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A material that most liquids won't wet.

"A nanoscale coating that's at least 95 percent air repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface...". Video of the coating in action.
posted by Evernix on Jan 20, 2013 - 47 comments

"I have no data for this."

A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guessing [NYTimes.com] "Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor housecat who got lost on a family excursion managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown."
posted by Fizz on Jan 20, 2013 - 104 comments

CIL-CCDB

A curated repository of cellular microscopy data [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 19, 2013 - 2 comments

Viruses That Make Zombies and Vaccines

This week the FDA announced that they were approving a new kind of flu vaccine. Nestled in the articles was an odd fact: unlike traditional flu vaccines, the new kind, called Flublok, is produced by the cells of insects. This is the kind of detail that you might skim over without giving it a thought. If you did pause to ponder, you might be puzzled: how could insects possibly make a vaccine against viruses that infect humans? The answer may surprise you. To make vaccines, scientists are tapping into a battle between viruses and insects that’s raging in forests and fields and backyards all around us. It’s an important lesson in how to find new ideas in biotechnology: first, leave biologists free to explore the weirdest corners of nature they can find. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 19, 2013 - 7 comments

That's the Way...

"Just Try and Make Your Own Gun (Rail or Coil Gun)" with Mehdi Sadaghdar
posted by the_artificer on Jan 18, 2013 - 22 comments

See Monkeys

Thousands of illustrations and photographs for all your primate picture needs. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jan 18, 2013 - 2 comments

I help students learn how to study all types of rocks.

Complex scientific concepts explained using only the thousand most used words in the English language. In the spirit of xkcd's Up-Goer Five comic. (Previously.) Use the Up-Goer Five Text Editor to make your own contributions.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jan 18, 2013 - 108 comments

Landing on Titan, now in full color!

It's been just over eight years since the Hugyens space probe separated from the Cassini spacecraft and drifted down to the surface Saturn's moon Titan. Along the way it provided video and sounds of its descent.

Now a 3D visualization of its landing, based on data from the spacecraft itself, has been created.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 15, 2013 - 14 comments

Eight criticisms not to make about group selection

Group selection, which was once widely rejected as a significant evolutionary force, is now accepted by all who seriously study the subject. There is still widespread confusion about group selection, however, not only among students and the general public, but among professional evolutionists who do not directly study the subject. We list eight criticisms that are frequently invoked against group selection, which can be permanently laid to rest based upon current knowledge. Experts will always find something to critique about group selection, as for any important subject, but these eight criticisms are not among them. Laying them to rest will enable authors to openly use the term group selection without being handicapped during the review process. [HTML], [PDF]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 15, 2013 - 41 comments

You've heard of avian flu? Yeah: bioweapon.

PoliticsFilter: On whether Barack Obama should fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck.
posted by shakespeherian on Jan 14, 2013 - 93 comments

Free Beer: The Truth About Dishonesty

Are you more honest than a banker? Under what circumstances would you lie, or cheat, and what effect does your deception have on society at large? Dan Ariely, bestselling author and professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University visits the RSA to examine the mechanisms at work behind dishonest behaviour, and the implications this has for all aspects of our social and political lives. (28:46)
RSA Animation of excerpts of this lecture and related ones: The Truth About Dishonesty (11:08)

posted by Blasdelb on Jan 12, 2013 - 15 comments

Planet Four

With the help of Stargazing Live, 10,506 citizen scientists are exploring the surface of Mars like never before.
posted by Dr. Fetish on Jan 9, 2013 - 8 comments

Teaching Computers to Hear Emotions

New research can detect five different emotions with 81 percent accuracy. [Additional project information].
posted by Evernix on Jan 8, 2013 - 21 comments

16 hours = overnight, 64 hours = overweekend, > 7 days = forgotten about

Your scientific Twitter hashtag of the week: #overlyhonestmethods [more inside]
posted by maryr on Jan 8, 2013 - 36 comments

The Science of Sex Abuse

Is it right to imprison people for heinous crimes they have not yet committed?
posted by winecork on Jan 7, 2013 - 125 comments

The Physics of Bad Piggies

The physics of Bad Piggies:  Scale, mass, scale again,  balloons and friction
posted by Artw on Jan 7, 2013 - 11 comments

the end of history illusion

Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 6, 2013 - 34 comments

Pew, Pew Pew Pew

Here's a cool video of a red hot nickel ball in water. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Jan 5, 2013 - 34 comments

Projectile Shit Vomiting For the Win

The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection, "Each norovirus carries just nine protein-coding genes (you have about 20,000). Even with that skimpy genetic toolkit, noroviruses can break the locks on our cells, slip in, and hack our own DNA to make new noroviruses. The details of this invasion are sketchy, alas, because scientists haven’t figured out a good way to rear noroviruses in human cells in their labs. It’s not even clear exactly which type of cell they invade once they reach the gut. Regardless of the type, they clearly know how to exploit their hosts. Noroviruses come roaring out of the infected cells in vast numbers. And then they come roaring out of the body. Within a day of infection, noroviruses have rewired our digestive system so that stuff comes flying out from both ends." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 3, 2013 - 120 comments

Woese once said of himself and his work that when a wise man points out the moon, only a fool looks at the finger. Let us all be fools if just for a moment .

Microbiology's Scarred Revolutionary(PDF), Carl Woese (pron.: /ˈwoʊz/), a biophysicist and evolutionary microbiologist whose discovery 35 years ago of a “third domain” of life in the vast realm of micro-organisms altered scientific understanding of evolution, died on Sunday at his home in Urbana, Ill. He was 84. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 2, 2013 - 26 comments

Scuds on Steroids

Unha-3, Pyongyang's first successful orbital launch vehicle, dropped her first stage into the Yellow Sea after December 12's launch. Analysis of debris salvaged by the South Korean Navy suggests the scud-derived, crudely assembled rocket is actually an ICBM with enough range to theoretically reach the U.S. (should North Korea somehow manage to miniaturize their nuclear weapon technology and develop re-entry ability).
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 27, 2012 - 55 comments

Generosity and Political Preferences

Generosity and Political Preferences [.pdf]
We test whether generosity is related to political preferences and partisanship in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States using incentivised dictator games. We document that support for social spending and redistribution is positively correlated with generosity in all four countries. Further, we show that donors are more generous towards co-partisans in all countries, and that this effect is stronger among supporters of left-wing political parties. All results are robust to the inclusion to an extensive set of control variables, including income and education.
[more inside]
posted by wilful on Dec 26, 2012 - 35 comments

Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality

Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality [FULL TEXT HTML]: "We used data from a very large study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00340015), to determine whether coffee consumption is associated with total or cause-specific mortality. The current analysis, involving more than 400,000 participants and 52,000 deaths, had ample power to detect even modest associations and allowed for subgroup analyses according to important baseline factors, including the presence or absence of adiposity and diabetes, as well as cigarette-smoking status." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 25, 2012 - 85 comments

For SCIENCE!

Decay is a free, downloadable zombie film set entirely at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 22, 2012 - 15 comments

Firewall

Firewall by Aaron Sherwood (more detail)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 21, 2012 - 4 comments

There's a frog in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza

A frog in the milk bucket keeps the fungus away?
posted by curious nu on Dec 19, 2012 - 32 comments

Open the pod bay doors, Siri!

Hacker sets up SiriProxy and a Raspberry Pi-controlled relay to make his iPhone's Siri voice control open his garage door
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 19, 2012 - 21 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

Dark Field Microscopy

  • I did not know the incense storing temple,
  • I walked a few miles into the clouded peaks.
  • No man on the path between the ancient trees,
  • A bell rang somewhere deep among the hills.
  • A spring sounded choked, running down steep rocks,
  • The green pines chilled the sunlight's coloured rays.
  • Come dusk, at the bend of a deserted pool,
  • Through meditation I controlled passion's dragon.
Stopping at Incense Storing Temple, Wang Wei (699-759)
posted by lemuring on Dec 17, 2012 - 13 comments

Not because it was easy, but because it was hard

Apollo 40 years on: how the moon missions changed the world for ever
posted by Artw on Dec 17, 2012 - 28 comments

NASA Johnson Style

NASA Johnson Style (Yes, it's a Gangnam Style Parody, but it's a pretty damn good 'un) SLYT
posted by ColdChef on Dec 15, 2012 - 43 comments

Make love, not war.

Humon's illustrated (and explained) animal mating habits. [somewhat NSFW]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 15, 2012 - 15 comments

(Please be) dead ant

This ant was as large as a hummingbird.
posted by curious nu on Dec 14, 2012 - 32 comments

291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die

As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us: five data visualizations of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks by region. Changes in leading causes and risks between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010. [more inside]
posted by hat on Dec 14, 2012 - 11 comments

Make Babies

"Older parenthood will upend American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake?" "Why do women believe they can delay children for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
posted by vidur on Dec 12, 2012 - 162 comments

Looking for Some Waist Heat

A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 12, 2012 - 16 comments

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars. I don't see any flying cars!

Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 comments

"NIF has not yet achieved ignition"

A plan submitted to congress sets a new course for the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "If the National Ignition Facility does not achieve ignition by the end of fiscal year 2012 using a cryogenically layered deuterium and tritium target that produces a neutron yield with a gain greater than 1, the Committee directs NNSA to submit a report (PDF) by November 30, 2012 that (1) explains the scientific and technical barriers to achieving ignition, (2) the steps NNSA will take to achieve ignition with a revised schedule, and (3) the impact on the stockpile stweardship program." [more inside]
posted by FuturisticDragon on Dec 11, 2012 - 18 comments

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 11, 2012 - 7 comments

Operation Delirium

Operation Delirium. "The military’s secret Cold War experiment to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals. Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 10, 2012 - 44 comments

AKIRA Fan Builds Kaneda’s Motorcycle and Rides for Charity

AKIRA Fan Builds Kaneda’s Motorcycle and Rides for Charity
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 9, 2012 - 20 comments

"Where sex is work, sex may just work differently" & "the WEIRDest people in the world?"

When sex means reproduction, certain proclivities may simply not be part of cultural models of sexuality: "Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality... [T]he Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."" [more inside]
posted by flex on Dec 9, 2012 - 83 comments

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies: The ability of parasites to alter the behaviour of their hosts fascinates both scientists and non-scientists alike. One reason that this topic resonates with so many is that it touches on core philosophical issues such as the existence of free will. If the mind is merely a machine, then it can be controlled by any entity that understands the code and has access to the machinery. This special issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology highlights some of the best-understood examples of parasite-induced changes in host brain and behaviour, encompassing both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts and micro- and macro-parasites. Full issue annotated inside: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 9, 2012 - 13 comments

Christmas Tree Science

Pop-Up Forests and Experimental Christmas Trees
posted by ennui.bz on Dec 8, 2012 - 0 comments

SPAUN of the living

The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless on Dec 8, 2012 - 22 comments

Great Wealth Is A Public Trust

Last year, The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art publicly admitted it was in dire financial straits and raised the idea of charging tuition for the first time in 110 years. The students responded in an appropriate manner. But now as the specter of tuition becomes closer to reality the students took a more drastic option: Since Monday, eleven undergraduate students have expertly barricaded themselves inside the top floor of the New York college. They talk about what they want. They even get pizza. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Dec 7, 2012 - 68 comments

We now return to Kidbits

Airing before the Saturday morning cartoons on Detroit's WDIV, Kidbits (Optical illusions pt. 2, pt. 3) delivered snappy science from the Detroit Science Center, along with a handy venue for PSAs and goofy local ads. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston on Dec 6, 2012 - 5 comments

American Science Language

[LydiaCallisFilter] Signing Science
posted by cthuljew on Dec 5, 2012 - 14 comments

"This post, dear reader, is 100% about cats."

Screw organic chemistry, I'm just going to write about cats. James Ashenhurst uses (sometimes highly unorthodox!) cat pictures to explain topics in stereocatmistry, starting with On Cats, Part 1: Conformations and Configurations. [more inside]
posted by beryllium on Dec 5, 2012 - 43 comments

Ex Libris Houdini

Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 3, 2012 - 5 comments

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