The Pale Horse Percentage.
The demise of civilization has been predicted since it began, but the odds of keeping Planet Earth
alive and well are getting worse amid a breakneck pace of scientific advances, according to Martin Rees
, Britain's honorary astronomer royal. Rees calculates that the odds of an apocalyptic disaster striking Earth have risen to about 50 percent from 20 percent a hundred years ago.
posted by The Jesse Helms
on Jun 9, 2003 -
First Birds with teeth in 70 million years
. Vicious toothed, flying microraptors once darkened the Jurassic skies. Now, scientists
have learned to activate the dormant, vestigal avian "tooth gene" and so coaxed chicken embryos into growing teeth. From the grave, Alfred Hitchcock enviously quips - "a messy thing indeed when toothed birds kill a man". Meanwhile the French are appalled: “quand les poules auront des dents”, which translates to “when hens have teeth”, is analogous to the English “pigs might fly”. Coming soon: flying pigs.
But there might be a baldness cure in this new research. I'll remember that as the flocks of mutant raptor-fowl move in for the kill.
posted by troutfishing
on Jun 4, 2003 -
2003 Reith Lectures.
Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, talks about a number of fascinating neurological disorders and the insights they provide into mental functioning.
posted by srboisvert
on May 24, 2003 -
Just a reminder
that the lunar eclipse occurs tonight, starting at 7:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (and lasting about three hours). Various webcasts have been set up for the darkness-impaired.
Apologies for the double-post, and I am aware that I'll probably get like 5 comments that say "SpaceFilter".
posted by hammurderer
on May 15, 2003 -
Under the Bush administration there were a lot of things we had to forget, things like how democratic presidents get elected, how to sell democracy to undemocratic peoples, how to be free, patriotic, etc. Now, it seems, is the time to forget all about this menace to mankind: SCIENCE.
posted by acrobat
on Apr 23, 2003 -
from the President's Council on Bioethics. Each of the readings that follow - which include poetry, short stories and more - is accompanied by a brief introduction and questions about the bioethical implications of the work.
The new booklist includes James Watson, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Ovid. Via the WSJ.
posted by turbodog
on Apr 18, 2003 -
All your face are belong to us.
16-yr-old Irish girl looks set to receive the world's first face transplant, it has been reported. Right now it's a medical procedure, but do you think we ever see a day where people grow face replacements for cosmetic purposes?
posted by piskycritter
on Apr 7, 2003 -
They may not have staples in their stomachs, but these monthly pictorials
might have you wishing that there were more than 12 months in a year. Meet January's lovely Absinthe: mysterious, intoxicating, barely legal, and February's naughty Anthrax, who can only be described as dangerous and intimidating. Or perhaps you prefer spicy Myrrh, December's offering - exotic, refined, desirable. safe for work
posted by iconomy
on Apr 3, 2003 -
'A colossal squid
has been caught in Antarctic waters, the first example of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni retrieved virtually intact from the surface of the ocean. ' Related (old news from January) :-
giant squid attacks boat
More squid sites :- Search for Giant Squid
a Smithsonian exhibit about a 1999 expedition. 'Whether living or extinct, on land or at sea, in literature or in life, large animals have long fascinated people. The largest animals have been known and hunted since prehistory: whales, walruses, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and large fishes... However, one large animal has gone almost unnoticed or certainly unobserved in its habitat. That animal is the giant squid. Although these animals have been found in the nets of commercial fishermen, in the stomachs of sperm whales, and washed ashore on different continents, no scientific information has been gathered by direct observations of live giant squid ... '
The UnMuseum's article on the giant squid
posted by plep
on Apr 3, 2003 -
Orbiter - A Free Space Flight Simulator
Starving for a high realism space simulator ever since Microsoft's Space Simulator was discontinued? Look no further than Orbiter, a free realistic space simulator written and maintained by Dr. Martin Schweiger. How realistic? You might want to start off by consulting NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Basics Of Space Flight
to get you grounded so to speak. This is a free, non-commercial simulator that uses accurate math and orbital physics (more or less) to try to model space flight. However hard it may appear, after orbiting Earth with the high-res (8192x4096) mod-pack installed, or sitting on the launch pad with the seamless OrbiterSound 2.1b
sound environment installed, you will be well rewarded for reading the manual and participating in the dance of the heavens. (Even if all you want to do is fly around the solar system!)
posted by Tystnaden
on Mar 22, 2003 -
The Bacteria Whisperer
“Bonnie Bassler discovered a secret about microbes that the science world has missed for centuries. The bugs are talking to each other. And plotting against us.”
posted by o2b
on Mar 21, 2003 -
Spinning the Environment One section of the memorandum, "Winning the Global Warming Debate," asserts that many voters believe there is a lack of consensus about global warming among scientists. "Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly," it says. "Therefore you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue."
Among the ways to "challenge the science," the memorandum says, is to "be even more active in recruiting experts who are sympathetic to your view and much more active in making them part of your message" because "people are more willing to trust scientists than politicians."
So much for science based decisions regarding the fouling of our nest. Sounds Green = Is Green in the bizarro world of spin.
posted by nofundy
on Mar 4, 2003 -
Know what time it is, Kidz? It's U.S. Department of Justice Time!
On today's show, we'll learn why Hacking is REAL BAD,
and give you a chance to find out if you are a good cybercitizen
. Next, we'll meet Axel, the talking drug dog,
and his friends the Bomb Dog Bunch!
Then, we'll check in on the ATF, for some cool science fair ideas
And finally, just for you kids with crooks or international terrorists for parents, here's a nifty PDF coloring book
(Native American version
posted by eatitlive
on Feb 25, 2003 -
Synthetic Trees could purify the air
- "It looks like a goal post with Venetian blinds," said the Columbia University physicist...synthetic trees could help clean up an atmosphere grown heavy with carbon dioxide..."You can be a thousand times better than a living tree...There are a number of engineering issues which need to be worked out," he said. (BBC) Hurry up, then
- "Ice dams are blocking Latvian ports, winds and storms are battering Europe, Portugal is freezing, Vietnam has lost one-third its rice crop, and the cold has caused close to 2,000 deaths in usually temperate South Asia."
posted by troutfishing
on Feb 23, 2003 -
Those crazy scientists have discovered
a gene that determines how sensitive somebody is to pain. The gene comes in two forms, and you get one from each parent, so a quarter of the people end up tough, half end up in the middle, and the other quarter comprise of wusses. Interesting stuff.
posted by zeoslap
on Feb 21, 2003 -
The worlds longest hockey game
came to an end this afternoon after 80 hours of ice time. 39 players (all with ties to cancer through loved ones lost or afflicted) participated to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
What lengths would you go to for your cause?
posted by Starchile
on Feb 16, 2003 -
"It Did It"
is a beautiful and haunting short flick about depression. Peter Brinson artfully uses the Scientific Method to creatively document the effects of the drug Zoloft on his mood and his brain chemistry.
posted by VelvetHellvis
on Feb 14, 2003 -
Dolly is dead.
"The type of lung disease Dolly developed is most common in older sheep. And in January 2002, it was revealed that Dolly had developed arthritis prematurely. She was cloned using a cell taken from a healthy six-year-old sheep, and was born on 5 July 1996 at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland."
posted by 111
on Feb 14, 2003 -
Happy Darwin Day!
Darwin Day is February 12th, the date of birth of Charles Darwin in the year 1809, at Shrewsbury, England. On this date, and throughout the month, people from all over the world are honoring the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin with events and activities which celebrate humanity and the science in our lives.
While you're celebrating you may want to see who has won awards in his name
or perhaps buy a sticker
or see if there's a darwinday event near you
posted by bitdamaged
on Feb 12, 2003 -
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster
- Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves
Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl
on Feb 7, 2003 -