infovore + science   51

Ursula K. Le Guin: A Rant About "Technology"
"One way to illustrate that most technologies are, in fact, pretty "hi," is to ask yourself of any manmade object, Do I know how to make one?

Anybody who ever lighted a fire without matches has probably gained some proper respect for "low" or "primitive" or "simple" technologies; anybody who ever lighted a fire with matches should have the wits to respect that notable hi-tech invention." Ursula le Guin with strong truth about technology and science fiction.
sf  writing  ursulaleguin  science  anthropology 
august 2017 by infovore
Quick, How Might the Alien Spacecraft Work?—Stephen Wolfram Blog
Stephen Wolfram on "designing science" for Arrival. I always forget the Wolfram Language is real; it looks like movie-computer, but is in fact real-computer. Lots of nice points in here - especially about going from the scientific reasoning back to things that work in a two-hour movie.
film  arrival  science  stephenwolfram  physics  moviereal 
november 2016 by infovore
Amazing Structure: A Conversation With Ursula Franklin - The Atlantic
"When I was a child in school, the fact that the laws of nature seemed to be permanent and immutable, compared to the laws of the state, made science most attractive to me. And I recall as a kid in school, a physics experiment—and my also mischievous pleasure that even these overwhelming, secular authorities couldn’t change the direction of a beam of electrons." And it goes from there. Ursula Franklin sounds quite remarkable.
ursulafranklin  science  interview  technology  feminism  canada 
october 2014 by infovore
"You know, maybe aliens know all this, and we’re come-latelies to the whole comprehending-everything thing, but there isn’t really any more you can do in our current Universe than this. It’s the top thing. It is everything. This makes us amazing." James has basically said everything about our trip to CERN that is worth saying. This is all true. It was great and humbling. I'd also point out that every time you step out, you're under the Alps, and they're also phenomenal and humbling.
cern  science  discovery  wonder  awe  jamesbridle  stml 
february 2012 by infovore
YouTube - My Little Pony Physics Presentation
" For our project, we had to find three scenes from any movie or TV show and use physics to find out if something was or wasn't possible. I got 100% on it." In this case: 'Physical Impossibilities in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic'. He's really not wrong about the animation.
physics  science  cartoons 
may 2011 by infovore
Gamasutra: Ben Lewis-Evans's Blog - My Heart on Halo
"I am currently using heart measurement equipment for an experiment as part of my PhD and for fun (N=1 isn't usually great Science) I thought I would bring the equipment home last weekend and see what my heart looks like when I am playing a mutliplayer game of Halo Reach (Slayer DMRs on Zealot - Blue Team). Here is what I found."
halo  science  games  experiment 
january 2011 by infovore
Steven Strogatz on the Elements of Math - Series - The New York Times
"Steven Strogatz, an award-winning professor, takes readers from the basics to the baffling in a 15-part series on mathematics. Beginning with a column on why numbers are helpful, he goes on to investigate topics including negative numbers, calculus and group theory, finishing with the mysteries of infinity." Lovely series of online articles at the NYT explaining maths. Lots of good stuff.
mathematics  writing  science 
december 2010 by infovore
Joe Moran's blog: Slide rules rule OK
"You never see anyone using a slide rule in a film. Matinee idol scientists always work out algorithms unaided in their brilliant minds, or scrawl them manically in chalk on giant blackboards. By the same token that unfairly condemns people with colour-coded ring binders as the owners of overly tidy minds, slide rules are supposed to belong only to the pedantic foot soldiers of science, the plodders who have to show us their workings out. But slide rules are lovely things: pleasingly solid, elegantly mysterious in their markings, the perfect marriage of form and function." Joe Moran on slide rules and scientists.
joemoran  science  maths  stationary  sliderule 
september 2010 by infovore
Where Science, Art and Photography Intersect (25 photos) - My Modern Metropolis
" does Charland describe his own work? He says, "Its like 5th grade science mixed with sculpture. Its about being curious and playful. There is still a lot to wonder about."" Lovely, lovely long-exposure work, proving again that in very long exposures, you can wander around and not really show up. My favourites are the most elegant - the final image, of a candle burning down over an hour, is stunning.
science  longexposure  photography  light  lightpainting 
august 2010 by infovore
BBC - Adam Curtis Blog: The Undead Henrietta Lacks And Her Immortal Dynasty
"Henrietta was an African American woman from Baltimore who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Before she died some of her cancerous tissue was taken - without her permission - and the cells have been reproducing in laboratories around the world ever since.

Henrietta Lacks' cells are immortal. They are known as the HeLa cell line, and they have become deeply involved in all sorts of medical and genetic research - sometimes in the most unexpected ways."
towatch  adamcurtis  henriettalacks  science  biology 
june 2010 by infovore
Dubious Quality: Repetitive, And Brutal (Please Note: I Am Not Referring To This Blog)
"In 1872, the British government and the Royal Society launched the first major oceanic expedition, transforming a two-hundred-and-twenty-six-foot naval warship into a floating laboratory...the ship, with five scientists, roamed the globe for thee and a half years. The crew was constantly dredging the ocean floor for specimens, and the work was repetitive, and brutal; two men went insane, two others drowned, and another committed suicide." I am looking forward to Bill Harris telling me more about this.
billharris  quotation  royalsociety  science  madness 
may 2010 by infovore
Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News
"A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed quantum state of moving and not moving." Oh boy. That's quite a thing (and: quite a sentence!)
science  physics  quantummechanics  blimey 
march 2010 by infovore
Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: case report -- Rogozov and Bermel 339: b4965 -- BMJ
"The Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov’s self operation, undertaken without any other medical professional around, was a testament to determination and the will to life." Rogozov was the surgeon on a Soviet Antarctic expedition, on the ice for a year. When he developed appendicitis, his only choice was to operate... on himself. This remarkable BMJ article draws on his diary to explain what happened. (There are two moderately icky photographs, should you not like that sort of thing).
surgery  science  antarctica  survival  appendicitis  russia  history 
january 2010 by infovore
Lasers would never have shone if Mandelson had been in charge | Technology | The Observer
"The laser has become vital for our way of life, yet no researcher who worked on it after Einstein's paper could have predicted what would emerge. If Mandelson had had anything to do with it, we'd be reading barcodes by flashlight."
politics  funding  technology  research  science 
january 2010 by infovore
GPS and Relativity
Fascinating: GPS satellites are both high enough, and travelling fast enough, that you need to correct for relativistic effects in order for them to be effective.
science  gps  space  relativity  time  maths 
january 2010 by infovore
The Master and His Emissary| Book review | Books | The Guardian
"McGilchrist's suggestion is that the encouragement of precise, categorical thinking at the expense of background vision and experience – an encouragement which, from Plato's time on, has flourished to such impressive effect in European thought – has now reached a point where it is seriously distorting both our lives and our thought. Our whole idea of what counts as scientific or professional has shifted towards literal precision – towards elevating quantity over quality and theory over experience – in a way that would have astonished even the 17th-century founders of modern science, though they were already far advanced on that path." Sharp review of what sounds like a fascinating book; I particularly liked this quotation.
books  brain  psychology  reviews  guardian  science 
january 2010 by infovore
Rare Important Instantaneous Photograph
Warning: gory 19th century photograph of donkey's head exploding at the other end. But seriously: you've invented an instantly-exposing gelatin plate; what's the fastest thing you can photograph to prove it works? Turns out the answer is: a donkey's head exploding.
photography  history  science  experiment  explosion 
september 2009 by infovore
Thunderbirds will grow a generation of mad engineers
"Thunderbirds is Rescue Fiction. All kids respond to rescue scenarios. Rescue Fiction is emotionally maturing - it removes the wish for magic, religion or flying people to zoom in to save the day; it confirms that it is a far more glorious and dazzling thing to invent ways to rescue ourselves."
engineering  engfi  science  technology  warrenellis  writing  thunderbirds  education 
september 2009 by infovore
Table of Condiments
...That Periodically Go Bad. Somewhat useful, surprisingly.
cooking  reference  periodictable  pastiche  humour  science 
july 2009 by infovore
io9 - New York Teenager Finds Weird, Introverted Supernova - Space
"At 14, Caroline Moore became the youngest person ever to discover a supernova. But months later, we're still figuring out how her find, dubbed SN 2008HA, can actually exist, since it defies everything we thought we knew." Awesome.
science  awesome  supernova  amatuerastronomy  citizenscience  discover  space 
june 2009 by infovore
The blue and the green | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
"This is why I tell people over and over again: you cannot trust what you see even with your own eyes. Your eyes are not cameras faithfully taking pictures of absolute truth of all that surrounds you. They have filters, and your brain has to interpret the jangled mess it gets fed. Colors are not what they appear, shapes are not what they appear (that zoomed image above is square, believe it or not), objects are not what they appear." This is crazy - and one of the few optical illusions I've seen that still works when zoomed-in super close. It's so hard to make head or tail of.
opticalillusion  perception  images  illusion  colour  science 
june 2009 by infovore
Editor quits after accepting bogus science article | Education |
"The editor-in-chief of an academic journal has resigned after his publication accepted a hoax article. The Open Information Science Journal failed to spot that the incomprehensible computer-generated paper was a fake. This was despite heavy hints from its authors, who claimed they were from the Centre for Research in Applied Phrenology." Oh dear.
science  journal  hoax  academia  publishing  openaccess 
june 2009 by infovore
Lesson 5
"File under Career, Future, Success"
image  talent  fame  skill  science  ohdear 
june 2009 by infovore
The Biology of B-Movie Monsters
"Size has been one of the most popular themes in monster movies, especially those from my favorite era, the 1950s. The premise is invariably to take something out of its usual context--make people small or something else (gorillas, grasshoppers, amoebae, etc.) large--and then play with the consequences. However, Hollywood's approach to the concept has been, from a biologist's perspective, hopelessly naïve." Fantastic: transcripts of a series of lectures about the biology of B-Movie monsters; funny, accurate, informative.
science  biology  movies  physics  scale 
may 2009 by infovore
Black Rain on Vimeo
Gorgeous, inspiring, and makes me wonder if it's all an ARG or not. I want to cut it to the music from the Pi trailer.
video  monochrome  astronomy  art  science  space 
april 2009 by infovore
Curating Chemistry
"Today it feels harder than ever to get the tools to play with science at home and I want to be able to give my son a chemistry set that he would relish getting out to experiment with. One that he could pass on to his younger brother when the time is right. One that will instill the joy of science, exploration and discovery in him. If I can’t buy one then I am going to make one, so this site will record my attempts to put together the best chemistry set a boy or girl could wish for." Smashing.
education  learning  science  chemistry  experimentation  home 
january 2009 by infovore
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: now, more than ever
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties."
science  technology  security  history  futurism  future  prescience 
january 2009 by infovore
Strategic video game improves critical cognitive skills in older adults
"There was a correlation between their performance on the game and their improvement on certain cognitive tests, Kramer said. Those who did well in the game also improved the most on switching between tasks. They also tended to do better on tests of working memory." Playing the game (Rise of Nations) didn't affect all tasks, but it had improvements on some - seemingly those involving task and process management.
videogames  research  learning  education  science  memory  cognitive  skills 
december 2008 by infovore
Big Contrarian → It just goes to show.
"If I only have so many hours in the day to devote to genuinely insightful things, Gladwell’s track record screams at me to ignore Outliers. At least for now. At least until I’m stuck on a cross-country flight, liquored up, and ready for a good fight." Jack Shedd is bored of anecdotes.
writing  journalism  anecdotes  evidence  science  malcolmgladwell 
november 2008 by infovore
2009 AAAS Dance Contest
Science doctoral candidates attempt to communicate their thesis subjects through the medium of dance. The winners get time with a professional choreographer to make the whole thing better, and to see it performed by professional dancers at the end. Crazy, wonderful.
dance  research  education  science 
november 2008 by infovore
"Each face is made of approximately 150 million tiny carbon nanotubes; that's about how many Americans voted on November 4." Science saves the day, yet again. Or something like that.
science  tiny  nanotubes  election  propaganda 
november 2008 by infovore
xkcd - A Webcomic - Height
I don't normally link to XKCD, simply because it would become repetitive... but "Height" is really lovely.
science  visualisation  comic  xkcd  scale  space  altitude 
september 2008 by infovore
Games Without Frontiers: How Videogames Blind Us With Science
"After all, what is science? It's a technique for uncovering the hidden rules that govern the world. And videogames are simulated worlds that kids are constantly trying to master. Lineage and World of Warcraft aren't "real" world, of course, but they are consistent -- the behavior of the environment and the creatures in it are governed by hidden and generally unchanging rules, encoded by the game designers. In the process of learning a game, gamers try to deduce those rules. This leads them, without them even realizing it, to the scientific method."
games  science  scientificmethod  systems  method  deduction  statistics  inference  wired  teaching  education 
september 2008 by infovore
Seed: The Creation Simulation
"Scientists brought in to evaluate the game for potential education projects recoiled as it became increasingly evident that the game broke many more scientific laws than it obeyed. Those unwilling to comment publicly speak privately of grave concerns about a game which seems to further the idea of intelligent design under the badge of science, and they bristle at its willingness to use words like "evolution" and "mutation" in entirely misleading ways." Rather fine SEED cover article from Margaret, on Spore and just how scientific it is (and if it really matters). Some lovely stuff in here (and a cracking conclusion).
spore  games  science  willwright  play  intelligentdesign  creation  creativity  evolution  seedmagazine 
september 2008 by infovore
Drawings of Scientists
In 2000, a group of seventh-graders were asked to draw what they thought scientists looked like and describe their pictures. Then, after visting Fermilab, they were asked to repeat the exercise. Some of the quotations are genuinely excellent, cf "Some people think that (scientists) are just some genius nerds in white coats, but they are actually people who are trying to live up to their dreams and learn more." Aren't we all?
science  illustration  children  understanding  scientists  representation  people  perception 
september 2008 by infovore | A Place for Science | Labs At Night
A beautiful series of photographs of labs at night; lovely interface to browse them, too. Science is awesome.
photography  science  labs  laboratories 
july 2008 by infovore
Dark Knight Shift: Why Batman Could Exist--But Not for Long: Scientific American
An interview with E. Paul Zehr, whose book, "Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero", discusses the matter of the interview. (is it possible for a normal guy to become about as fit as Batman? And can you maintain it?) Some smart points.
analysis  health  fitness  exercise  batman  comics  essay  science 
july 2008 by infovore
The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete
Moving away from modelling and into vast-scale collection; back to the ways of natural philosophy. Only this time: we really can collect enough *stuff*.
biology  science  data  analysis  collection  modelling  scale  genetics 
june 2008 by infovore
Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - Brighten the Corners » Blog Archive » Over The Ice
"There’s always the feeling that you’re not seen as either a real programmer or a real scientist; you kind of fall between two stools." Some great thoughts from Andrew on the problems you get when people aren't interested in mixing paint.
software  development  science 
december 2007 by infovore
BBC NEWS | Technology | Virtual worlds threaten 'values'
"Are we absolutely sure that this is the very best we can offer young people?" [Lord Puttnam] asked. "Do we really want them to think of themselves as not much more than consumers?"
games  play  virtualworlds  mmorpg  secondlife  capitalism  consumerism  science  culture 
november 2007 by infovore
Science Tattoos - a photoset on Flickr
Scientists show their science-related tattoos. Some are better than others.
science  tattoos  bodyart  photography 
september 2007 by infovore
Space to think | Review | The Observer
"...HG Wells, had [this] huge, leisurely 'here and [now]' from which to contemplate what might happen. Wells knew exactly where he was and knew he was at the centre of things.' Wonderful William Gibson quotation.
interview  gibson  williamgibson  science  futurism  fiction  hgwells 
august 2007 by infovore
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Queen star hands in science PhD
Brian May finishes writing up; now he's just waiting on the Viva. Good for him.
august 2007 by infovore
iPhone, Wiimote, or newborn baby: which has the best built-in accelerometer? (
"Much of the past 4 weeks has been spent determining which has the most sensitive built-in accelerometer: an iPhone, a Nintendo Wiimote, or our newborn son."
science  hardware  children  playful  writing  fun 
july 2007 by infovore
Drifting rubber duckies chart oceans of plastic |
Buoyed perhaps by the prospect of an end to their pelagic paddling, a flotilla of yellow bathtub rubber ducks, lost at sea when they fell off a container ship in the North Pacific in 1992, is about to wash up on Europe's western shores.
science  awesome  oceanography  chance  experiment  environment 
may 2007 by infovore
collision detection: The roundest objects ever built by hand
"The most perfectly round objects ever made by humanity, flying through the void on one of the purest scientific quests ever." Wow.
science  space  physics  experiment  spacetime  wow 
may 2007 by infovore
The Remarkable Case Of Davidson's Eyes by H.G. Wells: Arthur's Classic Novels
Wells short story I don't know; a lovely tale of (literal) tele-vision. Linked to by Rod elsewhere.
shortstory  hgwells  scifi  science  fiction 
march 2007 by infovore

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