3653 posts tagged with science.
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The Flying Forest

"While crows and ravens get most of the attention, smaller members of the corvid family like jays and nutcrackers are out in the world busily building and rebuilding forests. Not on purpose, of course, but through a behavior charmingly called “scatter hoarding,” which basically involves stashing seeds around in various places for later devourment." And this allows the trees - oaks, chestnuts, beeches, hickories - to "borrow the wings of birds." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Apr 10, 2016 - 19 comments

If America Wants to Kill Science, It’s on Its Way

Science is desperate. It needs to believe itself honorable. It's threatened by the fact that it's not safe for so many of us. Period. It's just not safe.
- A. Hope Jahren, in an interview about women in science and advancement in plant biology.
posted by divabat on Apr 8, 2016 - 16 comments

The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

The mysterious and useful Vegetable Lamb of Tartary: a plant whose ripe seed-pods yield tiny live lambs. Or was it a plant growing in the shape of a full-size lamb, but with an umbilical tether to the ground? (Oh, and do you know about the barnacle goose?) A tale from the medieval science grapevine. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Apr 8, 2016 - 7 comments

Changing minds on minority rights with a single conversation, revisited

Previously on MeFi, a pair of then-graduate students, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, uncovered that some highly-publicized research, claiming to show that brief conversations with gay canvassers could cause lasting changes in people's opinions on gay rights, was in fact fraudulent, and was based on fabricated data. However, whether or not there was in fact any grain of truth to that paper's claims remained to be seen. Recently, the same team that uncovered the fraud has published their own study, showing that canvassing can really be effective at durably increasing support for transgender rights. [more inside]
posted by en forme de poire on Apr 8, 2016 - 26 comments

Physics, math and science toys

Physics Fun is an Instagram account with short videos of physics, math and science 'toys.' An accompanying blog looks at some in more detail.
posted by carter on Apr 8, 2016 - 7 comments

“Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language.”

Generation Anthropocene: How Humans Have Altered the Planet for Ever. by Robert Macfarlane [The Guardian] We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?
posted by Fizz on Apr 2, 2016 - 35 comments

The centre at the edge

Is There Value in Training Scientific Generalists For Positions at the Edge of Academia? Gopal Sarma says Yes
posted by Rumple on Apr 2, 2016 - 28 comments

A new banana promises to cure blindness in East Africa

"In the winter of 2014, students at Iowa State University received emails asking them to volunteer for an experiment. Researchers were looking for women who would eat bananas that had been genetically engineered to produce extra carotenes, the yellow-orange nutrients that take their name from carrots. Our bodies use alpha and beta carotenes to make retinol, better known as vitamin A, and the experiment was testing how much of the carotenes in the bananas would transform to vitamin A. The researchers were part of an international team trying to end vitamin A deficiency. The emails reached the volunteers they needed to begin the experiment, but they also reached protesters. “As a student in the sustainability program, I immediately started asking questions,” said Iowa State postdoc Rivka Fidel. “Is this proven safe? Have they considered the broader cultural and economic issues?” ... Fidel told me she and her friends had found it nearly impossible to extract information from researchers, or from the Gates Foundation, which is providing funding for this project. Too often conversations about these kinds of issues simply reverberate within their respective echo chambers. So to bridge the gap I took the gist of the students’ questions to people at the Gates Foundation, scientists working on the banana, and the one person who may have done the most to fight vitamin A deficiency — an ophthalmologist who has no interest in either promoting or bashing GMOs." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 31, 2016 - 65 comments

Of Smoothies and (Internet News) Cycles

LIGHTS UP
Buzzfeed: “Gwyneth Paltrow drinks $200 smoothies for breakfast!”
Vanity Fair: “Actually, they’re just $10.52 smoothies.”
Washington Post: “Whatever! It’s a good excuse for us to make a video and talk about the theoretical health benefits.”
fin.
posted by Going To Maine on Mar 24, 2016 - 49 comments

The Harvard Library That Protects The World's Rarest Colors

The most unusual colors from Harvard's storied pigment library include beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 24, 2016 - 18 comments

Not much writing, oddly

Evan "The Nerdwriter" Puschak examines How Hitchcock Blocks a Scene. [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker on Mar 23, 2016 - 13 comments

"This is big science performed on the tiniest of scales"

Take a 360-Degree Tour Inside the Large Hadron Collider
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 21, 2016 - 8 comments

haha cool, ok, we’re friends now, big guy. no problems

so anyway that is the best thing: bobcats are not equipped to make friends, but luckily for this bobcat this homeless lady did not give any shits and made friends anyway. and now they are both happy.
posted by moody cow on Mar 19, 2016 - 31 comments

Unproblematica

The classification of Illinois's state fossil, the Tully monster, has been a mystery since its discovery in 1958. But now a team at Yale has determined that it is a vertebrate ancestor of the lamprey, after studying over a thousand fossils and noticing the presence of a notochord, among other distinctively vertebratey features. The (paywalled) Nature paper is here.
posted by theodolite on Mar 16, 2016 - 11 comments

Masturbating for Science

Are You Orgasming Without Even Knowing It? I was determined to lose my sex-in-a-brain-scanner virginity.
posted by Michele in California on Mar 14, 2016 - 36 comments

Womanhood is a culture held together through our physical pain

After Neil deGrasse Tyson made a tweet claiming that any species with painful sex would have gone extinct, other scientists chimed in with examples of animals with particularly torturous sex. Most poignant, though, was this response by Abby Norman about dyspareunia, a medical condition involving painful vaginal penetration, as well as the pressures on women to satisfy their male partner over their own needs and health. (Warning: Abby Norman's piece has some possibly-graphic medical photography.)
posted by divabat on Mar 13, 2016 - 135 comments

Digital Humanism

The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Franco Moretti - "the term 'digital humanities' (DH) has captured the imagination and the ire of scholars across American universities. The field, which melds computer science with hermeneutics, is championed by supporters as the much-needed means to shake up and expand methods of traditional literary interpretation and is seen by its most outspoken critics as a new fad that symbolizes the neoliberal bean counting destroying American higher education. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes lies a vast and varied body of work that utilizes and critically examines digital tools in the pursuit of humanistic study. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 9, 2016 - 21 comments

The Secret Service will rest easier without you around on our south lawn

15 seasons.
282 Episodes.
13 years.
Thousands of experiments and explosions.
White House visits, including a failed solar death ray.
And at least one Metafilter debate answered on air.
Goodbye, Mythbusters. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 9, 2016 - 68 comments

Print is back in fashion

Transplantable human bone and cartilage made with 3D printer that creates a matrix in the desired shape and injects cells that can integrate with the patient's blood vessels on implant
posted by a lungful of dragon on Mar 8, 2016 - 11 comments

She wanted to do her research; he wanted to talk feelings.

Sexual harassment in science generally starts like this: A woman (she is a student, a technician, a professor) gets an email and notices that the subject line is a bit off: “I need to tell you,” or “my feelings.” The opening lines refer to the altered physical and mental state of the author: “It’s late and I can’t sleep” is a favorite, though “Maybe it’s the three glasses of cognac” is popular as well.
posted by sciatrix on Mar 7, 2016 - 171 comments

Replication study fails under scrutiny

A much publicized study (previously) suggested that more than half of all psychology studies cannot be replicated. A new study finds that the replication study was full of serious mistakes and its conclusion is wrong. [more inside]
posted by hawthorne on Mar 6, 2016 - 49 comments

Shoaling, refraction, convergence, interference

What makes an epic wave. Learn how 20 meter (and taller!) waves form thanks to “The Nazaré Wave” short video, featuring high school students from Escola Secundária de Gama Barros (Sintra, Portugal) [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Mar 5, 2016 - 2 comments

"...one of the scariest things they saw as children."

Children of the Stones (previously) is the revolutionary 1977 British children's television drama telling the story of an astrophysicist and his son who arrive in the village of Milbury to study the giant Neolithic stones which surround it, and the community which is held in a strange captivity by the psychic forces generated by the stones. For BBC Radio, writer and comedian Stewart Lee explores the ground breaking television series and examines its special place in the memories of those children who watched it on its initial transmission in a state of excitement and terror. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 4, 2016 - 70 comments

“To begin with I was hoping it was just a phase.”

What should we do about paedophiles? by Sophie Elmhirst [The Guardian] They have committed unspeakable crimes that demand harsh punishment. But most will eventually be set free. Are we prepared to support efforts to rehabilitate them? [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 2, 2016 - 37 comments

At Sea with America's Largest Floating Gathering of Conspiracy Theorists

It’s an experience that may not appeal to everyone—a seven-day cruise at sea, with the aim of “taking back power from corrupt and greedy institutions, attain true self-authority, and realize our genuine Self behind the masks … discovering the truth, taking command of our lives, and attaining genuine inner realization” —with every odd belief you can think of listed as entertainment: GMOs, Monsanto, bee colony collapse, ecology, global warming, climate change, fracking, HIV, autism, Big Pharma, medical suppression, vaccinations, fluoridation,… electoral fraud, identity chips, 2nd amendment, and so much more. Anna Merlan writes charitably yet unflinchingly for Jezebel about her experience joining them [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 29, 2016 - 121 comments

“They just added an extra five days of festivals, of partying...”

The Surprising History Behind Leap Year by Brian Handwerk [National Geographic]
The ancient Egyptians did it, and so do we. Here's how a leap day—which occurs Februrary 29—helps keep our calendars and societies in sync. It's that time again: This Monday, February 29, is a leap day, the calendar oddity that occurs (almost) every four years. For centuries, trying to sync calendars with the length of the natural year caused confusion—until the concept of leap year provided a way to make up for lost time.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Feb 29, 2016 - 39 comments

“It is understandable to a capable schoolchild.”

The People Who Believe Electricity Rules the Universe
. . . “Science is returned to the people—the garage tinkerer, the practical engineer, and the natural philosopher,” Thornhill told Motherboard.
posted by Countess Elena on Feb 28, 2016 - 41 comments

GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens accused of selling adulterated herbals

The New York State attorney general’s office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves. The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies. [NYTimes], [WaPo] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 26, 2016 - 101 comments

“So then they understand: ‘If I smell TB, I get food’.”

The rats who sniff out tuberculosis. by Emma Young [The Guardian] The African giant pouched rat can be trained to sniff out tuberculosis more accurately than most lab tests. So why is the medical profession still sceptical? [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Feb 25, 2016 - 24 comments

What sparked the Cambrian explosion?

An evolutionary burst 540 million years ago filled the seas with an astonishing diversity of animals. The trigger behind that revolution is finally coming into focus , according to the journal Nature. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 19, 2016 - 38 comments

View from the left eye

The self-portrait of Ernst Mach. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Feb 18, 2016 - 10 comments

Who honeys the guides?

"When Hadza want to find honey, they shout and whistle a special tune. If a honeyguide is around, it’ll fly into the camp, chattering and fanning out its feathers. The Hadza, now on the hunt, chase it, grabbing their axes and torches and shouting “Wait!” They follow the honeyguide until it lands near its payload spot, pinpoint the correct tree, smoke out the bees, hack it open, and free the sweet combs from the nest. The honeyguide stays and watches. It’s one of those stories that sounds like a fable—until you get to the end, where the lesson normally goes. Then it becomes a bit more confusing."
posted by ChuraChura on Feb 17, 2016 - 14 comments

Highway to the Vapor Cone

Ensign John Gay of the U.S. Navy had just returned home from several months aboard the U.S.S. Constellation in the South Pacific when his phone rang. A reporter for a photography magazine was on the line, hoping to discuss the 2000 World Press Photo Awards. Gay was perplexed: “Who are you and what do you want?” he said. The reporter explained that Gay’s photo had taken first prize in the Science and Technology category, which was news to Gay: he didn’t even know he’d entered the prestigious contest.
posted by jferngler on Feb 16, 2016 - 27 comments

Six Extinctions in Six Minutes

Six scientists at the American Museum of Natural History explain what we know, and what’s still mysterious, about the disappearance of six different species/genera. [more inside]
posted by coolname on Feb 15, 2016 - 13 comments

“Let's get started before my headache gets any worse.”

Trek at 50: The quest for a unifying theory of time travel in Star Trek by Xaq Rzetelny [Ars Technica] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Feb 13, 2016 - 33 comments

Taking race out of human genetics

In the wake of the sequencing of the human genome in the early 2000s, genome pioneers and social scientists alike called for an end to the use of race as a variable in genetic research. Unfortunately, by some measures, the use of race as a biological category has increased in the postgenomic age. Although inconsistent definition and use has been a chief problem with the race concept, it has historically been used as a taxonomic categorization based on common hereditary traits (such as skin color) to elucidate the relationship between our ancestry and our genes. We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way. - An editorial in Science exploring the conundrum facing genomic researchers where race is both fundamentally flawed as a scientific model and violently dangerous but still the only consistent lens through which study participants understand the information they have about their own connection to human diversity [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 11, 2016 - 34 comments

NASA's Visions of the Future Calendar Images

The images for JPL’s Visions Of The Future 2016 Calendar, which was an internal gift to JPL and NASA staff along with scientists, engineers, government and university staff, have been put online. "As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future." [via] [more inside]
posted by cashman on Feb 11, 2016 - 17 comments

Sexual harassment in science redux: now with paleoanthropology!

Loudly, and apparently without caring who heard her, a research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City charged that her boss—noted paleoanthropologist Brian Richmond, the museum’s curator of human origins—had “sexually assaulted” her in his hotel room after a meeting the previous September in Florence, Italy. At the meeting, one person who heard the allegations was Bernard Wood, 70, a senior paleoanthropologist originally from the United Kingdom. In St. Louis, Wood canvassed younger researchers about their experiences with Richmond. He asked everyone the same question: “Does this alleged behavior come as any surprise to you?” He didn’t get the “yes” he was expecting.
posted by sciatrix on Feb 10, 2016 - 86 comments

No, not another story about the voting public

Kept in the dark for 60 years, fruit flies begin to reveal their genetic adaptations. In 1954, seven years after their cousins returned from space, a colony of fruit flies was plunged into a darkness which would continue through 1500 generations right up till the present day. The results of this study shed considerable light on the role of genetic variation in physical adaptation. Spoiler: [more inside]
posted by fairmettle on Feb 10, 2016 - 12 comments

“The frontier of science is unlimited.”

Why Ghana started a space programme.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 10, 2016 - 17 comments

Wolverine, bring me a cheese pizza

Melbourne researchers develop a paper clip-sized mind control device that sits inside your brain.
posted by adept256 on Feb 8, 2016 - 6 comments

as government-funded science dwindles

Meet the "rented white coats" who defend toxic chemicals: How corporate-funded research corrupts America's courts and regulatory agencies. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Feb 8, 2016 - 18 comments

Oliver Morton on The Wonder of Quasars

In the far reaches of the sky there are sun-bright discs as wide as solar systems, their hearts run through by spears of radiation that outshine galaxies. The energies that feed these quasars beggar all metaphor, and their quantification seems all but meaningless. What does it serve to know that they are converting matter to energy at a rate that equates to the complete annihilation of a planet the size of the Earth ten times a second? Or that all the fires of the sun, from its birth to its death, would be a few weeks' worth of work to one of them? No human sense can be made from so inhuman a scale. Boggle, and move on. [via 3quarksdaily] [more inside]
posted by cgc373 on Feb 7, 2016 - 32 comments

The future will be boring. TBD.

What is Design Fiction?
"the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. That’s the best definition we’ve come up with. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories." — Bruce Sterling
Examples of Diegetic Prototypes in Design Fiction. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Feb 5, 2016 - 13 comments

How can everything have changed and nothing change at all?

A Colleague Drank My Breast Milk And Other Wall Street Tales I kept the conversation light. I shared a funny story about my first day on Wall Street, when I opened up a pizza box to find condoms instead of pepperoni slices. Unwrapped. I was “the new girl,” and the guys just wanted to see me blush. I did blush, and I lived. “It’s not that bad anymore,” I said with a laugh. [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Feb 3, 2016 - 41 comments

A Mom and a Dairyman Plead: Don’t Feed Children Raw Milk

Two years ago, when Oregon parents Jill Brown and Jason Young met Brad and Tricia Salyers, the families had no idea that they would eventually be sharing in a tragedy that sickened four of the Salyers’ children and left Brown and Young’s youngest child, Kylee – 23 months old at the time – with such severe medical complications that she would need a kidney transplant from her mother. All of that and more happened beginning in April 2012 when the children were among 19 people – 15 of them under the age of 19 — who fell ill with E. coli O157:H7, a potentially fatal foodborne pathogen. Soon after, Oregon health officials determined that the outbreak was caused by raw milk from Foundation Farm near Wilsonville in Western Oregon — the Salyers’ family farm. Four of the sickened children were hospitalized with kidney failure. Foundation Farm had been providing 48 families with raw milk. Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful and sometimes deadly foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 2, 2016 - 77 comments

Chang'e 3 moon shots

The China National Space Administration released all of the images from their Chang'e 3 moon landing mission (previously), including hundreds of amazing true color, HD photographs. Some 35 GB of datasets, including photographs of and by the Yutu rover have been difficult to retrieve outside of China and have been mirrored by Emily Lakdawalla at planetary.org.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Feb 1, 2016 - 27 comments

“I gave them their own species name: Abundus egocentrus.”

A tyrannosaur of one’s own. by Laurie Gwen Shapiro [Aeon] Dinosaur collecting isn't just for museums any more — film stars and sheikhs do it too. What drives a man to covet big bones?
The world’s most famous palaeontologist doesn’t understand why anyone wants to collect dinosaurs. Mark Norell sits across from me in his expansive corner office at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and launches right in: ‘People are weird. I think: “Who is buying this shit?” No accounting for people’s taste. I have a passion for dinosaurs, but certainly not what I would call “dinosaur insanity”. Dinosaurs are just a medium for me to do science. But if I were doing the same thing on some other organism – you wouldn’t be here.’
posted by Fizz on Jan 30, 2016 - 20 comments

Malthuvision

Welcome to WorldPopulationHistory.org, an interactive site that lets you explore the peopling of our planet from multiple perspectives – historical, environmental, social and political. It is about the 2,000-year journey of human civilization and the possible paths ahead to the middle of this century.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jan 29, 2016 - 4 comments

Come on, let's go for flight over the dwarf planet Ceres!

Look out the window and be sure you don't miss the neat stuff! [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 29, 2016 - 7 comments

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