Today The Doomsday Clock will have its time recalibrated. In 2015 the scientists set the hands to 23.57 - "due to climate change, the modernization of nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia, and the problem of nuclear waste." Is the apocalypse closer or further away? Watch the result live at 13.30 EST. There's really only one way it can go.
"It isn’t easy to discover new podcasts. There are just SO many out there. Sometimes the best approach is to simply turn to a friend and say, 'Hey, what are you listening to these days?'" So, NPR has created earbud.fm, a "friendly guide to great podcasts."
Women enjoy video games, to the astonishment of local TV newsreaders. Women enjoy science, to the astonishment of Facebook users.
False memories of fabricated political events [ABSTRACT]. In the largest false memory study to date, 5,269 participants were asked about their memories for three true and one of five fabricated political events. Each fabricated event was accompanied by a photographic image purportedly depicting that event. Approximately half the participants falsely remembered that the false event happened, with 27% remembering that they saw the events happen on the news. Political orientation appeared to influence the formation of false memories, with conservatives more likely to falsely remember seeing Barack Obama shaking hands with the president of Iran, and liberals more likely to remember George W. Bush vacationing with a baseball celebrity during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. A follow-up study supported the explanation that events are more easily implanted in memory when they are congruent with a person's preexisting attitudes and evaluations, in part because attitude-congruent false events promote feelings of recognition and familiarity, which in turn interfere with source attributions. [FULL TEXT PDF AVAILABLE HERE] [more inside]
In 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a scheme for virtual faster than light travel using a real-world analog to the familiar science fiction trope known as "Warp Drive." The basic premise exploited certain space-time warping effects predicted by General Relativity to fold space-time, theoretically allowing a specially designed space craft to reach distant destinations effectively at FTL speeds without actually having to accelerate to light speed or beyond at all. There was, however, at least one major problem with the proposal: The math suggested it would require as much energy as the mass of the planet Jupiter to power the thing. But according to newer calculations based on a modified version of Alcubierre's original proposal, warp speed travel may now theoretically be within reach (warning: eyeball-gouging Space.com link), requiring drastically less energy than originally thought. Of course, not everyone's convinced there's anything to see here. And even so, prohibitive energy input requirements may not be the only serious challenge facing the development of real-world warp drive technology, so don't go packing your bags for that long overdue vacation to Risa just yet.
"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."
'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
Solaris, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English. The current print version, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker, was always scathing of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston 'The Definitive Solaris' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves.
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]
Science meets the news cycle, part n: Researchers look at cancer rates in the ancient world and conclude that cancer is "a modern, man-made disease." The story makes headlines in the UK (and pops up on the political fringe). Meanwhile, New Scientist and others debunk the claim. Will that critical perspective get as much coverage as the original story? [more inside]
Is it really raining oil in Lousiana? A YouTube video captured by someone claiming to be a resident of River Ridge, Lousiana, roughly 45 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, purports to show evidence of just that. The EPA and other experts remain unconvinced, citing the seemingly obvious fact that oil does not evaporate. The local press characterizes the claims as "exaggerations and hysterical falsehoods." But at least one previous study has been offered to argue that oil broken down with dispersants can in fact evaporate under the right conditions. [more inside]
Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Discriminatory? Canadian AIDS researchers Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Norbert Gilmore say that while the ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men may have been ethically and scientifically justified in the 1980's, it no longer makes sense. (CMAJ.) Even though the US FDA reaffirmed their long-standing ban in 2007, they plan to revisit the policy in June. [more inside]
The NHS Behind the Headlines site gives the scientific facts behind the medical stories making the news.
In response to the declining quantity and quality of science journalism in U.S., a group of 35 universities have created their own online wire service called Futurity.org to distribute research results directly to news sites like Yahoo and Google News. [more inside]
... a small, heavy package wrapped in brown paper arrived in the mail at the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City. Inside was a mess of wires. It wasn't a bomb - it turned out to be the only live recording of Woody Guthrie known to exist. The wire was fragile, bent, stretched and twisted. Jamie Howarth applied some algorithms he had developed to restore old recordings, and the result has been nominated for a Grammy.
'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
Knight Science Journalism Tracker is a new-ish blog (project of a program at MIT and Charles Petit) that follows science writing and reporting in a very wide range of publications. It's a good way to learn about how science news is reported, and an efficient way to keep up with the news itself. [some recent examples]
Bacteria Roll Out Carpet Of Goo That Converts Deadly Heavy Metal Into Less Threatening Nano-spheres. This microbe joins another reported not too long ago. We certainly could use their help.
A NOAA report says Earth's surface and atmosphere are both warming, and that earlier work that found otherwise contains flaws. In other news, global warming has started to weaken an important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean, a study suggests. The change could alter climate and the marine food chain in that area; polar bears and walrus pups sad.
Researchers have found that prolonged concentration on a difficult task actually switches off a person's self awareness. Fancy experiencing this sensation for yourself? That would be an oxymoron in existence. Just lay back and let the orgasm take hold.
As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end and the faked life begin? Are we simulating life synthetically? or just speeding up an entirely natural process? Technologically engineered life is here to stay. Its not far fetched to speculate that simulacra may become all there is.
via BBC Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.
Body, volume, style and shine with long-lasting power. Clonycavan Styling Gel, along with mummification in Irish peat, works together with your freshly disemboweled corpse to protect hair from the disruptive power of 2000 years of rigor-mortis.
The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons: Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness the idea of the Transhuman is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science of fiction? a comfortable humanist illusion?
Learn to love cannibals, hear from a cat about pet diets, discover some facts about bottled water, or create your own tornado (flying cow included) ... all this and more at the Why Files.
A protest of scientific journals, organized by the Public Library of Science with the help of over 20,000 scientists and researchers world-wide, will begin in September 2001 unless old research papers are made freely available online.
"There are only a few hundred genes that we have in the human genome that are not in the mouse genome,"
"There are only a few hundred genes that we have in the human genome that are not in the mouse genome," says Craig Venter, chief scientific officer at Celera Genomics. Information on the human genome released today reveals that there are far fewer genes than first thought - humans only have double the amount that worms and flies do. [more inside...]