3455 posts tagged with science.
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THINK!

Welcome to Idiot America: "The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein wanted to be a part, seems to be enveloping itself in a curious fog behind which it's tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity's sake, and over the relative humanity of blastocysts versus the victims of Parkinson's disease."
posted by bitmage on Nov 10, 2005 - 57 comments

Anticlockwise?

In one corner, precise astronomers who just want to keep things as they are. In the other, revisionist telecommunications officers. Fight!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 10, 2005 - 25 comments

Seductive Solutions for Rough Illnesses

Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature
posted by daksya on Nov 8, 2005 - 60 comments

"well, it breaks the ice, doesn't it"

Having sweated over the origins of the universe and split the atom, academics have finally tackled the question that has perplexed mankind since the dawn of time: what are the best chat-up lines? A study from psychologists at the University of Edinburgh tested 205 people for reactions to 40 vignettes of a woman approached by a man using "verbal signals of genetic quality" in different categories, and found the best rated approaches to be those revealing character qualities, wealth and culture, although the puzzling winning line proved a flop in real life tests. Unsurprisingly, a direct request for sex received a low score. Previous findings by the Japanese proved equally dubious. But there's still hope, as the code seems to have been cracked in Dublin, where since last year "there is definitely more pulling". The secret? A smoking ban, a lot of crowded pubs, and "smirting", an unexpected side effect of the health measure.
posted by funambulist on Nov 6, 2005 - 103 comments

The origin of life?!

The origin of life?! I heard from an authority in molecular biology today that a group of researchers funded by the Carnegie Institution and NASA believe they've discovered the origin of RNA, and with that, the origin of life. This new discovery grew out of NASA's Deep Impact mission to study the composition of comets. Specifically, they started investigating a kind of carbon that forms in layers, with each layer slighly offset from the previous one in a helix shape. Significantly, the thickness of these carbon layers corresponds with the thickness of each twist in a strand of RNA. It turns out that the individual building blocks of RNA are capable of bonding to this layered carbon when exposed to UV radiation. Once this has happened, apparently formaldehyde can then bond to the building blocks of RNA on the carbon "pattern", allowing the bonded RNA to slough off into the primordial soup. Over time, some of these RNA strands could fold and bond to themselves, forming DNA. Formaldehyde, the initial bonding material, would eventually be replaced by a more chemically sophisticated substance, creating the chemical bond that we observe today in DNA. Expect a paper on it to be released in approximately three months with all the details.
posted by insomnia_lj on Nov 6, 2005 - 66 comments

Silent Resurrection!

Hair, toenails, bone, or what-have-you - this job's going to require some Quality Genetic Material! Because "...our aim is the 'resurrection' of actresses from the Golden era of silent cinema."
posted by squalor on Nov 4, 2005 - 20 comments

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably not a cow??

A Photo Gallery of Meteorwrongs
posted by anastasiav on Nov 3, 2005 - 17 comments

music, sweet music

Mouse serenade: Tim Holy and Zhongsheng Guo at Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri discover the songs of mice. Published at the Public Library of Science, Biology, (non newsie, science article). Examples of the singing, 1- shifted down 4 octaves, timing intact (MP3 file) and, 2 - shifted down 4 octaves and slowed down 16 fold. (MP3 file) (partially via)
posted by edgeways on Nov 1, 2005 - 17 comments

Science of Sleep

Nature has a somewhat technical but free supplement on sleep
posted by Gyan on Oct 29, 2005 - 19 comments

Einstein strikes back!

Einstein Speaks from Beyond the Grave... To issue a vigorous challenge to the muddled claims coming from all sides about the inherent incompatibility of science and religion. (No secondary links to go with this, but in my opinion, this link is interesting enough to stand on its own.)
posted by all-seeing eye dog on Oct 28, 2005 - 69 comments

Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation

Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) uses a mild electric current, applied to the head, to influence the perception of motion. [NTT Lab] [AP article] [Making people act drunk]
posted by rxrfrx on Oct 27, 2005 - 5 comments

No, you're wrong! No, YOU'RE wrong!!

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 - 259 comments

Ride the Lightning

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 - 30 comments

Singhing the blues

When science meets art. Science writer Simon Singh was annoyed with the lyrics to British singer Katie Melua's latest single. He rewrote them to be scientifically accurate, and she sings the unfortunate result (RealAudio file).
posted by smackfu on Oct 22, 2005 - 21 comments

Tangible Applications of Science

Beyond Discovery - illustrations of the path from research to human benefit
posted by Gyan on Oct 22, 2005 - 7 comments

How rare!

Glaucoma [w/Flash audio. NB: mouse-over bottom-left for Elvis. Obviously]
posted by Pretty_Generic on Oct 21, 2005 - 16 comments

Tracks of Swimming Dinosaur found in Wyoming

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 - 15 comments

bounce wid de wickedness

Baron Winston of Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham: Why do we believe in God?
posted by thirteenkiller on Oct 16, 2005 - 26 comments

From pitch to drops

Longest lab experiment
posted by dov3 on Oct 14, 2005 - 21 comments

Saving the Kings of the American Forest

After nearly being wiped out by a fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica), 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 - 18 comments

Strange Charm

Visualization of particle physics [via]
posted by Gyan on Oct 12, 2005 - 5 comments

Wash. Monthly: Singularity, Free Will, etc. It's a short article.

So. What will happen when our computers get good enough
posted by Tlogmer on Oct 11, 2005 - 30 comments

Hmm....

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 - 45 comments

Metafilter: Best of the Web??

Research by dumb, ignorant Yankees on national stereotypes.
posted by Gyan on Oct 7, 2005 - 30 comments

Kitzmiller v. DASD

Intelligent Design on trial! The ACLU of PA is blogging the current trial in Dover, PA between the parents of students and the local school board which wants to teach students Intelligent Design. Over at The Panda's Thumb, they're also keeping track of the goings on. The main ACLU website has statements from most of the plaintiff's experts in the case, including this long, well-supported pdf from philsopher Barbara Forrest, whose testimony is being used to dismantle the canard that ID is not Creationism. Over at the Legal Affairs Debate Club Beckwith and Laylock argued, last week, about whether teaching ID is legal. For background: this 2002 special report from Natural History Magazine on Intelligent Design Creationism.
posted by OmieWise on Oct 6, 2005 - 81 comments

The Vagaries of Religious Experience

Is God nothing more than an attempt to explain order and good fortune by those who do not understand the mathematics of chance, the principles of self-organizing systems, or the psychology of the human mind? Daniel Gilbert, a professor of Psychology and head of the Social Cognition and Emotion Laboratory at Harvard, discusses his latest research and soon to be published study about the vagaries of religious experience.
posted by pmbuko on Sep 30, 2005 - 66 comments

Drawing of an anatomy

Visions of Science
posted by Gyan on Sep 28, 2005 - 8 comments

there's something actually in there

THE ULTIMATE SELF LINK: MY BRAIN. Use this excellent little MRI program to open .hdr 3d-scan files. Endless, disturbing fun.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Sep 28, 2005 - 27 comments

Faces of Science

Faces of Science, a collection of portraits of scientists is on display at the New York Academy of Sciences through Oct. 14. (Click the 'View Gallery' link underneath the bookcover). Mariana Cook, who took the portraits, has also had them displayed in The Guardian, and at the BioAgenda Institute (where they scroll by to the left of the screen). [Also be sure to check out the previous webgalleries at the NYAS. The Art of Science Fiction, and Hothouse Contemporary Floras are both good examples of their cool shows, as is One of a Kind.]
posted by OmieWise on Sep 28, 2005 - 4 comments

e=mc^2*100

e=mc^2*100 It has been a hundred years since the date that Einstein's famous equation was first published, the last of his four annus mirabilis papers of 1905. In celebration, you can hear Einstein explain his formula (or listen to any of 10 other famous physicists do the same), or read an interesting site in celebration of his life and works, or, if physics isn't your thing, peruse his views on religion, or his exchange with Freud about war, or take a look at hundreds of his original manuscripts.
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 27, 2005 - 19 comments

Welcome our big-bootied robot overloards

On the Chilean island of Robinson Crusoe, a small GPR-enabled robot named Arturito (google translated page) has apparently just found "The biggest treasure in history..." (estimated at $10 Billion).
posted by numlok on Sep 26, 2005 - 25 comments

Digitized Central American Biological History

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, snakes, turtles, centipedes, spiders, more spiders, plants, mollusks, more plants, butterflies, orthoptera insects, more butterflies and their family's (moth-like) families, mammals 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 - 9 comments

Take for Ague, the grip, pluersy and dipsomania

These are the cures. These are the illnesses. Guaranteed to cure what ails you. A look at the fantastic science of medicine, and the fantastic art of bodies afflicted.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 23, 2005 - 4 comments

Were there ape pirates?

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 (excellent), Wikipedia, Google.
posted by grumblebee on Sep 20, 2005 - 48 comments

Getting your point, clearly and concisely, straight across.

Lisa Randall's Theory of Communication about Science
posted by Gyan on Sep 19, 2005 - 27 comments

Italo Calvino, 1923-1985

"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.
"Calvino's novels" 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 - 18 comments

How Thoughts Can Become Deeds

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, 2, 3 (embedded QT links) and some images of Jesse in action.
Previous MeFi bionic threads.
posted by fenriq on Sep 14, 2005 - 40 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Save Yerkes!

The Yerkes Observatory owned and operated by the University of Chicago, and home to the world's largest refracting telescope, is in danger of being sold to a real estate developer. Find out what is being done to save this national treasure and how you can help.
posted by achmorrison on Sep 14, 2005 - 9 comments

NASA soundtracks

Ignition sequence starts ... A spoken word documentary album of the flight of Apollo 11 to the moon. Dramatic - evocative - the right stuff. Provided by Hepcat Willy.
posted by carter on Sep 13, 2005 - 9 comments

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering
posted by Gyan on Sep 9, 2005 - 13 comments

Brain Gain

Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution. Two important new papers in the journal Science (available here) 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 - 54 comments

Why not call it adamantium?

Harder than diamond. Compress C60 with heat, and get the hardest substance known. But will it be pretty?
posted by birdsquared on Aug 30, 2005 - 10 comments

In Defense of Uncommon Sense

In Defense of Uncommon Sense. The Edge Reality Club responds to an op-ed by John Horgan (previously discussed here.) (Via)
posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2005 - 19 comments

Intelligent Design by Trial and Error

A more efficient microbe genome. A more efficient sorting algorithm. A more efficient keyboard layout.
posted by fatllama on Aug 26, 2005 - 8 comments

What kind of a sculpture would Metafilter represent?

Bathsheba Grossman: a geometric sculptor
posted by Gyan on Aug 26, 2005 - 11 comments

The BWCAW online

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 - 15 comments

a painful decision

It's baby killing time. Taking on one of the most highly charged questions in the abortion debate, a team of doctors has concluded that fetuses probably cannot feel pain in the first six months of gestation and therefore do not need anesthesia during abortions.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Aug 23, 2005 - 106 comments

Breaking the Speed Limit

Scientists speed up light, causing it to travel faster than "c," the long recognized speed of light in a vacuum. This, like the experiments conducted several years ago to briefly stop light, are hard for the average person to comprehend, but have important applications in fiberoptic communications.
posted by awesomebrad on Aug 23, 2005 - 38 comments

Nanotube sheets

Nanotube sheets! "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 - 31 comments

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