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Sketch-A-Move

Sketch-A-Move Draw a straight line on top of the car, lift the pen and the car shoots off in a straight line. Draw a circle on the car and the car starts wildly spinning around. Draw a complicated squiggle and the car spirals in and out. Quicktime Video Link#1 and Link#2
posted by Hands of Manos on Feb 9, 2005 - 35 comments

Take _that_, social constructionism!

The psychology of taboo. Commenting on the Harvard hullabaloo that took place a few weeks ago, linguist/cognitive scientist Steven Pinker offers his opinion, using ideas he previously presented in The Blank Slate (via AL Daily)
posted by greatgefilte on Feb 8, 2005 - 63 comments

The Singing Pyramid?

Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded: "A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists." Others are not so sure... Coincidence, or engineering? Did the designers of El Castillo pyramid cannily build in a sound effect that mimics the warble of the sacred quetzal bird? Listen for yourself, with the .wav file (first set is the real bird, the second is the pyramid) featured in this Acoustical Society of America page. I prefer to think it's deliberate; after all, it's possible that early man was experimenting with cave acoustics to to create sound-enhanced rock art (there are sound samples for this included here - unfortunately a Geocities site). Also of interest, the BBC programme "Acoustic Shadows" (requires RealPlayer - *heavy sigh*).
posted by taz on Feb 8, 2005 - 24 comments

Inkjet sushi

Inkjet sushi - Some argue the kind of molecular gastronomy created by chefs like Moto's Homaro Cantu sucks the soul out of gourmet dining. Others turn it into better cooking for the unwashed masses, while still others turn it into a science project for the kids.
posted by AlexReynolds on Feb 3, 2005 - 21 comments

A different kind of physics journal

Quantum Diaries - follow physicists from around the world as they experience the World Year of Physics 2005.
posted by Gyan on Feb 1, 2005 - 4 comments

Tsunami visualizations

Tsunami visualizations Visualizations of recent and historical tsunami episodes, collected by John McDaris at Carleton College. Includes large but visually effective animations, such as this NOAA visualization of the global propagation of the 26/12/04 tsunami (24MB Quicktime).
posted by carter on Feb 1, 2005 - 2 comments

Hypothesis as thought-crime

Hypothesis as thought-crime...Now, however, a new brouhaha has erupted [at Harvard]and it seems impossible that Summers [the president]will emerge from this one without serious erosion of his moral authority. The trigger was a statement he made at a conference, suggesting that the reason there are more men than women in the mathematical sciences at top-flight institutions has to do with a small statistical difference in inate ability, which becomes a pretty large disparity when one looks at the 'high end' of the respective distribution curves... The fatal words did not set forth his main theme, but merely constituted a brief aside, thoroughly hedged and qualified. Nonetheless, they touched off a firestorm of indignation, the most striking aspect of which was the intemperate response of a number of feminist scientists, who offered no counter-arguments, but simply declared the whole idea misogynistic and therefore forbidden intellectual territory.
posted by Postroad on Jan 31, 2005 - 71 comments

stems cells-->neurons

Stem cells-->neurons. Scientific American link. Also discussed most recently here.
posted by yoga on Jan 31, 2005 - 12 comments

More than 2,000 psychedelic experiences

Dr. Ecstasy. (NYT) A peek inside Sasha Shulgin's infamous lab.
posted by xowie on Jan 29, 2005 - 22 comments

The table that cooks ~ A train that can calculate ~ The alarm clock that physically drags you out of bed

We Make Money Not Art :: art meets science and technology in the near near future and begets some cool and scary toys.
posted by anastasiav on Jan 27, 2005 - 4 comments

Celebrating 100 years of Einstein's influence on Physics

This year has been declared the World Year of Physics. Why 2005? To celebrate 100 years since Einstein published three papers that revolutionized physics. In the U.K. and Ireland it is being called Einstein Year, but there are many events planned around the globe.
posted by achmorrison on Jan 26, 2005 - 5 comments

Of Stem Cells and Neanderthals

Come out, experts from the woodworks! Neu5Ac and Neu5Gc are sugars found on cells present in nearly every mammal, from chimps to pigs. When scientists altered the genes of mice so that they couldn't produce them, the mice died. However, unlike our closest relatives, humans lack a gene that makes Neu5Gc. The gene is not gone, but rendered silent by a fatal mutation, one that occured approximately 500,000 ago. Now, note that it is illegal to produce any new embryonic stem cell lines. Any scientist will tell you that extant and legal human stem cell lines have been existing in calf serum and often on layers of mouse "feeder" cells for growth. As such, they are immersed in a bath of antigen and if re-introdcued would elicit a strong immune response. I.e. although of human origin, they would be treated as foreign cells if injected. It is likely they would be rejected if injected with today's techniques anyway, but this may represent another significant hurdle for research, one that could be sidestepped with more progressive policy. (Via The Regular)
posted by willns on Jan 24, 2005 - 32 comments

Doot-doot-doodle-oodle-doot-doo-doo-doot

It's Carnival Time! In 2002, Silflay Hraka launched the internet's first carnival: The Carnival of the Vanities. Carnivals are showcases of the best that blogs have to offer; bloggers send in posts they have made that they are especially pleased with, and a rotating editor collates them into a weekly edition with editorial comments. Think of carnivals as best-of-the-blogosphere magazines. The Carnival of the Vanities (current edition here) doesn't have any particular focus, but a number of offshoots dedicated to specific fields have popped up. Stay up to date on blog postings about philosophy, science, history, the early modern period, sex, Canada, and (if desperately bored) cats. A new carnival about atheism, The Carnival of the Godless, will be coming out at the end of the month.
posted by painquale on Jan 23, 2005 - 5 comments

Hubble in Trouble

Hubble doomed again (more inside)
posted by kyrademon on Jan 22, 2005 - 10 comments

European Space Agency

Instead of liquid water, Titan has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jan 21, 2005 - 28 comments

Through the Looking Chords

Dr Hugo's Museum of the Mind - Synaesthesia
posted by Gyan on Jan 20, 2005 - 22 comments

1.21 Jiggawatts!

Researchers Report Bubble Fusion Results Replicated. Bring on the Mr. Fusion, please.
posted by loquacious on Jan 20, 2005 - 46 comments

Ah, science.

New research takes steps towards finding the "gay genes." A study conducted on gay brothers in more than 100 families found several genetic regions of similarity with linkage to sexual orientation. This is kind of dense (scroll to the bottom of the page for the FAQ), but that's because it hasn't been written up in the press so there are only journal doc's and scientific summaries available.
This is the press release, which is clearer (Microsoft Word).
This is the article on the study, as published in the journal Human Genetics (PDF).
posted by joe_murphy on Jan 20, 2005 - 107 comments

Science

Recent neuroscience research suggests that Democrats and Republicans are not nearly as far apart as they seem (NYT). Will an awareness that we are conning ourselves to feel alienated from each other help to close the political gap? Or, are we conned by science and the media?
posted by semmi on Jan 18, 2005 - 16 comments

If they can't even play with trucks correctly...

"In his talk... [Harvard President Larry] Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting. Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them 'daddy truck,' and one 'baby truck.'

"It was during his comments on ability that Hopkins, sitting only 10 feet from Summers, closed her computer, put on her coat, and walked out. 'It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way,' she said later in an interview." Summers then responded with the currently in vogue non-apology apology.
posted by occhiblu on Jan 18, 2005 - 182 comments

Circadian Arhythm

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask). Circadiana is a new specialty blog dedicated to chronobiology. As a night owl (I'm posting this link at 2:45 AM), I look forward to many late nights reading this site.
posted by painquale on Jan 16, 2005 - 14 comments

Huygens Makes it!

It worked! Huygens has successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan and the Cassini orbiter is sending good data back to Earth as I type. Isn't it amazing how we can take a probe the size of a compact car, send it on a 7 year journey in the most inhospitable environment imaginable, deploy a sub-probe that has been dormant for that entire time and land it where we had planned on another solar body so far away that it takes 67 minutes to get a signal back and forth. Exploration and research has never been so cool.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 14, 2005 - 37 comments

Long Lost Leo

"Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence."
posted by ScottUltra on Jan 13, 2005 - 28 comments

Will Life Be Worth Living in 2,000 AD?

Life in the future. In the year 2,000 "everything will be so easy that people will probably die from sheer boredom." Workweeks will be 24 hours and the home computer will be the new status symbol.
posted by caddis on Jan 12, 2005 - 46 comments

From the profane to the sacred

sacred science The scientific method is a tool for determining objective truth about the world around us, right? But not everybody thinks so. From being a proof of God's existance to a mere socio-pilotical construct, scientific humanism is under attack.
posted by MadOwl on Jan 12, 2005 - 50 comments

Those Who Fail To Learn History. . . something or the other.

The Rapanui (of Easter Island), the Mayans, and the Norse colonists of Greenland all share one similarity: each culture was brought down by preventable, human-cause environmental catastrophe. Sure, Michael Crichton says it's all bunk, but Jared Diamond (the author of the infinitely discussable, Pulitzer prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel) recently came out with a new book that suggests that maybe we ought to be worried after all. Hear him discuss it on NPR's morning edition.
posted by absalom on Jan 10, 2005 - 22 comments

Dowsing for love and money.

Dowsing can be used to find water, find caves, find landmines, heal yourself and others, and clear your house of bad energy. There are several studies that purport to prove that dowsing works (one ten year study found a 96% success rate among dowsers in arid regions). There are online lessons for how to dowse, from the Digital Dowsers Society. The Journal of Christian Research thinks it might be a tool of the devil. But the scientific evidence is at best equivocal (as you might expect.) Scroll down on this page for more experiment debunking. Also always check The Skeptics Dictionary.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 7, 2005 - 66 comments

Everything Old is Cool Again

Vintage Technology :: I like the bric a brac best.
posted by anastasiav on Jan 7, 2005 - 2 comments

Infrasound animals

"Infrasonic Symphony" Intrigued by reports of tsunami-avoidance behavior in Sri Lankan wildlife? Science News offers a timely antidote to simplistic mumbo-jumbo about the "mythical power" of animal earthquake detection with a detailed look at the latest research into low-frequency sound. The Elephant Listening Project is particularly interested in elephant rumblings that produce Rayleigh waves. "Mammals, birds, insects, and spiders can detect Rayleigh waves," notes The Explainer. "Most can feel the movement in their bodies, although some, like snakes and salamanders, put their ears to the ground in order to perceive it."
posted by mediareport on Jan 3, 2005 - 15 comments

Micro

Eye Of Science - Beautiful images of the microscopic world. (via boingboing.net)
posted by buriednexttoyou on Dec 31, 2004 - 13 comments

Science grooves

Math And Science Song Information, Viewable Everywhere. For all those times you've needed a catchy acappella tune about doppler shifting [mp3] in a hurry, there's now MASSIVE, a fully searchable collaborative database of over 1700 songs about math and science, sponsored in part by the seriously pedagogical Science Songwriters Association. Biz Markie made the cut, and so can you. [via the always-effervescent Research Buzz]
posted by mediareport on Dec 27, 2004 - 14 comments

Drip drip drip...

Between whimsy and science lay the water clocks of Bernard Gitton.
posted by arse_hat on Dec 26, 2004 - 6 comments

Water really is blue! Who knew?

Teaching bad science is not something only creationist wingnuts do. The redoubtable Bill Beaty sets us straight. (thanks, Laen)
posted by flabdablet on Dec 22, 2004 - 35 comments

Electrons are for weaklings

LEGO Logic Gates - It's like Babbage, but with bricks. All the gates except XOR are here, and he goes on to develop a clocked flip-flop. While practical mechanical computers may be out, even at the nanotechnological scale, nanomechanical memory may be in.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Dec 14, 2004 - 14 comments

Particle physics zine.

Symmetry magazine.
posted by Gyan on Dec 13, 2004 - 11 comments

Cock-a-doodle-doo. What, what?

20,000 genes and splices: the Colonel's Secret Recipe revealed! Even the fanciest chickens won't be able to ignore their genetic cousins now.
posted by naomi on Dec 12, 2004 - 32 comments

Real Climate blog

RealClimate is a blog written by nine working climatologists from around the world (all experts in their field), focusing on explaining climate science, providing context to current reports in the mainstream media, and rebutting the fallacious arguments of carbon lobby hacks. (via World Changing)
posted by stbalbach on Dec 10, 2004 - 6 comments

I'll take lasers for $800, Alex

Sam's Laser FAQ is an online bible for laser enthusiasts (of all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds). Curious novices can start by learning how lasers work and what is inside those nifty green laser pointers. Graduate students, why not fix up that large frame Argon-ion laser sitting the back of the lab? Or just build your own? Of course there are lots of pretty pictures and for hobbyists not terribly interested in glorious amounts of light, don't miss the wonderful discrete semiconductor test guide thrown in for free. And above all, MeFi, let's think safety.
posted by fatllama on Dec 10, 2004 - 17 comments

I know we can discuss this with intelligence and civility

Noted British atheist Antony Flew has changed his mind, persuaded by scientific evidence that God exists and that "intelligence must have been involved" in the origin of life. As Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at the University of Reading and the author of several influential books on the subject of atheism, Flew was once one of rationalism's leading lights. He now compares his beliefs with the predominantly American concept of Intelligent Design. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads," he says.
posted by gd779 on Dec 10, 2004 - 172 comments

Could Tucker be right?

Canada's "Brain Drain" has been a growing concern among Canadians for a number of years. There are a number of reports (PDF) indicating that an increasing number of "highly skilled graduates in fields such as health, engineering and natural and applied sciences" have been heading south for work. There are guides to assist, first hand accounts, and even profiles of people who have left.
posted by purephase on Dec 10, 2004 - 29 comments

That's not the rapture, it's the space people harvesting you for meat

Republican environmental politics as usual? While the president's policies seem to be standard for his party, Bill Moyers thinks there's more than meets the eye. On receiving Harvard medical school's Global Environment Citizen Award, Moyers posits that destruction of the environment isn't just good for big business, it's a self fulfilling prophecy of the apocalypse. Not just any old apocalypse, it's The Rapture, complete with plagues for the non-believers and immmediate ascension to the right hand of God Himself for the righteous.

Two days after Moyer's speech, Science magazine looks at the scientific consensus on global warming. If you're having a hard time explaining all this to your kids, don't worry, your tax dollars are hard at work.
posted by jimray on Dec 8, 2004 - 51 comments

Polarized light in nature & technology.

Polarization.com - polarized light in nature & technology. [via MoFi]
posted by Gyan on Dec 8, 2004 - 3 comments

prove it!

"Students in tax-supported schools are being taught that evolution is a fact. We are convinced that evolution is a religion masquerading as science and should not be part of any science curriculum." Dr. Kent Hovind is offering $250,000 to anyone who can prove evolution. Dr. Hovind is also known for his 17-hour award-winning seminar series. While you're there, you can buy all sorts of goodies like fossil replicas! And if that's not enough, there's a great FAQ. [MI]
posted by exlotuseater on Dec 7, 2004 - 85 comments

Happy Birthday, String Theory.

String Theory Turns 20 - first posited in 1984 as an explanation for the strong force, String Theory turns 20 this year. While some physicists celebrate, others are concerned that string theory isn't coming close to being a theory of everything as many had hoped. While it does reconcile quantum mechanics with Special Relativity, there is currently no mathematical proof for String Theory. Even more troubling, rather than providing one solid explanation for the universe, the many dimensions of string theory offer 10^100 different possible results.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Dec 7, 2004 - 25 comments

Size -- and 'Erogenous Sensation' -- Matter

Micro-penis sufferers, rejoice!
posted by digaman on Dec 7, 2004 - 50 comments

Can you take a picture of a thought?

Perhaps the largest non-profit you never heard of, the Chevy Chase, Maryland-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute recently decided on the long-term mission of their currently-under-construction $500 million research facility in Ashburn, Virginia. Janelia Farm will strive to understand human consciousness in a 100-year timeframe. They plan to accomplish this by attracting the best and brightest, and non-conventional scientific minds to live at or near the research facility, and to work in a collaborative, the sky's the limit type environment.

disclaimer: I work for HHMI in a non-scientific role.
posted by pmbuko on Dec 2, 2004 - 41 comments

Modular Origami

Modular Origami is a very cool thing. Make a Buckyball with some PHiZZ units or make some polyhedra with the penultimate modules.
posted by dwordle on Dec 1, 2004 - 8 comments

Stupid Google Tricks

Does relativity have any practical significance? In fact, relativity had to be taken into account by the designers of the Global Positioning System. The GPS satellites are affected both by special relativity (since the satellites are moving, clocks aboard them appear to run slower as seen from the ground), and by general relativity (since the satellites are farther away from the mass of the earth, clocks appear to run faster as seen from the ground). The net effect of both is that clocks aboard GPS satellites would gain 38 microseconds per day relative to the ground, if relativistic effects were not corrected for--a figure which can be confirmed by using Google calculator.
posted by DevilsAdvocate on Nov 30, 2004 - 26 comments

Stop reading this. Look away. No, really!

MetaFilter: Stop it or you'll go blind.
Heavy computer users risk glaucoma - Toho University study.
posted by soyjoy on Nov 16, 2004 - 21 comments

Save the Planet, One Macaque at a Time

Adopt an Ex-Lab Experiment Monkey
The BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) is sponsoring an adoption program to help care for some 50 macaques that had been owned by a lab in Thailand to be used for scientific experiments. After some publicity, they were pressured into releasing the little monkeys just prior to their last experiment that would have killed them all.
posted by fenriq on Nov 16, 2004 - 33 comments

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