Nanowire Mesh Monitors Mouse Brains - "Injectable 'neural lace'* brain-computer interface works in mice for months at a time." (via) [more inside]
Can smiling make you happier? Maybe not. We have no idea. ... The basic finding of Strack’s research—that a facial expression can change your feelings even if you don’t know that you’re making it—has now been reproduced, at least conceptually, many, many times. ... In recent years, it has even formed the basis for the treatment of mental illness. An idea that Strack himself had scoffed at in the 1980s now is taken very seriously: Several recent, randomized clinical trials found that injecting patients’ faces with Botox to make their “frown lines” go away also helped them to recover from depression. [more inside]
Google’s Chrome Music Lab [Chrome recommended, not sure if it is required] is a collection of Chrome “experiments,” all featuring Web technologies like WebGL that run inside the Google Chrome browser. Google said that it created the experiments as part of Music In Our Schools month, but the experience should appeal to adults and kids alike: It’s like a Web-based Exploratorium for sound.
"On the shores of Payette Lake are crates full of beavers, part of a shipment to be dropped in the primitive area by parachute from an airplane." A clip from Fur for the Future, a recently rediscovered documentary from 1948 about Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the state's backcountry.
Adam and Jamie announce the end of their classic Mythbusters series in this week's Entertainment Tonight. [more inside]
A man ate 35 Chipotle burritos in one week to help determine how to maximize the amount of food one can get in a single Chipotle order.
Exhausting a Crowd is an interactive video you can annotate yourself, using footage from a London street. It was commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of their All of This Belongs to You exhibition.
Starbucks Is Testing a Drink That Tastes Like Guinness (Without the Alcohol) by Samantha Grossman (@sam_grossman), Time magazine:
The new drink, called the Dark Barrel Latte, is being tested at select locations across Ohio and Florida, Grubstreet reports. It doesn't contain any alcohol, but it supposedly contains the dark, toasty, malty flavors of Guinness. A BuzzFeed writer who got his hands on one in Columbus confirmed that it really does taste like stout. Several customers who've tweeted about the drink agree that it tastes like Guinness — but the jury's still out on whether or not that’s actually a good thing.[more inside]
When I asked a colleague who was born and raised in Dublin (Guinness's birthplace) how he felt about all this, he responded first with this GIF. Then, as he mulled it over a bit more, he added, "Holy hell. Worst." Then he posed a question: "American Guinness already doesn't taste like Guinness. So what will this taste like?" Then he barfed all over me and my stupid American ignorance.
Amusing Surface Tension Experiment (SLYT) Mad science with a ball point pen, cup of water and a bit of liquid soap. [more inside]
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."
"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]
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]
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]
The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
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]
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]
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]
The three most exciting words in science concern one of the longest running experiments of all time that finally produced a recordable result.
"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.
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]
A large portion of scientific research is publicly funded. So why do only the richest consumers have access to it?
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]
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]
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)
"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]
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."
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.
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]
Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.
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]
It's not 'cheating' if you don't get caught. Elephants can figure out how to cut corners.
The Time Hack: A web-based effort to challenge one person's perception of time through new and unusual experiences.
Video footage of an experimental LSD session from the 1950s, which concludes with a short discussion with philosopher Gerald Heard.
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]
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.
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]
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]
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)
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]
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]