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Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment

Paul Kurtz on the Enlightenment. Unfortunately, there has been a massive retreat from Enlightenment ideals in recent years, a return to pre-modern mythologies. There has been a resurgence of fundamentalist religions worldwide—Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism. Added to this are occult-paranormal claims, which allegedly transcend the existing scientific paradigm. In the United States—the preeminent scientific-technological-military superpower in the world—significant numbers of Americans have embraced primitive forms of biblical religion. These focus on salvation, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. Evangelical Protestant Christians have made alliances with conservative Roman Catholics and neo-conservative Jews, and they have captured political power—power they have used to oppose secular humanism and naturalism. via the council for secular humanism
posted by skallas on Apr 5, 2004 - 75 comments

 

New Elements: Uut and Uup

Time to replace your old Periodic Table. ...a joint American-Russian team has found two new elements—numbers 113 and 115 on the periodic table—hinting at an impending breakthrough in creating novel forms of matter that will test our understanding of atomic behavior.
posted by mcgraw on Mar 29, 2004 - 15 comments

Life On Mars's Meethane Traces Thought To Be Detected

Life on Mars? Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere which scientists say could be a sign of present-day life on Mars. It was detected by telescopes on Earth and has recently been confirmed by instruments onboard the European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft. Methane lives for a short time in the Martian atmosphere so it must be being constantly replenished. There are two possible ways to do this. Either active volcanoes, but none have yet been found on Mars, or microbes. The Independent has it as Methane find on Mars may be sign of life. The second group to detect signals of methane in the Martian atmosphere is led by Michael Mumma of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, who used powerful spectroscopic telescopes based on Earth. This team is even believed to have detected variations in the concentrations of methane, with a peak coming from the ancient Martian seabed of Meridiani Planum, which is being explored by a Nasa rover. This could indicate a subterranean source of methane which is pumping out the gas, either due to some residual geological activity or because of the presence of living organisms producing it as a waste gas. Asked whether the continual production of methane is strong evidence of a biological origin of the gas, Dr Mumma said: "I think it is, myself personally." As to how...
posted by y2karl on Mar 28, 2004 - 25 comments

The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness
posted by grumblebee on Mar 28, 2004 - 27 comments

Not quite a flying car, but we're getting there

X-43A Flight. "The unpiloted 12-foot-long X-43A vehicle, part aircraft and part spacecraft, will be dropped from the wing of a B-52 aircraft, lofted to nearly 100,000 feet by a booster rocket and released over the Pacific Ocean to briefly fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound." Watch (RealPlayer) it live.
posted by cedar on Mar 27, 2004 - 34 comments

The Panda's Thumb

The Panda's Thumb is a multi-authored blog "dedicated to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world." [Via The Loom.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 27, 2004 - 6 comments

Just don't be tapin' MY traps!

I want my LTV, brothuh! Interesting research in the field of trapping lobsters from the University of New Hampshire. Like so many people, I learned about lobsters on the street, so it's nice to see some hard science.
posted by Mayor Curley on Mar 25, 2004 - 9 comments

No stem cell research

Thou shalt not make scientific progress. "Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush's religious convictions stand in its way."
posted by homunculus on Mar 24, 2004 - 45 comments

Martian Sea

Old Mars and the Sea. A salty sea may once have covered the Opportunity rover's landing site on Mars, boosting the possibility that the planet may once have evolved life. (Of course, there are those who believe NASA has been conspiring to cover it all up, but the Bad Astronomer has words on that. Bunnies and faces, my foot.)
posted by brownpau on Mar 23, 2004 - 4 comments

The New Science Wars

The New Science Wars. When a leading psychologist like Harvard's Howard Gardner calls the president's science adviser a "prostitute," it's a safe bet that all is not well in the realm of government science policy. Indeed, in the past month, the United States has been engulfed by a kind of "science war," one pitting much of the nation's scientific community against the current administration. Led by twenty Nobel laureates, the scientists say Bush's government has systematically distorted and undermined scientific information in pursuit of political objectives.
posted by skallas on Mar 23, 2004 - 23 comments

Observing the five planets

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the five planets visible to the naked eye, can all be seen simultaneously after sunset over the next few weeks. Viewing details. The next opportunity will be in 2036.
posted by carter on Mar 21, 2004 - 8 comments

Mathematicians go to the garden gate but they never venture through to appreciate the delights within. -- M.C.Escher

Tessellations :: the intersection between symmetry, mathematics, and art.
posted by anastasiav on Mar 11, 2004 - 9 comments

Neuroethics

Whose life would you save? Carl Zimmer takes a look at the work of philospher-neuroscientist Joshua Greene in the emerging field of the neuroscience of ethics and morality (Leon Kass, take note.) [Via Dynamist Blog.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2004 - 6 comments

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Images

Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies. The deepest portrait of the visible universe yet taken -- 400 million years after the Big Bang. Mirrors here and here.
posted by QuestionableSwami on Mar 9, 2004 - 9 comments

No two moments are any more alike than two snowflakes. -- Zora Neale Hurston

The Bentley Collection of Snowflake Photographs
posted by anastasiav on Mar 8, 2004 - 5 comments

Big heads wobbling on wee necks?....

Nootropics ("smart" drugs) - all wish to be smarter, correct ? And - while exercise, nutrition, learning, travel, and social interaction (the last 3 via release of neurotrophins) effectively do this, Nootropic drugs have been researched since the 1950's and have been shown to cause at least short term cognitive function enhancement. Piracetam, the first of this drugs, shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Attention deficit Disorder. Alas, as with poor little Algernon, the effect seems temporary. Nootropics can be a little difficult to acquire in the US. Beer is not a nootropic, but sex on the other hand.....
posted by troutfishing on Mar 5, 2004 - 20 comments

FoodExpert-ID Chip

"A single test can now reveal the presence of meat from any of 32 different species in food samples, enabling a wide range of important questions to be answered. These include whether chicken has been bulked up with beef or pork extracts; whether expensive albacore tuna is really cheap skipjack tuna; whether rats, mice or even bits of people fell into the mincer when your burger was being made..."
posted by taragl on Mar 4, 2004 - 15 comments

Office Supply Geeks Unite!

The Early Office Museum :: check out communications technologies used by our Grandparents, as well as Punched Card Tabulating Machines and much, much more!
posted by anastasiav on Mar 3, 2004 - 10 comments

Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Facts

Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Facts The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued today.--would you believe the scientists or the people's (almost) choice? May need free reg for NY Times.
posted by Postroad on Feb 18, 2004 - 28 comments

Magnificent Obsession # 1872

leadholder.com :: the online drafting pencil museum
posted by anastasiav on Feb 17, 2004 - 11 comments

I can see for nanometers and nanometers

Zooooooooom. Videos of common objects zoomed seemlessly to the near-atomic level. [RealVideo with audio commentary]
posted by gwint on Feb 6, 2004 - 9 comments

Can't Get No Satisfaction

Can't Get No Satisfaction - This unassuming essay (it's in a state of half-decay with missing figures) is a fascinating (and accessible) overview of phase transitions in NP systems (it explains those terms). In other words: complex physical systems and difficult problems in computing are related. The seminal paper is here, and this is a list of other essays by the same author (links at foot of page).
posted by andrew cooke on Feb 5, 2004 - 4 comments

CyberTracker

CyberTracker is a program that allows users with GPS-linked handheld computers to record, collect and analyze observations in the field, thereby improving scientists' ability to monitor changes in an ecosystem and turning traditional tracking into a modern scientific profession. [Via World Changing.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 28, 2004 - 2 comments

Zzzzzzzz...

Effectiveness of 'sleeping on it' scientifically confirmed. You are now permanently excused for coming into work late.
posted by badstone on Jan 22, 2004 - 2 comments

Making the Mind

Making the Mind. "The general outlines of how genes build the brain are finally becoming clear, and we are also starting to see how, in forming the brain, genes make room for the environment’s essential role. While vast amounts of work remain to be done, it is becoming equally clear that understanding the coordination of nature and nurture will require letting go of some long-held beliefs."
posted by homunculus on Jan 17, 2004 - 16 comments

Mars Rover, Quicktime.

Next Best Thing to Being There. A Quicktime Mars Rover Simulation.
posted by kozad on Jan 17, 2004 - 8 comments

How to be a Woowoo

How to be an Internet Woo-woo. From fake moon landings and mystery lights to Roswell Rods and Grey Aliens, the Woo-woo Credo gives you the lowdown on being an effective conspiracy theory monger.
posted by brownpau on Jan 15, 2004 - 11 comments

Latro, Cerebrus, Suns New, Long and Short - Gene Wolfe

We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges. When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin, an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life--they are soldiers from that moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then, but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all.

Gene Wolfe      -     Now step within Father Inire's mirrors....
posted by y2karl on Jan 15, 2004 - 25 comments

It's really remarkable how you have been able to show the key elements of the double helix with balloons. -- F Crick

Ballonmoleküle is a great primer on how to make shapes (be they molecular models or wiener dogs) out of balloons. Be sure to check out the gallery for some cool photos of balloon molecules and a comment from Francis Crick.
posted by anastasiav on Jan 13, 2004 - 1 comment

Professor Experiments With Life As Cyborg

Cyborgs in Canada? When you first meet Steve Mann, it seems as if you've interrupted him appraising diamonds or doing some sort of specialized welding. Because the first thing you notice is the plastic frame that comes around his right ear and holds a lens over his right eye.
posted by edmcbride on Jan 12, 2004 - 19 comments

Great moments in science

Pop-science writing by Karl Kruszelnicki, scientist and broadcaster. Includes fun with kissing, bad breath, biscuit dunking, broccoli, Botox, uses of cow parts, maggots in wounds and the IgNobel prize-winning bellybutton lint research.
posted by iffley on Jan 11, 2004 - 5 comments

Don't try this at home...

PowerLabs : Science in action! Explosions, sparks and EM mayhem. Hours of fun. (Days of fun for those on 56k dial-up).
posted by swordfishtrombones on Jan 7, 2004 - 2 comments

Lunar Photo of the Day

Lunar Photo of the Day started January 1st, 2004 to document human's never ending obsession with the moon. LPOD now joins APOD, MPOD, and ESPOD as quality picture of the day websites.
posted by jasonspaceman on Jan 7, 2004 - 2 comments

When did skeptic become a dirty word?

Did belief in extraterrestrials pave the way for today’s general belief in global warming? Is the blending of public policy with science creating junk science? Michael Crichton drew out an intriguing connection in this lecture at Caltech. Via Arts & Letters Daily.
posted by gd779 on Jan 3, 2004 - 42 comments

What is the Metafilter Law?

WHAT'S YOUR LAW? Every year the editors of Edge ask a question.
posted by john on Jan 2, 2004 - 50 comments

Time

Interesting article on how science will change our understanding of time. [Via AlDaily]
posted by gregb1007 on Jan 1, 2004 - 16 comments

Earth Scientist's Periodic Table.

Earth Scientist's Periodic Table.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Dec 30, 2003 - 3 comments

Investigating the Renaissance

Investigating the Renaissance. 'This interactive program demonstrates the ways in which computer technology can be harnessed to add to our knowledge about Renaissance paintings and how they were made.' Analysis of paintings using x-ray, infrared and ultraviolet technology.
posted by plep on Dec 23, 2003 - 3 comments

Spitzer Space Telescope

The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility and renamed after astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., were released on Thursday. Launched on August 25, it obtains images by detecting the infrared energy radiated by objects in space, and it will drift behind the Earth as the planet orbits the sun.
posted by homunculus on Dec 20, 2003 - 3 comments

Coyotus Interruptus?

Coyotus Interruptus? New Scientists readers were asked to come up with new and necessary scientific words and their (amusing) definitions. These are the results.
posted by biffa on Dec 19, 2003 - 8 comments

The Particles of Star Trek

The Particles of Star Trek. Confused about dilithium, trilithium, and neodilithium? Can't tell a tachyon from a temporal wake? Here's an obsessive and growing list of just about every particle used across the generations: "So tiny, you can't tell it's a deus ex machina!" (Also includes minerals, chemical compounds, energy waves, and other miscellanea.)
posted by brownpau on Dec 19, 2003 - 7 comments

Lomborg Cleared, M'Kay

Skeptical environmentalist cleared. The Danish panel charged with investigating Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, found the author not guilty of scientific dishonesty. Lomborg has his thoughts on the matter as well as English translations of the committee's decision available on his web site.
posted by bbrown on Dec 18, 2003 - 34 comments

Great balls of ice falling from the sky!

Great balls of ice falling from the sky! Not a B-movie but a reality. Scientists are baffled by the 25-400lb ice balls falling from clear blue skies.
posted by humbe on Dec 11, 2003 - 25 comments

The Best of Hubble

The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
posted by reverendX on Dec 10, 2003 - 14 comments

Laughter

Laughter may or may not be the best medicine, but researchers have discovered it's a good drug, at least.
posted by Spezzatura on Dec 8, 2003 - 9 comments

The Astronomy Nexus

The Astronomy Nexus. Including the Encyclopedia of Suns, Virtual Messier Objects, and the 3D Universe.
posted by Johnny Assay on Dec 7, 2003 - 4 comments

We'd give money if they had more clocks

"They do not use Western means to tell time. They use the sun. These drugs have to be administered in certain sequences, at certain times during the day. You say, take it at 10 o'clock, they say, what do you mean, 10 o'clock?" They, of course, refers to "Africans" and the above logic from the head of USAID was used an explanation for why it's tough to extend AIDS treatment to Africa. The only problem with this argument is that it's wrong. People with HIV in developing countries are in better compliance with drug regimes than in the US as new research is showing [RealAudio]. As we've seen throughout the epidemic, it's a lot easier to get funding for researchers in lab coats than for actual treatment . . .
posted by donovan on Dec 1, 2003 - 1 comment

Fox proposes Ally McBeal spin-off.

"Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian hermit who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for several decades - but is still in perfect health."
posted by The God Complex on Nov 25, 2003 - 45 comments

On phenotropy and causal bandwidth

Jaron Lanier talks about philosophy, computer science and physics. Suppose poor old Shroedinger's Cat has survived all the quantum observation experiments but still has a taste for more brushes with death. We could oblige it by attaching the cat-killing box to our camera. So long as the camera can recognize an apple in front of it, the cat lives.
posted by kliuless on Nov 20, 2003 - 11 comments

Oh... the evils of psychotherapy.

Oh... the evils of psychotherapy. And they are many - by turning to therapists, we don't get the strong emotional bonds that are the benefit of sharing your trouble with friends. (More Inside)
posted by gregb1007 on Nov 18, 2003 - 35 comments

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