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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

May actually be against the Tumblr user agreement

Tumblr? Isn't that supposed to be full of furry porn, Teen Wolf fanfiction and teenagers determining the outer limits of priviledge? Not quite, as The Science of Reality shows. Run by Mae, "an aspiring journalist, photojournalist, science enthusiast, writer, & an artist of many fields" who loves "helping people discover the wonders of our universe through science".
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 9, 2013 - 14 comments

Deep Sixed

In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater. - ROVs photograph trash on the ocean floor.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2013 - 37 comments

Jonah Lehrer's new book on love

Jonah Lehrer has reportedly sold a book proposal to Simon and Schuster. In Slate, Daniel Engber examines the book proposal for possible plagiarism and comments: Having read through this proposal, I’ll propose a different lesson: If your underwear is full of grit, it might be time to change.
posted by BibiRose on Jun 7, 2013 - 63 comments

Best of the webbing

MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion, a geometric structure machine-woven with silk thread and then reinforced by the efforts of 6500 silkworms. Watch the beautifully-done making-of video.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 6, 2013 - 16 comments

Your wildflower search engine.

Search for wildflowers by location, color, flower shape, flower size and time of blooming. 3,126 plants indexed. This web site helps those of us with limited knowledge of botany to identify flowering plants that are found outside of gardens. This help is provided by presenting you with small images of plants. You can use a number of search techniques to get to the images that are most likely the plant you are looking for. When you click on a plant image the program shows you links to plant descriptions and more plant images. The site has about 5 ways of searching for a plant. You can use these searches in any combination. Some searches eliminate some plants from consideration. Most searches give a "score" to each plant depending on how well the plant matches the search criteria. The plants with the highest score are displayed at the top of the results. Click here for Instructions. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 5, 2013 - 21 comments

Wait, why does the airlock smell like burnt steak and gunpowder?

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses how senses change aboard the International Space Station: Sound, Sight, Taste, Smell, and Touch. [previously]
posted by quin on Jun 5, 2013 - 10 comments

Are you a liberal baby or a conservative baby?

Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on baby names
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 5, 2013 - 91 comments

Next step: uploaded lobsters in space

"OpenWorm is an attempt to build a complete cellular-level simulation of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Of the 959 cells in the hermaphrodite, 302 are neurons and 95 are muscle cells. The simulation will model electrical activity in all the muscles and neurons. An integrated soft-body physics simulation will also model body movement and physical forces within the worm and from its environment." -- Bonus: explore the worm's cellular anatomy in 3D (WebGL required.)
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 3, 2013 - 16 comments

Who knows what

For decades the sciences and the humanities have fought for knowledge supremacy. Both sides are wrong-headed
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 2, 2013 - 49 comments

Science doesn't teach anything; experience teaches it.

I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television--words, books, and so on--are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science. [...] Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation. What is Science?, a lecture by Richard Feynman.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 1, 2013 - 84 comments

To see a world in a grain of sand

First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds. Remember those college textbook diagrams of molecules? They're surprisingly accurate.
posted by bitmage on May 30, 2013 - 33 comments

A Very Secret Garden

Harvard chemists induce microscopic crystal "flowers" to grow on the edge of a razor blade with beautiful results.
posted by quin on May 30, 2013 - 9 comments

How to be a stuffed animal

The bones had been boiled, the skins salted and soaked in formalin, the hoofs and horns measured and labeled, and the disassembled parts crated and shipped to the Upper West Side. There, on Akeley’s production line, the remains were reassembled and processed into a perfect likeness of what had once been, a “real” copy of reality. The animal had become an “animal."
[more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on May 29, 2013 - 13 comments

Olympus Microscopy Resource Center digital video gallery

The Olympus Microscopy Resource Center digital video gallery, with: live cells, pond life and more, crystals and more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 29, 2013 - 4 comments

No Shit

Can fecal transplants save 14,000 lives a year?
posted by Artw on May 26, 2013 - 51 comments

Madon­nas of Sci­ence

The Madon­nas of Sci­ence, plus selected other work (possibly nsfw) by Chris Shaw. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 23, 2013 - 6 comments

Why Is Science Behind A Paywall?

A large portion of scientific research is publicly funded. So why do only the richest consumers have access to it?
posted by reenum on May 18, 2013 - 62 comments

Beethoven's Hair

On March 26th, 1827 Ludwig Van Beethoven died in Vienna. The day after, a twelve year old boy took a lock of his hair as a souvenir. 167 years later the hair was sold at an auction in London. Its new owners were two Americans, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevera. Between those dates the lock of hair undertook an extraordinary historical odyssey. From hand to hand, from country to country, and from century to century. This is the story of that journey. [more inside]
posted by 23 on May 18, 2013 - 15 comments

THUD! (only slightly bouncy)

Six science projects that kids and adults will love! (and you can do at home).
posted by quin on May 15, 2013 - 17 comments

Space Shack

Skylab, NASA's budget space station, launched 40 years ago today. Designed as an orbiting optical laboratory, she served as a cold war weapon, underwent an historic salvage job, and was the site of America's first space mutiny before landing hard in Australia while waiting for the Space Shuttle to be invented.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 14, 2013 - 37 comments

O, Canada...you're doing it wrong.

"Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value" The Canadian scientific research and development agency has announced a major policy change. Going forward, they will only perform research that has "social or economic gain".
posted by bitmage on May 13, 2013 - 97 comments

One genome, two plants

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From the Same Genome, and a Single Gene Can Make the Difference
One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference.

posted by Joe in Australia on May 12, 2013 - 24 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

On the slippery slope to Mecha-Mothra

Turns out moths are pretty good at operating small robotic vehicles.
posted by prize bull octorok on May 9, 2013 - 17 comments

Every meteorite since 861 AD: watch them fall

From Nogata to Chelyabinsk. [more inside]
posted by Gilgongo on May 8, 2013 - 16 comments

One thousand tubes of lipstick FOR SCIENCE

Do you wear makeup? Are you a giant nerd? If so, you should check out Brightest Bulb in the Box: Beauty for Critical Minds. Robyn examines makeup and beauty care products with a scientific eye, performing comparison tests and debunking pseudoscientific bullshit to the delight of anyone who wants to know what they're buying. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on May 6, 2013 - 22 comments

Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

"One might think that, once we know something is computable, how efficiently it can be computed is a practical question with little further philosophical importance. In this essay, I offer a detailed case that one would be wrong. In particular, I argue that computational complexity theory---the field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve computational problems---leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge, the strong AI debate, computationalism, the problem of logical omniscience, Hume's problem of induction, Goodman's grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality, closed timelike curves, and several other topics of philosophical interest. I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis."

posted by cthuljew on May 5, 2013 - 31 comments

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