If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong
- A rant over at the Huffington Post
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris
on Oct 23, 2005 -
Nova Science Now
recently ran a segment on lightning (quicktime, real, and windows video here
). I figured that subject was over and done with shortly after Franklin flew a kite, but it turns out we don't really know exactly what causes a bolt to start
. The coolest part of the segment was these researchers in Florida
. Scientists know how hard it was to observe, monitor, and even find lightning bolts, so these guys built their own rig. High-powered model rockets attached to a couple thousand feet of wire, which is grounded to larger metal structures on the ground. The result? Shoot a rocket into a storm cloud and you get instant lightning you can count on, measure, and control
posted by mathowie
on Oct 22, 2005 -
Tracks of Swimming Dinosaur found in Wyoming
The tracks of a previously unknown, two-legged swimming dinosaur have been identified along the shoreline of an ancient inland sea that covered Wyoming 165 million years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder graduate student.
posted by hostile7
on Oct 19, 2005 -
After nearly being wiped out by a fungus
), that was first identified in 1904, the American chestnut is attempting to make a comeback with a little help from its fungus-resistent Chinese cousin ... and maybe you. [more inside]
posted by terrapin
on Oct 13, 2005 -
Does dark matter exist?
Dark matter has been suggested as a solution to the galaxy rotation problem
where individual stars don't seem to rotate the way Newton's laws would predict. Now, some scientists are saying that observations fit with Einstein's general relativity, without any dark matter needed. I just find it amazing that no one has tried this yet.
posted by delmoi
on Oct 10, 2005 -
Electronic Biologia Centrali-Americana
is a collaboration between the Smithsonian, Missouri Botanical and Kew Gardens, the British Natural History Museum and various other institutions which has enabled the digitizing of 58 volumes of natural history about central America produced between 1880 and 1920. It includes descriptions of more than 50,000 species with images of more than 18,000 birds
, more birds
, more spiders
, more plants
, orthoptera insects
, more butterflies
and their family
and even some historic maps of the region
. There is a parallel project attempting to provide access to much more scientific data and specimens between these institutions.
Note: 'next' button at top +/- bottom of these large thumb pages; large high resolution jpegs work (in most cases) but zoom and .pdfiles are not yet enabled. I've only just scratched the surface.
posted by peacay
on Sep 26, 2005 -
The Aquatic Ape Theory
(often referred to as the AAT or AAH) says humans went through an aquatic or semi-aquatic stage in our evolution and that this accounts for many features seen in human anatomy and physiology. Using the principle of convergent evolution, it says that life in an aquatic environment explains these features, and that a transition from ape to hominid in a non-aquatic environment cannot. See also: BBC
posted by grumblebee
on Sep 20, 2005 -
"If time has to end, it can be described, instant by instant," Mr. Palomar thinks, "and each instant, when described, expands so that its end can no longer be seen." He decides that he will set himself to describing every instant of his life, and until he has described them all he will no longer think of being dead. At that moment he dies.
In memoriam of Italo Calvino
, who died exactly 20 years ago
by his friend Gore Vidal. Calvino's obituary
by Vidal, il maestro William Weaver
's essay on Calvino's cities
, Jeanette Winterson on Calvino's dream of being invisible
, and Stefano Franchi
's philosophical study on Palomar's doctrine of the void
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Sep 18, 2005 -
First Brain-Powered Bionic Prosthesis
Jesse Sullivan is the first man
(link to press release) to recieve a ground breaking new bionic arm (PDF
fact sheet) that is controlled by his mind and a 64-bit microprocessor. His new arm, that even allows him to "feel" objects, is the result of a radical surgical process called nerve-transfer surgery that took nerves going to his arms and rerouted them to his chest.
Want to see it in action? 1
(embedded QT links) and some images
of Jesse in action. Previous MeFi bionic threads.
posted by fenriq
on Sep 14, 2005 -
Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution.
Two important new papers
in the journal Science
) from the evolutionary geneticist and rising star, Bruce T. Lahn (see this
recent profile from The Scientist
), are potentially the tips of some very large icebergs. The papers document how two genes related to brain properties that underwent strong selection during the course of hominid evolution, have continued
undergoing strong selection since the emergence of anatomically modern man. The papers wonderfully illustrate how biological evolution is an ongoing process
as well as the artificial distinction
between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and promise to be controversial for two reasons: First, the brain genes underwent the strongest selection during two periods
of cultural and technological efflorescence (roughly 37,000 and 5,800 years ago). Second, the genes are distributed very differently in modern human population groups, existing at very high frequencies in some groups and being very rare in others, ensuring that the modern function of these genes will be a source of more research and much impassioned debate. More observations
from anthropologist John Hawks.
posted by Jason Malloy
on Sep 8, 2005 -
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are a special set-aside in the Superior National Forest
in the north woods of Minnesota. Containing over 1,000 lakes and streams, 2,200 designated campsites, and 1,500 miles of canoe routes, this treasure provides a great place to escape from the world of civilization. It also, apparently, provides a great reason for cool websites.
The Swanson party
website is one of the most impressive feats of private naturalism I've seen. It has everything from the 68 types of ferns and fern allies
you can find in the BWCAW to lake commentaries
for 356 of the biggest (and smallest) lakes that travelers encounter.
There's also the DC3
website, which has diaries and pictures from a group of BW adventurers from 1977 to 2003. A truly impressive effort, if apparently not ...quite... finished. And while the diaries tell a story arc about a group of friends, the distance between the stories always leaves tantalizing details for the reader to imagine. Such as this tidbit at the end of the 1986
trip, which has as its central detail the fact that one of the party's wives received major burns and had to leave early:
They traveled almost ten miles and portaged four times, (a total of 465 rods), before they reached Snowbank Lake. The wind was very strong. They had to cross the lake the long way and directly into the wind. At one point they didn't move for twenty minutes even though they paddled as hard as they could. They finally reached the landing and headed for the A&W in Ely. From there, Tur called home to check on Beeps. There was no answer. But that's another story.
Naturally, there are also messageboards
set up to discuss trips to the BWCAW, advocacy organizations
to make sure it stays wild, and you can even make entry point reservations
online nowadays. The Bee Dub previously referenced here on MeFi
posted by norm
on Aug 25, 2005 -
"The ribbons are transparent, flexible, and conduct electricity. Weight for weight, they are stronger than steel sheets, yet a square kilometre of the material would weigh only 30 kilograms. 'This is basically a new material.'"
Applications could include flexible TV screens, light panels and that digital paper they keep telling us is coming soon.
posted by me3dia
on Aug 19, 2005 -
"Almost half the children committed one or more of these mistakes. They attempted with apparent seriousness to perform the same actions with the miniature items that they had with the large ones. Some sat down on the little chair: they walked up to it, turned around, bent their knees and lowered themselves onto it. Some simply perched on top, others sat down so hard that the chair skittered out from under them. Some children sat on the miniature slide and tried to ride down it, usually falling off in the process; others attempted to climb the steps, causing the slide to tip over.
(With the chair and slide made of sturdy plastic and only about five inches tall, the toddlers faced no danger of hurting themselves.)"
posted by Tlogmer
on Aug 18, 2005 -
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed
? Carl Zimmer wonders
. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled
posted by daksya
on Aug 11, 2005 -
was the 17th century's Jesuit version
of the über
geek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders"
invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ
and magnetic clock
, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations
) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery
posted by peacay
on Aug 7, 2005 -