From the U.S. National Academies Press: 3,000 Science, Technology, Medical, and Social Science Books Available Free, Online.
The interface is clunky - you can only see one page at a time, can't download PDFs (except paid) and image view is via TIFF - but!
the content is all there, and free. Some is quite technical, but much is readily accessible. Some idea of the breadth: A Doctor's Memoirs of Treating AIDS in Haiti
, The "Drama of the Commons"
, The 1872 Research Voyage of HMS Challenger
, Biography of Stephen Hawking
, Biotechnology Research in the Age of Terrorism
, Risk Reduction Strategies for Human Exploration of Space
, Forensic Lead Bullet Analysis
, 50 Short Essays on How Mathematicians Think
, Recent Research on Non-Lethal Weapons
, and Introduction to Tough Topics in Contemporary Science
Also, see their rather spiffy site on the cosmos
posted by Rumple
on Jun 12, 2006 -
In 1875, Josiah Mason
gave a gift to establish a college which was called the Mason Science College (now a part of the University of Birmingham
). Within the terms of the gift to the institutuion, one of the stipulations was that classics not
be taught. Of course at such an institution, the Founder Day's address
was logically given by Thomas Henry Huxley
on the place of Science in Education. Huxley preached the virtues of science and derisively dismissed all value in studying classics, and he wondered whether any rational person would choose to study classics over science. His conclusion was that the only people who would choose a study of classics are those like "that Levite of culture" Matthew Arnold
. Arnold took the opportunity to respond
to his friend. In his reply, Arnold acknowledged that nobody would expect him to engage Huxley in a debate about science, and though he wouldn't presume to take on Huxley in such a debate, he did want to mention something that struck him as he thumbed through a book
of Huxley's friend
. Arnold noted that he was struck by the idea that "our ancestor was a hairy quadruped furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in his habits." Arnold acknowledged that he isn't a scientist and therefore doesn't dispute such a claim, but he did want to point out that even if that were true, with regards to this good fellow, there must have been a necessity in him that inclined him to Greek. And would always incline him to Greek. After all, we got there, didn't we?
posted by dios
on May 26, 2006 -
Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion
It seems that men will be men throughout the animal kindom, not just our little lonely corner of of it.
Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case.
But is this the case with everyone
posted by pezdacanuck
on May 23, 2006 -
just won't go away. New evidence suggests the development of the human embryo
mirrors our species' course of evolution. This guy
seems to be stirring up all kinds of trouble these days. It makes me wonder: does this new information help determine the quality of being human
? From the link: "Another supposed vagary produced by the abortion issue is the question as to when the embryo or fetus becomes human. Rivers Singleton, Jr. states in his article in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, that, for some, conception defines the point of being human, whereas, for others, various periods of development suffice to 'distinguish human from non-humans
posted by narwhal
on May 19, 2006 -
is about scientists, but not so much about science. In the most recent update is an interview with Daniel Glaser
about his involvement behind the scenes of the BBC documentary Under Laboratory Conditions
Older articles on LabLit.com are about iPods
in the lab, sex
in the lab, basically anything besides
science that still relates to lab life.
"LabLit" is short for "lab literature", and the about
page explains the connection between the two and the idea behind the site.
posted by easternblot
on Apr 25, 2006 -
(Embedded .swf). This animated story of life since about 13,700,000,000 shows everything from the big bang to the formation of the earth and the development of bacteria and other organisms to the ascent of man and humans effect on the earth. Other work discussed one year ago yesterday, what an evolution! (The animation is pretty large, you may have to scroll your screen, or just open the .swf directly)
posted by pithy comment
on Apr 18, 2006 -
Today in weird animals
: An international group of scientists has described an animal that provides nutrition for its young by letting them peel off and eat its skin.
posted by Afroblanco
on Apr 17, 2006 -
The pleasure of finding things out.
If you only watch one documentary on the subject of science this year, let is be this one. The brilliant physicist Richard Feynman is interviewed about a host of issues, such as [more inside].
posted by koenie
on Apr 17, 2006 -
Before the Big Bang
out of my depth, but I thought this comment was intriguing: "The paper as published, along with a longer follow up paper, looks to my untrained eye a nearly complete quantum gravitation theory, which is an exciting prospect in itself. However, as with all physical theories, we will await for experimental support before popping the cork." Here's some more on loop quantum gravity
, spin networks
, the big bang
posted by kliuless
on Apr 16, 2006 -
One piece of paper.
"It was an experiment to see how long it could last. Draw a comic, rub it off, and draw another over the top. Once it had finished, a second experiment was started on another piece of paper. Current data - one piece of paper can survive an average of 65 cartoons being drawn on it" [via mefi projects
posted by mathowie
on Apr 14, 2006 -
Bird flu update: "At this moment, birds that travel flyways in Asia, where most bird flu cases have been found, are mingling with birds that fly through North America." Officials in Kansas
warn it will arrive this fall, as those birds fly south for the winter on North American migration pathways
. The Onion jokingly predicts the government's response
posted by salvia
on Apr 9, 2006 -
Jesus walked on the
So sayeth... um... well, this guy at Florida State. Doron Nof
has released a paper
positing that when Jesus walked on the water in Galilee, he was actually walking on a patch of floating ice. What's interesting about science like this to me is that it both validates and invalidates scripture, since if Jesus was walking on ice... no miracle (although, it's a miracle he didn't slip and fall, har har har). But if Jesus was walking on ice, then at least he historically existed, which is still an open question
at least in some quarters
. In case you think you recognize Mr. Nof's name, you may be remembering his work explaining that the parting of the Red Sea was totally possible
(flash video link).
posted by illovich
on Apr 5, 2006 -
The night's event
featured speakers Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Sir John Krebs, Ian McEwan, and -- the man himself -- Richard Dawkins. It was, as you might suspect (based on the title), an event celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Dawkins' seminal work
If you didn't get a chance to attend, you can still read the full transcript or stream/download the audio of it in MP3 format (many thanks to Helena Cronin, founder/director of Darwin@LSE
, for hosting the file).
Thanks to 3QD
for the link.
posted by Moody834
on Mar 26, 2006 -
A direct detection of a brown dwarf
only 12.7 light years away (practically next door in interstellar terms)
adds another substellar object to the list of those relatively close by. While not quite the closest such object yet detected,
it’s notable for being pinpointed with a combination of ground-based adaptive optics
and Simultaneous Differential Imaging,
a special set of filters designed to subtract out starlight while leaving the light from substellar objects. This could be an important milestone in the ongoing quest to directly detect extrasolar planets,
as opposed to finding their traces indirectly via methods such as stellar wobble or gravitational microlensing.
Direct detection, among other things, makes it much easier to analyze planetary atmospheres for traces of life.
An object that could be as small as 9 Jupiter masses, less than 13 light years away, is a heck of a good step forward, especially considering that the very first indirect detections of extrasolar planets weren't made until the 1990’s,
and I recall serious arguments being made in the 1980’s that they did not, in fact, exist.
posted by kyrademon
on Mar 22, 2006 -
: Anatomical Basis of Facial Expression Learning Tool. See how all the different muscles in your face work. Flash interface; via Drawn!
posted by Gator
on Mar 15, 2006 -