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Mother of the Sea

Every year in Uto, a remote town at the Southern tip of Japan, a festival is held to celebrate a woman known locally as the Mother of the Sea. Dr Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker died without knowing her research would save the Japanese seaweed industry and lead to a world multi-billion dollar obsession with sushi. The story of nori in Japan.
posted by infini on Dec 12, 2014 - 20 comments

Canadian government continues valiant fight in the war against science

"It’s absurd to be forced to make an argument in 2014 about why a country needs to invest in long term basic science" [more inside]
posted by randomnity on Dec 4, 2014 - 48 comments

'Ecological differentiation is the necessary condition for coexistence'

The Ecological Society of America will mark its 100th anniversary in 2015, and to celebrate, the ESA is asking people to weigh in with their ideas about the biggest ecological innovations over the past century. Brian McGill at Dynamic Ecology presents a thoughtful summary of the most important concepts and methods over 100 years of ecological research, and many other ecologists are weighing in as well. [more inside]
posted by dialetheia on Dec 3, 2014 - 18 comments

hyperconnected: your brain on shrooms

How Tripping On Mushrooms Changes The Brain - "New research [pdf] suggests that psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, sprouts new links across previously disconnected brain regions, temporarily altering the brain's entire organizational framework." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 28, 2014 - 82 comments

Rule-by-princess is the predominant form of government

Adventure Time Forum, The Leading Journal of Adventure Time Research, Commentary, and Analysis released its first issue. [more inside]
posted by 1970s Antihero on Nov 26, 2014 - 24 comments

Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape

A new paper in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest Provides a detailed and comprehensive look at the gender gap between men and women in academic science.

Their (surprisingly optimistic?) conclusion?: Barriers to women’s full participation in mathematically intensive academic science fields are rooted in pre-college factors and the subsequent likelihood of majoring in these fields, and future research should focus on these barriers rather than misdirecting attention toward historical barriers that no longer account for women’s underrepresentation in academic science.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Nov 21, 2014 - 50 comments

The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment

Want to know exactly how ideology and economics shape society? Split a nation in half.
posted by ellieBOA on Nov 19, 2014 - 21 comments

Real science, all the way from Scotland.

Acute effects of a deep-fried Mars bar on brain vasculature [more inside]
posted by infini on Nov 11, 2014 - 29 comments

poli sci is dirty business

Profs Bumble Into Big Legal Trouble After Election Experiment Goes Way Wrong Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch filed a complaint Friday alleging that Stanford University and Dartmouth College researchers broke four laws by sending 100,000 election mailers to voters that appeared to come from the state. Their peers in the field have ripped their social science experiment as a "misjudgment" or -- stronger still -- "malpractice." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Oct 28, 2014 - 95 comments

Welcome to the jungle!

Walk in the footsteps of Jane Goodall on Street View: Gombe National Park.
posted by ChuraChura on Oct 25, 2014 - 3 comments

Always remember it is YOUR project and YOUR paper and YOUR thesis.

"As the academic year begins again, new PhD students across the country (and further) are slowly settling into their fresh surroundings. I stayed at the same university when I made the switch to postgraduate research but I still remember feeling quite lost at the start, not knowing what to do or where to be. I’m now entering the final year of my studies and have (I hope) picked up some useful knowledge along the way.

"So I’ll cut right to the point: below is a list of handy tips, tricks, general advice and things I wish I knew when I started my PhD. The list was put together from chats with other PhD friends of mine, but is by no means exhaustive (nor is it in any particular order, though it did get quite long…). Hopefully it will help somebody. Please share your comments at the bottom if you have things to add – the more the merrier." Things I wish I knew when I started my PhD… from Between a rock and a hard place.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 18, 2014 - 59 comments

Researchers grow Alzheimers's in a petri dish

Breakthrough Replicates Human Brain Cells for Use in Alzheimer’s Research In the past, what once seemed to be promising breakthroughs in Alzheimer's Disease research have later petered away to nothing, but this latest announcement in the New York Times sounds like genuine good news. A new method of creating a brain in a dish can clear away one major obstacle in research, by providing an truer medium on which to test drugs, and a clearer indication that the theory that amyloid accumulation that leads to plaques and tangles is correct.
posted by feste on Oct 13, 2014 - 27 comments

the cost of a Calvin

How much damage can a 6 year-old possibly do? An analysis of the cost of raising a child like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 11, 2014 - 31 comments

They didn’t see the whole system was going to sour so quickly

The Boston Globe reports on the post-doc crisis in science research:
The life of the humble biomedical postdoctoral researcher was never easy: toiling in obscurity in a low-paying scientific apprenticeship that can stretch more than a decade. The long hours were worth it for the expected reward — the chance to launch an independent laboratory and do science that could expand human understanding of biology and disease.
But in recent years, the postdoc position has become less a stepping stone and more of a holding tank. Some of the smartest people in Boston are caught up in an all-but-invisible crisis, mired in a biomedical underclass as federal funding for research has leveled off, leaving the supply of well-trained scientists outstripping demand.

posted by Diablevert on Oct 10, 2014 - 47 comments

"A Pyramid Scheme"

"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Down The Rabbit-Hole

For the very first time, the sales of one million sex toys and 45,000 of their reviews have been analysed to reveal what we do in our most intimate and uninhibited moments. Research by Jon Millward, who also brought us Deep Inside. (Previously) [All links NSFW]
posted by chavenet on Sep 9, 2014 - 20 comments

is global collapse imminent?

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse [more inside]
posted by flex on Sep 4, 2014 - 61 comments

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital are reporting that xenon gas has the potential to become a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders.
posted by we are the music makers on Aug 29, 2014 - 52 comments

objectification and its effects on women

"If a woman is objectified in a relationship, the research indicates, it's more likely that her male partner will sexually coerce and pressure her." [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 28, 2014 - 106 comments

The singularity of academic geek clickers

You are a particle physics researcher. Particle Clicker is a resource accumulation game in the same mould as Cookie Clicker - but this time with particle physics research, academics, and funding. Click repeatedly on the Collider to generate data. Turn data into research to gain funding and increase your reputation. Spend your funding on Human Resources and Upgrades - don't forget to buy beer to keep your research students happy, and coffee to keep them awake! [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 7, 2014 - 33 comments

The Visual Microphone: Passive Recovery of Sound from Video

Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Microsoft Research, and Adobe Research have presented a technique for reconstructing an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. For example, the method can be used to extract intelligible speech from video of a bag of potato chips filmed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Aug 4, 2014 - 78 comments

Uncontrolled Orbital Lizard Sex Satellite

On July 18th, Russian researchers launched a Foton-M satellite in hopes of study how reptiles reproduce in a zero-g environment. They lost the ability to send commands to the biosatellite later that same day.
posted by quin on Jul 25, 2014 - 80 comments

On Lionfish, research, and science fairs

Last month, a twelve-year-old girl named Lauren Arrington was credited with research showing that lionfish, an invasive species, were surviving in water with a much lower percentage of salinity than was thought possible. [more inside]
posted by PussKillian on Jul 22, 2014 - 82 comments

Math, myths, and Vikings: storytelling and social networks

"An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association. It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind." [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on Jul 18, 2014 - 11 comments

"People are being told 'what happens in the field stays in the field"

NPR reports on a recently-published PLOS ONE article describing sexual harassment and assault perpetrated on (overwhelmingly young, female) researchers in the field.
In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.

posted by deadbilly on Jul 17, 2014 - 40 comments

The Green Turtle, the first Asian American super hero returns to comics

If you heard the recent NPR's Codeswitch segment on The Green Turtle, the first Asian superhero created in the United States, you heard descriptions of the 1940s comic. But there's more (so much more!) online. Start with the entire run of The Green Turtle on the amazing Digital Comic Museum, which hosts public domain Golden Age comics (late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s). If you want to know more about Chu F. Hing, the artist behind the original Green Turtle, here's an extensively researched biography on the astounding Chinese American Eyes blog, which covers "famous, forgotten, well-known, and obscure visual artists of Chinese descent in the United States." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2014 - 6 comments

That's a lot of decaying plant matter

Word association time: I say "peat", you say… "Scotland", right? Not necessarily! Peat is found around the world, including in many African countries. Earlier this year, scientists trekked through a Congo swamp, braving gorillas, elephants, crocodiles, and more. Their reward? Discovery of a peat bog the size of England. The team estimates that the bog covers between 100,000 and 200,000 square kilometers (40,000 to 80,000 sq miles), with the peat-layer reaching up to 7m (23ft) beneath the ground.
posted by Lexica on Jul 11, 2014 - 28 comments

One Doctor’s Quest to Save People by Injecting Them With Scorpion Venom

A scorpion-venom concoction that makes tumors glow sounds almost too outlandish to be true.
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 10, 2014 - 15 comments

Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round

Jason Mitchell, a scientist in the Harvard Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab recently published an essay on his website titled "On the emptiness of failed replications". In the essay he makes several controversial arguments, the most notable of which may be his assertion that studies designed to replicate previous work have no inherent scientific merit:
Because experiments can be undermined by a vast number of practical mistakes, the likeliest explanation for any failed replication will always be that the replicator bungled something along the way. Unless direct replications are conducted by flawless experimenters, nothing interesting can be learned from them.
[more inside]
posted by wintermind on Jul 8, 2014 - 34 comments

'Whoa… big brain huh… cool!'"

Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2014 - 37 comments

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

Humping a playmate during a romp...

Decades of scientific research suggests that beneath dogs' seemingly frivolous fun lies a hidden language of honesty and deceit, empathy and perhaps even a humanlike morality.
posted by gman on May 21, 2014 - 57 comments

CREW MUSTIE TUIE

CREW stands for Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding, and the manual uses “crew” as a transitive verb, so one can talk about a library’s “crewing” its collection. It means weeding but doesn’t sound so harsh. [more inside]
posted by sammyo on May 17, 2014 - 65 comments

Can we do that there? Be that here? Check Equaldex.

Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
posted by batmonkey on May 13, 2014 - 7 comments

Spy satellite images reveal Middle Eastern archaelogical sites

The Corona Atlas of the Middle East uses spy satellite imagery to reveal as many as 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites.
posted by MoonOrb on May 3, 2014 - 8 comments

The secret ingredient is the shame

"If the accessories are not expensive, the customer is not worth the effort of even a simple hello" In a paper soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Sauder marketing professor Darren Dahl lays out the findings of his research, where he looked at the correlation between the quality of customer service that a shopper receives in a store with their likelihood to return to make more purchases in the future. [more inside]
posted by St. Peepsburg on Apr 29, 2014 - 55 comments

Racial and gender biases in faculty mentoring

"Faculty at private schools were significantly more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty at public schools. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools." (link to NPR story). Katherine Milkman and colleagues conducted a field experiment in which professors were contacted by fictional prospective doctoral students and found that "faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from White males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions."
posted by needled on Apr 22, 2014 - 95 comments

A SAT Attack on the Erdos Discrepancy Conjecture

Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can't check - "A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it's talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia's pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm." (via; previously ;)
posted by kliuless on Apr 12, 2014 - 24 comments

Tamiflu, Roche and the Cochrane Collaboration

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian: "Today we found out that Tamiflu doesn't work so well after all. Roche, the drug company behind it, withheld vital information on its clinical trials for half a decade, but the Cochrane Collaboration, a global not-for-profit organisation of 14,000 academics, finally obtained all the information. Putting the evidence together, it has found that Tamiflu has little or no impact on complications of flu infection, such as pneumonia." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Apr 10, 2014 - 79 comments

Researchers Use Stem Cells to Regenerate Muscle Nearly as Strong

Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissue in Labs - "The researchers are now working on optimizing the growth of human muscle tissue, including finding a way to get blood flow to the tissue, the best source of cells and the best growing medium for the cells."
posted by kliuless on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 comments

Nostril, Lip, Penis

The worst places to get stung by a bee "It started when a honeybee flew up Michael Smith’s shorts and stung him in the testicles." Smith's painstaking study adds another dimension to the well-researched Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 4, 2014 - 79 comments

FIAWOL

"Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom's gift economy assigns special worth to "gifts of time and skill" (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation." -- Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom's gift economy by Tisha Turk.
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 31, 2014 - 4 comments

The joy of seeing your work in print

I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 24, 2014 - 46 comments

Pentagon Channel, Defense Laboratories Team Up for New Science TV Show

"Armed with Science," is a new science-focused TV show developed by two of the Department of Defense's in-house research laboratories and the Pentagon. They have always developed some crazy tech work, like perception tests on their robots. If Skynet is going to be real, I think these are the agencies that will put the terminators online.
posted by nealrodriguez on Mar 10, 2014 - 4 comments

plant sex in silico

Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie - "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2014 - 52 comments

Hello, is this thing on?

ISEE-3 seeks the creator. ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it.
posted by bitmage on Feb 7, 2014 - 52 comments

Most Publish Research Findings are Probably False

"Given the desire for ambitious scientists to break from the pack with a striking new finding, Dr. Ioannidis reasoned, many hypotheses already start with a high chance of being wrong. Otherwise proving them right would not be so difficult and surprising — and supportive of a scientist’s career. Taking into account the human tendency to see what we want to see, unconscious bias is inevitable. Without any ill intent, a scientist may be nudged toward interpreting the data so it supports the hypothesis, even if just barely." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jan 24, 2014 - 44 comments

Civic Crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
posted by divabat on Jan 19, 2014 - 8 comments

name that smell

Smells can be very hard to identify and name, unless you are given some prompting - or you speak Jahai, the language of an indigenous group in the Malay peninsula.
posted by divabat on Jan 3, 2014 - 23 comments

Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away.

Welcome to a tumblr of wonders. Special Collections, archives, and libraries have many wonderful items, but getting to them all can be a bit like trying to walk into Mordor, unless you have unlimited time and grants. But now, thanks to Tumblr, you too can explore collections around the world, and one of the best comes to us from the University of Iowa. Want a Hamlet quote on a miniature book that unfolds into a tiny Globe Theatre? Of course you do. Actual flying squirrels? Adventure with Alice! Get close to illuminations? Catch a glimpse of hipster frames circa 1504? More awesome librar* tumblrs inside. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 26, 2013 - 13 comments

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