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ITER

A Star in a Bottle. "An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
posted by homunculus on Feb 25, 2014 - 52 comments

the proof may be in the protein

Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. Associated costs of the disease are estimated to be a staggering $22 billion annually. The pain can be debilitating and infertility is a common outcome. Yet after decades of research, the jury is still out on what causes it, and many doctors still don't even know when they should be looking for it. Now, a group of researchers at MIT have taken a new approach, one with a characteristic engineering slant.
posted by Koko on Feb 20, 2014 - 26 comments

Art in Medicine

Here are some links to online galleries that combine science, medicine, and art in some way. (previously: psychiatry and art)
posted by gemutlichkeit on Feb 19, 2014 - 5 comments

He's smiling cause he's full of vodka.

What if you performed clay forensic facial reconstruction on a bottle of Crystal Skull Vodka?
posted by The Whelk on Feb 17, 2014 - 45 comments

P-hacking

P values, the 'gold standard' of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume.
posted by dhruva on Feb 14, 2014 - 103 comments

Network Nonsense

Open warfare erupts in the world of mathematical biology, as Lior Pachter of UC-Berkeley writes three blog posts attacking two papers in Nature Bioscience, accusing one of them of being "dishonest and fraudulent": The Network Nonsense of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, The Network Nonsense of Manolo Kellis, and Why I Read the Network Nonsense Papers. Kellis (MIT) and his co-authors respond (.pdf.)
posted by escabeche on Feb 12, 2014 - 53 comments

The Sixth Extinction

In his 1996 book The Song of the Dodo, David Quammen observed that if you destroy most of a habitat and leave only a small patch of wilderness behind, you have effectively created an island—and islands, for complex ecological reasons, sustain far fewer species and far more extinctions than mainlands. Now watch things get complicated. At the same time that our logging, mining, farming, road-building, suburban-sprawling species is turning the entire planet into an archipelago, “global trade and travel do the reverse: they deny even the remotest islands their remoteness.” The result, as Kathryn Schulz reports, is that we are living through The Sixth Extinction.
posted by shivohum on Feb 11, 2014 - 20 comments

Science Guy versus "God" Guy

Bill Nye is debating the head of the Creation Museum tomorrow. Ken Ham, founder of Northern Kentucky tourist attraction "Answers in Genesis" Creation Museum, has challenged Science Guy Bill Nye to a duel, errr, a debate. Nye, while tolerant of Ham's religious beliefs, draws the line at creationism creeping into science curriculum. More pre-event throwdowns are here. [more inside]
posted by tizzie on Feb 3, 2014 - 350 comments

"Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science..."

Climatologist Michael E. Mann, known for introducing the famous "hockey stick" graph, has filed a defamation suit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 31, 2014 - 90 comments

Keep it short and descriptive

The Shortest Science Paper Ever Published Had No Words
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 29, 2014 - 44 comments

There's more to paleontology than dinosaurs!

Palaeocast: "An open broadcast of paleontological information, a place where the beauty, diversity and complexity of the field can be conveyed and discussed in a digital format." Every interview-centric episode is associated with a blog post, organized by era and period. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 29, 2014 - 5 comments

Documentaries Galore

Over 150 documentaries available free online on science, consciousness, and several other topics. Occasional link is broken.
posted by gman on Jan 28, 2014 - 19 comments

Looking Deep Inside Nature

X-ray photography of plants and animals by physicist Arie van’t Riet. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 27, 2014 - 5 comments

Everybody Talks About The Weather...

From I Fucking Love Science: "In a paper posted online this week Professor Stephen Hawking claimed that black holes do not exist - at least, not as we currently understand them. He claims that the traditional notion of a black hole's "event horizon" from which nothing can escape, even light, is incompatible with quantum physics. If so, physicists will have to redefine black holes entirely." [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Jan 27, 2014 - 44 comments

Endangered Helium:Bursting the Myth

Is the worlds supply of helium running out? [PDF] Interesting article about the supply and demand of Helium and how in the shortage to come, we can continue to meet the demands.
posted by jebs86 on Jan 26, 2014 - 33 comments

Listening to sad music can make you feel pleasant emotions.

Science is useful in everyday life. [more inside]
posted by k8lin on Jan 25, 2014 - 17 comments

Real vs. Unreal, Grotesque vs. Gorgeous

or the inner Grotesque and Gorgeous, and outer fantastic world of The End of Times: The Apocalyptic Book revealed, as it was imagined "couple" years ago. To be seen with your morning coffee.
posted by gbenard on Jan 25, 2014 - 8 comments

A wild Ball Lightning appears!

A natural occurence of the rare and mysterious weather phenomenon known as ball lightning has been captured on video by researchers in China. [more inside]
posted by prize bull octorok on Jan 24, 2014 - 33 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

Maple Syrup Revolution: New Discovery Could Change the Business Forever

"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 23, 2014 - 102 comments

Gender Swap

Gender Swap - Experiment with The Machine to be Another. "Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body). In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to syncronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Throughout this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect." [NSFW, Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2014 - 23 comments

The Year(s) Without A Summer

So, why was there a ten year long winter starting in 536?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 21, 2014 - 25 comments

I walked in at the best time.

Two pounds of dry ice in the kitchen sink.
posted by griphus on Jan 18, 2014 - 68 comments

Hygienic and Scientific Cooking

"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2014 - 12 comments

The Chain Fountain

A video showing a chain of beads behaving in a very peculiar way appeared on Youtube some time ago. Many people attempted to provide explanations, but most of them weren't quite satisfactory. [more inside]
posted by tykky on Jan 17, 2014 - 30 comments

Edge.org Annual Question 2014

"Ideas change, and the times we live in change. Perhaps the biggest change today is the rate of change. What established scientific idea is ready to be moved aside so that science can advance?" WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? (171 essays; 125,000 words) [more inside]
posted by dgaicun on Jan 14, 2014 - 41 comments

Ice flow nowhere to go

Stuck in the Antarctic ice we set out to study - Erik van Sebille of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 describes his fieldwork in Antarctica. The Guardian has extensive coverage of the expedition, including visiting the remains of a previous expedition, how they became icebound, and their rescue.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2014 - 17 comments

Double Deuce | April 1917| Woodhouse discharged | That's a lot of scalps

Operation War Diary is the newest crowdsourced science effort from Zooniverse, cataloging WWI British soldiers' war diaries from the Western Front. Participants can help tag dates, locations, people, and events from 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the Western Front. Entries range from the uneventful (October 24 | PONT DU HEM | 5:30 am | Occupied same position. Did not fire all day) to the eventful (A & B cleared the village and the regiment eventually captured the convoy in the wood about a mile on after it had been headed back by a returning movement of 12th Lancers. In all 200 prisoners). [more inside]
posted by univac on Jan 14, 2014 - 11 comments

I Was Told There Would Be No Math

M.I.T. professor Max Tegmark explores the possibility that math does not just describe the universe, but makes the universe.
posted by COD on Jan 14, 2014 - 111 comments

"And for this, Australia, we are sorry."

CSIRO apologises for lack of research on dragons, makes dragon.
posted by Mezentian on Jan 9, 2014 - 46 comments

"Nineteen months later, I feel safe answering"

"Why biotech whiz kid Jack Andraka is not on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list." Forbes science and medicine reporter Matthew Herper sends out Andraka's draft paper on his cancer diagnostic test to scientific experts, who find the results do not match the breathless excitement attracted by initial coverage, seen previously on MetaFilter and elsewhere. [more inside]
posted by grouse on Jan 8, 2014 - 30 comments

Ants with dead-end vision, backtracking capabilities

I’m trying to build a jigsaw puzzle. I wish I could show you what it will be, but the picture isn’t on the box. But I can show you some of the pieces that snapped into place this year, and try to share a context for why they mattered so much to me.
Bret Victor discusses scientific thinking and computing from a deeply humane perspective through the eyes of Douglas Engelbart, Alan key and other great thinkers of our time.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jan 7, 2014 - 30 comments

Harper's War on Science Gets Uglier

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has become notorious for the way his government treats science. The latest news concerns the shutting of 7 of 9 regional DFO libraries across the country. Despite claims that the collections have been digitized, alarming reports are emerging that a lot of the materials, some dating back to the 19th century, were simply junked.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) on Jan 6, 2014 - 96 comments

ipython notebook - a web-based interactive computational environment

"The IPython Notebook is a web-based interactive computational environment where you can combine code execution, text, mathematics, plots and rich media into a single document". It can be installed faily easily with anaconda or on Amazon EC2. Various interesting notebooks are to be found at the official Notebook Viewer site Another collection of interesting notebooks on many topics. [more inside]
posted by meta87 on Jan 5, 2014 - 56 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

The Method Man

"700 years ago, a monk needed parchment for a new prayer book. He pulled the copy of Archimedes' book off the shelf, cut the pages in half, rotated them 90 degrees, and scraped the surface to remove the ink, creating a palimpsest—fresh writing material made by clearing away older text. Then he wrote his prayers on the nearly-clean pages." - A Prayer for Archimedes
posted by anastasiav on Jan 3, 2014 - 43 comments

Your funk says a lot about you

Bacteria have a Hobo Code. Next month's Science News carries a pretty interesting overview about the cutting edge of microbial science, including recent studies showing "in many mammals a microbial community ferments various sweats, oozes and excretions into distinctive scents that reveal age, health and much more to knowing noses in a select social circle". That's right, microbes are posting status updates to each other through smells, sharing with other microbes what they've learned about host animals.
posted by mathowie on Dec 30, 2013 - 29 comments

Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Scientists tell The Guardian their favourite jokes
posted by Artw on Dec 30, 2013 - 80 comments

Middlebrow megachurch infotainment

Let me tell you a story. I was at a presentation that a friend, an Astrophysicist, gave to a potential donor ... After the talk the sponsor said to him, “you know what, I’m gonna pass because I just don’t feel inspired… you should be more like Malcolm Gladwell” ... So I ask the question: does TED epitomize a situation where ... a scientist... is told that their work is not worthy of support, because the public doesn't feel good listening to them? I submit that Astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilizational disaster.
Benjamin H. Bratton (Dept. of Visual Arts, UC San Diego) uses a TEDx talk to critique the medium of the TED talk itself. Does TED—"weird, inadequate and symptomatic"—encapsulate the twenty-first century's inability to face the challenges of the future in any honest way?
posted by Sonny Jim on Dec 30, 2013 - 58 comments

The Myth of the Medieval Repression of Science

In the academic sphere, at least, the "Conflict Thesis" of a historical war between science and theology has been long since overturned. It is very odd that so many of my fellow atheists cling so desperately to a long-dead position that was only ever upheld by amateur Nineteenth Century polemicists and not the careful research of recent, objective, peer-reviewed historians. This is strange behavior for people who like to label themselves "rationalists".-- The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews “God’s Philosophers”
posted by Pater Aletheias on Dec 29, 2013 - 95 comments

Computer, enhance

Researchers at the University of York were able to identify people using the reflection of their faces in pupils of photographs of other people. Original paper
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 28, 2013 - 32 comments

Cool Science GIFs in 2013

"If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a GIF is easily worth a million. The file format—which uses a series of images to produce a looping video, like a flip book—is a tremendous way to convey all sorts of moving wonders. ... It’s appropriate, then, that we use the GIF to explore some of the coolest, weirdest, most remarkable science stories of 2013. What follows is a non-exhaustive list of amazing science GIFs from 2013, in no particular order." [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Dec 27, 2013 - 21 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

Complex Things Explained

This Video Will Hurt
A detailed explanation of a fascinating field of science and medicine by the always interesting C.G.P. Grey.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 23, 2013 - 7 comments

Shall these bones live? shall these Bones live?

Settling in for a long winter's nap? In need of a memento mori to guard against the unbridled jollity of the season? Just want to explore the wonderful world of 3D scans, osteology, and bioarchaeology on the internet a little further? Sad that Santa probably isn't bringing you a T-Rex for Christmas? Well, just peak inside... [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 comments

What Does the Furby Say?

Reverse Engineering a Furby
posted by cjorgensen on Dec 22, 2013 - 18 comments

Intuitive Guide to Principles of Communications

Charan Langton (blog) hosts Complex To Real: which "...offers tutorials I have written on various topics in analog and digital communications that will help you cut through this complexity." [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Dec 21, 2013 - 8 comments

That's when you started graphing everything.

The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13. [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Dec 21, 2013 - 4 comments

Red Planet Blues

The trouble with terraforming Mars...
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2013 - 73 comments

Worst Case Scenarios

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’ [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Dec 18, 2013 - 254 comments

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