to the stock market. Official Vimeo account for the project - Thesis presentation - in depth How-it-was-made production blog. (Slightly NSFW if your work doesn't like white, plastic, abstract dicks.)
posted by The Whelk on May 23, 2014 - 14 comments

we know a lot, but not everything

Inside the Science of an Amazing New Surgery Called Deep Brain Stimulation
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 22, 2014 - 40 comments

Humping a playmate during a romp...

Decades of scientific research suggests that beneath dogs' seemingly frivolous fun lies a hidden language of honesty and deceit, empathy and perhaps even a humanlike morality.
posted by gman on May 21, 2014 - 57 comments

Looking at us looking at animals

Why are humans so fascinated with other animals? Looking to psychology and evolution to find out.
posted by rcraniac on May 20, 2014 - 13 comments

CHA

So you want to write your name on the moon.
posted by Greg Nog on May 20, 2014 - 55 comments

Presenting Data

A checklist for those making graphs from Stephanie Evergreen and Ann Emery. This is a useful tool for teaching scientists and others some of the rules of data presentation in graph form.
posted by sciencegeek on May 16, 2014 - 23 comments

Science of scams

We have released 7 hoax videos which appear to demonstrate paranormal phenomena. In fact they're all based upon real scientific principles. Over the past few months this hoax footage has been posted all over the internet in an attempt to find out if people would either accept it as genuine or question it in an attempt to discover the real truth. Can you find the hoaxes before we reveal the secret science behind these scams?
Ghost on film (4:28)
Psychic Readings (13:07)
Telekinesis (2:45)
Chi energy (4:00)
Ouija board (5:17)
Brickbreaking (5:31)
Psi Wheel (3:29)
posted by Blasdelb on May 16, 2014 - 114 comments

Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer!

Photobooth Innards: the inner workings of a vintage black and white photobooth in real time. Via photobooth.net, the most comprehensive photobooth resource on the internet (previously)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Drill, Comrade, Drill.

There is a place in Russia called the Kola Penninsula that is just a jump away from both Norway and Finland. At this remote locale, people can visit a crumbling cinder block building in the middle of nowhere that is surround by debris. Amongst this debris is a nondescript metal cap secured with a dozen rusting bolts. Beneath this cap is the deepest hole in the world. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on May 8, 2014 - 50 comments

Save the Microbes

Humans have co-evolved with the resident microbes that call us "home", known as the microbiota, consisting of trillions of cells that colonize our bodies. The microbiota carry out many beneficial functions, such as producing vitamins, aiding in digestion, and protecting against invading microbes, but disruption from antibiotics or delivery by Caesarian section may have consequences for human health. Recently, antibiotic use has been linked with obesity and asthma. Using both human studies and experimentally observed mice, we are beginning to understand how antibiotics may lead to the disappearance of microbes and to identify key microbes that impact our health.
Save the Microbes
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 8, 2014 - 24 comments

National Climate Assessment

This morning the U.S. government released the newest National Climate Assessment, which "concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country." You can explore the assessment here. Previously.
posted by brundlefly on May 6, 2014 - 48 comments

"Does Winnie the Pooh have a B12 deficiency?"

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Projects has been tackling this and other vital subjects from the world of popular culture. As well as the Winnie the Pooh question, they consider whether Miley Cyrus really can come on like a wrecking ball, where a tiny frog gets the extra mass to turn into a human prince, Sherlock's ability to see dog hairs at a great distance, how many lies Pinocchio could tell before the weight of his enlarged nose caused his neck to snap and the feasibility of Gus Fring's last walk. Word of warning: they're all PDFs. [more inside]
posted by Paul Slade on May 4, 2014 - 9 comments

Male Scent May Compromise Biomedical Research

Jeffrey Mogil’s students suspected there was something fishy going on with their experiments. They were injecting an irritant into the feet of mice to test their pain response, but the rodents didn’t seem to feel anything. “We thought there was something wrong with the injection,” says Mogil, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The real culprit was far more surprising: The mice that didn’t feel pain had been handled by male students. Mogil’s group discovered that this gender distinction alone was enough to throw off their whole experiment—and likely influences the work of other researchers as well. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 29, 2014 - 82 comments

The People Who Saw Evolution

"Peter and Rosemary Grant are members of a very small scientific tribe: people who have seen evolution happen right before their eyes."
posted by brundlefly on Apr 28, 2014 - 35 comments

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