According to new fossil evidence 50 million years ago the skies above London were ruled by a relative of the goose, the size of a light aircraft, with toothy crocodile-likejaws. Or as The Sun puts it... DON'T RUCK WITH THIS DUCK!
2008 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge "The winners -- in categories including photography, illustration, informational graphics, and multimedia -- captured the crystalline beauty of diatoms, the expanse of the human circulatory system, a fairy tale tea party re-invented, and the dynamic life of a plant cell." (previously)
Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space. "As if the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy weren't vexing enough, another baffling cosmic puzzle has been discovered. Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can't be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon 'dark flow.' The stuff that's pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude." [more inside]
Star Stories explains the life and death of stars using a multimedia approach that incorporates images, animation, video and text. From the official website of the Nobel Foundation. Don't miss out on the other cool games . [more inside]
"I would like to take a broader look at the Web. I would like to consider what the Web can do for society on a scale we have not yet seen. And I would like to enlist your help to get us there." ― Tim Berners-Lee announces the World Wide Web Foundation [more inside]
Hundreds of New Reef Creatures Found in Australia. Hundreds of new marine creatures have been discovered in three Australian reefs by CReefs, a census of coral reefs which is part of the Census of Marine Life, a ten-year initiative to assess global ocean diversity.
The ALICE Collaboration is building a dedicated heavy-ion detector to exploit the unique physics potential of nucleus-nucleus interactions at LHC energies. The aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where the formation of a new phase of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, is expected. This website aims both at introducing non-initiates to the field of physics covered by ALICE and at providing regular information on the evolution of the experiment, with detailed reports of its results and analysis.
The "terminator" is the dividing line between day and night as seen from on high. This shadow line is diffuse and shows the gradual transition to darkness we experience as twilight. [more inside]
"Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still." The comments are included on a Church of England website promoting the views of Charles Darwin to be launched on Monday.
Quest for a true 3D Mandelbrot Fractal - a very nice exploration of Mandelbrot/Julia set fractals in various kinds of 3D space.
LHC Webcams. There's been a lot of LHC news lately but a less-publicized series of Compact Muon Solenoid proton collision tests is scheduled for today, and CERN has been kind enough to set up a live streaming webcam to watch the CMS in action. (There's also a view of the parking lot but I think that's more so underground-bunkered LHC staff can see the weather.) It's fairly dull viewing but if you're interested in the science of it all, it's great nerdy fun. Maybe you'll even see a black hole or two. ;)
The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
Is life possible even in the coldest depths of space? If so, this tough little guy has long been thought to be a good candidate. Now, finally, analysis of the Tardigrades (a.k.a. "water bears") exposed to open space as part of the TARDIS project is finally complete. So what's the verdict? [more inside]
In a scant few hours, scientists will make the first attempt to circulate a beam in the Large Hadron Collider. Terrified of nothing, a few deeply misguided morons have sent death threats to the CERN team, probably because of Faith-Based Science. [more inside]
"Hidden within the basement archives of Yale University's Historical Medical Library lie the original oil painting collection and personal papers of the first American surgeon to practice in China." Extraordinary paintings of compassion in a medical setting. [Warning, these are graphic depictions, some NSFW] Elegant, disturbing and moving portraits of patients by Lam Qua, commissioned by a medical missionary named Peter Parker in the 1830's. [No, not that Peter Parker. Via MeFite tellurian's awesome blog]. [more inside]
The Medicalisation of Everyday Life. "As the pace of medical innovation slows to a crawl, how do drug companies stay in profit? By 'discovering' new illnesses to fit existing products." An extract from Ben Goldacre's new book, Bad Science. [Via]
Barack Obama has responded to the 14 questions posed by ScienceDebate2008 (discussed previously). The Martian Chronicles has outlined some key points of his response. John McCain has not responded to the questions, but has indicated that he will respond.
"He's always thinking about lots of things — he's a pollinator, he brings ideas to the table" You probably know Neal Stephenson for his work as an author (generally in or adjacent to the Science Fiction genre), but he's also an inventor at Washington based "Idea Factory" Intellectual Ventures, a place with modern goals like stomping out malaria and preventing hurricanes. This is after his old job as part-time rocket scientist.
Scientists Repurpose Adult Cells - "Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research." [nature abstract, nature writeup, audio announcement]
The Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive, an online library dedicated to the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002). Includes an excellent selection of videos. And The Official Stephen Jay Gould Archive [still under development], which includes two of his books and his Harvard course online. [more inside]
A Good Poop is an entertaining blog by an occupational and environmental health student who enjoys finding oddities in medical and scientific research from PubMed. (via Look at This...)
"Why the fuss? Well, Colin's a baby whale..." Oh no. They named the doomed little thing ('little' meaning about the size of a large car). Mal Holland's report from the Daily Telegraph gives a very illuminating rundown of the nervous breakdown that "Sydney's booming whale watching industry" is experiencing right now... [more inside]
One Pill Makes You Autistic -- And One Pill Changes You Back. It might also lead to recreational autism, where people who want to take a break from having messy emotions about other people decide to unplug and enter a state where human relationships are no more important than inanimate objects. [more inside]
Da gebt der Natur die Ehre/ Froh, an Aug' und Herz gesund/ Und erkennt der Farbenlehre/ Allgemeinen ewigen Grund!
Goethe's Theory of Colors: example of a "research style" that has "played a crucial role in the history of physics", or "tedious heap of mythical, uninformed or impressionistic color anecdotes"? Learn more about "Goethian science", then miss the point entirely by viewing a PDF recreating his experiments photographically, or playing with his triangle online. [more inside]
Science! "[S]cientists have proven that 'beer goggles' are real — other people really do look more attractive to us if we have been drinking. Surprisingly, the beer goggles effect was not limited to just the opposite sex among the ostensibly straight volunteers recruited for the study — they also rated people from their own sex as more attractive."
All MST3K episodes available in .avi format. That is all. I need to lie down.
Science Hack is a unique search engine for science videos focusing on Physics, Chemistry, and Space. For example, things to do with sulfur hexafluoride. Still growing, the editors are presently indexing other scientific fields of study including Geology, Psychology, Robotics and Computers. Ever wonder why things go bang?
In 1991, the New York Times reported on the development of a new salt-water crop called salicornia that produced seeds rich in high-quality protein and oil. While it was acknowledged as having great potential for becoming a valuable crop in subtropical areas, the LA Times talks about a farmer who thinks the crop could help solve world hunger, provide abundant clean fuel for vehicles and slow global warming. This particular farmer has been touting salicornia for quite some time now, and he seems to have been successful in small-scale operations he's been allowed to lead.
Al-Jazari is the best-known Islamic inventor of the Middle Ages, famous for his waterclocks and automata. The wonderful History of Science and Technology in Islam has articles on him as well as other subjects. A medieval manuscript of Al-Jazari's masterwork, a book generally known in English as either Book of Knowledge of Mechanical Devices, can be perused in its entirety in flash form. It includes 174 illustrations. If you want to see working copies of his most famous automaton, the Elephant Clock, you can go either to the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai (Flickr pictures), the Musée d'Horlogerie du Locle in Switzerland (Cabinet of Wonders post about visiting the museum) or Institute for the History of Arab-Islamic Science in Frankfurt (article about the institute from a feature in Saudi Aramco World magazine called Rediscovering Arabic Science).
Frederick...made linguistic experiments on the vile bodies of hapless infants, "bidding foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no wise to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments." [more inside]
Scientists report a breakthrough in stem cell production: Stem cells created from ALS patient and used to make neurons. [Via]
"We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. "We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."
Anything but clear. It is well known that panes of stained glass in old European churches are thicker at the bottom because glass is a slow-moving liquid that flows downward over centuries. Well known, yes, but long known to be wrong. Scientists still disagree about the nature of glass, and researchers continue to try to understand its dual personality . [more inside]
EO Wilson believes in
Darwinism group selection: "evolution as a multi-level process1 that can evolve adaptations above the level of individual organisms."
Correlative Analytics -- or as O'Reilly might term the Social Graph -- sort of mirrors the debate on 'brute force' algorithmic proofs (that are "true for no reason," cf.) in which "computers can extract patterns in this ocean of data that no human could ever possibly detect. These patterns are correlations. They may or may not be causative, but we can learn new things. Therefore they accomplish what science does, although not in the traditional manner... In this part of science, we may get answers that work, but which we don't understand. Is this partial understanding? Or a different kind of understanding?" Of course, say some in the scientific community: hogwash; it's just a fabrication of scientifically/statistically illiterate pundits, like whilst new techniques in data analysis are being developed to help keep ahead of the deluge...
For the first time in the Indian state of Maharashtra, life sentences were meted out based on the findings of Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature(BEOS) profiling. [more inside]
Festooning The Tree Of Life. Carl Zimmer describes new research on lateral gene transfer which makes the Tree of Life look more like a Gordian Knot.
A discovery leads to questions about whether the odds of people sharing genetic profiles are sometimes higher than portrayed. Calling the finding meaningless, the FBI has sought to block such inquiry.
Hellenica is an encyclopedia of Greek culture, from classical Hellas, through the Byzantine Empire until the modern day, though its focus is on antiquity and especially the science and technology of Ancient Greece. Featuring technical diagrams and explications, there's no better site if you seek information on gigantic galleys, now obscure great Greek mathematicians, the last still working Ancient lighthouse and gears and how they were used by Archimedes and other ancients. This is not to denigrate other sections of the site, such as the page on the Olympics (including a Google Map of the site of the games), biographies of ancient, Byzantine and modern Greeks, the warring and healing of the Byzantines or the overview of Greek literature, taking in antiquity, the medieval era and modern times. That said, Hellenica is at its finest when treating science and technology.