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Biggest breakthroughs of the next 50 years

What will be the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the next 50 years? As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the New Scientist asked 70 prominent minds for ideas on the subject. You can read the thoughts of scientists like Freeman Dyson, Benoit Mandelbrot and Jane Goodall individually, or browse by topic. For example, eight thinkers have something to say about alien life. The links to browse by topic can be found at the beginning of the main link. Also, compare with this thread about similar predictions from 1950.
posted by jeffmshaw on Nov 19, 2006 - 89 comments

bacterial art

The Art of Edgar Lissel " Lissel works with bacteria, using their photo-tactical characteristics for his images."
posted by dhruva on Nov 15, 2006 - 2 comments

throw away the wires

wireless electricity is said to be possible by some researchers. the only question is: what will become of this industry?
posted by localhuman on Nov 15, 2006 - 45 comments

she has a great personality

Humans are hard-wired to obsess over beauty. Being nice is, biologically, not enough.
posted by four panels on Nov 14, 2006 - 60 comments

A red rain's a-gonna fall...

The latest on the so-called "Red Rain of Kerala." The authors of this study suggest the mysterious red biological material provides evidence of Panspermia. The BBC offers this updated look at the topic. (Previously discussed here on MeFi.)
posted by saulgoodman on Nov 14, 2006 - 15 comments

Vintage Radio and Scientific Equipment

The Spark Museum John Jenkins' collection of vintage wireless, radio, scientific and electrical equipment, including Crookes and Geissler tubes, Barlow wheels and other early electric motors, loudspeakers and many more oddball electrical devices. [via TeamDroid]
posted by mediareport on Nov 13, 2006 - 9 comments

Interspecies fun (and benefits)

Neanderthal Lovin’! New research from evolutionary scientist Bruce Lahn suggests that humans and the now extinct Neanderthal species mixed, and humans snatched up a valuable brain gene in the process. (The gene, MCPH1, and Lahn, discussed last year on MeFi) This comes on the tails of yet another new study providing morphological evidence that there was nontrivial interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals in Eurasia, despite the fact that Neanderthals may have been genetically closer to chimps than humans. Contrary to popular imagination, though, the Neanderthal species had bigger brains and sophisticated intellects, at least roughly on par with that of human beings. The gene regulates brain size during development, but its exact utility to humans is still unknown (and controversial). The origin of this gene and the question of Neanderthal mixing will soon be answered more definitively by the, just launched, 2 year project to map the Neanderthal genome, headed by Svante Pääbo (profiled in recent Smithsonian and Wired articles). Pääbo calls Lahn’s study "the most compelling case to date for a genetic contribution of Neandertals to modern humans."
posted by Jason Malloy on Nov 8, 2006 - 26 comments

Physics for Future Presidents

Physics for Future Presidents is a class taught at UC Berkeley by Physics professor Richard Muller. It's a class specifically for non-physics majors and teaches the real world results of the sometimes impenetrable math involved in university physics. After every lecture, you should come away with the feeling that what was just covered is important for every world leader to know. I just sat through the entire hour and 13 minute nukes lecture and was riveted.
posted by quite unimportant on Nov 7, 2006 - 26 comments

Meat is Neat: Cellular biophysics video

Meat is Neat. We are but tiny machines. Remember the YouTube video of a funky animation of cellular activity? Here it is with a voice explanation of what's going on. Absolutely mindblowing. some sort of embedded video, dsl-quality with sound. see here for other forms
posted by five fresh fish on Oct 27, 2006 - 35 comments

When Scientists Go Bad

When Scientists Go Bad
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 27, 2006 - 26 comments

More of a Babel facehugger than a Babel fish

You whisper "Je t'aime", the machine says "I love you". Carnegie Mellon offer the prospect of a real-time automatic face-mounted translation device.
posted by imperium on Oct 27, 2006 - 21 comments

OooohEeeeehOoooh

September 30th, 2002, scientists intercepted a 10 minute radio burst from the galactic center, 26,000 Light Years away. 77 minutes passed, and it repeated. And again. The signal repeated 5 times that evening.

Some think those signals are weird mysterious. Others think they are interesting mysterious.
posted by Lord_Pall on Oct 25, 2006 - 63 comments

The Micropolitan Museum

The Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimeter proudly presents The Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms. [via]
posted by mediareport on Oct 22, 2006 - 7 comments

Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War: Deaths in Iraq: How Many, and Why It Matters

...Would it surprise you to learn that if the Johns Hopkins estimates of 400,000 to 800,000 deaths are correct -- and many experts in the survey field seem to suggest they probably are -- that the supposedly not-yet-civil-war in Iraq has already cost more lives, per capita, than our own Civil War (one in 40 of all Iraqis alive in 2003) ? And that these losses are comparable to what some European nations suffered in World War II ? You'd never know it from mainstream press coverage in the U.S. "Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied," Leonard Cohen once sang. The question the new study raises: How many will go down with the ship, and will the press finally hold the captain fully accountable ?
Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War -- But Will the Press Confirm It ?
See also Debating the Body Count in Iraq
See also Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters
See also The Science of Counting the Dead
See also How the Media Covered The Lancet’s Iraqi Casualty Study
See also More deadly than Saddam
posted by y2karl on Oct 19, 2006 - 80 comments

This just in: Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance

...Objectives    This double-blind study evaluated the acute and longer-term psychological effects of a high dose of psilocybin relative to a comparison compound administered under comfortable, supportive conditions...

Results    Psilocybin produced a range of acute perceptual changes, subjective experiences, and labile moods including anxiety. Psilocybin also increased measures of mystical experience. At 2 months, the volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as having substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance and attributed to the experience sustained positive changes in attitudes and behavior consistent with changes rated by community observers.

Conclusions   When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences. The ability to occasion such experiences prospectively will allow rigorous scientific investigations of their causes and consequences.
Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance
posted by y2karl on Oct 16, 2006 - 58 comments

Toxic Time Capsule

Interactive Toxic Town from Natl Library Medicine This NLM link shows relatively small everyday sources of toxics around town. Most worry over envirodisasters like Love Canal and Libby Montana but toxics in homes, schools, and small biz can add up to a bigger dose for most of us. The toxic town thread from June 2nd shows the incredible scale of industrial negligance at the nasty sites. Time capsules are neat when you stumble into something gramps left in the attic to remember his hey day. But hazwaste sites are time capsules of a different sort, left behind by industries escaping their environmental liabilities. These sites tell the story of utter disregard for the environment and community as hazwaste was poured down floor drains, dumped into soil and unlined lagoons, or directed into nearby streams. Most of us live far enough away from these chemical bullseyes to not be directly affected. But even more unbelieveably, sometimes the industry was able to pawn off its waste as "clean fill", getting rid of the stuff and spreading it all over town. Prime examples: Grand Junction CO and Stratford CT. But you don't need that for your street to harbor toxic waste - there are thousands of small waste sites in various stages of discovery or cleanup embedded in every state, rural/suburban/urban towns alike. Leaking tanks beneath gas pumps, dry cleaners, small industry, farms, nurseries,and even some homes can be toxics hot spots. Vermont's statewide hazwaste site list broken down by town is an example - it would be smart to find the list for your town.
posted by whatstoxic on Oct 11, 2006 - 12 comments

Bio-Barrier Peptides TRANSFORM!

Nanotech. Apply directly to the bleeding. Nanotech. Apply directly to the bleeding. Nanotech. Apply directly to the bleeding. [RealMedia] Nanotech is not yet available at retailers nationwide.
posted by riotgrrl69 on Oct 10, 2006 - 39 comments

Save New Scientist!

A plea to save New Scientist magazine from SF author and programmer Greg Egan (whose home page crashes my browser at the moment).
posted by thatwhichfalls on Oct 7, 2006 - 33 comments

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years (Feb, 1950)
Some more up-to-date predictions: science, invention, space travel, colonisation, immortality, water shortage, flooding, nanotech, techno-apocalypse, extinction, mental health, smart machines, robots, mind uploading, AI, Asia, economics, demographics, goverance, cities. What is your prediction?
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 5, 2006 - 54 comments

Teleportation Breakthrough

Teleportation Breakthrough. Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second. But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter. A more technical explanation.
posted by empath on Oct 5, 2006 - 67 comments

Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge 2006

Scientific visualization challenge 2006: This year's winners captured inner details of a child mummy, mathematical surfaces rendered as glass objects, the highest mountain on Earth, air traffic by night, etc...
posted by dhruva on Oct 4, 2006 - 10 comments

Beautiful old German zoological wall charts

Beautiful, occasionally abstract, old German zoological wall charts. [via]
posted by mediareport on Oct 3, 2006 - 17 comments

SHAC 7

The first member of SHAC 7, an animal rights group convicted for their organizational role in a campaign against animal research at Huntingdon Life Sciences (previously discussed here and here), began his three-year prison sentence today. Meanwhile, Horowitz and Malkin are still at large.
posted by homunculus on Oct 3, 2006 - 38 comments

Metafilter of the brain

Neuroscience Gateway - "a comprehensive source for the latest research, news and events in neuroscience and genomics research"
posted by Gyan on Oct 2, 2006 - 6 comments

RNA Interference. 10 Kilodalton Penalty. First Down.

[MediFilter] The 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to the discoverers of RNA interference (RNAi) [Note: Links to original 1998 Nature paper .pdf]. The finding that cells have an intricate mechanism for blocking viral RNA replication quickly spawned a new technology for investigating the role of different genes by allowing scientists to quickly, (relatively) cheaply and easily "knock down" their expression and measure the effects. When Kerry Mullis won in 1993 for the discovery of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), there was talk of whether or not the prize had gone to a technical advance and not a fundamental discovery. It will be interesting to see, in this case, which receives more focus: the discovery of a new technology or of a new cellular mechanism.
posted by scblackman on Oct 2, 2006 - 18 comments

Long Term Ecological Research

The Long Term Ecological Research Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Check out their photo gallery. [more inside]
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 30, 2006 - 6 comments

HiRISE High-Res Images From Mars - Find the filing cabinet!

The HiRISE camera is one of eleven instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Yesterday the first few images were downloaded from the MRO.
posted by carsonb on Sep 30, 2006 - 16 comments

Continuing (your) education all over the Internet

Qoolsqool is "a free and open educational resource for educators, students, and self-learners around the world."
posted by anjamu on Sep 29, 2006 - 9 comments

Drugs screens and poppyseed bagels don't mix.

Top 20 Science Myths. Note: turns out some of these are not myths so much as exagerrations.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson on Sep 29, 2006 - 57 comments

Free museum admission! Whee!

"On September 30, 2006, for one day only, museums across the country will join the Smithsonian Institution in its long-standing tradition of offering free admission to visitors."
posted by moss on Sep 28, 2006 - 29 comments

Bugman!

Play Pac-Man against real live crickets for science and fun.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 27, 2006 - 10 comments

Does it matter whether you think this is Best of the Web?

Reviewing peer review.
posted by Gyan on Sep 26, 2006 - 33 comments

Royal Society of London, 1665–

The Royal Society Digital Archive is now on-line and free to use ... until December. Until that time, every article in its collections, going back to 1665, is freely accessible. Poke around, who knows what you might find ... [pdf]
posted by Sonny Jim on Sep 22, 2006 - 21 comments

HIV Test for Everyone?

CDC Recommends it for Everyone between 13 and 60 This seems like a very expensive proposition. It appears more people are living with this virus without knowing about it.
posted by henryw on Sep 21, 2006 - 57 comments

"The most rigorously refined experiment to date."

The Ganzfeld Experiment. Is it evidence for the existence of psi abilities? Is it sloppy experimental practice? Philosopher and game designer Chris Bateman suggests that it might be most significant for what it reveals about the biases of the scientific community.
posted by Iridic on Sep 14, 2006 - 74 comments

Science Live

Science Live site I found this because of the live coverage of the Festival of Science 2006 from Norwich, but found lots of other great links! Great for kids, but good for anyone curious about science. "What if you could watch any popular science lecture you wanted to? What if you could participate in any popular science event? What if you could find out what scientists themselves have to say about the issues that are important in society today? ScienceLive is an initiative that seeks to bring some of the best popular science events (discussions, lectures, interviews) directly to your home, so that you can watch these events whenever and from whereever you can.
posted by k8t on Sep 6, 2006 - 3 comments

The Science of a Human Obsession

Daniel Levitin is a musical neurologist. His new book, This is Your Brain on Music, has an intriguing premise, and a very entertaining website.
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 5, 2006 - 12 comments

Royal Society Library

The Royal Society has an excellent video library of lectures given there over the past few years. For example Jared Diamond with Collapse: how societies choose to fail or survive. Martin Nowak with Why we cooperate, or try Sir David Attenborough Perception, deception and reality.
posted by econous on Sep 1, 2006 - 2 comments

"Einsteinbrain!"

Japanese professor Kenji Sugimoto has a long-standing fascination with the brain of Albert Einstein. In the early nineties he travelled to the United States in search of it. This bizarre 1994 documentary (YouTube, multiple parts) by Kevin Hull (UK) chronicles his quest. Fake or real? [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 1, 2006 - 12 comments

'It has lumps'

GRACE is fine-tuning our understanding of Earth's gravity. It also shows that Greenland's ice is melting, how the recent Sumatra earthquake changed the earth, and provides information on the world's oceans and climate.
posted by evening on Aug 31, 2006 - 7 comments

Scientific American digs deep on climate change

Anyone interested in climate change or is still wondering about it's potential effects and possible solutions should check out this must-read Special Issue of Scientific American. Here is a freebie article they have posted online called A Climate Repair Manual.
posted by jacob hauser on Aug 28, 2006 - 11 comments

So, what do you think?

Some online journals, such as Ecology and Society, operate independently. Others are hosted collectively by interests like Copernicus Publications. Online peer review is becoming popular.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 26, 2006 - 7 comments

Is Medicalization Aversion Disorder a real disease?

Psychiatry by Prescription - Do psychotropic drugs blur the boundaries between illness and health?
posted by Gyan on Aug 26, 2006 - 39 comments

Just a girl?

Muse + 120% pitch shift = Gwen Stefani
posted by mr.marx on Aug 26, 2006 - 77 comments

Human Rights Watch, Watched

Human Rights Watch, Watched "Who will guard the guardians?" asked Roman satirist Juvenal. Now we must ask, who is watching Human Rights Watch, one of the world's best-financed and most influential human rights organizations? It turns out that they cook the books about facts, cheat on interviews, and put out pre-determined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true.
posted by Postroad on Aug 21, 2006 - 62 comments

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning [video] "The picture is a telescope for looking into Plato's heaven." -- James Brown [cached]
posted by Chuckles on Aug 20, 2006 - 27 comments

Breaking the Laws of Physics?

Free Energy? Family Guy viewers already know that Ireland's top scientists once discovered how to turn their population into pure energy, but have they now discovered the key to perpetual motion? The Law of Conservation of Energy would seem to suggest otherwise, but these fellas (Google video) would seem to claim otherwise. Steorn, an Irish "technology development" company, claims that they have discovered a means to free energy, and have issued a challenge to the scientific community.
posted by chudmonkey on Aug 19, 2006 - 70 comments

PV=nRT: It's not just a good idea....

200 liters of condensed liquid nitrogen (LN2) were delivered to Berkeley’s Condensed Matter Lab this past Monday. Sent to retrieve the 400lb dewar from the loading dock but faced with a non-working elevator, an enterprising young lab student decided to carry it down the stairs. Gravity is a harsh mistress.

If things had turned out differently, they could have been scraping his remains off the walls with a spatula. At Texas A&M in January a lab was badly damaged when someone ignored the Ideal Gas Law, removed the pressure valve and rupture disk off an old (LN2) tank and filled the remaining holes with metal plugs. "How to Tell a True Lab Story" talks about a similar incident. LN2 is good for more than just blowing up a school (or, um a watermelon), though: Spanish Chef Ferran Adrià uses it to create dishes at his restaurant. Previously on MeFI: How to make LN2 ice cream (careful!) and unwise science experiments.
posted by zarq on Aug 18, 2006 - 27 comments

thanks mom!

Bacteria Roll Out Carpet Of Goo That Converts Deadly Heavy Metal Into Less Threatening Nano-spheres. This microbe joins another reported not too long ago. We certainly could use their help.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 17, 2006 - 9 comments

The story of motion

Motion Mountain - "The project aims to produce a simple, vivid and up-to-date introduction to modern physics, with emphasis on the fundamental ideas of motion. 'Simple' means that concepts are stressed more than formalism; 'vivid' means that the reader is continuously challenged; 'up-to-date' means that modern research and ideas about unification are included."
posted by Gyan on Aug 17, 2006 - 4 comments

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