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Thermite and other memorable experiments

Unsafe-science-experiments-you-did-in-class-Friday: an advisory on dangerous chemistry experiments (they mention Nitrogen Triiodide, Chromate Volcanos, Whoosh Bottles, and Potassium Chlorate and Sugar), unwise microwave oven experiments, and, of course, thermite (and a great thermite video). I am amazed anyone survives high school, what other dubious but educational experiments did you do? Note: all pages are science education sites. Read the warnings. The awesome Chemistry Comes Alive site mentioned prev.
posted by blahblahblah on May 4, 2006 - 45 comments

NOAA or Noah?

A NOAA report says Earth's surface and atmosphere are both warming, and that earlier work that found otherwise contains flaws. In other news, global warming has started to weaken an important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean, a study suggests. The change could alter climate and the marine food chain in that area; polar bears and walrus pups sad.
posted by kliuless on May 3, 2006 - 25 comments

pieoverdone, star hustler

So I'm driving to Salina, KS in the middle of the night and I realize that in all that nothing, I can look out my windshield and I can see stars. Like, all the stars. And I think that it's a bummer that I don't know that much about what it is I'm looking at.
posted by pieoverdone on Apr 29, 2006 - 41 comments

The Difference Engine

Charles Babbage's Difference Engines. One built in 1853. A subsequent design completed in 1991. And again in Lego. Both designs recreated in Meccano parts. [more inside]
posted by slimepuppy on Apr 26, 2006 - 11 comments

"Lab" and "life" together in one sentence?

LabLit.com 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 - 6 comments

The science of the bikini

Bikini Science: Learn the proper verbiage and theory in discussing bikinii. A brief history and practice field trips.(nsfw)
posted by bigmusic on Apr 23, 2006 - 16 comments

SCIENCE

Tatjana van Vark: Creative null-A polymaniac.
posted by loquacious on Apr 23, 2006 - 14 comments

Switching off self-awareness

Researchers have found that prolonged concentration on a difficult task actually switches off a person's self awareness. Fancy experiencing this sensation for yourself? That would be an oxymoron in existence. Just lay back and let the orgasm take hold.
posted by 0bvious on Apr 20, 2006 - 31 comments

The scientific tradition in Africa

The scientific tradition in Africa. An interview with Thebe Medupe, a South African astronomer.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 19, 2006 - 5 comments

Take that Intelligent Design - It's flash so it must be true

Evolution timeline (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 - 21 comments

And we thought putting them through college was hard!

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 - 30 comments

The pleasure of finding things out

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 - 46 comments

maybe the Sarumpaet Rules will be worked out afterall

Before the Big Bang - way, way 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 and ekpyrosis.
posted by kliuless on Apr 16, 2006 - 18 comments

One piece of paper.

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 - 29 comments

Sisotim?

Mitosis reversed. Incompletely, but still... Here's the Nature paper(PDF). Here's the video (direct link to QT). Oh, and we can print organs now. O brave new world! (via, via)
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 14, 2006 - 19 comments

i almost want to say, "If you like Futurama..."

Freefall is a smart and funny hard sci-fi comic about some aliens and robots and an anthropomorphic wolf. It's been going steadily since 1998. Wikipedia entry
posted by sonofsamiam on Apr 14, 2006 - 13 comments

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole.

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole. A Weblog.
posted by nthdegx on Apr 14, 2006 - 22 comments

Bird brains?

Searchable Ornithological Research Archive a site containing back issues of avian journals dating back to 1884. Some highlights: The landing forces of domestic pigeons, [pdf] an 1889 comparison of bird brains [pdf]
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny on Apr 13, 2006 - 5 comments

Bright Birds That Eternally Flu

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 and Ohio 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 - 23 comments

Jesus was way cool. But did he exist?

Jesus walked on the water ice. 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 - 106 comments

Phi is the PHIRE of LIFE

Did you ever wonder why putting food in the refrigerator does not preserve freshness as well as putting food in a pyramid - or even putting it in an egg? You will once you understand the power of fractals, golden eggs and PHI. Breathtaking psedoscientific insanity awaits you.
posted by boo_radley on Apr 5, 2006 - 32 comments

It's Semantic

The Future of the Web
A fascinating, breathless hour-long talk (+Q&A) recently given by Sir Tim (mp3 & mp4, no transcript available). For the lazy, this recent interview covers much the same ground. [more inside]
posted by MetaMonkey on Apr 2, 2006 - 16 comments

Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur

Prayer as placebo. Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found. And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Mar 31, 2006 - 137 comments

"People have an absolute right to just sit there."

Extreme laziness may have a medical basis, say a group of Australian scientists, describing a new condition called motivational deficiency disorder (MoDeD). The condition may cost the Australian economy $1.7bn a year. Could the new drug Indolebant help sufferers leave their couches? Or is this just disease mongering?
posted by Bletch on Mar 31, 2006 - 31 comments

Little Beauty

Loes Modderman's Science Art
Beautiful microscopic art, often striking similar to some modern art. Dig the abstract crystal images: cholesterol, crystal landscapes, vitamin c is psychedelic. Explore the sands of the world! Bubbles are pretty, plastics rock, fluids are minimalist. (via)
posted by MetaMonkey on Mar 30, 2006 - 5 comments

Dawkin's The Selfish Gene, 30yrs On...

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 - 20 comments

Britannica's mad at Nature

Britannica's issued a salvo against Nature's famous "Wikipedia and the EB are comparably error-strewn" analysis. Here (pdf).
posted by Tlogmer on Mar 23, 2006 - 42 comments

But can we make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?

Howdy, neighbor! 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 - 8 comments

Happiness poll results are in

The happiness poll results are in and to no one's surprise, rich people are happier than poor people. Also, Republicans are happier than Democrats.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Mar 16, 2006 - 65 comments

The Simulacrisation of Technology into Life

As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end and the faked life begin? Are we simulating life synthetically? or just speeding up an entirely natural process? Technologically engineered life is here to stay. Its not far fetched to speculate that simulacra may become all there is.
posted by 0bvious on Mar 15, 2006 - 13 comments

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich has some excellent online collections related to maritime history and technology, including telescopes, marine chronometers, sundials, and a whole lot more. Some stuff I've been looking at: John Harrison's chronometers (described in Dava Sobel's book Longitude), polyhedral sundials, and pocket globes.
posted by carter on Mar 15, 2006 - 4 comments

ARTnatomy

ARTnatomy: 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 - 10 comments

Ten Thousand Dreams Interpreted

"To dream of eating pancakes, denotes that you will have excellent success in all enterprises undertaken at this time." "To dream of lard, signifies a rise in fortune will soon gratify you." "Dairy is a good dream both to the married and unmarried." "To dream of seeing your thigh smooth and white, denotes unusual good luck and pleasure." "To dream of noodles, denotes an abnormal appetite and desires. There is little good in this dream." "To dream of seeing a marmot, denotes that sly enemies are approaching you in the shape of fair women." -- What's in a Dream? A Scientific and Practical Interpretation of Dreams by Gustavus Hindman Miller, published in 1901.
posted by Gator on Mar 11, 2006 - 24 comments

Where's My Flying Car?

Where Science Meets Fiction "Explore the wide variety of inventions and ideas of science fiction writers - over 975 are available on Technovelgy (that's tek-novel-gee!)." Science fiction inventions become reality. Sort of.
posted by ereshkigal45 on Mar 10, 2006 - 3 comments

Nudibranchs

What are nudibranchs? Jewels of the sea. Page after page of photographs of these squishy hermaphrodites.
posted by Gator on Mar 10, 2006 - 20 comments

The Z Machine

The Z Machine
"At first, we were disbelieving," said project leader Chris Deeney. "We repeated the experiment many times to make sure we had a true result." Scientists set record for hottest ever temperature record - 2 billion degrees Kelvin, or 3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit, at one point the machine produced more energy than was put it. But they're not sure how, possibly fusion. High-res photo, higher-res photo, wikipedia, everything2.
posted by MetaMonkey on Mar 9, 2006 - 78 comments

Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Prof. Daniel Dennett's (New York University, Philosophy) new book Breaking the Spell appears to have frightened its NYT book reviewer, Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic, Literary Editor). Wieselter claims "The question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question", and promptly proceeds to demonstrate that he himself knows nothing about philosophy. Dennett responds.
Prof. Brian Leiter (University of Texas, Philosophy) responds that "'The view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical' is not a 'superstition' but a reasonable methodological posture to adopt based on the actual evidence, that is, based on the actual expanding success of the sciences . . . during the last hundred years."
b l o g s s and serious reviews.
posted by jeffburdges on Mar 7, 2006 - 142 comments

Fractal Bacteria

These images remind us never to underestimate our opponent. -- The science behind the art (.pdf). Fractal art by way of bacteria growin' in a petri dish. A few more images here.
posted by Gator on Mar 7, 2006 - 7 comments

light(en) up

Does smoking have health benefits? Some argue yes, but is it enough to stop the masses from making this seed bearing plant the root of all evil? If we feel it wise to keep the young from smoking is it OK to outright lie if the end justifies the means?
posted by Tablecrumbs on Mar 3, 2006 - 70 comments

telescope worthless by 2050

via BBC Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.
posted by goldism on Mar 2, 2006 - 17 comments

The Six Thousand

The Six Thousand: 6000 [well, at least twenty or so right now] intriguing people you want to meet online before you die, edited by Cliff Pickover. My fave right now? Asya Schween.
posted by exlotuseater on Feb 27, 2006 - 41 comments

Piero Scaruffi is a normal person.

Piero Scaruffi is a normal person. Like so many others, he ponders knowledge, language, and art from time to time. When he travels, he takes pictures. Just like everyone else. Sure, he has his thoughts about politics and world affairs, who doesn't? And when he's done with all of this he just wants to rock. Exactly like you. See?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 23, 2006 - 12 comments

Meditators have bigger brains

Meditation found to increase brain size (maybe) according to research led by Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar. Meanwhile, Atheist Manifesto author Sam Harris recently went on a meditation retreat and seemed to find it pleasant enough.
posted by homunculus on Feb 22, 2006 - 79 comments

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Sufficiently advanced quantum computer is indistinguishable from magic
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome on Feb 22, 2006 - 88 comments

More sh*t

American Chemical Society Feb. 2006 "As the federal government cuts back on funding for research, scientists are now forced to rely more and more on financial assistance from corporations; this raises troubling questions about whether the results from these studies will be impartial and objective or favorable to the companies that paid for them." “The whole scientific enterprise is being distorted by these corporate interests ...”
posted by hank on Feb 22, 2006 - 12 comments

Truth is beauty and beauty is...

What is Beauty ? What do you think?
posted by ozomatli on Feb 20, 2006 - 39 comments

Take One Museum

Take One Museum on BBC Four is the Russian Ark of documentaries as expert Paul Rose looks around a museum, with the help of some tour guides in one take over a thirty minute period. I caught the tail end of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum episode and he seemed like a man of great enthusiasm. Much like New York's Museum of Modern Art's podcast official and unofficial, an audio podcast version of the show is available so that a visitor to the actual museum can cover the same ground with the aid of their mp3 player. Excellently, it's the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester next week so I'll definitely be going there again soon to see what this is like.
posted by feelinglistless on Feb 19, 2006 - 4 comments

A new branch in the Tree of Life

A monstrous discovery suggests that viruses, long regarded as lowly evolutionary latecomers, may have been the precursors of all life on Earth. "We haven't even begun to scratch the surface. The numbers are mind-boggling. If you put every virus particle on Earth together in a row, they would form a line 10 million light-years long. People, even most biologists, don't have a clue. The general public thinks genetic diversity is us and birds and plants and animals and that viruses are just HIV and the flu. But most of the genetic material on this planet is viruses. No question about it. They and their ability to interact with organisms and move genetic material around are the major players in driving speciation, in determining how organisms even become what they are."
posted by five fresh fish on Feb 17, 2006 - 60 comments

Sprites (atmospheric) - new movie

7000 frames per second Newscientist article, with links to the movies. "Atmospheric 'sprites' captured in explosive detail ... by researchers using an ultra-high-speed camera. "The best images yet of the flashes – which resemble a giant undulating jellyfish with its tentacles falling from a halo of light – have allowed the team to pick apart their structure and mechanics. "
posted by hank on Feb 17, 2006 - 22 comments

Music history rendered on a London Tube Map

Music history rendered on a London Tube Map They say: "Could we chart the branches and connections of 100 years of music using the London Underground map? Dorian Lynskey explains how a box of coloured crayons and lot of swearing helped." I say: Look also at the comments in the accompanying thread, which features trolling, snarkiness and repetition, beginning with "Why did you do this? What is the point? Wouldn't you have been better off doing something else? Sometimes you media people really worry me." The Guardian are introducing commenter registration on their new blog.
posted by feelinglistless on Feb 12, 2006 - 18 comments

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