Apparently, the new black is... really, really black. "Researchers in New York reported this month that they have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made -- about 30 times as dark as the government's current standard for blackest black."
But what possible benefit to society could come from this blacker than black substance? Why, invisibility cloaks
, of course! [more inside]
posted by willie11
on Feb 20, 2008 -
Study: Internet Not Dumbing Down Kids, Who Were Stupid Anyway. Full report!
The information literacy of young people, has not
improved with the widening access to technology:
in fact, their apparent facility with computers
disguises some worrying problems. Young people have unsophisticated mental maps of what the internet is, often failing to appreciate that it is a collection of networked resources from different providers. (Like tubes!)
posted by parmanparman
on Jan 20, 2008 -
- "If a new drug were as effective at saving lives as Peter Pronovost’s checklist, there would be a nationwide marketing campaign urging doctors to use it" [single page]
posted by Gyan
on Jan 2, 2008 -
. Researchers unravel the complex combination of physical and emotional reactions that influence our perceptions of what tastes good. Once upon a time, flavor research was a matter of asking housewives to munch a few potato chips... Now it's about providing an exceptional flavor "experience." And as scientists learn to exploit the ways we perceive flavor, food manufacturers will be able to refine their products to appeal to us as individuals. Welcome to the world of personally tailored mass-produced food.
posted by amyms
on Nov 5, 2007 -
In the U.S., motorists do not pay their way.
The US government spends more on highways and other auto-related expenses than it receives from auto-related taxes, unlike almost every country in Europe. In a recent report [pdf], Mark Delucchi
calculates automobile-related costs and revenues in three different ways and concludes the subsidy is around 20-70 cents per gallon or $24-105 billion in 2002. But what are automobile-related costs, you ask? [more inside]
posted by salvia
on Oct 2, 2007 -
was studying to be an Episcopal priest in the mid-1950s when he learned, shortly after his father's death, that his father, Oklahoma State Representative Ira D. Humphreys
, took trips to New Orleans to have sex with other men. After being dismissed as an Episcopal priest in the 1960s, Laud Humphreys then enrolled as a sociology grad student where he completed a dissertation about men who had sex with other men in public bathrooms in St. Louis
, which Humphreys researched by agreeing to serve as a "watch queen"
, looking out for the police. After writing down the license plate numbers of the men having sex, Humphreys traced the men's addresses and contacted them in disguise, claiming to be collecting data for a public health survey. The research, which was condemned as unethical
for its use of covert methods
, was published in 1970 as Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places
. [more inside]
posted by jonp72
on Sep 8, 2007 -
The Placebo Effect In Action
. "When patients believe a drug will help them, they sometimes heal themselves"
(a report on a new study from Columbia University and the University of Michigan). And, an additional take
on the Placebo Effect from the Skeptic's Dictionary.
posted by amyms
on Aug 2, 2007 -
New study reveals prejudices amongst disabled.
A research paper
by Mark Deal, a PhD student and researcher at UK disability charity Enham
reveals the news
that disabled people have the same prejudices about disability as non-disabled people:
the research points to a hierarchy of impairment, ranking Deaf as the most ‘desirable’ impairment followed by Arthritis, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, HIV/ Aids, Down’s syndrome and Schizophrenia amongst disabled people. These prejudices are almost identical to those held by the non-disabled sample, with the only difference being that Cerebral Palsy and HIV/Aids were placed in reverse order.
posted by patricio
on Mar 22, 2007 -
Recombinant Activated Factor VII
--the Food and Drug Administration said that giving it to patients with normal blood could cause strokes and heart attacks... the Army's faith in the $6,000-a-dose drug is based almost entirely on anecdotal evidence and persists despite public warnings and published research suggesting that Factor VII is not as effective or as safe as military officials say. ...
posted by amberglow
on Nov 21, 2006 -
The Human Speechome Project
- "A baby is to be monitored
by a network of microphones and video cameras for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an effort to unravel the seemingly miraculous process by which children acquire language.". Selected video clips
(PDF, 750KB). To test hypotheses of how children learn, Prof Deb Roy's team at MIT will develop machine learning systems that “step into the shoes” of his son by processing the sights and sounds of three years of life at home. Total storage required: 1.4 petabytes
posted by Gyan
on Jul 23, 2006 -
"In 2006, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) distributed
a 38-question survey to 5,918 FDA scientists to examine the state of science at the FDA. The results
paint a picture of a troubled agency: hundreds of scientists reported significant interference with the FDA’s scientific work, compromising the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission of protecting public health and safety."
posted by daksya
on Jul 20, 2006 -
A landmark rigorous study
, 36 years after Walter Pahnke's Good Friday
study ocuments the ability of psilocybin - the chemical in "magic mushrooms" - to trigger mystical experiences. 16 of 24 participants, who had no history of psychedelic use, rated the drug episode (after 2 months) to be among the 5 most meaningful experiences in their lifetime. A longer 40-year follow-up
by MAPS on those who took LSD under the supervision of psychiatrist Oscar Janiger in the 1950s, found qualitatively the same result.
posted by daksya
on Jul 10, 2006 -
has a somewhat technical but free supplement
on stem cells (alongwith a podcast and related blog
posted by Gyan
on Jul 2, 2006 -