jm + science   90

One Man's Plan to Make Sure Gene Editing Doesn't Go Haywire - The Atlantic
Open science - radical transparency where gene-editing and CRISPR is involved. Sounds great.
“For gene drive, the closed-door model is morally unacceptable. You don’t have the right to go into your lab and build something that is ineluctably designed to affect entire ecosystems. If it escapes into the wild, it would be expected to spread and affect people’s lives in unknown ways. Doing that in secret denies people a voice.”

Also this is a little scary:

in 2015, he was shocked to read a paper, due to be published in ... Science, in which Californian researchers had inadvertently created a gene drive in fruit flies, without knowing what gene drives are. They developed it as a research tool for spreading a trait among lab populations, and had no ambitions to alter wild animals. And yet, if any of their insects had escaped, that’s what would have happened.
science  openness  open-source  visibility  transparency  crispr  gene-editing  mice  nantucket  gene-drive 
12 days ago by jm
Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime
Excellent infographic (sadly, none in Ireland for the rest of my lifetime)
eclipse  space  maps  science  infographic  solar-eclipse  sun 
13 days ago by jm
Everybody lies: how Google search reveals our darkest secrets | Technology | The Guardian
What can we learn about ourselves from the things we ask online? US data scientist Seth Stephens‑Davidowitz analysed anonymous Google search results, uncovering disturbing truths about [America's] desires, beliefs and prejudices


Fascinating. I find it equally interesting how flawed the existing methodologies for polling and surveying are, compared to Google's data, according to this
science  big-data  google  lying  surveys  polling  secrets  data-science  america  racism  searching 
14 days ago by jm
Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype | Science | The Guardian
An open letter signed by about 100 scientists 'from different countries and academic fields with research expertise and experience in screen time, child development and evidence-based policy.'
If the government were to implement guidelines on screen-based technology at this point, as the authors of the letter suggest, this would be on the basis of little to no evidence. This risks the implementation of unnecessary, ineffective or even potentially harmful policies. For guidelines to have a meaningful impact, they need to be grounded in robust research evidence and acknowledge that children’s health and wellbeing is a complex issue affected by many other factors, such as socioeconomic status, relational poverty, and family environment – all of which are likely to be more relevant for children’s health and well-being than screens. For example, there is no consistent evidence that more screen time leads to less outdoor play; if anything the evidence indicates that screen time and physical outdoor activity are unrelated, and reductions in average time spent in outdoor play over time seem to be driven by other factors. Policy efforts to increase outdoor play that focus on screen time are therefore likely to be ineffective.


(via Damien Mulley)
via:damienmulley  science  children  psychology  screens  screen-time  childhood  development  evidence  policy  health  open-letters 
5 weeks ago by jm
Who Discovered Why The Challenger Exploded?
Everyone knows Richard Feynman’s famous televised demonstration that the Challenger had exploded because its O-rings got stiff when they were cold -- but it wasn’t Feynman’s discovery. It was Sally Ride’s.'

(via Tony Finch)
richard-feynman  sally-ride  history  space  challenger  o-rings  science  engineering  nasa 
march 2017 by jm
Pink Trombone
A model of how voice sounds are produced. Pretty cool
voice  phonetics  sound  mouth  science 
march 2017 by jm
How Space Weather Can Influence Elections on Earth - Motherboard
oh, god -- I'm not keen on this take: how's about designing systems that recognise the risks?
"Everything was going fine, but then suddenly, there were an additional 4,000 votes cast. Because it was a local election, which are normally very small, people were surprised and asked, 'how did this happen?'"

The culprit was not voter fraud or hacked machines. It was a single event upset (SEU), a term describing the fallout of an ionizing particle bouncing off a vulnerable node in the machine's register, causing it to flip a bit, and log the additional votes. The Sun may not have been the direct source of the particle—cosmic rays from outside the solar system are also in the mix—but solar-influenced space weather certainly contributes to these SEUs.
bit-flips  science  elections  voting-machines  vvat  belgium  bugs  risks  cosmic-rays 
february 2017 by jm
Reproducible research: Stripe’s approach to data science
This is intriguing -- using Jupyter notebooks to embody data analysis work, and ensure it's reproducible, which brings better rigour similarly to how unit tests improve coding. I must try this.
Reproducibility makes data science at Stripe feel like working on GitHub, where anyone can obtain and extend others’ work. Instead of islands of analysis, we share our research in a central repository of knowledge. This makes it dramatically easier for anyone on our team to work with our data science research, encouraging independent exploration.

We approach our analyses with the same rigor we apply to production code: our reports feel more like finished products, research is fleshed out and easy to understand, and there are clear programmatic steps from start to finish for every analysis.
stripe  coding  data-science  reproducability  science  jupyter  notebooks  analysis  data  experiments 
november 2016 by jm
The Fall of BIG DATA – arg min blog
Strongly agreed with this -- particularly the second of the three major failures, specifically:
Our community has developed remarkably effective tools to microtarget advertisements. But if you use ad models to deliver news, that’s propaganda. And just because we didn’t intend to spread rampant misinformation doesn’t mean we are not responsible.
big-data  analytics  data-science  statistics  us-politics  trump  data  science  propaganda  facebook  silicon-valley 
november 2016 by jm
Great comment on the "realism" of space photos
In short, the answer to the question “is this what it would look like if I was there?” is almost always no, but that is true of every photograph. The photos taken from space cameras are no more fake or false than the photos taken from any camera. Like all photos they are a visual interpretation using color to display data. Most space photos have information online about how they were created, what filters were used, and all kinds of interesting details about processing. The discussion about whether a space photo is real or fake is meaningless. There's no distinction between photoshopped and not. It's a nuanced view but the nature of the situation demands it.
photography  photos  space  cassini  probes  cameras  light  wavelengths  science  vision  realism  real 
november 2016 by jm
The "Alpha Wolf" notion is outmoded and incorrect
via Saladin Ahmed -- the scientist who coined the term abandoned it as useless years ago:
The concept of the alpha wolf is well ingrained in the popular wolf literature at least partly because of my book "The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species," written in 1968, published in 1970, republished in paperback in 1981, and currently still in print, despite my numerous pleas to the publisher to stop publishing it. Although most of the book's info is still accurate, much is outdated. We have learned more about wolves in the last 40 years then in all of previous history.

One of the outdated pieces of information is the concept of the alpha wolf. "Alpha" implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle. However, most wolves who lead packs achieved their position simply by mating and producing pups, which then became their pack. In other words they are merely breeders, or parents, and that's all we call them today, the "breeding male," "breeding female," or "male parent," "female parent," or the "adult male" or "adult female." In the rare packs that include more than one breeding animal, the "dominant breeder" can be called that, and any breeding daughter can be called a "subordinate breeder."
biology  animals  wolves  alpha  alpha-males  mra  science  wolf-packs  society  competition  parenting 
october 2016 by jm
"The couple, who had no experience of wine-making but much faith in professorial expertise…"
I love this story -- a wealthy couple buy a vineyard in the Languedoc for its theoretically-optimal microclimate for wine-making. Defying what one's preconceptions would expect (mine included!), the results were fantastic.

In the Languedoc there is a vineyard that teaches us an important lesson about textbook learning and its application to the world. In the early Seventies it was bought by a wealthy couple, who consulted professors Emile Peynaud and Henri Enjalbert, the world’s leading academic oenologist and oenological geologist respectively. Between them these men convinced the couple that their new vineyard had a theoretically ideal microclimate for wine-making. When planted with theoretically ideal vines whose fruits would be processed in the optimal way according to the up-to-date science of oenology, this vineyard had the potential to produce wine to match the great first growths of Bordeaux. The received wisdom that great wine was the product of an inscrutable (and untransferable) tradition was quite mistaken, the professors said: it could be done with hard work and a fanatical attention to detail. The couple, who had no experience of wine-making but much faith in professorial expertise, took a deep breath and went ahead.

If life were reliably like novels, their experiment would have been a disaster. In fact Aimé and Véronique Guibert have met with a success so unsullied that it would make a stupefying novel (it has already been the subject of a comatogenic work of non-fiction). The first vintage they declared (in 1978) was described by Gault Millau as ‘Château Lafite du Languedoc’; others have been praised to the heights by the likes of Hugh Johnson and Robert Parker. The wine is now on the list at the Tour d’Argent and the 1986 vintage retails at the vineyard for £65 a bottle. The sole shadow on the lives of these millionaires is cast by the odd hailstorm.

No one to whom I have begun recounting the story believes it will end well. Most people are extremely unwilling to grant that faith in textbook knowledge should ever be crowned with success. We have a very strong narrative bias against such stories. It is a bias we forget once our children fall sick or we have to travel in an aeroplane, but so long as we are in storytelling mode we simply deny that systematic textbook reasoning can make headway against whimsy and serendipity. Apart from anything else, it is deeply unfair that it should.
books  science  languedoc  wine  academia  microclimates  preconceptions 
september 2016 by jm
MRI software bugs could upend years of research - The Register
In their paper at PNAS, they write: “the most common software packages for fMRI analysis (SPM, FSL, AFNI) can result in false-positive rates of up to 70%. These results question the validity of some 40,000 fMRI studies and may have a large impact on the interpretation of neuroimaging results.”

For example, a bug that's been sitting in a package called 3dClustSim for 15 years, fixed in May 2015, produced bad results (3dClustSim is part of the AFNI suite; the others are SPM and FSL). That's not a gentle nudge that some results might be overstated: it's more like making a bonfire of thousands of scientific papers.

Further: “Our results suggest that the principal cause of the invalid cluster inferences is spatial autocorrelation functions that do not follow the assumed Gaussian shape”.

The researchers used published fMRI results, and along the way they swipe the fMRI community for their “lamentable archiving and data-sharing practices” that prevent most of the discipline's body of work being re-analysed. ®
fmri  science  mri  statistics  cluster-inference  autocorrelation  data  papers  medicine  false-positives  fps  neuroimaging 
july 2016 by jm
PLOS ONE: Tyrannobdella rex N. Gen. N. Sp. and the Evolutionary Origins of Mucosal Leech Infestations
Today in nose-leech news -- the paper!
Principal Findings: A new genus and species of leech from Perú was found feeding from the nasopharynx of humans. Unlike any other leech previously described, this new taxon has but a single jaw with very large teeth. Phylogenetic analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial genes using parsimony and Bayesian inference demonstrate that the new species belongs among a larger, global clade of leeches, all of which feed from the mucosal surfaces of mammals.

Conclusions: This new species, found feeding from the upper respiratory tract of humans in Perú, clarifies an expansion of the family Praobdellidae to include the new species Tyrannobdella rex n. gen. n.sp., along with others in the genera Dinobdella, Myxobdella, Praobdella and Pintobdella. Moreover, the results clarify a single evolutionary origin of a group of leeches that specializes on mucous membranes, thus, posing a distinct threat to human health.
leeches  nose-leech  papers  science  species  tyrannobdella-rex  horror 
may 2016 by jm
A programming language for E. coli
Mind = blown.
MIT biological engineers have created a programming language that allows them to rapidly design complex, DNA-encoded circuits that give new functions to living cells. Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain environmental conditions. They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.
"It is literally a programming language for bacteria," says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. "You use a text-based language, just like you're programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell."
dna  mit  e-coli  bacteria  verilog  programming  coding  biohacking  science 
april 2016 by jm
Health of purebred vs mixed breed dogs: the actual data - The Institute of Canine Biology

This study found that purebred dogs have a significantly greater risk of developing many of the hereditary disorders examined in this study. No, mixed breed dogs are not ALWAYS healthier than purebreds; and also, purebreds are not "as healthy" as mixed breed dogs. The results of this study will surprise nobody who understands the basics of Mendelian inheritance. Breeding related animals increases the expression of genetic disorders caused by recessive mutations, and it also increases the probability of producing offspring that will inherit the assortment of genes responsible for a polygenic disorder. 


In conclusion, go mutts.
dogs  breeding  genetics  hereditary-disorders  science  inheritance  recessive-mutation  data 
march 2016 by jm
National Children’s Science Centre due to open in 2018
Good for science fans, not so hot for real tennis fans.

The former real tennis court building close to the concert hall’s north wing would be used for temporary and visiting exhibitors, with a tunnel connecting it to the science centre. The National Children’s Science Centre is due to open in late 2018 and will also be known as the Exploration Station, said Dr Danny O’Hare, founding president of Dublin City University and chairman of the Exploration Station board since 2006.
real-tennis  tennis  nch  dublin  science  kids  planetarium 
february 2016 by jm
The science behind "don't drink when pregnant" is rubbish
As the economist Emily Oster pointed out in her 2013 book Expecting Better, there is also no “proven safe” level of Tylenol or caffeine, and yet both are fine in moderation during pregnancy. Oster pored through reams of research on alcohol and pregnancy for her book and concluded that there is simply no scientific evidence that light drinking during pregnancy impacts a baby’s health. (In one frequently cited 2001 study that suggested light drinking in pregnancy increases the chances of a child displaying aggressive behaviors, the drinkers were also significantly likelier to have taken cocaine during pregnancy.)


My wife also followed the paper trail on this issue in the past. In the papers from which these recommendations were derived, the level of drinking at which any effects were observed in babies was when women consumed at least *9 units every day* for the entire pregnancy. That's an entire bottle of wine, daily!
booze  alcohol  science  facts  papers  medicine  emily-oster  babies  pregnancy  pre-pregnant  research 
february 2016 by jm
Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work
“Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression.”
medicine  science  statistics  placebo  evidence  via:hn  regression-to-the-mean 
december 2015 by jm
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist
The data clearly indicated that a nocebo effect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless internet, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did.
gluten  placebo  nocebo  food  science  health  diet  gluten-free  fodmaps 
august 2015 by jm
Tim Hunt "jokes" about women scientists. Or not. (with image, tweets) · deborahblum · Storify
'[Tim Hunt] said that while he meant to be ironic, he did think it was hard to collaborate with women because they are too emotional - that he was trying to be honest about the problems.' So much for the "nasty twitter took my jokes seriously" claims then.
twitter  science  misogyny  women  tim-hunt  deborah-blum  journalism 
june 2015 by jm
I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss
“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily”, page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website. Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.


Interesting bit: the online commenters commenting on the published stories quickly saw through the bullshit. Why can't the churnalising journos do that?
chocolate  journalism  science  diet  food  churnalism  pr  bild  health  clinical-trials  papers  peer-review  research 
may 2015 by jm
TIL we have more gravity than Canada
'Early gravity mapping efforts in the 1960s revealed that the Hudson Bay area in particular exerts a weaker gravitational force. Since less mass equals less gravity, there must be less mass underneath these areas.' informed!
gravity  canada  geode  earth  science  hudson-bay  mass 
may 2015 by jm
'Can People Distinguish Pâté from Dog Food?'
Ugh.

Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and
inexpensive substitute for pâté or processed blended meat products such as Spam or
liverwurst. However, the social stigma associated with the human consumption of pet
food makes an unbiased comparison challenging. To prevent bias, Newman's Own dog
food was prepared with a food processor to have the texture and appearance of a liver
mousse. In a double-blind test, subjects were presented with five unlabeled blended meat
products, one of which was the prepared dog food. After ranking the samples on the basis
of taste, subjects were challenged to identify which of the five was dog food. Although
72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste
(Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05), subjects were not better than
random at correctly identifying the dog food.
pate  food  omgwtf  science  research  dog-food  meat  economics  taste  flavour 
may 2015 by jm
Closed access means people die
'We've paid 100 BILLION USD over the last 10 years to "publish" science and medicine. Ebola is a massive systems failure.' See also https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150409/17514230608/dont-think-open-access-is-important-it-might-have-prevented-much-ebola-outbreak.shtml :

'The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013. [...]
But, as the team discovered, that "conventional wisdom" was wrong. In fact, they found a bunch of studies, buried behind research paywalls, that revealed that there was significant evidence of antibodies to the Ebola virus in Liberia and in other nearby nations. There was one from 1982 that noted: "medical personnel in Liberian health centers should be aware of the possibility that they may come across active cases and thus be prepared to avoid nosocomial epidemics."
deaths  liberia  ebola  open-access  papers  elsevier  science  medicine  reprints 
april 2015 by jm
Science is in crisis and scientists have lost confidence in Government policy
Excellent op-ed from Dr David McConnell, fellow emeritus of TCD's Smurfit Institute of Genetics: 'Ireland should once again foster, by competition, a good number of experienced, reputable people, of all ages, who have ideas about solving major scientific questions. These people are an essential part of the foundation of our science-based economy and society. Too many of them are no longer eligible for funding by SFI; too few are being appointed by the universities; and fewer PhDs are being awarded. The writing is on the wall.'
science  politics  biotech  tcd  policy  government 
april 2015 by jm
Tinker Crate
'inspires kids to explore and learn about science, engineering, and technology—and have fun doing it. Every month, a new crate to help kids develop a tinkering mindset and creative problem solving skills.' aimed at ages 9-14+
kids  gifts  tinkering  stem  education  fun  engineering  science  toys 
march 2015 by jm
Mars One finalist Dr. Joseph Roche rips into the project
So, here are the facts as we understand them: Mars One has almost no money. Mars One has no contracts with private aerospace suppliers who are building technology for future deep-space missions. Mars One has no TV production partner. Mars One has no publicly known investment partnerships with major brands. Mars One has no plans for a training facility where its candidates would prepare themselves. Mars One’s candidates have been vetted by a single person, in a 10-minute Skype interview.

“My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face,” said Roche. If, as a result, “people lose faith in NASA and possibly even in scientists, then that’s the polar opposite of what I’m about. If I was somehow linked to something that could do damage to the public perception of science, that is my nightmare scenario.”
science  space  mars-one  tcd  joseph-roche  nasa  mars  exploration  scams 
march 2015 by jm
Irish government under fire for turning its back on basic research : Nature News & Comment
Pretty much ALL of Ireland's research scientists have put their names to an open letter to the Irish government, decrying the state of science funding, published this week in "Nature".

'Although total spending on research and development grew through the recession, helped by foreign investments, Ireland’s government has cut state spending on research (see ‘Celtic tiger tamed’). It also prioritized grants in 14 narrow areas — ones in which either large global markets exist, or in which Irish companies are competitive. These include marine renewable energy, smart grids, medical devices and computing. The effect has been to asphyxiate the many areas of fundamental science — including astrophysics, particle physics and areas of the life sciences — that have been deprived of funding, several researchers in Ireland told Nature. “The current policies are having a very significant detrimental effect on the health and viability of the Irish scientific ecosystem,” says Kevin Mitchell, a geneticist who studies the basis of neurological disorders at Trinity College Dublin. “Research that cannot be shoehorned into one of the 14 prioritized areas has been ineligible for most funding,” he says.'

That's another fine mess Sean Sherlock has gotten us into :(
sean-sherlock  fail  ireland  research  government  funding  grants  science  tcd  kevin-mitchell  life-sciences  nature 
march 2015 by jm
LUNAR MISSION ONE: A new lunar mission for everyone. by Lunar Missions Ltd — Kickstarter
We plan to send an unmanned robotic landing module to the South Pole of the Moon – an area unexplored by previous missions. We’re going to use pioneering technology to drill down to a depth of at least 20m – 10 times deeper than has ever been drilled before – and potentially as deep as 100m. By doing this, we will access lunar rock dating back up to 4.5 billion years to discover the geological composition of the Moon, the ancient relationship it shares with our planet and the effects of asteroid bombardment. Ultimately, the project will improve scientific understanding of the early solar system, the formation of our planet and the Moon, and the conditions that initiated life on Earth.


Kickstarter-funded -- UKP 600k goal. Just in time for xmas!
kickstarter  science  moon  lunar-mission-one  exploration 
november 2014 by jm
A gut microbe that stops food allergies
Actual scientific research showing that antibiotic use may be implicated in allergies:

'Nagler’s team first confirmed that mice given antibiotics early in life were far more susceptible to peanut sensitization, a model of human peanut allergy. Then, they introduced a solution containing Clostridia, a common class of bacteria that’s naturally found in the mammalian gut, into the rodents’ mouths and stomachs. The animals’ food allergen sensitization disappeared, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When the scientists instead introduced another common kind of healthy bacteria, called Bacteroides, into similarly allergy-prone mice, they didn’t see the same effect. Studying the rodents more carefully, the researchers determined that Clostridia were having a surprising effect on the mouse gut: Acting through certain immune cells, the bacteria helped keep peanut proteins that can cause allergic reactions out of the bloodstream. “The bacteria are maintaining the integrity of the [intestinal] barrier,” Nagler says.'
allergies  health  food  peanuts  science  research  clostridium  bacteria  gut  intestines  immune-system  mice  papers  pnas 
september 2014 by jm
Girl Not Against Fluoride
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) lists water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. Today, Dublin City Council will vote on whether to remove fluoride from our water supply, and when they do, it will not be because the CDC or the WHO have changed their mind about fluoridation, or because new and compelling information makes it the only choice. It will be because people who believe in angel healing, homeopathy, and chemtrails, have somehow gained the ability to influence public policy.
dcc  dublin  law  flouride  science  zenbuffy  homeopathy  woo  health  teeth 
september 2014 by jm
Sweden Solar System
the world's largest permanent scale model of the Solar System. The Sun is represented by the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the largest hemispherical building in the world. The inner planets can also be found in Stockholm but the outer planets are situated northward in other cities along the Baltic Sea. The system was started by Nils Brenning and Gösta Gahm and is on the scale of 1:20 million.


(via JK)
scale  models  solar-system  astronomy  sun  sweden  science  cool  via:jk 
august 2014 by jm
Composition of crystals
One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
ireland  history  science  chemistry  crystals  t-h-mason  photos 
may 2014 by jm
Cell Development
One of the photos taken by my great-grandfather, Thomas H. Mason, around the turn of the century from the NLI collection
ireland  history  science  biology  t-h-mason  photos 
may 2014 by jm
co-founder of the Boston Beer Company swears by active dry yeast as a hangover-avoidance remedy
what [Joe] Owades knew was that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH). Roughly put, ADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Which is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver. Owades realized if you also have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain.

Plausible!
beer  science  health  yeast  alcohol  adh  medicine  enzymes  stomach  food 
april 2014 by jm
The science of 'hangry'
In the PNAS paper, Brad Bushman and colleagues looked at 107 couples over 21 days and found that people experiencing uncharacteristically low blood sugar were more likely to display anger toward their spouse. (The researchers measured this by having subjects stick needles into voodoo dolls representing their significant others.)
hangry  hunger  food  eating  science  health  blood-sugar  voodoo-dolls  glucose 
april 2014 by jm
VERY high resolution scans of original Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 charts
the Apollo 11 ALO and LM Descent Monitoring charts are tidied up and downloadable
apollo  space  history  memorabilia  images  scans  science  nasa 
april 2014 by jm
Daylight saving time linked to heart attacks, study finds
Switching over to daylight saving time, and losing one hour of sleep, raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25 per cent, compared to other Mondays during the year, according to a new US study released today. [...] The study found that heart attack risk fell 21 per cent later in the year, on the Tuesday after the clock was returned to standard time, and people got an extra hour’s sleep.

One clear answer: we need 25-hour days.

More details: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140329175108.htm --
Researchers used Michigan's BMC2 database, which collects data from all non-federal hospitals across the state, to identify admissions for heart attacks requiring percutaneous coronary intervention from Jan. 1, 2010 through Sept. 15, 2013. A total of 42,060 hospital admissions occurring over 1,354 days were included in the analysis. Total daily admissions were adjusted for seasonal and weekday variation, as the rate of heart attacks peaks in the winter and is lowest in the summer and is also greater on Mondays and lower over the weekend. The hospitals included in this study admit an average of 32 patients having a heart attack on any given Monday. But on the Monday immediately after springing ahead there were on average an additional eight heart attacks. There was no difference in the total weekly number of percutaneous coronary interventions performed for either the fall or spring time changes compared to the weeks before and after the time change.
daylight  dst  daylight-savings  time  dates  calendar  science  health  heart-attacks  michigan  hospitals  statistics 
march 2014 by jm
David Robert Grimes on the flouride kerfuffle
Hilariously, "The Girl Against Flouride" and other antiflouridation campaigners now allege he's a undercover agent of Alcoa and/or Glaxo Smith Kline, rather than dealing with any awkwardly hostile realities
flouride  flouridation  david-robert-grimes  conspiracy  funny  science  ireland  alcoa  glaxo-smith-kline 
march 2014 by jm
Inside the Mind of an anti-fluoridationist
An exceptionally well-researched and thorough disassembly of 'Public Health Investigation of Epidemiological data on Disease and Mortality in Ireland related to Water Fluoridation and Fluoride Exposure' by Declan Waugh, which appears to be going around currently
declan-waugh  debunking  flouride  flouridation  science  mortality  health  ireland  water 
march 2014 by jm
James Casey writes about working at CERN
I am very heartened by Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock’s recent announcement of a review of the costs and benefits of Ireland’s membership of international research organisations including CERN. I disagreed with the conclusion of the last review which suggested that costs outweighed the benefits to Ireland. I think it was an extreme oversight not to be a part of the engineering phase of the Collider during the period 1998-2008 – but it’s not too late.
CERN will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2014. There is no public scientific institution its equal in terms of the scale and complexity of problems being analysed and solved. No longer excluding young Irish people from being a part of this, from learning and growing from it, can only help Ireland.


Also, spot my name in lights ;)
ireland  cern  science  europe  eu  sean-sherlock  james-casey  www  web  history 
march 2014 by jm
Disgraced Scientist Granted U.S. Patent for Work Found to be Fraudulent - NYTimes.com
Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk electrified the science world 10 years ago with his claim that he had created the world’s first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them. But the work was later found to be fraudulent, and Dr. Hwang was fired from his university and convicted of crimes.

Despite all that, Dr. Hwang has just been awarded an American patent covering the disputed work, leaving some scientists dumbfounded and providing fodder to critics who say the Patent Office is too lax.

“Shocked, that’s all I can say,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University who appears to have actually accomplished what Dr. Hwang claims to have done. “I thought somebody was kidding, but I guess they were not.”

Jeanne F. Loring, a stem cell scientist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, said her first reaction was “You can’t patent something that doesn’t exist.” But, she said, she later realized that “you can.”
patents  absurd  hwang-woo-suk  cloning  stem-cells  science  biology  uspto 
february 2014 by jm
A looming breakthrough in indistinguishability obfuscation
'The team’s obfuscator works by transforming a computer program into what Sahai calls a “multilinear jigsaw puzzle.” Each piece of the program gets obfuscated by mixing in random elements that are carefully chosen so that if you run the garbled program in the intended way, the randomness cancels out and the pieces fit together to compute the correct output. But if you try to do anything else with the program, the randomness makes each individual puzzle piece look meaningless. This obfuscation scheme is unbreakable, the team showed, provided that a certain newfangled problem about lattices is as hard to solve as the team thinks it is. Time will tell if this assumption is warranted, but the scheme has already resisted several attempts to crack it, and Sahai, Barak and Garg, together with Yael Tauman Kalai of Microsoft Research New England and Omer Paneth of Boston University, have proved that the most natural types of attacks on the system are guaranteed to fail. And the hard lattice problem, though new, is closely related to a family of hard problems that have stood up to testing and are used in practical encryption schemes.'

(via Tony Finch)
obfuscation  cryptography  via:fanf  security  hard-lattice-problem  crypto  science 
february 2014 by jm
Coders performing code reviews of scientific projects: pilot study
'PLOS and Mozilla conducted a month-long pilot study in which professional developers
performed code reviews on software associated with papers published in PLOS
Computational Biology. While the developers felt the reviews were limited by (a) lack of
familiarity with the domain and (b) lack of two-way contact with authors, the scientists
appreciated the reviews, and both sides were enthusiastic about repeating the experiment. '

Actually sounds like it was more successful than this summary implies.
plos  mozilla  code-reviews  coding  science  computational-biology  biology  studies 
january 2014 by jm
Growing up unvaccinated: A healthy lifestyle couldn’t prevent many childhood illnesses.
I understand, to a point, where the anti-vaccine parents are coming from. Back in the ’90s, when I was a concerned, 19-year-old mother, frightened by the world I was bringing my child into, I was studying homeopathy, herbalism, and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians, and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water. I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking antidepressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies. I was so freaking crunchy that I literally crumbled. It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well. It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.
health  medicine  science  vaccination  disease  slate 
january 2014 by jm
Life on Mars: Irish man signs up for colony mission
Last week, a private space exploration company called Mars One announced that it has shortlisted 1,058 people from 200,000 applicants who wanted to travel to Mars. Roche is the only Irishman on the list. The catch? If he goes, he can never come back.


Mad stuff. Works at the Science Gallery, so a co-worker of a friend, to boot
science-gallery  dublin  ireland  mars-one  mars  one-way-trips  exploration  future  space  science  joseph-roche 
january 2014 by jm
100 Years of Breed “Improvement” | Science of Dogs
The English bulldog has come to symbolize all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6.25 years (n=180). There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog’s monstrous proportions makes them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.


(via Bryan)
dogs  eugenics  breeding  horror  science  genetics  traits  animals  pets  bulldog  pedigree 
december 2013 by jm
3 Tacos or 4 Flautas Per Order Make a Healthy Diet in Greatest Scientific Study Ever
"In reality, [tacos and flautas] aren't bad meals," the report argues. "The error that many of us Mexicans [Gustavo note: and gabachos] commit is including these types of dishes in our regular diet without an appropriate balance of them and falling into excessively eating them; accompanied by a lack of physical activity, it creates bad eating habits." The good docs go on to note that people can eat tacos and flautas without negatively affecting their health, but "the key resides in controlling the quantity and frequency of eating these types of meals." They also make the point that overall, tacos and flautas have less grease than doughnuts, french fries and even some health bars, although they didn't specify which brands in the latter.

In a subsequent blog post, the scientists go on to describe flautas as an "energy food" due to their composition, and conclude by recommending that a healthy diet can include three tacos al pastor or four flautas per order, "controlling the frequency of intake." So have at it, boyos, but in moderation. And I can already hear the skeptics: What about tacos de chicharrones? Why not focus on carne asada? Did they take into consideration chiles de mordida? Did they factor in horchata? And whither the burrito variable?
science  tacos  flautas  mexican-food  food  eating  yay 
november 2013 by jm
Heirloom Chemistry Set by John Farrell Kuhns — Kickstarter
This is a beauty. I wonder if they can ship to Ireland?
To tell our story for this Kickstarter project, we really have to start in Christmas of 1959. Like many young scientists of the time, I received a Gilbert Chemistry set. This chemistry set provided me hours of great fun and learning as well as laying the foundation for my future as a research chemist. As I became an adult I wanted to share these types of experiences with my daughter, my nephews and nieces, and friends. But soon I became aware real chemistry sets were no longer available. Without real chemistry sets and opportunities for students to learn and explore, where would our future chemists come from? So .... I set out on a mission.
chemistry  science  chemistry-sets  education  play  kickstarter 
november 2013 by jm
New faculty positions versus new PhDs
The ever-plummeting chances of a PhD finding a faculty job:
Since 1982, almost 800,000 PhDs were awarded in science and engineering fields, whereas only about 100,000 academic faculty positions were created in those fields within the same time frame. The number of S&E PhDs awarded annually has also increased over this time frame, from ~19,000 in 1982 to ~36,000 in 2011. The number of faculty positions created each year, however, has not changed, with roughly 3,000 new positions created annually.


(via Javier Omar Garcia)
via:javier  career  academia  phd  science  work  study  research 
october 2013 by jm
How much can an extra hour's sleep change you?
What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours' sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

sleep  health  rest  cancer  bbc  science 
october 2013 by jm
The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts - NYTimes.com
“The key factor is the environment, whether you’re talking about humans or rats,” Dr. Hart said. “The rats that keep pressing the lever for cocaine are the ones who are stressed out because they’ve been raised in solitary conditions and have no other options. But when you enrich their environment, and give them access to sweets and let them play with other rats, they stop pressing the lever.”
crack  drugs  policy  science  addiction  society 
september 2013 by jm
The Cold Hard Facts of Freezing to Death
an amazing account of near-death from hypothermia (via Dor)
via:dor  hypothermia  cold  medicine  science  non-fiction 
june 2013 by jm
seeing into the UV spectrum after Cataract Surgery with Crystalens
I've been very happy so far with the Crystalens implant for Cataract Surgery [...] one unexpected/interesting aspect is I see a violet glow that others do not - perhaps I'm more sensitive to the low end of the visible light spectrum.


(via Tony Finch)
via:fanf  science  perception  augmentation  uv  light  sight  cool  cataracts  surgery  lens  eyes 
june 2013 by jm
High home ownership can seriously damage labor market, new study suggests
Interesting -- a healthy rental market is needed to allow sufficient labour mobility. This matches what I heard and saw from friends and coworkers in the US, anecdotally
science  home-ownership  rental  homes  usa  economics 
may 2013 by jm
A Slower Speed of Light
a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light). Players can choose to share their mastery and experience of the game through Twitter. A Slower Speed of Light combines accessible gameplay and a fantasy setting with theoretical and computational physics research to deliver an engaging and pedagogically rich experience.
games  physics  mit  science  light  relativity 
april 2013 by jm
Adding Insult to Plagiary?
A few days old, but already an instant Streisand-Effect classic:
Sometimes people borrow [Colin Purrington's free guide about making scientific posters] without giving him credit. This happens fairly regularly, and when he finds out about it, he sends an e-mail asking them to take it down. Usually they do. But when he sent an e-mail to the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, asking that a roughly 1,200-word, near-verbatim, uncredited chunk from his guide be removed from the consortium’s materials, the response was unexpected. Rather than apologise, a lawyer sent him a cease-and-desist letter accusing him of plagiarizing the consortium’s materials and demanding that he take down his guide or face a lawsuit seeking damages up to $150,000.
streisand-effect  lawsuits  law  infringement  copyright  cpbr  bullying  science  posters 
april 2013 by jm
Europe Is Warmer Than Canada Because of the Gulf Stream, Right? Not So Fast
The common tale—the one bandied around for more than a hundred years—goes something like this: Warm water flowing to the northeast out of the Gulf of Mexico—the Gulf Stream—cuts across the North Atlantic ocean, bringing extra energy to the Isles and driving up temperatures relative to the comparatively-frigid North Americas. The only problem with this simple explanation, say Stephen Riser and Susan Lozier in Scientific American, is that it doesn’t actually account for the difference.
gulf-stream  myths  ireland  europe  science  currents  ocean  temperature  climate 
february 2013 by jm
All polar bears descended from one Irish grizzly
'THE ARCTIC'S DWINDLING POPULATION of polar bears all descend from a single mamma brown bear which lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in present-day Ireland, new research suggests. DNA samples from the great white carnivores - taken from across their entire range in Russia, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Alaska - revealed that every individual's lineage could be traced back to this Irish forebear.' More than the average bear, I guess
animals  biology  science  dna  history  ireland  bears  polar-bears  grizzly-bears  via:ben 
january 2013 by jm
Ingenious Dublin
Excellent stuff, by Mary Mulvihill:

Where in Dublin can you see a Victorian diving bell? What about the skeleton of Tommy, the prince’s elephant? The site of the world’s first earthquake experiment? Or the world’s sports pirate radio broadcast? Our new e-book Ingenious Dublin has all these fascinating stories and more. It is packed with information, places to visit, and lots of illustrations, and covers the city and county, from Skerries windmills to Ballybetagh’s fossil deer.'


EUR 4.99 for the Kindle e-book. I'll buy that!
kindle  reading  books  mary-mulvihill  science  facts  dublin  ireland  history 
october 2012 by jm
NCBI ROFL: Probably the most horrifying scientific lecture ever

In 1983, at the Urodynamics Society meeting in Las Vegas, Professor G.S. Brindley first announced to the world his experiments on self-injection with papaverine to induce a penile erection. This was the first time that an effective medical therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) was described, and was a historic development in the management of ED. The way in which this information was first reported was completely unique and memorable, and provides an interesting context for the development of therapies for ED. I was present at this extraordinary lecture, and the details are worth sharing. Although this lecture was given more than 20 years ago, the details have remained fresh in my mind, for reasons which will become obvious.


Go on, guess.
medicine  science  funny  erectile-dysfunction  omgwtf  conferences 
september 2012 by jm
Knots on Mars! (and a few thoughts on NASA's knots)
amazing post from the International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum:

While a few of the folks here are no doubt aware, it might surprise most people to learn that knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for millions of years.

Knots are still used in this high-tech arena because cable lacing has long been the preferred cable management technique in aerospace applications. That it remains so to this day is a testament to the effectiveness of properly chosen knots tied by skilled craftspeople. It also no doubt has a bit to do with the conservative nature of aerospace design and engineering practices. Proven technologies are rarely cast aside unless they no longer fulfill requirements or there is something substantially better available.

While the knots used for cable lacing in general can be quite varied -- in some cases even a bit idiosyncratic -- NASA has in-house standards for the knots and methods used on their spacecraft. These are specified in NASA Technical Standard NASA-STD-8739.4 -- Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses, and Wiring. As far as I've been able to identify in the rover images below, all of the lacings shown are one of two of the several patterns specified in the standard.

The above illustration shows the so-called "Spot Tie". It is a clove hitch topped by two half-knots in the form of a reef (square) knot. In addition to its pure binding role, it is also used to affix cable bundles to tie-down point.


Some amazing scholarship on knot technology in this post -- lots to learn! (via Tony Finch, iirc)
via:fanf  mars  nasa  science  knots  tying  rope  cables  cabling  geek  aerospace  standards 
september 2012 by jm
Marsh's Library
Dublin museum of antiquarian books, open to the public -- well worth a visit, apparently (I will definitely be making my way there soon I suspect), to check out their new "Marvels of Science" exhibit. Not only that though, but they have a beautiful website with some great photos -- exemplary
museum  dublin  ireland  libraries  books  science 
july 2012 by jm
Science funding doesn't add up - The Irish Times
'[Science Foundation Ireland] said it was continuing to support basic research, but there are a number of leading scientists here who were refused funding despite having qualified for it in the past.

Dr Mike Peardon of the School of Mathematics was recently been turned down, having been “administratively withdrawn”. This means the application for funding was rejected at the first post during initial consideration and before it had a chance to be assessed by external experts. Several others in his department suffered a similar fate. “The school of mathematics at Trinity is ranked the 15th best maths department in the world and now we are not fundable by Science Foundation Ireland,” he said.

“The cases I heard of have all been in pure maths,” said Prof Lorraine Hanlon in UCD’s school of physics. “All reported that the people in pure maths were returned unreviewed.” She believes other areas may also come under pressure. “Pure maths is the thin end of the wedge. The Government says mathematics is fundamental, but on the other side says we dont really care enough to support it. That is a schizophrenic approach,” she said.'
mathematics  ireland  science  research  academia  funding  tcd  ucd  sfi 
july 2012 by jm
Sean Sherlock to science researchers: "see ya! don't let the door hit you on the way out"
"In relation to the possibility of losing skilled people overseas, any vibrant research ecosystem will see an ebb and flow of capable people in the scientific fields – in some ways this is a good thing, as experience gained abroad has the potential to benefit Ireland in the future. The latest SFI data shows that SFI supports approximately 3,000 researchers, including some 2,000 postgraduate students and post-doctorals -- a figure that has remained relatively stable for some time." NICE
sean-sherlock  jobs  ireland  science  research 
july 2012 by jm
Facts still sacred despite Ireland's spectrum of conflicting views on abortion - The Irish Times - Fri, Jun 29, 2012
Very good data-driven analysis.

"Pro-life” groups claim abortion is a serious mental health risk for women. Youth Defence claims women who opt for an abortion rather than carrying to term or giving the baby up for adoption suffer mental maladies such as depression, suicide and other problems. But this is at heart a scientific claim, and can thus be tested. [...]

Psychologist Dr Brenda Majors studied this in depth and found no evidence that ["post-abortion syndrome"] exists. As long as a woman was not depressive before an abortion, “elective abortion of an unintended pregnancy does not pose a risk to mental health”.

The same results were found in several other studies [...] Essentially these studies found there was no difference in mental health between those who opted for abortion and those who carried to term. Curiously, there was a markedly increased risk to mental health for women who gave a child up for adoption.

A corollary of the research was that while women did not suffer long-term mental health effects due to abortion, short-term guilt and sadness was far more likely if the women had a background where abortion was viewed negatively or their decisions were decried -- the kind of attitude fostered by “pro-life” activists."
pro-choice  pro-life  abortion  data  facts  via:irish-times  research  science  pregnancy  depression  pas 
june 2012 by jm
Scram
noun: an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor. It has been defined as an acronym for "Safety Control Rod Axe Man", due to this story from Norman Hilberry: "When I showed up on the balcony on that December 2, 1942 afternoon [at the Chicago Pile, the world's first self-sustaining nuclear reactor], I was ushered to the balcony rail, handed a well sharpened fireman's ax and told, "if the safety rods fail to operate, cut that manila rope." The safety rods, needless to say, worked, the rope was not cut... I don't believe I have ever felt quite as foolish as I did then. ...I did not get the SCRAM [Safety Control Rod Axe Man] story until many years after the fact. Then one day one of my fellows who had been on Zinn's construction crew called me Mr. Scram."
scram  nuclear  reactor  history  etymology  words  shutdown  emergency  wikipedia  1942  science  acronyms 
june 2012 by jm
Nikola Tesla Wasn't God And Thomas Edison Wasn't The Devil
Correcting some egregious misconceptions about an Oatmeal comic regarding Tesla and Edison -- explaining some realities about invention, scientific progress, and the history of electricity. "I’d contend that nearly every invention in the engineering or sciences is an improvement on what has come before – such as Tesla’s improvements to alternating current. That’s what innovation is. It’s a social process that occurs in a social context. As Robert Heinlein once said, “When railroading time comes you can railroad -- but not before.” In other words, inventions are made in the context of scientific and engineering understanding. Individuals move things forward – some faster than others – but in the end, the most intelligent person in the world can’t invent the light bulb if the foundation isn’t there."
nikola-tesla  history  electricity  innovation  invention  progress  science  thomas-edison  the-oatmeal 
may 2012 by jm
The Walton Bridge petition
'IOP Ireland is campaigning to have the new bridge across the Liffey in Dublin at Marlborough Street named for ETS Walton – Ireland’s only physics Nobel prizewinner.'
nobel  physics  science  ireland  ernest-walton  scientists  history  naming  dublin  tcd 
may 2012 by jm
The Cybercrime Wave That Wasn’t - NYTimes.com
MSFT researchers discover fundamental scientific failures in almost all data on cybercrime/spam/malware damages. 'In numeric surveys, errors are almost always upward: since the amounts of estimated losses must be positive, there’s no limit on the upside, but zero is a hard limit on the downside. As a consequence, respondent errors -- or outright lies -- cannot be canceled out. Even worse, errors get amplified when researchers scale between the survey group and the overall population. [...] The cybercrime surveys we have examined exhibit exactly this pattern of enormous, unverified outliers dominating the data. In some, 90 percent of the estimate appears to come from the answers of one or two individuals. In a 2006 survey of identity theft by the FTC, two respondents gave answers that would have added $37 billion to the estimate, dwarfing that of all other respondents combined.' my opinion: this is what happens when PR drives the surveys -- numbers tend to inflate to make headlines
fail  science  pr  press  cybercrime  ms  via:mark-russinovitch  data  surveys  spam  malware  viruses  phishing 
april 2012 by jm
Facts Are Sacred
A new Irish news site with some familiar names. 'What is a fact? In philosophy, a fact is something that makes a statement true. In science, it is a verifiable observation. In our case, we take a fact to be something that we can provably demonstrate to be true. This means that we can check the truth of a statement about the current state of affairs but we cannot check claims about the future. Inevitably, as the evidence gets more granular, our view of a fact can change but we should take the scientific approach of going where the evidence leads us, rather than the all too common habit today of starting with a conclusion and looking for supporting data. We are holding ourselves to a high standard and we want you to call us on it where you believe we have fallen short. It is more important that, as readers and writers, we collaborate to put verifiable facts into our daily discourse rather than that we save face. We are looking forward to what we’re sure will be a challenging and rewarding experience and hope you enjoy the ride.'
science  facts  news  ireland  politics  data  writing 
march 2012 by jm
collectSPACE
'The Source for Space History and Artifacts' -- and just in time for xmas too!
space  spaaace  memorabilia  collecting  gomi  tat  artifacts  ebay  science  xmas 
november 2011 by jm
Inside the mind of the octopus
"Researchers who study octopuses are convinced that these boneless, alien animals—creatures whose ancestors diverged from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago—have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities. Their findings are challenging our understanding of consciousness itself."
octopus  animals  biology  consciousness  neuroscience  science 
november 2011 by jm
Computer gamers solve problem in AIDS research that puzzled scientists for years
“This is the first instance that we are aware of in which online gamers solved a longstanding scientific problem,” writes Khatib. “These results indi­cate the potential for integrating video games [like FoldIt] into the real-world scientific process: the ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”
foldit  gaming  games  science  biology  aids  viruses  protease  protein-folding  proteins  vr 
september 2011 by jm
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