Posts tagged with ‘science’

CNN’s Bill Weir Takes on Fox Nation
Via Bill Weir.

CNN’s Bill Weir Takes on Fox Nation

Via Bill Weir.

True Facts About The Mantis Shrimp

Filed Under: Explainers done right.

For more “True Facts,” say on the octopus, the armadillo and the frog, head this way.

Space is a Beautiful Place

The Royal Greenwich Observatory announced the finalists for its sixth annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Here are a few that made the cut. Winners will be announced in September.

01: Ivan Eder (top)
Royal Observatory… says: Situated 7500 light years away in the ‘W’-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia, the Heart Nebula is a vast region of glowing gas, energized by a cluster of young stars at its centre. The image depicts the central region, where dust clouds are being eroded and moulded into rugged shapes by the searing cosmic radiation.

02: Anneliese Possberg
Royal Observatory… says: The spectacular Northern Lights pictured unfolding over a fjord, in Skjervøy, Troms, Norway. The vibrant colours are produced at various altitudes by different atmospheric gases, with blue light emitted by nitrogen and green by oxygen. Red light can be produced by both gases, while purples, pinks and yellows occur where the various colours mix and intersect.

03: Mark Hanson
Royal Observatory… says: This colourful starscape taken from Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico, USA reveals the searing heat of the Crescent Nebula glowing in a whirl of red and blue. The emission nebula is a colossal shell of material ejected from a powerful but short-lived Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136), seen close to the image centre. Ultraviolet radiation and stellar wind now heats the swelling cloud, causing it to glow.

Want More?
Photos for the RGO competition are on Flickr. You can view the 14 finalists here. You can view the 2,500 or so submissions here.

Images: Select to embiggen.

Score One for Science: BBC Tells Journalists to Stop Including Denialists on Shows →

Via The Telegraph:

The BBC Trust on Thursday published a progress report into the corporation’s science coverage which was criticised in 2012 for giving too much air-time to critics who oppose non-contentious issues.

The report found that there was still an ‘over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality’ which sought to give the ‘other side’ of the argument, even if that viewpoint was widely dismissed…

…The Trust said that man-made climate change was one area where too much weight had been given to unqualified critics.

Over at Slate, Phil Plait explains:

In other [non-science] subjects, it’s possible for honest people with different values to come down on different sides of a debate. But when it comes to science, especially firmly established and consensually agreed-upon science, putting on some crackpot who disagrees is not “fair and balanced.”

News shows don’t put on a flat-earther whenever they show a map. They don’t get an opposing opinion from a young-Earth creationist when a new dinosaur fossil is found. They don’t interview an astrologer when a new exoplanet is discovered. So why put on a climate change denier when we’re talking about our planet heating up?

Does two make a trend?

No, but last fall, the Los Angeles Times told its readers that it would no longer publish letters that deny — or argue against — human activity as a contributor to climate change.

A Quarter of Americans Think the Sun Goes Around the Earth
So goes a survey released Friday (PDF) by the National Science Foundation. 
Before laughing at US ineptitude, NPR reports that a similar 2005 survey conducted in the European Union showed 34% of respondents answering the question incorrectly. 

A Quarter of Americans Think the Sun Goes Around the Earth

So goes a survey released Friday (PDF) by the National Science Foundation. 

Before laughing at US ineptitude, NPR reports that a similar 2005 survey conducted in the European Union showed 34% of respondents answering the question incorrectly. 

How to Remember Anything (runtime ~20 minutes)

For those who have never seen it: a totally useful Ted Talk by science journalist Joshua Foer (who is also the founder of the absolutely awesome Atlas Obscura). He talks about covering the U.S. Memory Championships where he learned how humans can train their brains to remember a lot in a little bit of time. But more importantly, he talks about why we ought to strengthen our memory in an age when one can outsource the storage of most information to the web.

Related: Last year, Clive Thompson published a fascinating book about how technology is changing the way we think (mostly for the better). Maria Popova reviewed it on Brain Pickings, covering some of his most important observations, namely: the difference in transparency between traditional public storehouses of information (i.e.: the public library) and modern storehouses (i.e.: the web). And in this context, we wrote a bit about the perils of algorithmic curation.

Illustrating Medicine, In History

Images and descriptions via Hagströmerbiblioteket where you can browse 15th through early-20th century illustrations of anatomy, biology, botany and more.

From top to bottom:

Georg Constantin
This extraordinary tattoo is one of over 100 chromolithographed plates in Hebra’s monumental atlas of skin diseases. It shows the naked Georg Constantin from Albania, whose 388 tattoos of all kinds of animals in red and blue cover his face and entire body. Atlas der Hautkrankheiten, (Vienna, 1856-1876)

Anatomical Plate
Hans von Gersdorff, surnamed ’Schylhans’ or ’Squinting Hans’, from Strasburg, was an army surgeon who took part in numerous campaigns, including the Burgundian War (1476). His widely circulated handbook of wound surgery, first published in 1517) was based on forty years of experience, chiefly in various military campaigns. It is illustrated with 25 full-page woodcuts by Hans Wechtlin including the first image in a book of an amputation. Feldtbuch der Wundartzney, (Augsburg, Heinrich Stayner, 1543)

Artificial Mechanical Hand
Paré was a French barber surgeon and the official Royal Surgeon for four successive French kings. He is considered one of the fathers of modern surgery, and a leader of surgical techniques. His collective works were published in several editions, a book of over 1000 pages richly illustrated with woodcuts and among them his inventions of both artificial hands and legs. Les Oeuvres. Quatrième édition, (Paris, 1585)

Anatomical Plate
One of the most spectacular anatomical atlases ever produced. Antonio Serrantoni was responsible for the drawing, engraving, and hand-colouring of the breathtaking plates, which were first published in natural size, in a volume in large elephant folio (70 x 100 cm), which was evidently impossible to use, but later reduced in a new version with the 75 engraved plates in normal folio size, printed in colours and finished by hand, each plate accompanied by a duplicate in outline. Anatomia Universale , (Florence, 1833)

Enhancing Sex with Google Glass
So you can use Google Glass to live-stream and switch between multiple angles during sex. The point is basically to try to do what Google likes to do best. Use design and technology to disrupt at scale. 
The Guardian:

The project started off with the question “how can we make sex more awesome with Google Glass”, says Sherif Maktabi, the founder of the project.
The answer to that question is, apparently, shared live streaming, ephemeral video recording and voice controls for your connected home.
Maktabi, a Lebanese product design student at London’s Central Saint Martins art college, had only one day with the smart-glasses at a hackathon held in November 2013, but development has continued in the months since then.
The cornerstone of Sex with Glass is the shared live streaming: “See what your partner can see… Just say ‘OK glass, it’s time’ and Glass will stream what you see to each other. And if you feel like stopping everything, just ask: ‘OK glass, pull out’.”
"Some people find what we do repulsive," Maktabi says. "But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal.

Still, there are lots of questions to be answered. 
Image: The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. Because the impulse behind this stuff is certainly not new.

Enhancing Sex with Google Glass

So you can use Google Glass to live-stream and switch between multiple angles during sex. The point is basically to try to do what Google likes to do best. Use design and technology to disrupt at scale. 

The Guardian:

The project started off with the question “how can we make sex more awesome with Google Glass”, says Sherif Maktabi, the founder of the project.

The answer to that question is, apparently, shared live streaming, ephemeral video recording and voice controls for your connected home.

Maktabi, a Lebanese product design student at London’s Central Saint Martins art college, had only one day with the smart-glasses at a hackathon held in November 2013, but development has continued in the months since then.

The cornerstone of Sex with Glass is the shared live streaming: “See what your partner can see… Just say ‘OK glass, it’s time’ and Glass will stream what you see to each other. And if you feel like stopping everything, just ask: ‘OK glass, pull out’.”

"Some people find what we do repulsive," Maktabi says. "But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal.

Still, there are lots of questions to be answered

Image: The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. Because the impulse behind this stuff is certainly not new.

Boiling Water Meets Freezing Air, Creates Snow

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus posts this short video to YouTube to demonstrate “what happens when you toss a pot of boiling water into the sky when it is -21°F with a wind chill of -51°F.”

The science behind it all, via Slate:

You might think that boiling water would be harder to instantly freeze than a pot of cold water. In fact, Holthaus tried cold water immediately afterward, and it stayed in liquid form. It’s the gradient between the hot water and the freezing air that makes the trick work, climatologist Mark Seeley explained in a 2011 LiveScience explainer on the phenomenon. The boiling water has relatively low viscosity, so when you throw it into the air, it breaks into tiny droplets that vaporize almost instantly due to their high ratio of surface area to volume. But cold air can’t hold much water vapor, so it quickly clings to tiny sodium or calcium particles and crystallizes.

Read through to Slate to watch what happens when you shoot boiling water from a Super Soaker in -41°F degree weather.

Why We Should Read, Scientifically Speaking
Via The Independent:

The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.
The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain.
Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition - for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.
“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study.
“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

Image: One of the dozens of standalone libraries promoting literacy in Bogota, Columbia. Via Bilingual Librarian: the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques are “often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.”

Why We Should Read, Scientifically Speaking

Via The Independent:

The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.

The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the the primary sensory motor region of the brain.

Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition - for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study.

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

Image: One of the dozens of standalone libraries promoting literacy in Bogota, Columbia. Via Bilingual Librarian: the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques are “often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.”

Evolution, or Lack Thereof
Via Pew Research Center, Public Views on Human Evolution.

Evolution, or Lack Thereof

Via Pew Research Center, Public Views on Human Evolution.

Typhoon Haiyan

Via the BBC:

More than 120 people have been reported killed by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines after the massive storm swept through on Friday.

Aviation officials said 100 bodies were lying in the streets of the city of Tacloban. Local journalists reported 20 bodies in a church in a nearby town…

…The storm made landfall shortly before dawn on Friday, bringing gusts that reached 379km/h (235 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

Images: Haiyan approaches the Philippines, via the Japan Meteorological Agency and EUMETSAT (top). Detailed infrared image of Haiyan’s Eye, via NOAA (middle). Haiyan rolls into the Philippines, via University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (bottom). Select to embiggen.

NEXT DAY UPDATEPhilippines Typhoon Devastation Is Far Worse Than Expected As Death Toll Climbs to 10,000, via Slate.

The United States by Mood →

Time Magazine reports on a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that took 13 years to survey 1.6 million people 48 US states (Alaska and Hawaii didn’t have enough respondents) about their personality:

As its name implies, the survey measures personality along five different spectra, with the Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism labels forming a handy acronym: OCEAN.

Each of those categories is defined by more-specific personality descriptors, such as curiosity and a preference for novelty (openness); self-discipline and dependability (conscientiousness); sociability and gregariousness (extroversion); compassion and cooperativeness (agreeableness); and anxiety and anger (neuroticism). The inventory gets at the precise mix of those qualities in any one person by asking subjects to respond on a 1-to-5 scale, from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with 44 statements including, “I see myself as someone who can be tense,” or “can be reserved,” or “has an active imagination,” or “is talkative.” There turned out to be a whole lot of Americans willing to sit still for that kind of in-depth prying, from a low of 3,166 in Wyoming (a huge sample group for a small state) to a high of 177,085 in California.

Researchers then broke the country down into three macro regions based on the results, which were categorized into “temperamental and uninhibited” (New England and the Mid-Atlantic), “friendly and conventional” (the South and Midwest) and “relaxed and creative” (the West Coast, Rocky Mountains and Sun Belt).

Read more about it here, see the map and take a ten question quiz that’ll tell you where you fit in the best. 

What happened to quicksand?

Remember when quicksand seemed to be in every movie and TV show? Where did it go? In our new short, reporter Dan Engber looks into it…waaaaaaay into it. (via wnycradiolab)

FJP: Radiolab. Always a good way to spend 15 minutes… or much more. Besides, quicksand fetish communities!

(via wnyc)