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Game changer

New Ebola vaccine shows 100% success rate in clinical trial. Today the World Health Organization has announced that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine had a 100% success rate in preventing onset of the disease if administered within 10 days of exposure (n=4,000). In response to the current outbreak in West Africa that has afflicted over 27,000 and killed over 11,000, this collaborative effort led by the WHO pushed the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months. Official paper from The Lancet here (pdf).
posted by Ufez Jones on Jul 31, 2015 - 15 comments

“Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning.”

The Role of Writers in a STEM Obsessed Society
“As writers, it’s easy to think of how we matter to literature classrooms, but what the appointment of writers-in-residence in hospitals, history classrooms, foreign language learning spaces, and cooking schools reminds us is that we are relevant wherever there is humanity—which is to say, wherever humans are with their stories. Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning. As such, writing across the disciplines matters. Many models of artist residencies depend upon the retreat model, wherein the artist sequesters herself away with a small community of other artists. While these models have value, especially when considering how solitude relates to the creative process, it’s heartening to me to see more models catch on that value the place of the writer in society, rather than hidden away from it.”

posted by Fizz on Jul 30, 2015 - 41 comments

Boron is a Subdued Element...

Kaycie D. is an animator and artist who grew up on Disney films and has used that inspiration to create her own anthropomorphized illustrations of the chemical elements.
posted by Navelgazer on Jul 29, 2015 - 20 comments

Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete

The Singular Mind of Terry Tao - "Imagine, he said, that someone awfully clever could construct a machine out of pure water. It would be built not of rods and gears but from a pattern of interacting currents." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 29, 2015 - 17 comments

Forcasting rapid growth

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science is an open-access scientific journal with a mandate to publish papers from academics and non-academics alike. Boasting a strong peer review process and a high impact factor, it's only partly serious. (Previously)
posted by bismol on Jul 28, 2015 - 8 comments

What is thy name?

"Humans as Superorganisms: How Microbes, Viruses, Imprinted Genes and Other Selfish Entities Shape Our Behavior" by Peter Kramer and Paola Bressan discusses the idea that an individual homo sapiens is only one component of the human superorganism we call a person, focusing on the psychological and psychiatric ramifications thereof. (Paola Bressan previously.)
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Jul 27, 2015 - 16 comments

Tetrapodophis: an early four-legged snake?

What were snakes doing before they lost their legs? A new fossil discovery of an early snake with four tiny, stubby legs might shed some light on that question. Assuming it really is a snake, of course. However, the status of this fossil as a specimen from a private collection raises ethical questions. This is likely to be an illegally obtained specimen, like 2012's controversial Tarbosaurus bataar (previously, previously). Is it ethical for Science to promote findings from unethically sourced fossils when these are an increasing problem for paleontology? (Previously, previously.)
posted by sciatrix on Jul 25, 2015 - 22 comments

My Periodic Table

Bismuth is element 83.
I do not think I will see my 83rd birthday, but I feel there is something hopeful, something encouraging, about having “83” around. Moreover, I have a soft spot for bismuth, a modest gray metal, often unregarded, ignored, even by metal lovers. My feeling as a doctor for the mistreated or marginalized extends into the inorganic world and finds a parallel in my feeling for bismuth.
Oliver Sacks on dying. (SLNYT)
posted by gaspode on Jul 24, 2015 - 20 comments

There's a new fermion, you guys

Princeton researchers have discovered a long-theorized, never-observed variety of massless (quasi)-particle called the Weyl fermion. Exciting things to come maybe! (Bat-signal: expert.) [more inside]
posted by Zerowensboring on Jul 23, 2015 - 25 comments

Phone Home

Yuri Milner gives $100 million to buoy the search for extraterrestrial life.
posted by delight on Jul 21, 2015 - 72 comments

Today, I broke your solar system. Oops.

Pluto Shits on the Universe - a poem by Fatimah Asghar. Here's the text. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 17, 2015 - 25 comments

Rosin Cerate

Rosin Cerate is an "intensely researched blog" bringing you all kinds of interesting and odd knowledge about biology and creatures and how certain esoteric metals give you garlic breath. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Jul 17, 2015 - 5 comments

Utah, get me two!

With designs inspired by Peking opera the facekini protects its wearer from jellyfish stings and sunburns.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jul 16, 2015 - 38 comments

Unhealthy Fixation

The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.
posted by Drinky Die on Jul 15, 2015 - 140 comments

"The desert snail at once awoke and found himself famous"

In the mid-1800s, a snail spent years glued to a specimen card in the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum) before scientists realized it was still alive. What became of this snail? Ask Metafilter found out! [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Jul 14, 2015 - 55 comments

There's Antimony, Arsenic, Aluminum, Selenium...

The Dynamic Periodic Table... probably the only periodic table most of you will ever need, or want, to consult (aside from Tom Lehrer's musical version). What makes this periodic table different? Take it for a spin and find out!
posted by not_on_display on Jul 12, 2015 - 13 comments

You know, for kids

Dr. Dave Southall is an engineer who makes things, like monowheels, mini-monowheels, water bottle jetpacks, racing mowers, racing bars stools, uniboards, and other fun things.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jul 9, 2015 - 7 comments

The Internet History Sourcebooks

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use. The main sourcebooks cover ancient, medieval, and modern history. Subsidiary sourcebooks cover African, East Asian, Global, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, Lesbian and Gay, Science, and Women's history.
posted by jedicus on Jul 9, 2015 - 6 comments

The shit that's going down has been testing my ability to block it.

About once a year he has nightmares of earth becoming a very alien planet. "Part of being a scientist is you don't want to believe there is a problem you can't solve."
posted by bitmage on Jul 8, 2015 - 86 comments

Mary Anning: the greatest fossil hunter the world has ever known

She got off to an inauspicious start when she was born in poverty and then was struck by lightning as a small child. But when her father died when she was ten, leaving her family without any means of support, Mary Anning made her own luck with her skill at fossil finding. Her first big find came when she discovered the first complete skeleton of an Icthyosaur at twelve years old. She went on to discover pivotally important skeletons of plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and a fossil fish which was hailed as the "missing link" between sharks and rays. Despite being self taught, she was widely regarded as one of paleontology's greatest experts in the world when she died. Previously.
posted by sciatrix on Jul 6, 2015 - 12 comments

Not due to legalization

While California's water shortage continues, Cascadia has been suffering its own drought conditions, to the extent that expanding wildfires have lent the skies of Vancouver, B.C. a Mars-like orange hue.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jul 5, 2015 - 59 comments

🌋

Grilling with Lava [New York Times]
This July Fourth, we offer an intense, but minimalist way to grill steak. It requires 800 pounds of Wisconsin basaltic gravel heated to 2,000 degrees. New York Times food writers have advocated cooking directly on hot coals this Fourth of July, but the truly adventurous may want to consider another approach: lava-grilled steak. The Syracuse University professors Bob Wysocki and Jeff Karson, the leaders of this minimalist technique, say the key is to start with thin-cut steaks, the more marbled the better. You then find the nearest retrofitted bronze furnace. (Very likely, that is the one the professors have built for themselves in Syracuse as part of the university’s Lava Project. When not cooking dinner with it, Mr. Wysocki, an artist, and Mr. Karson, a geologist, create lava for scientific research and sculptures.)
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 3, 2015 - 21 comments

"They can strip the plankton off this cow in as little as seven days!"

If Jurassic Park Were In Different Geological Eras
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jul 2, 2015 - 10 comments

Proposing certain things in terms of dystopia that are not untrue

"Science, Chance, and Emotion with Real Cosima": A Longreads profile of Cosima Herter, the show's science consultant and the inspiration for Orphan Black's character Cosima. Mostly not directly about the show, but probably contains some spoilers if you're not fully caught up through season three.
posted by Stacey on Jul 2, 2015 - 9 comments

After Capitalism, Humanism

Shared Prosperity, Common Wealth, National Equity and a Citizen's Dividend: Nirit Peled takes a look at social experiments in basic incomes for VPRO Tegenlicht, a Dutch public television documentary series. Starting with a German crowdfunded UBI chosen by raffle -- kind of like the opposite of Le Guin's Omelas (or Shirley Jackson's Lottery in reverse) -- the focus moves on to Albert Wenger who wants to disconnect work from income not only as automation progresses but to accelerate the process. Then it's on to Guy Standing who has conducted basic income experiments in India and Namibia (pdf) and is trying to get one off the ground in Groningen (Utrecht apparently is also a go). Finally, a stop in Alaska to ask some of its residents about their views on the state-owned Permanent Fund. This last part brings to mind the question: just what is wealth anyway? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 2, 2015 - 7 comments

Africa's Innovators

As part of our special focus on innovation in Africa, we have developed a list of 40 remarkable African innovators. Actually, it’s more like 47 but we counted teams as one. Our decision to celebrate these idea creators and solution providers stems from our belief that the true wealth of Africa is not buried under its soil, but in the brains of its best minds. This list is a testament to that belief.

posted by infini on Jul 1, 2015 - 3 comments

Job's a good 'un

Science with Bez [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 29, 2015 - 12 comments

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

a mosquito being hit by a raindrop is roughly the equivalent of a human being whacked by a school bus, the typical bus being about 50 times the mass of a person. And worse, when it’s raining hard, each mosquito should expect to get smacked, grazed, or shoved by a raindrop every 25 seconds. So rain should be dangerous to a mosquito. And yet
why aren't mosquitos hurt or killed by raindrops?
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 27, 2015 - 47 comments

The fossil worm turns

“Finding the head is the main scientific result. There’s been lingering controversy about this.” - A new reconstruction of hallucigenia sparsa answers questions about the shape and orientation of the animal, something that was previously so mysterious that scientists in the 70s had it upside down.
posted by Artw on Jun 25, 2015 - 30 comments

the malleability of memory: Pixar's "Inside Out"

"Inside Out does well when it comes to the interplay of memory and emotion, but the memory basics are a bit misleading." - Jennifer Talarico, Gizmodo
Science Of Sadness And Joy: 'Inside Out' Gets Childhood Emotions Right - NPR
8 Things Inside Out Teaches Viewers About Emotions, Memory and the Mind - Ashley Lee, Time
Inside Out Nails the Science of How Our Memories Function - Alice Robb, Vulture
See also: FanFare
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jun 24, 2015 - 55 comments

Full cast and crew

David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 22, 2015 - 45 comments

I didn't think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows

French magician and juggler Antoine Terrieux created a series of remarkably self-sustaining sculptures using different arrangements of hair dryers, and has also incorporated them in funny ways in his stage performance. He also plays with a diabolo in ways that seem to defy gravity. [via]
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 19, 2015 - 19 comments

the age of foolishness, the epoch of incredulity

Lee McIntyre writes The Attack on Truth for The Chonicle of Higher Education
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 19, 2015 - 47 comments

Nothingness

At Robert Krulwich's NPR science blog, a couple of reflections on nothingness: Building Me and 2 Ways To Think About Nothing.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jun 19, 2015 - 7 comments

No Animals Were Killed in the Making Of This Cheese

You Can Thank Genetic Engineering For Your Delicious Cheese (io9) Eventually, calf stomachs became a byproduct of the veal industry. But in the 1970s, America’s growing appetite for cheese collided with its mounting aversion to killing newborn cows. Anticipating a crisis of supply and demand, researchers turned to a then-unprecedented technology in food science
posted by CrystalDave on Jun 15, 2015 - 56 comments

A super-human ability to instantly recognise faces they barely know.

The superpower police now use to tackle crime
Police officers with the rare ability to recognise faces they’ve barely glimpsed are helping identify criminals: take a test to find out if you share their talent.

Could you be a super-recogniser?
posted by andoatnp on Jun 14, 2015 - 103 comments

Let me tell you about my trouble with girls

Sir Tim Hunt FRS, who received the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001 for "discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle" has resigned from his positions as Honorary Professor at University College London and member of the Royal Society's Biological Sciences Awards Committee after making controversial comments at the 2015 World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul. He said: "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls ... three things happen when they are in the lab ... You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry." [more inside]
posted by James Scott-Brown on Jun 12, 2015 - 176 comments

A breakthrough in prosthetic technology.

"The limb, developed by Professor Hubert Egger of the FH Upper Austria (University of Applied Sciences), allows wearers to tell which surface they are walking on and dramatically improves amputee's balance and coordination. The development could wipe out the phenomenon of phantom pain, where amputees can experience severe discomfort as the brain receives no neural feedback from their missing limb." [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol on Jun 9, 2015 - 5 comments

The Angel's Glow: Battlefield Legend Meets Biology

Teenage American Civil War buff Bill Martin was fascinated by a legend of soldiers at the battle of Shiloh whose wounds glowed an eerie blue-green at night and who subsequently had better recoveries, a phenomenon dubbed "the angel's glow." He knew from his microbiologist mom's work that some soil bacteria were bioluminescent, and wondered if there could be a connection. Turns out, yes there probably was! [more inside]
posted by Wretch729 on Jun 9, 2015 - 5 comments

Miles Kimball: Secular Humanism and Universalist Unitarianism

Teleotheism and the Purpose of Life - "Please give this sermon a try. I think it has much in it that will be of interest to a wide range of readers: philosophy, cosmology, evolutionary theory, and science fiction, as well as theology. And nothing in it depends on believing in God at all." Abstract: As an enlightened form of atheism, I turn to teleotheism. Teleotheism is the view that God comes at the end, not at the beginning, where I am defining “God” as “the greatest of all things that can come true.” In this view, the quest to discover what are the greatest things that are possible is of the utmost importance. The best of our religious heritage is just such an effort to discover the greatest things that are possible. (via; previously)
posted by kliuless on Jun 7, 2015 - 33 comments

Respect the Bass

Scientists say we should stop making fun of bass players.
posted by goatdog on Jun 6, 2015 - 110 comments

The art of motion control

Marbles, magnets, and sand - the hypnotic art of Bruce Shapiro [via]
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 3, 2015 - 7 comments

I .. did not believe there are structures .. that we are not aware of

"In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist." While the article at Sciencedaily.com may be a bit breathlessly excited about it, even the more somber source article in Nature agrees that this "may call for a reassessment of basic assumptions in neuroimmunology"
posted by rmd1023 on Jun 2, 2015 - 95 comments

Solar Flight Telemetry, Live

The Solar Impulse, the world's first solar-powered manned long-haul flying machine, is currently in the midst of the longest leg in its pioneering round-the-world journey — China to Hawaii, which at a cruising speed of less than 30mph is anticipated to take most of a week. Follow along with live flight telemetry here. Swiss businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, who both previously participated in the world's first round-the-world balloon voyage, in the Breitling Orbiter 3, are alternating flight legs. Borschberg is at the controls until the aircraft reaches Hawaii.
posted by killdevil on May 31, 2015 - 12 comments

But is it fools' gold?

The Golden Ratio or the Golden Mean is touted as universal principle of mathematics, aesthetics, and architecture. Its natural occurrences are often associated with beauty and health. But naysayers think the Golden Ratio is myth or even a scam. Golden ratio previously and previouslier.
posted by immlass on May 26, 2015 - 28 comments

"So, what do you do?"

A 10-step guide to party conversation for bioinformaticians
posted by a lungful of dragon on May 23, 2015 - 36 comments

“The brain is the station where every railway line passes through.”

Can evolution explain acts of kindness, and morality? [The Guardian]
We arranged a debate between a sceptical Tom Stoppard and the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. Stuart Jeffries acted as referee. We arranged for the two to meet recently in the grand boardroom of Wilson’s London publishers to discuss their differences, and reflect on two hard problems – what is the proper scope of science, and what is it to be human.

posted by Fizz on May 22, 2015 - 32 comments

A way to keep pollinating bees around without chemicals? There mite bee.

"The first 21 days of a bee's life in 60 seconds" is a time-lapse video by photographer Anand Varma, who discusses his collaboration with the bee lab at UC Davis in breeding a naturally mite-resistant line of honeybees. (Via.)
posted by a lungful of dragon on May 22, 2015 - 15 comments

Welcome... To the world of tomorrow!

Tomorrowland: how Walt Disney’s strange utopia shaped the world of tomorrow - cryogenically frozen head not included.
posted by Artw on May 21, 2015 - 21 comments

ARE FEMALES HUMAN?

Jill Lepore talks with Amelia Lester and David Haglund about the role of women in contemporary science fiction - A discussion on the New Yorker Podcast
posted by Lisitasan on May 20, 2015 - 29 comments

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