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Life begets life

A functional self-replicator has been designed for Conway's game of life. The deceptively simple automata 'Conway's game of life' is a model system that illustrates how simple 'physics' can give rise to incredibly complex phenomena. Although a menagerie of existing patterns have been discovered/engineered that display a variety of interesting behavior (eg here), there are also many unanswered questions about what is possible within the simulation. Recently, life-enthusiast mscibing succeeded in designing a universal constructor pattern that is capable of building a functional copy of itself. Its execution can be viewed directly (though it takes a while!) using Golly, a sweet, open-source app for viewing life simulations, as well as other cellular automata.
posted by armheadarmlegleg on Jun 3, 2010 - 137 comments

 

The School of Life is a new social enterprise offering good ideas for everyday living.

How to be cool? How to stay calm? How to have better conversations? How to make love last? The School of Life is a place to step back and think intelligently about these and other concerns. [more inside]
posted by jonesor on May 18, 2010 - 12 comments

Henry VIII's opulent wine fountain returns to Hampton Court Palace

Modern Britain
posted by lungtaworld on Apr 30, 2010 - 14 comments

Past Thinking about Earth- Like Planets and Life

Past Thinking about Earth-Like Planets and Life [pdf], presenting a brief history of thought on finding extraterrestrial life-like phenomena, is the first chapter of James Kasting's new book, How to Find a Habitable Planet. He participated in a discussion on BBC's The Forum.
posted by jjray on Apr 29, 2010 - 27 comments

Early links in the chain of being

First there was Ida, the first molecule to self-replicate. (that's one hypothesis, anyway.) From Ida, eventually, came the Last Universal Common Ancestor, or Luca. The first substance to store information about itself in the form of a genetic code. Luca may be the form of Life from which all Life has evolved.
posted by cross_impact on Apr 22, 2010 - 33 comments

The Day Einstein Died

Albert Einstein died 55 years ago, on April 18, 1955, of heart failure at the age of 76. His funeral and cremation were intensely private affairs. Only one person, LIFE photographer Ralph Morse, managed to capture the events of the day Einstein died.
posted by Effigy2000 on Apr 16, 2010 - 17 comments

A new branch of animal life is discovered

Meet three new species of Loricifera, the first multicellular forms of life found that can live entirely without oxygen (figures and full article, PDF). [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 8, 2010 - 30 comments

What is Life?

What is Life? Really, What is Life? [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Apr 5, 2010 - 36 comments

Steve McQueen: 20 Photos of the King of Cool

"He liked camping, he liked rugged things, he liked firing a gun." LIFE publishes 20 previously-unseen pictures of Steve McQueen. [more inside]
posted by churl on Mar 24, 2010 - 31 comments

I'll have a glass of sea water, hold the salt

Researchers at MIT and in Korea have developed a new, efficient desalinization nanotechnology that could theoretically lead to small, portable units powered by solar cells or batteries, yet deliver enough potable fresh water from seawater to supply the needs of a family or small village. As an added bonus, the system would simultaneously remove many contaminants, viruses and bacteria. MIT Press Release. Abstract and Supplementary Information from Nature Nanotechnology. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 24, 2010 - 32 comments

To the Listeners

Playing basketball from the closet. From Dime Magazine's post - Secret Life of the Gay American Basketball Player. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Mar 22, 2010 - 38 comments

The Stuff Of Life

Space rock contains organic molecular feast Scientists believe the Murchison meteorite could have originated before the Sun was formed, 4.65 billion years ago. The researchers say it probably passed through primordial clouds in the early Solar System, picking up organic chemicals. [more inside]
posted by longsleeves on Feb 15, 2010 - 19 comments

Slackers.

Slacker is a unique film written and directed by Richard Linklater that follows the life of various characters in a Austin, Texas. Mind-numbingly boring or oddly captivating, Slacker provided an inspiration to other independent movies of the era and helped established the image of slacker as we see it today. Quoting Ebert, "We don't get a story, but we do get a feeling. " A Salon retrospective.
posted by mikepaco on Feb 8, 2010 - 86 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 Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life [previously] is E.O. Wilson's dream become reality. It has been online since February of 2008, aiming to catalog the currently known 1.9 million species on our planet. You can also add text, images, video, comments, and tags. [ FAQVideo IntroductionTutorials ]
posted by not_on_display on Jan 30, 2010 - 10 comments

Magazines on Google

The full text of several years of various magazines are available on google for your browsing pleasure. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1940-1998) Popular Mechanics (1900-2005), Weekly World News (1984-2007, Hitler's Secret UFO Plans), Life (1936-1972), Ebony (1960-2008) and many more. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jan 11, 2010 - 16 comments

Finding Dolly Freed

Finding Dolly Freed by Paige Williams. "In 1978, at age eighteen, she wrote Possum Living, a frugal-living book that made her briefly famous amid an infamous economy. Then she went off the grid in the most unexpected of ways—she went mainstream. Now Dolly—and her book—are back." [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jan 11, 2010 - 15 comments

1942 maps of the invasion of the United States

Metafilter's own JF Ptak has an interesting post on the Life magazine issue of March 2nd, 1942, readers of which were confronted by some startling maps detailing possible Axis invasion strategies for North America. There was invasion down the St. Lawrence valley, there was invasion via Trinidad, via Bermuda, full frontal west coast, and down the west coast as well - note the mapping of the large "fifth columns". As Ptak notes, maps such as these with huge arrows pointed menancingly at the American homeland were very much not the norm of the day. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Jan 3, 2010 - 44 comments

i hear so much complaining about this subject, i just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. free.

How To Make A Living Playing Music. Unicyclist and alt rocker banjo playerDanny Barnes lays down his thoughts about making it while making music. There's a lot to read in his piece, much of which may apply to you even if you're not a musician. via @colinmeloy. Hi, Colin!
posted by boo_radley on Dec 31, 2009 - 42 comments

He'll never be the head of a major corporation

Snapshots of Mike the Headless Chicken (NSFW, NSFV, previously)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 11, 2009 - 55 comments

Why is life worth living?

"Well, all right, why is life worth living? That's a very good question. Well, there are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. Uh, like what? Okay. Um, for me... oh, I would say... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing... and Willie Mays, and... the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, and... Louis Armstrong's recording of Potatohead Blues... Swedish Movies, naturally... Sentimental Education by Flaubert... Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra... those incredible apples and pears by Cezanne... the crabs at Sam Wo's... Tracy's face..."
posted by vronsky on Dec 11, 2009 - 73 comments

And the Pursuit of Happiness

Back to the Land — an illustrated essay about giving thanks and food and joy and life and things to ponder and such by Maira Kalman. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 28, 2009 - 16 comments

Life Magazine Camel Cigarette Ads from the 1930's.

With our modern fascination with "health" and "not dying of cancer" we've forgotten how cigarettes can "renew your flow of vim." Hey, would Lou Gehrig or "America's Aquatic Stars" steer you wrong? This Thanksgiving why not try smoking continously throughout the meal to help your digestion "run smoothly." For Digestion's Sake!
posted by BullaFoloney on Nov 20, 2009 - 51 comments

A Creature of Infinite Melancholy

LIFE magazine presents previously unpublished photos of Vladimir Nabokov, taken by Carl Mydens in 1959.
posted by Lutoslawski on Nov 17, 2009 - 31 comments

How An American Soldier Is Made

This is how an American soldier is made. A fascinating photo essay that details 27 months in the life of new US Army recruit Ian Fisher. It chronicles his recruitment, induction, training, deployment and finally, his return from combat.
posted by Effigy2000 on Nov 3, 2009 - 65 comments

The only people who can change the world are people who want to.

Ignore Everybody: Reflections on living a creative life, via No Depression blogs.
posted by Miko on Oct 23, 2009 - 44 comments

On the Division of Our Three Score & Ten

Ben Schott (previously) on The Ages of Man.
posted by HumanComplex on Oct 20, 2009 - 3 comments

LIFE is Good

Already hosting the LIFE Photo Archive (previously), Google today announces that it has "partnered with Life Inc. to digitize LIFE Magazine's entire run as a weekly: over 1,860 issues, covering the years from 1936 to 1972."
posted by Knappster on Sep 23, 2009 - 32 comments

transcendental numbers rumble in the technium

Extropy
How did life arise? What is information? In his recent dispatches from The Technium, Kevin Kelly would say extropy (cf. negentropy & Prigogine). [previously 1|2]
posted by kliuless on Sep 20, 2009 - 70 comments

Bike vs. Cars War

In light of the recent tragic death of a cyclist in Toronto, even normally well-balanced MeFites have polarized in the bikes vs. cars war”. But according to Guillermo Penalosa, the fight is really about better urban design. He helped to radically reinvent the transit and parks infrastructure of Bogata, making it of the best cycling cities in the world. The recent changes to Broadway in New York were influenced by Bogota's success. Gil now advises the Project for Public Spaces and is Executive Director of Walk & Bike for Life. Their solution to the pedestrians vs. cars vs. bikes battle is simple: better urban planning (previously on MeFi) that gives everyone their own safe space. Not sure if your city's infrastructure is up-to-snuff? Apply the 8/80 rule. In the meantime, keep safe out there.
posted by nometa on Sep 3, 2009 - 175 comments

take a vacation whenever you want

Netflix's awesome vacation policy -- famous for crowdsourcing, Netflix is now making waves with its employee handbook. (via fs)
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2009 - 84 comments

We're all, like, cosmic children, man!

In 2004, the Stardust mission passed through the tail of comet 81P/Wild (aka Wild 2); in 2006, that captured comet dust was returned to Earth. Now, researchers have found glycine, one of the amino acids in proteins, in that cometary material. [more inside]
posted by nonspecialist on Aug 18, 2009 - 34 comments

Get your schadenfreude here

Recently, there have been a host of websites that delight in exposing the inanity and stupidity of our society. There is the granddaddy, Overheard in New York, which recounts silly conversations heard in the Big Apple, as well as a host of similar sites. There are now a variety of such websites, dedicated to different aspects of our society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 28, 2009 - 51 comments

"Let people live in your heart"

Children Full of Life - grade 4 students in Kanazawa, Japan learn deep life lessons from their incredible teacher and from each other. I strongly recommend this as awesome, but one caveat: keep tissues handy. (5 parts, 40 minutes total, English)
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 25, 2009 - 48 comments

The KKK in photos

Anthony Karen has photographed today's Klan for LIFE magazine.
posted by exogenous on Jul 14, 2009 - 149 comments

Shopped, or Not?

Real or Fake? From the Life Magazine photographic archives.
posted by netbros on Jul 8, 2009 - 36 comments

Discover Your Inner Frankenstein

"In Massachusetts, a young woman makes genetically modified E. coli in a closet she converted into a home lab. A part-time DJ in Berkeley, Calif., works in his attic to cultivate viruses extracted from sewage. In Seattle, a grad-school dropout wants to breed algae in a personal biology lab. These hobbyists represent a growing strain of geekdom known as biohacking, in which do-it-yourselfers tinker with the building blocks of life in the comfort of their own homes." They might be discovering cures for diseases or developing new biofuels, but are their experiments too risky? Via. [more inside]
posted by amyms on May 19, 2009 - 101 comments

The art of Garnet Hertz

Play the life simulator. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on Apr 11, 2009 - 34 comments

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there.

Are plasma crystals alive? Cosmic dust can, in the presence of plasma, creates formations known as plasma crystals. An international team of researchers published a study in the Aug.14, 2007, issue of the New Journal of Physics (PDF here, abstract here) that indicates that these crystals may be more sophisticated than anyone realized. In simulations involving cosmic dust, the researchers witnessed the formation of plasma crystals displaying some of the elementary characteristics of life -- DNA-like structure, autonomous behavior, reproduction and evolution. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 26, 2009 - 48 comments

Video Games and The People Who Love Them

A Life Well Wasted is a new podcast about video games and the people who love them, created by freelance writer Robert Ashley. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Mar 18, 2009 - 20 comments

The Forgotten People

What if you were one of the Rohingya people, and you faced death in trying to escape, or were expelled from your Homeland. Would you wait for others to help, or would you try and do it yourself...
posted by hadjiboy on Feb 28, 2009 - 6 comments

The Spark of Life

Sparks of Life. "That the electric 'spark of life' figured prominently in debates over the nature of life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is well known. Less well known is the fact that prior to this period, gunpowder was often identified with the substances that were necessary to life, if not as a vitalistic spirit, then as an essential element in the animation of the body. The idea of a spark of life went back to ancient times, likening living beings to the glowing embers of a fire. In the Old Testament, for example, the wise woman of Tekoah begs for the life of her son, pleading 'they will stamp out my last live ember.' But from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, this vital flame was often equated with gunpowder. There was fire in the blood: not electric, but pyrotechnic fire."
posted by homunculus on Feb 20, 2009 - 11 comments

Primal Tweet

F*** My Life. Grouphug for the Twitter generation.
posted by nasreddin on Feb 3, 2009 - 69 comments

Q. Would you like tea OR coffee? A: Yes.

What real-life bad habits has programming given you? "This has actually really happened to me. I was trying to hang a glass picture frame on the wall and accidentally dropped it. And in the shock of the moment, I loudly yelled 'Control Z!' Then the glass hit the floor and smashed."
posted by grumblebee on Jan 30, 2009 - 170 comments

Why Google Employees Quit

Why Google Employees Quit
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 18, 2009 - 141 comments

You die. She dies. Everybody dies.

You're going to die.
posted by loquacious on Jan 8, 2009 - 101 comments

So There

Do you have something to say, but never had the chance to? Founded in late 1997 and originally published August 15th, 1998, So There has stood as a testament to your daily lives for over five years.
posted by cjorgensen on Jan 5, 2009 - 26 comments

Story From North America

Story From North America. A boy learns to appreciate life in all its forms via song.
posted by ludwig_van on Jan 5, 2009 - 8 comments

My Day Yesterday

My Day Yesterday. A Flickr set of short (under 90 seconds) videos which describe... a person's day. The instructions, as outlined by Garrett Murray, who started the group with this video: "Shoot video throughout a day in your life, then put it together and upload it the next day. Don't add any music or sound effects, just use what the camera recorded." Some favourites: Delphine Gilbert in Cordoba, Dean Allen in France, and Piotr/presentday in Florence.
posted by jokeefe on Jan 2, 2009 - 25 comments

It's a bird, it's a plane... its su... wait, nope not him.

Here's Razorhawk a superhero who also wrestles and makes suits for other superheroes. This is Master Legend who recently had an article published in Rolling Stone about him. Meet Superhero who patrols the streets of Clearwater, Florida in his custom Corvette. They call themselves real-life superheroes. A documentary film featuring them has the first 10 minutes free online at google video. [more inside]
posted by flipyourwig on Dec 31, 2008 - 17 comments

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