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Curiosity's First Anniversary

Twelve Months in Two Minutes; Curiosity's First Year on Mars. Happy First Anniversary, Curiosity! [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Aug 6, 2013 - 25 comments

Sky Doom - the Return?

Remember the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this year, injuring hundreds and giving us dozens of spectacular dashcam videos? It may have friends.
posted by Artw on Aug 6, 2013 - 52 comments

You guys watch Joe Don Baker movies?

A six-minute documentary snippet discusses Kubrick's camera modifications for special, low-light f/0.7 Zeiss lenses used to film candlelit scenes in Barry Lyndon, now available to rent by aspiring filmmakers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 5, 2013 - 34 comments

PORCELAINia

PORCELAINia. A short documentary about artist and scientist Bobby Jaber. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2013 - 5 comments

Your resistance is most entertaining, meatbag.

How hard is it to die of an electric shock? [more inside]
posted by dubusadus on Aug 3, 2013 - 64 comments

Dramatic Lactose Intolerant Sobbing

"During the most recent ice age, milk was essentially a toxin to adults because — unlike children — they could not produce the lactase enzyme required to break down lactose, the main sugar in milk. But as farming started to replace hunting and gathering in the Middle East around 11,000 years ago, cattle herders learned how to reduce lactose in dairy products to tolerable levels by fermenting milk to make cheese or yogurt. Several thousand years later, a genetic mutation spread through Europe that gave people the ability to produce lactase — and drink milk — throughout their lives. That adaptation opened up a rich new source of nutrition that could have sustained communities when harvests failed." - The Milk Revolution - how a single mutation expanded (some) of humanity's diet. (Nature.com)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 2, 2013 - 158 comments

Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want to Kill Each Other

A new meta-analysis finds that extreme changes in temperature increase the likelihood of inter-group conflict. (SLA)
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Aug 2, 2013 - 76 comments

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what's typically found in a routine diet. Industry representatives, backed by a fascinating history, argue that foods don't contain enough, and we need supplements. Fortunately, many excellent studies have now resolved the issue.
(SLAtlantic)
posted by anazgnos on Jul 28, 2013 - 110 comments

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA

The disease that sours oranges and leaves them half green, already ravaging citrus crops across the world, had reached the state’s storied groves. To slow the spread of the bacterium that causes the scourge, they chopped down hundreds of thousands of infected trees and sprayed an expanding array of pesticides on the winged insect that carries it. But the contagion could not be contained.

With a precipitous decline in Florida’s harvest predicted within the decade, the only chance left to save it, Mr. Kress believed, was one that his industry and others had long avoided for fear of consumer rejection.
They would have to alter the orange’s DNA — with a gene from a different species. (SLNYT)
posted by yeoz on Jul 28, 2013 - 118 comments

Does a bear itch in the woods?

What Canadian bears do when no one is looking
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 27, 2013 - 50 comments

Paddling 1,500 Miles for Science and Adventure

Starting on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind. Along the way, he kept a blog, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies", and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia. [more inside]
posted by Orinda on Jul 27, 2013 - 10 comments

What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?

The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
posted by brundlefly on Jul 26, 2013 - 40 comments

Mouseunculus

Mouseunculus: How The Brain Draws A Little You. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 25, 2013 - 16 comments

Seeing.Thinking.Drawing

Francis Ching is professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Washington who keeps a blog of his city-focused sketches. Discussion varies from thinking about construction and layout to materials and focus when drawing scenes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 23, 2013 - 11 comments

Our Contemplation of the Cosmos Stirs Us

Cosmos returns in the year 2014. "A Personal Journey" becomes "A Space-Time Odyssey". Presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey will be aired on FOX and follow a similar format to the beloved Sagan classic, available here.
posted by 221bbs on Jul 22, 2013 - 58 comments

Paleopathology

CSI: Italian Renaissance. "Inside a lab in Pisa, forensics pathologist Gino Fornaciari and his team investigate 500-year-old cold cases." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 21, 2013 - 10 comments

The crumbs off his plate are the entire careers of other people.

Neil Degrasse Tyson waxes eloquent about Isaac Newton [chopped YouTube link, full length video 'SciCafe: Life the Universe and Everything' here] [more inside]
posted by mysticreferee on Jul 19, 2013 - 8 comments

The pitch just dropped

The three most exciting words in science concern one of the longest running experiments of all time that finally produced a recordable result.
posted by z11s on Jul 18, 2013 - 41 comments

A Song of Our Warming Planet

"University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello." Direct Vimeo link.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 18, 2013 - 21 comments

Ping pong will never be the same

Dynamic target tracking camera system keeps its eye on the ball - motorized mirrors track a moving object of interest every thousandth of a second, reflecting its image into a camera
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 16, 2013 - 23 comments

"The bald eagle sounds like a cross between a squeaky toy and a seagull"

Mental Floss tackles 50 Science Misconceptions. [slyt]
posted by quin on Jul 12, 2013 - 52 comments

The Heliotail

Our Solar System Has a Tail Shaped Like a Four-Leaf Clover: New Findings from IBEX.
posted by homunculus on Jul 11, 2013 - 10 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

Assume A Cylindrical Cow

The Mathematics of the Manhattan Project
posted by empath on Jul 10, 2013 - 40 comments

Hackers Testifying at the United States Senate, May 19, 1998

Here is L0pht Heavy Industries testifying before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Live feed from CSPAN, May 19, 1998. Starring Brian Oblivion, Kingpin, Tan, Space Rogue, Weld Pond, Mudge, and Stefan von Neumann. This is the infamous testimony where Mudge stated we could take down the Internet in 30 minutes. Although that's all the media took from it, much more was discussed. See for yourself. (59:04)
posted by Blasdelb on Jul 9, 2013 - 18 comments

Ovaries! Time MAchines!

British comedian Josie Long explores All the Planet's Wonders in a very short series on BBC radio: Collecting. Animals. Astronomy. Plants.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jul 8, 2013 - 11 comments

Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)

A case currently before the International Court of Justice has Australia (supported by New Zealand) seeking to either stop the flagrant abuse of a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's rules by Japan, or a nasty cultural imperialist "moral crusade" attempt to suppress a sustainable, ancient tradition of killing whales with factory ships around Antarctica. You can watch Court arguments here.
posted by wilful on Jul 8, 2013 - 39 comments

Drugs in context

Dr. Carl Hart, psychopharmacologist at Columbia, bust pernicious drug myths and talks provocatively about race and the "War on Drugs."
posted by klangklangston on Jul 6, 2013 - 114 comments

Why Are Things Creepy?

"Between the mountains of safety and danger there is a valley of creepiness, where the limits of our knowledge and trust and security aren't very clear." (SLYT).

A closer look at the science behind the third element in Stephen King's taxonomy of scary stuff: terror. Which is coming home to find that everything that you own has been replaced with an exact copy.
posted by moody cow on Jul 6, 2013 - 33 comments

Try some of this at home

The King of Random shows us how to make sparklers, shaken butter (that you can turn into a candle), instant ice (tutorial), and melting metal with microwave parts. [more inside]
posted by nadawi on Jul 4, 2013 - 7 comments

Science-themed radio plays available for free streaming

Some of the plays are about the lives of scientists, such as Richard Feynman (Moving Bodies), Alan Turing (Breaking the Code), Galileo (The Life of Galileo), and Rosalind Franklin (Photograph 51). [more inside]
posted by Wolfster on Jul 3, 2013 - 7 comments

Practically Incomprehensible

How big is the ocean? [slyt | TED | via]
posted by quin on Jul 2, 2013 - 26 comments

Lynn climbing the Matterhorn.

"This is a story, a picture story, of two very lucky people before whom was spread out the greatest of treasures, the planet Earth. We traveled aboard a magic carpet, the one with the yellow borders, National Geographic magazine. During four decades we wandered over all the continents and left wakes across the seven seas." [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Jul 1, 2013 - 9 comments

Mouse cloned from drop of blood

Scientists in Japan have cloned a mouse from a single drop of blood. (via)
posted by kliuless on Jun 30, 2013 - 33 comments

Hot and Cold

What happens when lava is poured over ice?
posted by Artw on Jun 30, 2013 - 55 comments

The Age of Networked Matter

An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter. The Institute for the Future commissioned six science fiction writers to create short stories for their Age of Networked Matter research project. "We asked our collaborators to envision a world where humans have unprecedented control of matter at all scales, and to share with us a glimpse of daily life in that world. It was a process meant to make the future tangible." Three of the stories have appeared so far. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 28, 2013 - 9 comments

Look ma, no magnets

An amazing bead chain experiment
posted by secretdark on Jun 28, 2013 - 14 comments

On Dinosaur Time...

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.
posted by Artw on Jun 22, 2013 - 66 comments

Do you have the sun in a can?

Sometimes you don't need expensive professional cameras to make spectacular photos. Instead sometimes all you need is a beer can and a sheet of photographic paper. That's how the Philippus Lansbergen Observatory in Middelburg captured the movement of the Sun over a six month period, through a socalled solargraph. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 22, 2013 - 9 comments

It works, bitches

Thirty-nine year-old Andrew Johnson demonstrates the effect of Deep Brain Stimulation on the motor symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
posted by eugenen on Jun 21, 2013 - 34 comments

What concrete things the Romans have ever done for us

"Portland cement is the source of the “glue” that holds most modern concrete together. But making it releases carbon from burning fuel, needed to heat a mix of limestone and clays to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) – and from the heated limestone (calcium carbonate) itself. Monteiro’s team found that the Romans, by contrast, used much less lime and made it from limestone baked at 900˚ C (1,652˚ F) or lower, requiring far less fuel than Portland cement." -- How Berkeley Lab scientists discovered the secret of Roman concrete's durability and how it could help make modern concrete more environmentally friendly.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 21, 2013 - 39 comments

Here’s how to fit 1,000 terabytes on a DVD

"We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all? In Nature Communications today, we, along with Richard Evans from CSIRO, show how we developed a new technique to enable the data capacity of a single DVD to increase from 4.7 gigabytes up to one petabyte (1,000 terabytes). This is equivalent of 10.6 years of compressed high-definition video or 50,000 full high-definition movies."
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 20, 2013 - 75 comments

HIV vs. Cancer: Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

"Emma Whitehead was near death from acute lymphoblastic leukemia but is now in remission after an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia."

The New York Times has a feature from December 2012 and this incredible story was the subject of a short film as part of a GE/cinelan-sponored Vimeo series of 3 minute documentaries on "big ideas"
posted by 3rdparty on Jun 20, 2013 - 10 comments

Computer model shows men to blame for menopause

Men to Blame for Menopause: Younger Women Preferred in Human Evolutionary History. Humans are actually the only species where females cannot reproduce throughout their lives, and previous studies have suggested that there may be a "grandmother effect." This suggests that women lose their fertility at an age where they may not live to care for another child. Instead, they're available to care for younger women's children. Yet some scientists weren't satisfied with this theory. "How do you evolve infertility? It is contrary to the whole notion of natural selection" ... Original paper published in PLOS Computational Biology - Mate Choice and the Origin of Menopause [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity on Jun 14, 2013 - 68 comments

"He needs to be a Youtube star."

Oliver the green moray eel loves to be petted. With small children, a fish popsicle, and commentary about barracudas. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by casarkos on Jun 13, 2013 - 35 comments

=^..^=

Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon: A Tight Turning Radius [New York Times]
"Anyone who has watched a cheetah run down an antelope knows that these cats are impressively fast. But it turns out that speed is not the secret to their prodigious hunting skills: a novel study of how cheetahs chase prey in the wild shows that it is their agility — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds."

posted by Fizz on Jun 13, 2013 - 34 comments

Sturgeon! Dick! Asimov! Heinlein! DeCamp! Bradbury! Sheckley! Pohl!

The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus (1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X (1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X as X Minus One (1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding and Galaxy. 17 of 30 episodes of 2000 Plus, all 50 episodes of Dimension X, and all 125 episodes of X Minus One are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 12, 2013 - 23 comments

Indistinguishable from Magic

Random Weekend Project shows how to seemingly make magic by creating instant ice from flowing water. [slyt]
posted by quin on Jun 12, 2013 - 34 comments

Andrew and Luda Versus The Volcano

Tolbachik is a volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Andrew and Luda are two Kyrgyzstan-based photographers who wanted to take some video inside an active volcano. Tolbachik was happy to oblige. (SLYT)
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 10, 2013 - 6 comments

a bumpy guide to mate selection & other life choices

"Young ladies, indelibly fix this shape of head in your memories. Any man who will make a natural, kind and true husband will have a head in outline from a side view like this." Phrenology Diagrams from Vaught's Practical Character Reader (1902). Full 268-page book available in the LOC's Internet Archive.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 9, 2013 - 26 comments

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