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We all really are just rats in the Facebook maze

Facebook scientists, having apparently become bored with optimizing advertising algorithms, are now running social science experiments on the users. Link to the actual paper. I assume they are already selling this to the advertisers as a way to alter "brand perceptions."
posted by COD on Jun 28, 2014 - 359 comments

The search for psychology's lost boy

"He pictured sitting down with Albert—who would have been in his 80s when Beck started searching for him—and watching the Little Albert video together." [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 2, 2014 - 7 comments

"Ethically Impossible" STD Research in Guatemala

Kayte Spector-Bagdady gives a lecture at the Rock Ethics Institute summarizing a report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues on the 1946-1948 U.S.-Guatemala STD Experiments. [Previously] [Previouslier]
posted by Jonathan Livengood on May 11, 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

I walked in at the best time.

Two pounds of dry ice in the kitchen sink.
posted by griphus on Jan 18, 2014 - 68 comments

"...research that is scientifically valuable but morally disturbing."

The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
posted by zarq on Nov 6, 2013 - 28 comments

Why Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment Isn’t in My Textbook

Three months ago, Psychology Today blogger Susan Krauss Whitbourne posted an essay entitled The Rarely Told Story of Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. I eagerly read it in the hope that it would reveal some heretofore relatively unknown truth about this famous experiment. But, in fact, the essay is simply a summary--a well written one--of the experiment that takes at face value Phillip Zimbardo’s and his colleagues’ conclusions. In the introduction to the essay, Whitbourne states that the experiment is “Depicted in movies, television and of course all introductory psych textbooks…” It’s true that Zimbardo’s experiment is one of the two or three most famous experiments in the history of psychology. But it’s not true that it’s depicted in all introductory psychology textbooks. I’m the author of one such textbook (which is now in it’s 6th edition and is used in many colleges and universities). One of the questions I’m frequently asked about the book by professors who teach from it is, “Why don’t you include Zimbardo’s prison experiment, like all other textbook authors do?”
Here’s why, the results of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment have a trivial explanation. See also, The lie of the Stanford Prison Experiment [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 29, 2013 - 61 comments

And now, conducting the 'The Marriage of Figaro'....

Last week, Improv Everywhere set up the ACJW Ensemble Orchestra (of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School) in Herald Square in New York City and placed an empty podium in front of the musicians with a sign that read, "Conduct Us." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 30, 2013 - 41 comments

Deijī, deijī wa, okonau, watashi ni anata no kotae o ataeru

World's first talking robot sent into space Japan has launched the world's first talking robot into space to serve as companion to astronaut Kochi Wakata who will begin his mission in November. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 3, 2013 - 23 comments

The pitch just dropped

The three most exciting words in science concern one of the longest running experiments of all time that finally produced a recordable result.
posted by z11s on Jul 18, 2013 - 41 comments

"As an experiment, they dated for 40 days."

"What do you do when you're tired of the prospect of dating?" Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman, both designers in New York City, found themselves single at the same time. Thus was born 40 Days of Dating, an experimental relationship being chronicled daily from July 10 to August 18, 2013.
posted by rensar on Jul 18, 2013 - 362 comments

Moving a very large magnet to measure very small particles.

By making a very precise measurement of the muon g-2 value and comparing the results to its predicted value, researchers at Fermilab hope to uncover evidence of new, undiscovered particles and forces. This continues work done at Brookhaven National Laboratory a decade ago. To do so, Fermilab needs their 50-ft ring magnet and its fragile, precisely assembled superconducting coils. After six months of planning, the magnet was slowly hauled on an eight-axle trailer through the streets of Long Island, loaded onto a barge, and tugged down the Atlantic coast and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will go up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the Mississippi and then through Illinois waterways before it's trucked again through suburban Chicago. Fermilab has a photo and video gallery and is posting updates. [more inside]
posted by hydrophonic on Jul 12, 2013 - 24 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

"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

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

Just In Time For The Equinox

About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 21, 2013 - 28 comments

Second Person Feline

"You are a cat. You don’t know your name, or where you are, or how you got there. You are sitting on a pile of clothes that smell familiar, and the room around you is quiet and dark." So begins A Stray In The Woods, an online collaborate comic/illustrated interactive fiction about being an amnesic cat. Take control of the story by suggesting things for the cat to do. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 24, 2012 - 32 comments

Mercury is an experimental roguelike.

Mercury is an experimental roguelike. How is it experimental? Let's have the creator, Jason Lantz, explain :
" all the game’s content is winner-generated. That means that the game starts out barren. One class for players to play, one monster to fight, and one item to use. But every round, the top two scoring players use a tool built into the game to make a monster, item or class and then that object is automatically inserted into everyone’s game, and players fight for new high scores in an entirely different game every round."

posted by boo_radley on Aug 26, 2012 - 16 comments

What would you say?

the listserve is simple: one person a day wins a chance to write to the list of subscribers. The project is an "online social experiment" by a group of graduate students at NYU's ITP program.
posted by likeatoaster on Apr 23, 2012 - 35 comments

Seeing in Circles

Oscar Lhermitte has been doing some wonderful things with video cameras and power drills.
posted by dunkadunc on Mar 2, 2012 - 17 comments

Wherefore art thou (probably), Higgs?

CERN has begun webcasting a public seminar in which there may or may not be some announcement regarding the significance or otherwise of recent observations regarding the possible existence of something that might be the Higgs boson. I am not a nuclear physicist, so I will try and keep up but will mainly be trying to catch the significance of the observations they have collected so far. In case these are talked about in terms of sigmas (there's scuttlebutt going around that this is a 3.5 sigma event), here's a table of sigma and probability. [more inside]
posted by carter on Dec 13, 2011 - 85 comments

Journey ends

Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
posted by baueri on Nov 4, 2011 - 26 comments

60 Second Adventures in Thought

60 Second Adventures in Thought is an animated series exploring famous thought experiments. More on: Hilbert's Paradox of the Grand Hotel, Schrödinger's cat, the Grandfather Paradox, the Chinese Room Argument, the Twin Paradox, and Achilles and the Tortoise. [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Oct 22, 2011 - 70 comments

Challenging Chompsky

In the late Sixties and early Seventies several experiments were begun to test whether or not a non-human primate could construct a sentence. Several species were involved in these various experiments including the chimpanzees Washoe and Nim, a gorilla named Koko, and later in the Eighties work began with a bonobo named Kanzi. While great progress was made in teaching these primates a vocabulary, it would be difficult to see any of these experiments as a success. And all of these projects raised important questions about the ethics of such experiments. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Aug 20, 2011 - 39 comments

Free Coffee, anyone?

Jonathan's Starbucks Card. Add the image of Jonathan's Starbucks card to your smartphone and if there is a balance (check twitter) you can have a free coffee.
posted by morganannie on Aug 9, 2011 - 86 comments

Self-actuation

PossessedHand is ostensibly a training system for students of stringed musical instruments. It teaches fingering positions by means of electrodes that stimulate muscles in the forearm, forcing the hand into the correct configuration.
posted by contraption on Jun 27, 2011 - 31 comments

The oldest scientific experiments still running...

The three longest-running scientific experiments are all located in the foyers of physics buildings. The oldest is the Oxford Electric Bell, which has been ringing continuously (over ten billion times!) since at least 1840, powered by batteries of unknown composition. In Dunedin, New Zealand, the Beverley clock has operated since 1864, without the need for winding, as it is powered by atmospheric changes. The relative youngster in the group is the Pitch Drop Experiment, which has been measuring the viscosity of pitch since 1927 by recording the time between drops of pitch from a funnel. The experiments has the world's most boring webcam, though the eighth, and most recent, drop fell in 2000, so the next is due any day now! Atlas Obscura has some additional candidates for long experiments, including the Rothemstead Plots, which have been used in agricultural experiments for 300 years.
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 6, 2011 - 33 comments

I still don't get it

Physicists have managed to observe light behaving both as a particle and wave in the same double-slit experimental condition, by means of a new method to weakly observe a particle's momentum. This article in Nature summarizes the results in non-mathematical terms. [more inside]
posted by leibniz on Jun 3, 2011 - 49 comments

Serotonin, mice and a good time

Interesting effect on the lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin in male mice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 23, 2011 - 37 comments

My elephant is smarter than your elephant

It's not 'cheating' if you don't get caught. Elephants can figure out how to cut corners.
posted by mudpuppie on Mar 16, 2011 - 39 comments

The Time Hack

The Time Hack: A web-based effort to challenge one person's perception of time through new and unusual experiences.
posted by parudox on Feb 9, 2011 - 28 comments

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Video footage of an experimental LSD session from the 1950s, which concludes with a short discussion with philosopher Gerald Heard.
posted by gman on Jan 16, 2011 - 138 comments

The Scope-Severity Paradox

In an ideal world, you’d imagine that someone who harmed more people would deserve a harsher treatment: a new paper by Loran F. Nordgren and Mary McDonnell, The Scope-Severity Paradox, suggests people find crime with fewer victims more severe than those with more victims. [PDF link] [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Oct 4, 2010 - 47 comments

Lights Out!

Leave your lights on, and get ready to explore the world of dreams. [more inside]
posted by Askiba on Sep 29, 2010 - 9 comments

Two Americans, doing odd jobs in the Philippines.

When Tory and Jason lost their jobs in the U.S., they found new ones in the Philippines, where they’ve spent the past year driving a taxi through the boondocks. In their latest video, they’ve decided to sell taho on the streets. The two are posting updates on their “job experiment” on Twitter - followers have been tweeting them suggestions for their next odd job.
posted by micketymoc on Sep 6, 2010 - 9 comments

Caring with cash

Shared social responsibility - When customers could pay what they wanted in the knowledge that half of that would go to charity, sales and profits went through the roof ... Gneezy describes the combination of charitable donations and paying what you like as 'shared social responsibility', where businesses and customers work together for the public good. (via mr) [also see 1,2,3]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2010 - 19 comments

Knots and Crosses

Sure, knot theory is an interesting subject with a storied past, and self-avoiding walk theory takes it a bit further in describing real-world ropes, lines and wires, but can it be usefully applied to the knotty problem of spontaneously forming tangles? Robert Matthews of Aston University has suggested that there's a simple solution to avoiding tangles in all our computer cables, headphone cords and Vectran cored double braid halyard lines: make them into loops [pdf]. It's plausible, but not proven. Enter The Great British Knot Experiment which aims to provide "compelling empirical evidence to support the Loop Conjecture – and thus for its role in solving one of life's little irritations." [more inside]
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal on Jun 15, 2010 - 36 comments

Gassy?

Alka-Seltzer added to a water bubble in an experiment on the International Space Station. "Alka-Seltzer added to spherical water drop in microgravity" via Reddit. (SLYT)
posted by zerobyproxy on Jun 2, 2010 - 51 comments

If the past is a palimpsest, what are we?

Ten days ago, Slate Magazine conducted an experiment modeled on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984: they asked readers to look at eight photographs of notable political moments from the past decade and share their memories about each. Over 5,000 people participated in the first three days, but what they didn’t know was that four of the pictures were significantly doctored, and one was totally fabricated. [more inside]
posted by mondaygreens on May 28, 2010 - 67 comments

you are the result of a social experiment; it's the simplest explanation

The experimental method: Testing solutions with randomized trials -- In trying to help explicate the complexity of society Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo is raising the productivity of social policies by increasing our knowledge of what works and doesn't work through repeated social experiments of randomised controlled trials. She has a large surplus labour pool, a veritable industrial reserve army, to worth with. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2010 - 18 comments

48 Hour Magazine

Can thousands of contributors have a baby in a month make a magazine in 2 days? 48 Hours Magazine will announce a topic and start accepting submissions on Friday, and will ship to the printer on Sunday. Joel Johnson interviewed the crack editorial staff.
posted by domnit on May 5, 2010 - 56 comments

In the Black

In the black. Maggie Anderson, and her family spent a year trying to patronize only black-owned businesses. Featured in the local papers, you can read about the project and their own views on their website.
posted by Carillon on Apr 30, 2010 - 131 comments

Natural Born Killer - Genocide of the Fallout 3 World

I'm on a mission - not to praise Jesus or ensure that every child in Namibia has a netbook, but to kill every single living vaguely human-like character in Fallout 3. ... everyone ... no matter how friendly, helpful, or beneficial to my completion of the game, must be put into the ground. "Natural Born Killer", an experiment in virtual genocide, parts One, Two and Three.
posted by slimepuppy on Mar 26, 2010 - 45 comments

Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to.

A French, state-run TV channel appears to be stirring controversy by airing a documentary about a fake game show in which contestants torture eachother, called "Game of Death." Based on the well-known Stanley Milgram experiments of the 1960's that, in the wake of Nazi Germany, sought out to measure man's willingness to obey orders. [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Mar 17, 2010 - 33 comments

The "Still-Face" Experiment

The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2010 - 22 comments

A Cubic Foot

How much life could you find in one cubic foot? With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project) surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 2, 2010 - 25 comments

The Real Good Chair Experiment

The Real Good Chair Experiment - What happens if you leave 25 chairs around New York and watch to see where they go? The short film then continues with an interview with a few of the people who brought them home.
posted by flatluigi on Jan 8, 2010 - 27 comments

Big kids Hotwheels loop-the-loop

Fifth Gear Loop the Loop. (SLYT, in the interest of science) prev 5th gear
posted by allkindsoftime on Nov 28, 2009 - 40 comments

The Science of Cosby

The Great Cosby Experiment 09. "As of the last actual count we have 185 Cosbies!"
posted by Powerful Religious Baby on Jun 26, 2009 - 59 comments

Quick! Alert Ed and Lorraine Warren!

The objective of the experiment was to determine whether infrasonic frequencies and magnetic field fluctuations similar to those found in supposedly "haunted" spaces can elicit physiological or psychological effects similar to those experienced in "hauntings".
posted by Pope Guilty on Jun 19, 2009 - 39 comments

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