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2061

On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

I now have 100 skulls in my room!

My name is Jake and I am a bone collector. This is his room, where he keeps his more than 100 skulls (a contender for the years most awesome cataloguing and archiving effort [look at that organization!]). How Jake cleans up animal bones [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 25, 2011 - 12 comments

this is not a double post

How can we better understand the interplay of nature and nurture in determining our personalities, behavior, and vulnerability to disease? Perhaps we should be looking at identical twins. (National Geographic January 2012 cover story) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 19, 2011 - 89 comments

for the budding Bene Tleilax

The quest for the $500 home molecular biology laboratory Molecular diagnostics and molecular biology in general are becoming more pervasive every day in a range of applications. For some time there have been attempts to build an affordable diy machine to explore this fascinating science. OpenPCR (polymerase chain reaction) received quite a bit of publicity with their $599 system. Each of these have had problems and were not quite suitable for students. Here is an attempt to get the price even lower and to simply the construction process. Previously on Metafilter
posted by 2manyusernames on Dec 5, 2011 - 27 comments

Buzzing about network graphs

A hive plot (slides) is a beautiful and compelling way to visualize multiple, complex networks, without resorting to "hairball" graphs that are often difficult to qualitatively compare and contrast. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 4, 2011 - 14 comments

I am Joe's FPP

"I am Your Body"
posted by infini on Dec 2, 2011 - 21 comments

"To say that this hypothesis was controversial was akin to saying that Napoleon had a bit of a thing about the Russians."

American biologist Lynn Margulis has died. Prolific and determined, Margulis was best known for her development of Endosymbiotic Theory, the now widely-accepted idea that complex cells began as a combination of simpler, prokaryotic ones, and the Gaia Hypothesis, which posited the Earth as a type of living organism. Some of her later ideas, including the claim that HIV is not the cause of AIDS or that caterpillers and butterflies were once separate organisms, received less support, but Endosymbiotic Theory, in the words of Richard Dawkins, remains "one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology."
posted by Tubalcain on Nov 23, 2011 - 32 comments

Time Tree

TimeTree is a public knowledge-base for information on the evolutionary timescale of life. A search utility allows exploration of the thousands of divergence times among organisms in the published literature. A tree-based (hierarchical) system is used to identify all published molecular time estimates bearing on the divergence of two chosen taxa, such as species, compute summary statistics, and present the results . . . For those interested in published summaries of relationships and divergence times of major groups of organisms (family level and above), see the authoritative synthesis The Timetree of Life.

Here are some examples to get you started: Humans and Chimpanzees diverged 6.3 MYA; Giraffes and Dolphins diverged 58.3 MYA; Cats and Mice diverged 95.2 MYA; and Dogs and Fleas diverged 777.8 MYA. [more inside]
posted by troll on Oct 27, 2011 - 18 comments

"Attack me in the comments section -- GO."

Jane Pratt (formerly of Sassy Magazine and her eponymous Jane,) launched a website for women: xojane, earlier this year. Last week the site's Health and Beauty Director wrote a blog post explaining that she never uses condoms, birth control pills, or other contraception (for fear of becoming fat) and instead relies on the emergency contraceptive Plan B to prevent pregnancy. And a segment of the internet exploded. (Her responses to some of the comments seem a bit clueless for someone with her title.) Critics have noted that the post was filled with "ignorant" "inaccuracies and misconceptions" about womens' health, sex, Plan B and other forms of birth control. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 21, 2011 - 104 comments

History of Visualization of Biological Macromolecules

History of Visualization of Biological Macromolecules. Wonderfully self-explanatory. See especially the Early [1966!] Interactive Molecular Graphics Movie Gallery and the On-Line Museum. These are the progenitors of Blasdelb's cool post.
posted by skbw on Oct 2, 2011 - 14 comments

Bioshock

Scientist and Science Fiction author Joan Slonczewski, author of A Door Into The Ocean, guest blogs about science fictional and microbiology on Charles Stross's site: Salt Beings, Microbes grow the starship, Synthetic Babies
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2011 - 13 comments

I know what you're thinking...

UC Berkeley researchers have successfully used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences - in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.
posted by gman on Sep 22, 2011 - 62 comments

Foldit - Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists. The structure of a protein causing AIDS in rhesus monkeys had not been discovered in 15 years of attempts. Players of a videogame did it in ten days. Foldit, the game in question. Abstract. Previously, previously.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 18, 2011 - 54 comments

Genetic portraits

Split Family Faces. "How much do you and members of your family really look alike? Quebec, Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he's exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family. By splitting their faces in half and then melding them together, he creates interesting new people that are sometimes quite normal looking and other times far from it. He calls this series Genetic Portraits."
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Aug 17, 2011 - 43 comments

Life Before the Dinosaurs

Art is seven years old and really likes life before the dinosaurs. And he thinks arthropods are really cool.
posted by silby on Aug 5, 2011 - 27 comments

SCIENCE!

At the beginning of last month, Scientific American unveiled a new network of 47 blogs with 55 bloggers. Their latest posts can be found here. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2011 - 15 comments

Empire of Evolution

Evolution Right Under Our Noses. "A small but growing number of field biologists study urban evolution — the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 26, 2011 - 42 comments

To help thousands of people in over 200 countries diagnose, treat and prevent common illnesses

Hesperian is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care, mostly aimed at the third world. Their first book, Where There Is No Doctor, A Village Health Handbook, has been translated into 88 languages and is one of the most widely used training and work manuals for community health care in the world. They have now made 20 of their publications available for free download, many of which can now also be browsed online through their website using an "Ebrary" in-browser interface. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 26, 2011 - 15 comments

Creationism stays out of Texas textbooks (for now)

On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 25, 2011 - 58 comments

The Brain on Trial.

The Brain on Trial. Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania."
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Jul 15, 2011 - 99 comments

Arboreal Art in Nature

"Magnificent and Weird Trees" Also see, Living, Growing Architecture.
posted by zarq on Jul 10, 2011 - 18 comments

America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle

The New Republic examines what they're calling "America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle" and asks, "What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 29, 2011 - 173 comments

First she rises, then she hops, and then she eats you.

(Sunday night arthropod terror filter): YouTube user memutic has uploaded several dozen high-quality backyard video recordings of exotic insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and millipedes native to Central America, Southeast Asia, and the US. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Jun 26, 2011 - 20 comments

Neolithic Grog!

The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 26, 2011 - 45 comments

Digitized Darwin

More than 300 heavily-annotated books from Charles Darwin's personal library have been digitized in a collaboration between Cambridge University, which holds the collection, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a project that has so far digitized nearly 50,000 titles from the natural sciences. And if you're looking for what Darwin wrote, rather than what he read, the University of Oklahoma has digitized the first edition of each of his 22 books.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 23, 2011 - 17 comments

"Here, eat this root."

The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 15, 2011 - 278 comments

Mismeasure remeasured

A Mismeasured Mismeaurement of Man. Stephen Jay Gould's classic The Mismeasure of Man argues that 19th century scientist Samuel George Morton inflicted his own racial biases on his data to demonstrate that Caucasians had larger brains than other races. A new paper in the Public Library of Science: Biology debunks Gould's account by remeasuring the same skulls Morton used. Whatever biases Morton may have had, they are not reflected in the data.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 10, 2011 - 55 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

Though primitive, even these early species had already adapted fully to parasitism on the plastic membranes of apple bags.

Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group: Taxonomic Data of the Breadties of the World [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 6, 2011 - 15 comments

Loom

Loom. (SLVimeo) (Youtube version) (Arachnophobes should definitely skip this one.) (Via)
posted by zarq on May 26, 2011 - 14 comments

new branch in tree of life

Holy mama, a new clade. (via)
posted by Meatbomb on May 13, 2011 - 22 comments

Shooting cats with a chronophotographic gun

Do cats always land on their feet? No. Unless...
posted by furtive on May 11, 2011 - 37 comments

The life and times of Tom Eisner, father of chemical ecology, photographer, musician and champion of environmental and human rights

Thomas Eisner, a Cornell biologist best known for his extensive work (PDF) with chemical ecology, passed away on Friday, March 25th, 2011. Eisner was more than a "bug guy," he was one of the "original guiding lights" in the study of chemical interactions of organisms, most often focusing on insects. He also was a photographer, pianist and occasional conductor (PDF), and conservation activist. More on his fascinating life inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 6, 2011 - 7 comments

Fungus of the Month by Tom Volk

Fungus of the month, since 1997. Discover the bright aqua green stain fungus, which turns wood green, and was used by woodworkers in the Renaissance to add natural greens to inlaid wood work. Stinky and obscene dog stinkhorn fungus (maybe NSFW), like pink wieners growing out of your mulch. And many more, poisonous, infectious (warning: gross), hallucinogenic, with interesting photos and stories, for what he calls "the myco-curious". Bonus: I survived the destroying angel, an account of what happens if you eat a poisonous Amanita mushroom and are really, really lucky. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Apr 30, 2011 - 22 comments

Recombinant rainbow poop diagnostics

The E. chromi project is forging ahead with its plan, using recombinant bacteria to detect and display disease states of the human body in your toilet. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 27, 2011 - 18 comments

Nature Special Issue on the Future of the PhD

Mark Taylor. Reform the PhD system or close it down. Nature 472, 261 (2011) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 26, 2011 - 54 comments

Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality

Big dust up about kin selection. Biologists E.O. Wilson, Martin Nowak, and Corina Tarnita publish a paper attacking kin selection, the idea that the reproductive success of a gene is influenced not only by its effects on its carrier, but also by its effects on related individuals (kin) carrying the same gene. 130 some odd other biologists respond. Richard Dawkins weighs in. Some talking bears offer a summary. [via]
posted by AceRock on Apr 17, 2011 - 46 comments

Caution: Do NOT Lick!

I Heart Banana Slugs, or Is That Piece of Poop Moving?! Daniel Williford, a District Interpretive Specialist working in the Bay Area's Santa Cruz Mountains, gives an enthusiastic overview of the beloved banana slug. [more inside]
posted by PepperMax on Apr 15, 2011 - 50 comments

master of information

The New Biology - Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via)
posted by kliuless on Apr 9, 2011 - 35 comments

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it

Could the three established domains of life - eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea - be joined by a fourth?
posted by Artw on Mar 25, 2011 - 53 comments

Three Paths for Four Chambers

It was Alex St. Martin's gory musket injury that paved the way for cow fistulation, a hands-on method to explore the inner workings of bovine digestion.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 18, 2011 - 58 comments

Animals

The Creature Connection: Our love for animals can be traced to our capacity to infer the mental states of others, which archaeological evidence suggests emerged more than 50,000 ago. This article is part of a NYTimes series on the relationship between humans and the animals we raise. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 18, 2011 - 21 comments

The Definitive Look at the Diversity of Our Planet

Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 7, 2011 - 69 comments

It made Tyrannosaurus rex. It made Bin Laden too.

Evolution Made Us All
posted by brundlefly on Feb 7, 2011 - 52 comments

The Soul Niche

Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it. It all depends how you think it.
posted by 0bvious on Feb 4, 2011 - 17 comments

Work It Blot That Bitch Crazy

Bad Project. For anybody who's ever worked in a bio lab, or know people who have. (SLLadyGagaParody.)
posted by kmz on Jan 22, 2011 - 23 comments

get your group on

The Price of Altruism - George Price, a (troubled) father of group selection thru his discovery of the eponymous Price Equation, has a rather interesting biography... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 15, 2011 - 9 comments

Blackawton bees

A new paper about bees in Biology Letters, Blackawton bees concludes with "We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before." The authors are 25 children between 8 and 10 from the Blackawton Public School, becoming the youngest scientist to be published in a Royal Society journal.
posted by rpn on Dec 22, 2010 - 16 comments

CreatureCast

CreatureCast is a collaborative blog and podcast from evolutionary biologist Casey Dunn, who uses it as a teaching tool at the Dunn Lab at Brown University. The Lab investigates ways in which evolution has produced a diversity of life, and the blog includes neat, invertebrate zoology-related videos that may cover anything from "mating when you're stuck to a rock" to Flying with Squid to Multicellularity to Diving for Jellies. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 16, 2010 - 2 comments

Let's try to avoid creating something with "molecular acid for blood," shall we?

Dmitar Sasselov is an astrophysicist, Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard and a co-investigator of the Kepler space telescope project to find Earth-like planets around the Cygnus constellation and discover extraterrestrial life. But no matter how successful the Kepler project may be, it still won't answer the most fundamental questions of astrobiology: How diverse is life in the universe? If alien life exists, will it have Earthly DNA and proteins? Or will it run on something else? So Dr. Sasselov has decided to collaborate with two synthetic biologists, asking them to create a life form based on mirror-image versions of what we know as the essential building blocks of living things on Earth. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 14, 2010 - 13 comments

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