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"You can measure your life in a number of drops."

World's longest-running experiment captures elusive tar pitch drop fall on video after 84 years of waiting — though, sadly, too late for physicist and former pitch drop custodian Prof. John Mainstone, who passed away last year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 19, 2014 - 15 comments

 

Surfing On Sine Waves

Richard D. James is someone whose work can probably be considered outsider art. By almost anyone's standards, his work is eccentric, quirky and idiosyncratic. Its flaws (such as tape hiss and clipping) are arguably as charming as its finer points (such as whole worlds of original sounds), and its deviations from the norm are what make it so endearing, otherworldly and engaging. James seems a good subject for a case study due to how little music theory he took for granted, and how much he built his own musical principles from scratch, which is a noble goal for anyone trying to carve their own niche in the musical ecosystem.
posted by mannequito on Mar 13, 2014 - 46 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

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

Andrew Crosse: poet, naturalist, and creator of insects born of electricty and minerals

Andrew Crosse (June 17, 1784 – July 6, 1855) was a British poet, naturalist, local magistrate, and "gentleman scientist" who may or may not have created life in an electrocrystallization experiment. [Post inspired by TheophileEscargot on MetaChat] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 10, 2011 - 5 comments

Pharmacologic Waterboarding

The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 2, 2010 - 73 comments

Google’s Product Development Philosophy

“If you're a politician, admitting you're wrong is a weakness, but if you're an engineer, you essentially want to be wrong half the time. If you do experiments and you're always right, then you aren't getting enough information out of those experiments. You want your experiment to be like the flip of a coin: You have no idea if it is going to come up heads or tails. You want to not know what the results are going to be. ” A Slate interview with Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Google's product development process. [via]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 7, 2010 - 20 comments

Experiments in Torture

The Torture Papers. "In the most comprehensive investigation to date of health professionals' involvement in the CIA's 'enhanced' interrogation program (EIP), Physicians For Human Rights has uncovered evidence that indicates the Bush administration apparently conducted illegal and unethical human experimentation and research on detainees in CIA custody. The apparent experimentation and research appear to have been performed to provide legal cover for torture, as well as to help justify and shape future procedures and policies governing the use of the 'enhanced' interrogation techniques. The PHR report, Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the 'Enhanced' Interrogation Program, is the first to provide evidence that CIA medical personnel engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation after 9/11, in addition to the previously disclosed crime of torture." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 6, 2010 - 42 comments

The machines are making such a wonderful music, who would want to pull the plug?

Computer music is relatively old, going back to the very early 1950s. In the following decades, people have been creative with programmable technology, leading to "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" being played on an IBM chain printer back in 1966, and in more recent years, HP ScanJet 5100c included an Easter Egg. The HP ScanJet 4c's SCL (Scanner Control Language) unofficial PLAY TUNE command lead to these fine little ditties. Now over a decade ago, the duo known as [The User] enlisted three specialists to operate a computer program via a server that synchronized the dot-matrix printers and read complex ASCII text files in order to create musical compositions. The result was a techno-sounding piece that was performed by the administrators of the system, rather than one that was simply being played. Like a symphony of car horns, the coordination of these printers became Symphony #1 and #2 for Dot Matrix Printers (samples of Symphony #2, Symphony #2 Slashdot thread). [More computer music exploration inside] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 26, 2009 - 27 comments

Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me...

Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse. Cruel and unusual punishment?
posted by Unregistered User on Aug 13, 2006 - 43 comments

No, I'm not sure how they get it to not devolve into a wall of feedback... though that'd be pretty rad too.

A Piano In A Gallery. David Cunningham (the guy behind The Flying Lizards! Wikipedia because the main at-least-quasi-official site's down, but while you wait 16 days for that, why not read this interview with Deborah Lizard for your FL Fix) and his new project... A Piano In A Gallery. No, he's not actually PLAYING the piano -- the visitors are. It's a sort of similar thing to both Brian Eno's gallery work with ambient tape loops on different time cycles, creating an ever-shifting collage of sound and David Byrne's recent Playing The Building. The room is mic'd, and the sound is run through a piano, and amplified, both bringing background noises to the foreground AND creating feedback-style loops, as those sounds are also run into the mics and so forth. So... if you happen to be in London.... [via WFMU]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me on Jul 15, 2006 - 5 comments

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