3386 posts tagged with science.
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A picture is made of a thousand notes

"Cymatics is the science of visualizing audio frequencies." [more inside]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Nov 23, 2014 - 6 comments

Migrating cerebral lesions indicate sparganosis

"The patient tested negative for HIV, tuberculosis, lime disease, syphilis, coccidioides, histoplasma and cryptococcus." After four years of MRIs, a person's mysterious headaches, seizures and altered sense of smell and memory are diagnosed as a tapeworm growing throughout his brain.
posted by a lungful of dragon on Nov 23, 2014 - 50 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

One of the oldest questions we have about ourselves.

Personhood Week: Why We’re So Obsessed with Persons, by Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes), National Geographic:
"People have been trying to define personhood for a long time, maybe since the beginning of people. The first recorded attempt came from Boethius, a philosopher from 6th-Century Rome, who said a person was 'an individual substance of rational nature.' Fast-forward a thousand years and Locke says it's about rationality, self-awareness, and memory. Kant adds that humans have 'dignity,' an intrinsic ability to freely choose. In 1978, Daniel Dennett says it's intelligence, self-awareness, language, and being 'conscious in some special way' that other animals aren't. The next year Joseph Fletcher lays out 15 criteria (!), including a sense of futurity, concern for others, curiosity, and even IQ."
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 21, 2014 - 10 comments

Muscle Robot

The Ecce Robot is an attempt to create a robot that not only mimics human movement and form, but also musculature and body construction. There are more videos at the project's site. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Nov 18, 2014 - 23 comments

How Fake Fossils Pervert Paleontology

A nebulous trade in forged and illegal fossils is an ever-growing headache for paleontologists. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Can Altitude Explain Utah's Suicide Epidemic?

Based on a comparison of suicide rates at sea level and at areas above 2,000 feet, living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide. Neuroscientist Perry Renshaw believes that it's due to the impact of altitude on the brain.
posted by stoneweaver on Nov 18, 2014 - 40 comments

Discover Us

In an attempt to combat years of poor public relations, Monsanto has decided to take their case directly to the people through various campaigns. On a new site called The Conversation they are answering questions directly from consumers. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Nov 17, 2014 - 101 comments

We may get a shirt celebrating women in science.

Thanks To That Shirt, We May Get a Shirt Celebrating Women In Science by Mika McKinnon for io9:
"Along with [the newly-designed shirt] provoking quite a few giggles, Elly Zupko, the woman behind the design has been talked into trying to make the shirt for real with the intention of donating proceeds to science diversity programs. She's soliciting names and images of women in science who should be featured on the fabric. Zupko has a lot of logistics to figure out, but she's enthusiastic and buoyed by the support of others eager to celebrate the wide diversity of women in science who have contributed so much over the years. If all goes well, the take-away of this mess will be the Project Scientist for the another incredible space mission wearing another shirt covered in ladies, but this time celebrating them instead of objectifying them.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 16, 2014 - 341 comments

Treadmill for sale, shrimp not included.

Of shrimp and senators. My name is David, and I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill—a burden I will forever carry.
posted by bitmage on Nov 15, 2014 - 49 comments

Dancing magnetotactic bacteria

Magnetotactic bacteria linedancing to music through the use of a superimposed magnetic field. Basically exactly what it says on the tin.
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 14, 2014 - 30 comments

Noted self-experimenter Seth Roberts passed away on April 26th, 2014.

Seth Roberts passed away on April 26th, 2014, after suffering a heart attack while hiking near his home in Berkeley, California. A self-experimenter and author of The Shangri-La Diet, Roberts described his attempts to combat his own insomnia in Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight, writing that "Before science was a profession, it was a hobby, which means some people enjoy it for its own sake . . . If a hobby has tangible benefits, such as lower blood pressure or reduced risk of relapse, so much stronger the motivation to do it." He was brilliant, obsessive and always challenging assumptions. His extensive blog is still online.
posted by mecran01 on Nov 14, 2014 - 16 comments

The most-cited research of all time

The top 100 papers: Nature explores the most-cited research of all time. [more inside]
posted by mlis on Nov 13, 2014 - 12 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

The observer at the end of time: Of immortal watchers and imaginary data

In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds? "Testing the multiverse hypothesis requires measuring whether our universe is statistically typical among the infinite variety of universes. But infinity does a number on statistics." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 9, 2014 - 47 comments

Second Wave feminist SF

Janus was nominated for three “Best Fanzine” Hugos in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Jeanne Gomoll was nominated for two “Best Fan Artist” Hugos in 1978 and 1980. Janus and Aurora were the most prominent feminist science fiction fanzines of their time. With the exception of Amanda Bankier’s fanzine, The Witch and the Chameleon, which ceased publication in 1976, Janus and Aurora were the ONLY fanzines with this focus.
The full archives of Janus & Aurora, the feminist science fiction fanzine created by the people who went on to create Wiscon, the feminist sf convention.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 7, 2014 - 6 comments

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies

Handle the Heat has a series on adjust chocolate-chip cookie recipes to make your favorite kind of cookies. (1) (2) (3) (4); photo of results. [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Nov 6, 2014 - 20 comments

Moon Eggs

20 Doctor Who Stories That Are Based On Real Science
posted by Artw on Nov 5, 2014 - 16 comments

"Nobody had fooled around with the heart before."

Black laboratory technician Vivien Thomas was paid a janitor's wage, never went to college or medical school, and was one of the pioneers of open heart surgery.
posted by Snarl Furillo on Nov 5, 2014 - 20 comments

The Cosmic Distance Ladder

How do we determine distances between the earth, sun, and moon, and from the sun to other planets, stars, and distant galaxies? We can't measure these directly, but indirect methods, combined with some basic high school math, can provide convincing and accurate results. A public lecture by Fields medalist Terry Tao (SLYT)
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Nov 4, 2014 - 26 comments

Diversity within us comes out better when there's diversity in our team.

The most recent episode of the Ruby Rogues podcast — #179 Accountability and Diversity with Meagan Waller — is a treasure trove of insights and info about unconscious biases, diversity, employment, culture, tech, and more. The podcast page features a timestamped topic outline of the discussion, as well as many links to the Ruby community websites, projects, studies, conferences, and controversies they discuss… [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 3, 2014 - 5 comments

Dance your Ph.D. 2014 winners announced

Creativity and science meet for monetary prizes! Dance your Ph.D. is a contest held annually to celebrate the connection of science and art with no jargon allowed. [more inside]
posted by AlexiaSky on Nov 3, 2014 - 10 comments

On science, social issues and liberal bias.

The subject was first surfaced by Jonathan Haidt in a 2011 talk at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Video here. The NYT reported at the time: Can social scientists open up to outsiders’ ideas? Dr. Haidt was optimistic enough to title his speech “The Bright Future of Post-Partisan Social Psychology,” urging his colleagues to focus on shared science rather than shared moral values. But, this week, it resurfaced with two new pieces. One on The New Yorker: "By a show of hands, how would those present describe their political orientation? First came the liberals: a “sea of hands,” comprising about eighty per cent of the room, Haidt later recalled. Next, the centrists or moderates. Twenty hands. Next, the libertarians. Twelve hands. And last, the conservatives. Three hands." And Chris Mooney from the WaPo also took a look at the subject: "Sure enough, the study found that these liberal academics showed a pretty high level of resistance to evolutionary explanations for phenomena ranging from sexual jealousy to male promiscuity."
posted by huguini on Oct 31, 2014 - 125 comments

Perhaps the 4 most intelligent things you can read about Ebola today.

The 4 most intelligent things you can read on Ebola today? 1) This week I received a "monograph" for review from an unlikely, politically removed scientist. It was plainly titled "Summary of Ebola Virus Disease," and written in exhaustive scientific detail. The author was Steven Hatfill. If the name rings a bell—I don’t want to dwell on this, but it's germane to the context of his perspective I'm sharing here—it’s because he was very publicly, very falsely accused of killing several people with anthrax in 2001... What he does know, at a depth that can rival any scientist’s knowledge, is Ebola. An interview, with Steven Hatfill and more: 21 Days. [more inside]
posted by spock on Oct 28, 2014 - 77 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

a.k.a. the sky is falling and the Boogeyman is chasing me

Chapman University has released The Chapman Survey on American Fears, a comprehensive, scientific survey of 1500 Americans on what they fear the most. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 24, 2014 - 31 comments

100 Scifi-Themed Songs, best or not

io9 has come up with a surprisingly good list of 100 science-fiction-themed songs. The comments are actually pretty great, with a lot more songs. There's rap, heavy metal, folk, polka, you name it. Still missing: more coverage of songs in languages other than English. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Oct 24, 2014 - 100 comments

Get paid for busy work, get the real work done while fooling around

"Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues." Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?” [more inside]
posted by Perko on Oct 21, 2014 - 4 comments

I also check my skeletons twice. You can never be too careful.

I waited silently for her to explain that the female pelvis is shaped slightly differently from the male’s, with a larger opening for childbearing. That part was the giveaway. The real purpose of the exercise was to make her prove her conjecture with measurements--to translate the theory to practice. I also wanted her to explain why this sexual dimorphism--that is, this sexually determined physical difference--is not nearly so pronounced in nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees.

She spoke: Males have one fewer pair of ribs than females.
When teacher Robert S. Root-Bernstein got this answer to his question on how you should distinguish between male and female skeletons, he had to find a way to make her realise her error without disparaging her religion.
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 20, 2014 - 271 comments

UnScientific American

Things happen. "Psychic" events mainly take place in dramatic and family-based situations. Not in a lab. Here is one example. [more inside]
posted by kozad on Oct 18, 2014 - 227 comments

scientists are finally opening the black box of parasite mind control

Mindsuckers: Meet Nature’s Nightmare
posted by andoatnp on Oct 17, 2014 - 37 comments

When Arctic methane scientists disagree

Ignoring the Arctic Methane Monster: Royal Society Goes Dark on Arctic Observational Science. "The exclusion also highlights a large and what appears to be growing rift between those who observe the Arctic system and some that model it. Concern for larger carbon release from the Arctic system appears to be steadily rising among Arctic observational specialists, while some modelers appear to have retreated into silos in an attempt to defend previous understandings that were based on earlier work." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 16, 2014 - 65 comments

"The ESF ... considers that the statement cited above is slanderous"

Last year, Dr. Amaya Moro-Martin, an astrophysicist specializing in circumstellar disks and planetary systems, started a great deal of discussion in the astronomy community when she wrote an open letter to the Spanish Prime Minister explaining that she was leaving Spain because of the bizarrely oppressive bureaucratic policies of the Spanish government and their broken promises to scientific researchers. This year, she has written an opinion piece in Nature arguing that Europe's drastic research budget cuts are short-sighted. In response, the European Science Foundation (ESF) has threatened to sue her unless she retracts the statement that called an evaluation process supported by ESF "flawed".
posted by kyrademon on Oct 13, 2014 - 21 comments

The True Story of a Fake Name on Some Scientific Papers

"I asked Ciccotti what they meant. When he explained it to me, I thought that Stronzo Bestiale would have been the perfect co-author for a refused publication. So I decided to submit my papers again, simply by changing the title and adding the name of that author. And the researches were published."
With a few other examples of of the intentional overlapping of scientific publications and foreign profanity, including one relevant to every American worker who gets a FICA deduction on their paycheck. May be NSFW in Italy.
posted by oneswellfoop on Oct 12, 2014 - 18 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

The most radical thing I can do as a woman scientist is, well, science.

When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science – [Trigger warning for this and all following links] by Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill):
The seminars, workshops, blogs, op-eds, research, policy papers, luncheons, and happy hour discussions are all valuable, and important, and they need to continue. But when the beer is drunk, and the pizza gone cold, and the printed articles relegated to the recycling bin, we are left with words: words written by us and about us, spoken in confidence, tossed like poisoned barbs in the comments sections, smoldering as craters in our in-boxes, pounding in our ears when we run it out at the gym.

I’m sorry, you guys, but words are not enough. Not anymore.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 8, 2014 - 32 comments

"Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Sea of Faith: a six-part documentary television series, presented on BBC television in 1984 by Don Cupitt. [youtube]
"The programme dealt with the history of Christianity in the modern world, focussing especially on how Christianity has responded to challenges such as scientific advances, political atheism and secularisation in general"
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 7, 2014 - 4 comments

запомнить практики запоминать практика запоминать практику

Time after time, professors in mathematics and the sciences have told me that building well-ingrained chunks of expertise through practice and repetition was absolutely vital to their succes Understanding doesn’t build fluency; instead, fluency builds understanding. In fact, I believe that true understanding of a complex subject comes only from fluency.
posted by sammyo on Oct 3, 2014 - 19 comments

Cats drink water "as if they're doing the equations in their head."

NPR's 2010 story about "the conclusive study of how cats drink." With videos. [more inside]
posted by artsandsci on Oct 2, 2014 - 49 comments

Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.
Only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.
Metafilter's own maias on myths surrounding the disease(?) of substance addiction, and their impact on medicine and policy.
posted by grobstein on Oct 1, 2014 - 84 comments

Why do migrating birds fly in a V formation?

"It was always assumed that V-formation flight was learned from the adult birds. But these guys are all the same age and they learned to fly from a human in a microlight. They learned V-formation flying from each other. National Geographic reports on some of the fascinating intricacies of the V formation observed in migrating birds.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 21, 2014 - 28 comments

“Oh, this is where the science I like is.”

How Long Does It Take to Get to Tatooine? [The New Yorker] "We use much more brainpower on subjects that interest us."
posted by Fizz on Sep 20, 2014 - 17 comments

#WomenTweetScienceToo

This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 18, 2014 - 23 comments

Calculus without limits

Hyperreal numbers: infinities and infinitesimals - "In 1976, Jerome Keisler, a student of the famous logician Tarski, published this elementary textbook that teaches calculus using hyperreal numbers. Now it's free, with a Creative Commons copyright!" (pdf—25mb :) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 17, 2014 - 34 comments

Future Politics

Future Politics (PDF link) is a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign class by Jake Bowers on the political theory of science fiction and a great recommended reading and discussion list for the rest of us.

How can imagining the future help us understand the present? How does considering the future help us think critically about politics today?...The future hopes and imaginings of past political thinkers do not include either enough detail or enough information about our rapidly changing technological, social, political, and economic landscape to provide us with enough practice to confidently confront the future as citizens as it happens to us. Science fiction allows us a much more detailed view of life in alternative futures, and the writers that we choose to read here tend to think seriously and logically about how current cutting edge technology might have social and political ramifications — however, science fiction authors are also mostly working on a narrative and thus may skim over core concepts that ought to organize our thinking about politics and society. Thus, we read both together in order to practice a kind of theoretically informed futurism (which is not the same as prediction or forecasting, but is more like the practice of confronting the unexpected).
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Sep 17, 2014 - 4 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

Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the Boston Area

If you live in the Boston area and would like to attend science, technology, math, or engineering lectures, you'll find Fred Hapgood's exhaustive and continually-updated list of Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the Boston Area very useful. (Here's his list of sources.) Perhaps you know of a list like this for lectures in your locality or field of preference?
posted by not_on_display on Sep 15, 2014 - 6 comments

Stable pluripotent stem cell production

"Scientists reset human stem cells to earliest developmental state" The paper, published in Cell, is available under a CC-3.0 license. [See: earlier Mefi post] [more inside]
posted by peacay on Sep 13, 2014 - 18 comments

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

A gigantic fish-eater (Bigger than a T. rex!) with a crocodile snout and a large sail on its back, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus has always been a strange and enigmatic creature. It may have just become something stranger: a semiaquatic, quadrupedal theropod dinosaur. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 11, 2014 - 39 comments

Bowling ball pendulum wave

A mesmerizing pendulum wave demonstration with 16 bowling balls in a North Carolina forest. [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Sep 10, 2014 - 22 comments

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