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The Lights in the Sky Are Stars

Universe Today is a news site for astronomy geeks. Don't miss its sibling, the Bad Astronomy Forum, which not only features examples of bad astronomy, but also discussions of space exploration and astrophotography. (If you like astrophotography, you're probably already aware of NASA's astronomy photo of the day.) But my favorite part of the whole site is the free astronomy eBook, What's Up 2007: 365 Days of Skywatching. If only it would only stop raining, maybe I'd grab some binoculars and go outside for some stargazing...
posted by jdroth on Jan 3, 2007 - 6 comments

A day to be thankful for resublimated thiotimoline.

Think you get a lot done? Isaac Asimov (pronounced like "has, him, of" without the h's) , who would have turned 87 today, wrote or edited over 500 books, including science-fiction novels, introductions to organic chemistry (a field in which he held a professorship at B.U.) , indispensable anthologies of early science fiction, jokebooks, guides to Shakespeare, and collections of lively essays on science that have introduced thousands of people to the pleasures of thinking hard about the universe. He also found the time to write a few essays and write postcards to his fans. His story "Runaround" , from his 1950 collection I, Robot, is the only piece of fiction I know centered on the properties of a differential equation. His Foundation Trilogy was given a special Hugo award in 1966 as the best science fiction series of all time; a movie version, to be written by Jeff Vintar and directed by Shekhar Kapur, is currently in development. Previous AsimovFilter: here, here, here. Feel like a slacker yet? Stop reading MetaFilter and get to work!
posted by escabeche on Jan 2, 2007 - 95 comments

“Allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further a parent’s freedom to raise the sort of children they want to raise.”

Cure for teh gay? I was relaxing in front of X-Men 3 when a friend mentioned that the United States "gay sheep" experiments were wrapping up (though not uneventfully), with considerable successes. Lesbian tennis champ Martina Navaratilova has been fighting to end the tests for some time, but it appears a "gay vaccine" for pregnant mothers may be inevitable. Meanwhile, the GOP's only gay congressman retires.
posted by mek on Dec 31, 2006 - 294 comments

Science

Free Science and Video Lectures Online A nice blog collecting science videos. The most recent post on Cognitive Computing, Consciousness, Science Philosophy and Mind Video Lectures has some hum-dingers.
posted by MetaMonkey on Dec 30, 2006 - 10 comments

Nature gone Wild

Birds that rap and cows with accents. The big picture is urban adaptation, which is pretty cool. (...and the egg wins.)
posted by ewkpates on Dec 28, 2006 - 17 comments

Filter Filter

The end of mad cow disease? Scientists announce a filter that can remove the prions that cause vCJD - blocking the spread of the disease, at least via blood transfusions.
posted by Artw on Dec 24, 2006 - 16 comments

A Happy Family is a World's First

"There are few world firsts nowadays, but it may be one." - A quote used to describe triplets born to a woman with two wombs. Double uterus is an uncommon condition that is often undetected until a woman becomes pregnant. The outcome for such pregnancies is usually good, though posing a higher risk for breech positioning. The odds of triplets (twins in one womb, one fetus in the other) are 25 million to one.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Dec 21, 2006 - 29 comments

Vein Viewer Infrared-absorption interactive "X-ray" gadget.

VeinViewer is an infrared-absorption interactive "X-ray" device using advanced real time signal processing and a projector. Google video. YouTube video with short explanation.
posted by loquacious on Dec 20, 2006 - 19 comments

Billions and Billions... of Blog Posts

Carl Sagan has a posse. Today marks the ten year anniversary of the passing of Carl Sagan, scientist and popularizer of science, and bloggers are planning to mark the day with posts about the man and how he's affected their lives. The initiative has the blessing of at least one member of the Sagan clan, and has already spawned a site where those without blogs of their own can post their thoughts online. Yes, Sagan could be prickly at times, and there might have been things he could have been more open about in his lifetime. But few scientists have done more to bring science to the public. These days, we could use another of him. Maybe two.
posted by jscalzi on Dec 20, 2006 - 43 comments

Medics face death in Libyan HIV case

Death by firing squad is imminent (timeline) for a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting 426 girls and boys at the al-Fatah Hospital in Benghazi with HIV, after having the sentence lifted a year ago and sent to retrial. Libya stands accused of using the children as diplomatic pawns and torturing confessions out of the health workers. Nature has published a series of articles refuting the dubious evidence provided by Libyan researchers, which many think was concocted to cover up the poor hospital hygiene that likely caused the infections in the first place. [previously]
posted by blendor on Dec 19, 2006 - 35 comments

What a dish!

Beautiful Petri Gardens
posted by machaus on Dec 17, 2006 - 20 comments

The Natural Arch and Bridge Society

The Natural Arch and Bridge Society has many, many interesting pictures and lots of info.
posted by mediareport on Dec 17, 2006 - 8 comments

Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity and Diabetes - another free supplement by Nature
posted by Gyan on Dec 15, 2006 - 17 comments

Moonbase: Alpha

NASA Plans Permanent Moonbase. The base, a potential stepping stone for further Mars exploration, will likely be situated near one of the poles. The advantages of a polar site (pdf) include a relatively moderate climate, possible hydrogen and oxygen resources, unexplored terrain and abundant solar power. They have apparently abandoned plans to use nuclear reactors, which is probably for the best.
posted by justkevin on Dec 4, 2006 - 137 comments

Mandelbrot on Fractals as A Theory of Roughness.

A talk with Benoît Mandelbrot, entitled Fractals in Science, Engineering and Finance (Roughness and Beauty) [video, 80mins, realplayer] about fractals as A Theory of Roughness.
posted by MetaMonkey on Dec 3, 2006 - 5 comments

It's elemental, my dear Tungsten

"Gold is one of the few elements you can find just lying on the ground. This one-ounce pure gold nugget was found in Alaska around 1890 by Hogamorth Marion, while on a trip to sell shoes to Eskimoes. Seriously."

An interactive periodical table.
posted by Terminal Verbosity on Nov 29, 2006 - 34 comments

Forgot how to dissect a frog?

Journal of Visualized Experiments is an online research journal for publishing visualized (video-based) biological experiments
posted by Gyan on Nov 29, 2006 - 2 comments

Renaissance bling

The King's Kunstkammer - en vogue in Renaissance Europe, kunstkammers were status symbols of kings, vast collections of art, curiosities, and scientific and natural objects. This is a partial reconstruction of the Royal Danish Kunstkammer, established by King Frederik III in the mid-1600s. Exploring the collection's 250 objects offers insight into princely preoccupations of the era.
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 22, 2006 - 13 comments

Good times, good times!

Autodidactic goodies on a budget: Free computer books and online lectures, seminars and instructional materials from a variety of renowned institutions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 21, 2006 - 19 comments

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

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