Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can't check - "A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it's talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia's pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm." (via; previously ;)
As part of the ongoing Periodic Video series (previously and more previously), Martyn Poliakoff takes us inside Johnson Matthey, where he shows us some "Super Expensive Metals" — a few of the rare platinum group metals — as they are refined and processed from raw ore into finished products.
Four women have had new vaginas grown in the laboratory and implanted by doctors in the US. "A tissue sample and a biodegradable scaffold were used to grow vaginas in the right size and shape for each woman as well as being a tissue match. They all reported normal levels of "desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction" and painless intercourse. Experts said the study, published in the Lancet, was the latest example of the power of regenerative medicine. "
The Delian Mode (Kara Blake, 2009) - A 25-minute documentary about composer and pioneering electronic musician Delia Derbyshire, perhaps most familiar to Mefites for writing the theme song for "Doctor Who".
Harvard University and XVIVO have come together again (Previouslyw/ a commercial focus, Previouslierw/an Academic focus) to add to the growing series of scientific animations for BioVisions -- Harvard's multimedia lab in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 'Protein Packing' strives to more accurately depict the molecular chaos in each and every cell, with proteins jittering around in what may seem like random motion. Proteins occupy roughly 40% of the cytoplasm, creating an environment that risks unintentional interaction and aggregation. Via diffusion and motor protein transport, these molecules are directed to sites where they are needed.
Much of this is no doubt inspired by the beautiful art and explained illustrations of David Goodsell, a biologist at Scripps who has been accurately portraying the crowdedness of the cellular landscape for a long time now.[more inside]
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian: "Today we found out that Tamiflu doesn't work so well after all. Roche, the drug company behind it, withheld vital information on its clinical trials for half a decade, but the Cochrane Collaboration, a global not-for-profit organisation of 14,000 academics, finally obtained all the information. Putting the evidence together, it has found that Tamiflu has little or no impact on complications of flu infection, such as pneumonia." [more inside]
Such as Ulva lobata from Josie Iselin's new book An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed.
Feather boa kelp - Egregia menziesii
Sea grapes - Botryocladia pseudodichotoma [more inside]
Feather boa kelp - Egregia menziesii
Sea grapes - Botryocladia pseudodichotoma [more inside]
Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissue in Labs - "The researchers are now working on optimizing the growth of human muscle tissue, including finding a way to get blood flow to the tissue, the best source of cells and the best growing medium for the cells."
The depth of the problem - this WaPo infographic hints at the immense challenges that Australian and Chinese search teams will face in recovering the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 black box from its suspected location at the bottom of the Indian Ocean
The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
"Zebras are obviously the chillest animals on Earth, but how did they get that way? As it turns out, their signature stripes may not have evolved as camouflage, but instead are largely a deterrent to blood-sucking flies." -- At first blush it may seem a hoax, considering the publication date, but it turns out very likely that zebras got their stripes not as camouflage, but as protection against biting insects.
How to melt an aluminum slug (action heats up around the 2' mark) with a DIY induction heater (obl. wiki).
There's been an ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With 122 cases so far, this is the worst outbreak since 2007's 264-case outbreak. The worst outbreak was 2000-2001's 425 cases. What makes this one different is the way it has spread so widely. [more inside]
An interview with physicist Freeman Dyson in Quanta magazine.
Who are the Nazi War Diggers?
Now four men – the War Diggers - are scouring Eastern Europe in a battered Soviet era jeep, armed with metal detectors, shovels and sheer grit. Their mission is to uncover these forgotten battlefields and the buried stories in them. This is a race against time to get the history from the ground before it’s lost forever.Talent biographies are available here. Conflict Antiquities has a long list of unanswered "urgent ethical and legal questions". The Anonymous Swiss Collector has a response from National Geographic [opens as word document], but questions remain. Archaeologists, osteologists, anthropologists, and others have not been pleased: the #NaziWarDiggers hashtag has more responses. [more inside]
Many people who say they can multitask show a cognitive deterioration when trying to perform more than one task at once. But according to Psychology Today, there are a small group of people who can actually multitask flawlessly.
"The greatest challenge to 21st century paleontology: When commercialization of fossils threatens the science," a commentary by four paleontologists. [more inside]
Evolutionary biologists at Northumbria University have used science to figure out "attractive human dance moves" that demonstrate optimum genotypic and phenotypic health to prospective mates. "Cutting-edge motion capture technology" was used to record good and bad dancing. (Technoviking was reportedly unpleased.)
James Dewar, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and the quest for liquified hydrogen and helium. Come for the superfluidity, stay for the Supreme Court of the Netherlands decisions and multiple lab assistants losing eyes in explosions.
Chief Scientist Demetrios Matsakis gives us a tour of the U.S. Naval Observatory's Time Services and explains where time comes from.
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
Polyhedra and the Media - On the new polyhedra of Schein and Gayed, and mathematical journalism.
"Armed with Science," is a new science-focused TV show developed by two of the Department of Defense's in-house research laboratories and the Pentagon. They have always developed some crazy tech work, like perception tests on their robots. If Skynet is going to be real, I think these are the agencies that will put the terminators online.
Finite time blowup for an averaged three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation - "[Terence Tao] has shown that in an alternative abstract universe closely related to the one described by the Navier-Stokes equations, it is possible for a body of fluid to form a sort of computer, which can build a self-replicating fluid robot that, like the Cat in the Hat, keeps transferring its energy to smaller and smaller copies of itself until the fluid 'blows up.' " [1,2,3] (previously)
Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie - "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
Neurobiologist Stephan Guyenet provides two video introductions to his intriguing hypothesis about the cause of obesity: frequently eating highly palatable processed foods (foods with high "reward" effect in the brain) alters the hypothalamus, raising the body's homeostatic set point. [more inside]
Supermassive black hole in the Perseus cluster sings only B-flat. [via science.nasa.gov] [more inside]
In a new exhibition titled Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight, the British Library pays homage to the important role data visualization plays in the scientific process. The exhibition can be visited from 20 February until 26 May 2014, and contains works ranging from John Snow's plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections on a map to colourful depictions of the Tree of Life. In a Nature Video, curator Johanna Kieniewicz explores some of the beautiful examples of visualizations that are exhibited.[more inside]
A new 3D printed membrane acts like an artificial pericardium to continuously monitor and regulate the heart's beating
Do the Apollo flags remain where they were planted or have they fallen or have they disintegrated after four decades of intense UV and heat? James Fincannon investigates flags left behind from Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions.
Network Theory Overview - "The idea: nature and the world of human technology are full of networks! People like to draw diagrams of networks. Mathematical physicists know that in principle these diagrams can be understood using category theory. But why should physicists have all the fun? This is the century of understanding living systems and adapting to life on a finite planet. Math isn't the main thing we need, but it's got to be part of the solution... so one thing we should do is develop a unified and powerful theory of networks." (via ;)
The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian. The Atlantic discusses humor's role as a coping mechanism, as a defense mechanism and as a cognitive tool. Also compares funny people to psychotic ones.
The Mammoth Cometh. "Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad." [Previously, Via]
Astroblast and Overstepping Artifacts are music videos by the project Musicians with Guns, which take the viewer through detailed tours of some beauty. Relax and enjoy.
GLaDOS teaches fusion and fission for NASA. Ellen McLain lends her autotuned voice to IRrelevant Astronomy, a video series produced as part of the education & public outreach mandate of the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. [via]
Science journalist and NOVA correspondent extraordinaire Miles O'Brien was working on a story in Japan and the Philippines when a piece of luggage fell on his arm causing minor swelling. The next day his arm was amputated due to Acute Compartment Syndrome. He recounts his experience with as much humor and grace as one can muster.
PLOS’ New Data Policy: Public Access to Data "PLOS has always required that authors make their data available to other academic researchers who wish to replicate, reanalyze, or build upon the findings published in our journals. In an effort to increase access to this data, we are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, all authors who submit to a PLOS journal will be asked to provide a Data Availability Statement, describing where and how others can access each dataset that underlies the findings." Openscience.org also have a primer on why open science data is important.
Watch out for tongue splinters. Deep sea scientist Craig McClain is investigating communities which thrive on wood that falls to the bottom of the sea, so he "chunked 36 logs overboard". You want to see footage of the experiment set to dubstep? Course you do. [via mefi projects]
A Star in a Bottle. "An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. Associated costs of the disease are estimated to be a staggering $22 billion annually. The pain can be debilitating and infertility is a common outcome. Yet after decades of research, the jury is still out on what causes it, and many doctors still don't even know when they should be looking for it. Now, a group of researchers at MIT have taken a new approach, one with a characteristic engineering slant.
Here are some links to online galleries that combine science, medicine, and art in some way. (previously: psychiatry and art)