ap + science   96

Big data: are we making a big mistake? | FT.com
Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger […], co-author of Big Data, told me that his favoured definition of a big data set is one where “N = All” – where we no longer have to sample, but we have the entire background population. [In that case] there is indeed no issue of sampling bias because the sample includes everyone. [… E.g.] it is in principle possible to record and analyse every message on Twitter and use it to draw conclusions about the public mood. [… But] in 2013, US-based Twitter users were disproportionately young, urban or suburban, and black. There must always be a question about who and what is missing, especially with a messy pile of found data. [… Kaiser Fung:] “N = All is often an assumption rather than a fact about the data.”
bigdata  statistics  science  ! 
april 2014 by ap
Stanford researchers’ cooling glove “better than steroids”
Even in prototype form, the researchers’ device proved enormously efficient at altering body temperature. The glove’s early successes were actually in increasing the core temperature of surgery patients recovering from anesthesia [in under 10 minutes. …] But the glove’s effects on athletic performance didn’t become apparent until the researchers began using the glove to cool a member of the lab – the confessed “gym rat” and frequent coauthor Vinh Cao – between sets of pull-ups. The glove seemed to nearly erase his muscle fatigue; after multiple rounds, cooling allowed him to do just as many pull-ups as he did the first time around. So the researchers started cooling him after every other set of pull-ups. “Then in the next six weeks he went from doing 180 pull-ups total to over 620,” said Heller. “That was a rate of physical performance improvement that was just unprecedented.”
biology  science  hacking  ?  ! 
september 2012 by ap
Memo to the Public Relations Department | Derek Lowe
I know that you see this as a deficiency, but scientists do not work with purple radiance coming from the walls behind them. Not if we can help it, we don’t, and if we notice that sort of thing going on, we head for the exits.
science  media  ! 
december 2011 by ap
Free Energy and the Meaning of Life | Sean Carroll @ Cosmic Variance
Because the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that entropy increases, the history of the universe is the story of dissipation of free energy. Energy wants to be converted from useful forms to useless forms. But it might not happen automatically; sometimes a configuration with excess free energy can last a long time before something comes along to nudge it into a higher-entropy form. Gasoline and oxygen are a combustible mixture, but you still need a spark to set the fire. This is where life comes in, at least according to one view.
science  physics  chemistry  evolution  complexity  life  recommended  ! 
july 2010 by ap
How To Destroy A Black Hole | arXiv blog
What would a black hole without its event horizon reveal? That’s where physics turns philosophical. The mathematics here indicates that spacetime becomes infinitely curved, creating what astrophysicists call a singularity. ¶ To any ordinary physicist, a singularity is an indication that a theory has broken down and some new theory is needed to describe what is going on. It is a matter of principle that singularities are mathematical objects […] Astrophysicists are different. They have such extraordinary faith in their theories that they believe singularities actually exist inside black holes. The likes of Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking have even proved that singularities are inevitable in gravitational collapse. ¶ For them, removing the event horizon around a black hole raises the exciting prospect of revealing a singularity in all its naked glory. When that happens, we will be able to gaze at infinity.
science  physics  mathematics  astronomy  recommended  :quotation  ! 
june 2010 by ap
Our great…grandmother was a proton-powered rock | Nick Szabo
[From the comments:] “Before this theory, I ran some sample numbers and concluded I had to be against biogenesis [sic]. Without absurd assumptions, I got a number on the order of 10^1000 trials to get free-floating life to reliably reproduce. (There are roughly 10^80 particles in the universe.)”
biology  geology  chemistry  evolution  science  recommended  ! 
may 2010 by ap
Why quantum mechanics and general relativity are incompatible | Ben Tilly @ HackerNews
Any simple explanation you find will be of the form “lies for children”. […] That said, I can illustrate the conflict. […] One of the things that nobody knows how to do is add different kinds of warpage of space-time in a linear way and get a sensible answer.
physics  quantum-mechanics  science  ! 
may 2010 by ap
Doped Graphane Should Superconduct at 90K | arXiv blog
They calculate the properties of p-doped graphane from first principles and say that it ought to superconduct at a balmy 90K or more, well within the range of liquid nitrogen cooling. What's more p-doped graphane should superconduct in the same way as the old fashioned BCS superconductors. [...] What's more they say there are hints that p-doped diamond nanowires might have similar properties. [... Further,] by creating transistor-like gates out of graphane doped in different ways, it should be possible to create devices in which the superconductivity can be switched on and off. That'll make possible an entirely new class of switch.
physics  science  engineering  ! 
february 2010 by ap
Deriving the Properties of the Universe | arXiv blog
Raphael Bousso and Roni Harnik […] point out that the increase in entropy in any part of the Universe is a decent measure of the complexity that exists there. […] By thinking about the way entropy increases, Bousso and Harnik derive the properties of an average Universe in which the complexity has risen to a level where observers would have evolved to witness it. […] They make six predictions about such a Universe. They say “typical observers find themselves in a flat universe, at the onset of vacuum domination, surrounded by a recently produced bath of relativistic quanta.These quanta are neither very dilute nor condensed, and thus appear as a roughly thermal background.” ¶ Sound familiar?
science  physics  cosmology  ! 
february 2010 by ap
Fingerprints: Signal Processors for Touch | arXiv blog
There is a growing awareness [in robotics] that the processing power of the nervous system, including the brain, simply cannot handle the volume of number crunching that has to be done to keep a living body on the road. Instead, it looks increasingly clear that the brain outsources much of this work to the body itself: to the joints, ligaments, muscles, skin etc.
science  engineering  cognition  perception  complexity  ! 
february 2010 by ap
How Grandmas May Give Kids an Evolutionary Edge | Sharon Begley @ Newsweek.com
Many of those earlier, inconsistent tests of the grandma hypothesis lumped together both kinds of grandmas (maternal and paternal) and both sexes of grandkids. Given the different degrees of X-relatedness, says Knapp, “we decided to look at the data from a genetic perspective. Since it is adaptive to favor those with whom we share the most genes, evolution should favor women who invest in grandchildren in a way that mirrors X-relatedness.” […] That the correlation held across four continents and four centuries suggests a biological, not cultural, explanation.
science  biology  evolution  ! 
november 2009 by ap
Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do (And Why Your Girlfriend Is a Whore) | Satoshi Kanazawa @ Psychology Today
But you should be grateful. The reason you got to be her lover in the first place is because she has had (and will likely have) many lovers. You are 12 times as likely to have sex with a woman who has had 12 lovers as you are to have sex with a woman who has had only one lover. Quite paradoxically, if your lover only had one lover, you are probably not him. And if your lover has never had a lover, you are definitely not him.
science  sociology  statistics  ! 
november 2009 by ap
Bits of Evidence | Greg Wilson
What we actually know about software development, and why we believe it’s true.
programming  software-development  science  :slides  ! 
october 2009 by ap
Magnetic Movie
[Computer-animated visualisations of magnetic fields, overlaid into footage of physics lab equipment, synchronised with the crackle of actual static as recorded by electromagnetic detectors, voice-overed by physicists describing the solar magnetic field. Otherworldly. —Ed.]
physics  astronomy  science  visualisation  art  :video  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Faster than a speeding photon | Dan Piponi
At no point does the red path of the spaceship meet the black path of the photon. And yet at no point does the red path reach 45 degrees to the vertical axis. In other words, the spaceship never travels at the speed of light, and yet the photon never catches up with it. Spaceships can outrun photons!
science  physics  ! 
september 2009 by ap
Underdetermination of Scientific Theory | Kyle Stanford @ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple idea that the evidence available to us at a given time may be insufficient to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it. […] A high correlation between cartoon viewing and violent playground behavior is evidence that (by itself) simply *underdetermines* what we should believe about the causal relationship between the two. But it turns out that this simple and familiar predicament only scratches the surface of the various ways in which problems of underdetermination can arise in the course of scientific investigation.
philosophy  science  epistemology  ! 
september 2009 by ap
The Reality Tests | Joshua Roebke @ SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? […] Zeilinger smiled as he finished: “I throw this out as a challenge to our philosophy friends.”
science  philosophy  physics  quantum-mechanics  ! 
august 2009 by ap
A Bunch of Rocks | xkcd
And in the simulation

Another instant ticks by.
science  philosophy  art  :comic  ! 
july 2009 by ap
Venus Hottentot and the Irony of Science | Sean Carroll @ Cosmic Variance
Saartjie Baartman, an African woman who was brought to Europe in 1810, […] died in Paris in 1815, where she was examined and dissected by naturalist Georges Cuvier, who later wrote articles arguing that the form of her labia was evidence of the primitive sexual appetite of African women. [… This argumentation] is no more sensibly “scientific” than believing that the proportion of women working as professional scientists (at this precise moment in history, in this precise part of the world) is a direct consequence of an underlying distribution of innate talents, unmediated by social factors. But there is no shortage of people who sincerely think that way.
diversity  science  history  society  :quotation  ! 
july 2009 by ap
The Earth – For Physicists | John Baez
If the temperature rises one more degree, the Earth’s temperature will be the hottest it’s been in 1.35 million years, before the current cycle of ice ages began. Where are we headed? Nobody knows. But by understanding the history of the Earth, we will be in a better position to guess.
astronomy  geology  physics  chemistry  history  science  environment  ! 
july 2009 by ap
Brute-Force Engineering and Climate
Ponder the implications when any one of the 38 people on the planet who have $10 billion or more in private assets could try to reverse climate change single-handedly. There’s one more Fermi solution – technological civilizations run afoul of their own technology as the cost of tackling massive projects drops to the point where individuals or small groups can destroy an ecosystem while attempting to fix it.
scary  environment  engineering  science  scale  ! 
july 2009 by ap
VB 10b | Greg Laughlin
VB 10 contains about 78 Jupiter masses, just barely lifting it above the minimum mass required to qualify as a bona-fide hydrogen-burning main sequence star. It’s got roughly ten times the mass and ten times the density of [VB 10b,] its companion. […] The VB 10 system is built to *last*. The primary will enjoy a main-sequence lifetime of close to 10 trillion years, during which time the Milky Way-[Andromeda] merger remnant [galaxy] will become increasingly isolated from all the other mass that makes up the currently observable universe. Tidal evolution will gradually tighten up the orbit of VB 10b, meaning that the [system] will quite possibly survive and harden further during quadrillions of years of encounters with passing degenerates. Barring other catastrophes, gravitational radiation will eventually bring VB 10 and VB 10b together into merger. That shot of good pure hydrogen will revive the dead helium remnant of VB 10, causing it to shine for a further 100 billion years or so.
astronomy  physics  science  scale  :quotation  ! 
july 2009 by ap
Stockholm | Greg Laughlin
The astronomy offices are arrayed along a hallway that curves for nearly a hundred meters along the top floor. Running above the doorways is a continuous printout of the solar spectrum. […] The juxtaposition of the micro and the macro readings is dramatic. The printout also drove home the utterly tiny scale of the Doppler shifts that must be measured in order to detect planets via the radial velocity technique.
physics  astronomy  science  scale  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Glass 99% full | Greg Laughlin
Konstantin and I were amazed to discover that the inner planets can be destabilized within the next 5 billion years by a linear secular resonance that brings Mercury’s orbital precession into sync with Jupiter’s […] The papers from last year did not include the effect of general relativistic precession. […] Ironically, the fact that Mercury’s precession is sped up by General Relativity provides a very significant improvement in the stability of the solar system – “Einstein saves the day.”
physics  astronomy  science  mathematics  ! 
june 2009 by ap
Do Subatomic Particles Have Free Will? | Science News
If you believe in determinism, you have to believe it all the way. No escape possible. Conway and Kochen have shown here in a beautiful way that a half-hearted belief in pseudo-determinism is impossible to sustain.
science  physics  metaphysics  cognition  ! 
june 2009 by ap
A Serendipitous Encounter with Warp Drive | Paul Gilster
Finazzi and team have folded quantum mechanics into their consideration of warp drive theory, with the result that warp drive is shown to be untenable for the hapless crew. The inside of the ‘bubble’ housing the spacecraft, in fact, becomes filled with Hawking radiation […] “because of the horizons that the warp-metric creates. These horizons act just like black-hole Event Horizons and so they produce Hawking radiation”
future  engineering  physics  science  ! 
april 2009 by ap
When using gestures, rules of grammar remain the same
The research challenges the idea that the language we speak inevitably shapes the way we think when we are not speaking. This study is the first to test the notion with respect to word order.
language  cognition  science  ! 
april 2009 by ap
Chimp who threw stones at zoo visitors showed human trait, says scientist | guardian.co.uk
“Forward planning like this is supposed to be uniquely human; it implies a consciousness that is very special, that you can close your eyes you can see this inner world,” he said.
psychology  cognition  science  ! 
april 2009 by ap
The secret to chimp strength
Since chimps have fewer motor neurons, each neuron triggers a higher number of muscle fibers [...] Great apes, with their all-or-nothing muscle usage, are explosive sprinters, climbers and fighters, but not nearly as good at complex motor tasks. [...] Walker suspects that humans also may have a neural limit to how much muscle we use at one time. Only under very rare circumstances are these limits bypassed – as in the anecdotal reports of people able to lift cars to free trapped crash victims.
biology  science 
april 2009 by ap
Prediction and Invention: Object-oriented vs. functional | Mark Guzdial
[[Comment by Alan Kay:] …] Because of the whacky way our brains work, the pooled diverse human opinions for a hundred thousand years on the planet don't get above threshold compared to the invention of better thinking and discerning with the advent of real science only 400 years ago. [[Bookmarked for the absolutely brilliant comments left by Alan Kay. —Ed.]]
history  future  democracy  science  education  ! 
april 2009 by ap
All we want are the facts, ma’am | Peter Norvig
To set the record straight: _That’s a silly statement, I didn’t say it, and I disagree with it._ [[This is why Norvig is director of research at Google and Anderson is chief editor at Wired. Absolutely excellent dismantling of _The End of Theory_ by Chris Anderson. —Ed.]]
science  philosophy  complexity  history  journalism  ! 
february 2009 by ap
Fifth dimensions, space bubbles and other facets of the multiverse | Bernard Carr @ The Independent
A particularly interesting possibility is that the constants of physics could vary in different universes. If so, the fine tunings which appear necessary for the emergence of life might not require a “creator” who designed the universe for our benefit. […] But is the “multiverse” a proper scientific proposal or just philosophy? Despite the growing popularity of the proposal, the idea is speculative and currently untestable – and it may always remain so. […] So, although some physicists favour the multiverse because it may do away with the need for a creator, others regard the idea as equally metaphysical. What is really at stake is the nature of science itself.
science  physics  philosophy  religion  :quotation  ! 
january 2009 by ap
Magenta Ain’t A Colour | Liz Elliott
A beam of white light is made up of all the colours in the spectrum. The range extends from red through to violet, with orange, yellow, green and blue in between. But there is one colour that is notable by its absence. Pink (or magenta, to use its official name) simply isn’t there. […] Magenta has no wavelength attributed to it, unlike all the other spectrum colours.
science  perception  physics  ! 
january 2009 by ap
Viva La Evolución | BustedTees
Remember the evolutionary war? The red-shirts are coming!
science  politics  accessories  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Science.jpg (JPEG Image, 500×400 pixels)
[[I want a 5-foot print of this to put on my wall. —Ed.]]
science  :picture  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
Technology, a Geological Force | Kevin Kelly
In other words, one might be able to detect life on other planets by looking at the planet’s mineral diversity, which, like its atmosphere, may be detectable from a great distance. But if the mineralogy of a terrestrial planet evolves as a consequence of a range of physical, chemical, and biological processes, then why should it stop with natural life?
biology  astronomy  geology  technology  science  ! 
december 2008 by ap
How Videogames Blind Us With Science | Clive Thompson
[Constance Steinkuehler] and her co-author, Sean Duncan, downloaded the content of 1,984 posts in 85 threads in a discussion board for players of World of Warcraft. What did they find? Only a minority of the postings were "banter" or idle chat. In contrast, a majority -- 86 percent -- were aimed specifically at analyzing the hidden ruleset of games. [...] These are all hallmarks of scientific thought. Indeed, the conversations often had the precise flow of a scientific salon, or even a journal series
games  culture  science  education  future  recommended  ! 
december 2008 by ap
The “broken windows” theory of crime is correct | The Economist
His group’s first study was conducted in an alley that is frequently used to park bicycles. […] All the bikes then had a flyer promoting a non-existent sports shop attached to their handlebars. This needed to be removed before a bicycle could be ridden. When owners returned, their behaviour was secretly observed. There were no rubbish bins in the alley, so a cyclist had three choices. He could take the flyer with him, hang it on another bicycle (which the researchers counted as littering) or throw it to the floor. When the alley contained graffiti, 69% of the riders littered compared with 33% when the walls were clean.
science  psychology  criminology  ! 
november 2008 by ap
What is Life? | Nick Porcino
Life is a spontaneously auto-catalytic process or system that decreases local entropy, subject to the zeroeth law of thermodynamics. | Corollary: A machine may be spontaneously auto-catalytic, but is only a machine if it increases local entropy.
science  physics  biology  :quotation  ! 
september 2008 by ap
De revolutionibus | Greg Laughlin
By connecting observations from the Ptolemaic era with his own (and other contemporary) observations, Copernicus was able to achieve a great improvement in timing accuracy. Remarkably, his combination of timing data and positional measurements for solar system planets such as Mars give a signal-to-noise quite similar to the modern data that we currently have for transiting hot Jupiters such as HD 149026b.
astronomy  science  :quotation  ! 
september 2008 by ap
The Value Of Science | Richard Feynman
It is true that few unscientific people have this particular type of religious experience. Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. I don’t know why. Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age. [… …] Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question – to doubt – to not be sure. [… …] What we ought to be able to do seems gigantic compared with our confused accomplishments. Why is this? Why can’t we conquer ourselves? [[Version with more notes at http://www.phys.washington.edu/users/vladi/phys216/Feynman.html ]]
science  beauty  society  philosophy  ! 
august 2008 by ap
Degrees Of Quantumness: Shades Of Gray In Particle-wave Duality | Davide Castelvecchi | Science News
The new research is a variation on the so-called double-slit experiment […] With increasing certainty, the interference fringes become progressively blurred.
physics  science  ! 
july 2008 by ap
A New Take on Warping Spacetime | Paul Gilster
Can we learn how to generate a region of expanding spacetime and one of contracting spacetime? Obousy and Cleaver argue that nature can offer insights, for spacetime itself is already expanding
space  engineering  science  ! 
july 2008 by ap
Elementary Particles | Kieran Healy
The Stanford Superconducting Supersocializer […] will propel local college sophomores at tremendous speeds into unfamiliar groups of people in an effort to plumb the structure of the elementary particles of social interaction.
sociology  physics  science  funny  ! 
july 2008 by ap
Another Argument for Quality Science Journalism | Mark Trodden | Cosmic Variance
“In the media, as you will have noticed, science is about absolute truth statements from arbitrary authority figures in white coats, rather than clear descriptions of studies and the reasons why people draw conclusions from them.”
science  journalism  ! 
july 2008 by ap
Prescriptivist Science | Mark Liberman | Language Log
So singular they with indefinite, non-referential antecedents apparently imposes no extra cognitive load, at least on midwestern undergraduates as of the mid-1990s.
language  science  ! 
may 2008 by ap
The Physics of Chocolate | Julianne Dalcanton | Cosmic Variance
There is not just one form that the triglycerides can lock into, but six of them (β(I) through β(VI)). Each successive form is more stable and has a higher melting point. Almost all commercial chocolate is in the β(V) form – from what I can tell, you only get to sample β(VI) in the afterlife, if you’ve been very, very good. When chocolate goes all wrong, it is usually a failure of the melted and cooled chocolate to recrystallize into the β(V) state.
science  amusing  cooking  advice  ! 
may 2008 by ap
Holy evaluation | Chris Blattman
You know experimental program evaluation has become a craze when even the Imams want it.
politics  society  religion  skepticism  science  inspirational  ! 
april 2008 by ap
The Bodélé depression: a single spot in the Sahara that provides most of the mineral dust to the Amazon forest
[Weizmann Institute researchers find the Amazon depends critically on a single valley just 0.2% of the area of the Sahara: a geographical wind tunnel providing ½ the yearly ration of Sahara dust without which the rainforest would be a wet desert. —Ed.]
environment  science  geology  location  ! 
march 2008 by ap
Stringy theory | SignOnSanDiego.com
Researchers published [“Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String”,] the first [theory] of why knots seem to form magically [in] anything stringy […as a] derivative [of] the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. [[Awesome: curious play, like Feynman. —Ed.]]
mathematics  physics  science  hacking  ! 
march 2008 by ap
Electrons | swirlspice
This is one of my favoritest jokes ever. EVER.
science  funny  :picture  ! 
march 2008 by ap
The terrible truth about extremism | the physics arXiv blog
According to Martins, extremism is a natural property of social networks like ours. And that means we ain’t ever gonna get rid of it. […] arxiv.org/abs/0711.1199
psychology  society  science  ! 
february 2008 by ap
Is Big Physics peddling science pornography?
There is as yet no observational evidence for cosmic strings. It’s hard to test for a multiverse. In this sense, some of these ideas are not so far, conceptually, from UFOs and homeopathy.
science  physics  skepticism  ! 
february 2008 by ap
Science Tattoos – a photoset on Flickr | Carl Zimmer
On my blog, The Loom, I asked whether scientists wear many tattoos of their science. The answer was yes.
science  culture  amusing  ! 
december 2007 by ap
Why are economists so misleading? | Language Log
The real effect here, I think, is the public’s hunger for “scientific” evidence about sex roles, as a basis for releasing pent-up negative emotions about personal relationships and social status anxiety.
society  science  psychology  ! 
october 2007 by ap
Mistake of the Week: Belief is King | Scott Aaronson
Laypeople consistently overestimate the role of belief in science. Thus the questions I constantly get asked: do I *believe* the many-worlds interpretation? […] Never what are the arguments for and against: always what do I *believe*?
science  faith  philosophy 
september 2007 by ap
Evolution is Not Just a Theory
There is nothing higher, or better, than a theory. Laws describe things, theories explain them.
science  language  evolution  recommended 
july 2007 by ap
The proper reverence due those who have gone before | Paul Z. Myers
There was a vast history of events reduced now to nothing but a few footprints and a scattering of bones. […] So much has been lost to us, and those few scraps we do have must stand in proxy for such a burden of history.
history  science  faith  visualisation  inspirational  ! 
june 2007 by ap
Mistakes in Experimental Design and Interpretation | Peter Norvig
By scrutinizing experiments against the checklist provided here, you have a better chance of separating truth from fiction. [Broad high-level overview covering the common pitfalls in designing an experiment and in interpreting its results. —Ed.]
science  statistics  advice  recommended  ! 
june 2007 by ap
Bouncing Neutrons in the Gravitational Field | Backreaction
New experiments have been realised that show directly the quantisation of the vertical “free fall” motion of neutrons in the gravitational field of the Earth. […] one can detect the quantum states of neutrons in the gravitational field of the Earth!
physics  science  ! 
june 2007 by ap
The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids | LiveScience
Replicating this method of construction would be cost effective, long lasting, and much more environmentally friendly than the current building material of choice: Portland cement that alone pumps roughly 6bn tons of CO₂ annually into the atmosphere
science  engineering  history  archæology  environment 
june 2007 by ap
A Gliese Moment | Paul Gilster
My unexpected conversations on this topic have completely delighted me […] I am picking up [a] palpable sense of awe [… Gliese 581 c] was like finding an unexpected gift at the door that made these two people […] feel enchanted with the cosmos again
science  beauty  inspirational  ! 
may 2007 by ap
The Science of Word Recognition, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bouma | Kevin Larson
I will [describe] the word shape model and serial and parallel models of letter recognition, [show] data that was used as evidence, […] evaluate the models in terms of their ability to support the data, [and describe a] model that is currently popular
perception  cognition  psychology  science  typography  recommended  ! 
april 2007 by ap
Entire image compressed to a single photon | Press Esc
Howell shone a beam of light through a stencil [but] turned down the light so much that a single photon was all that passed through […] As a wave, it passed through all parts of the stencil at once, carrying the “shadow” of the [stencil] with it.
physics  science  engineering  compression  ! 
april 2007 by ap
Molecular Photography | JoAnne Hewett | Cosmic Variance
So, just what is this X-ray laser going to do? Literally, it will take photographs of molecules and reveal their structure. […] For instance, it will be possible to record time-resolved images of chemical reactions, to the point of following the change in the chemical bond as the reaction proceeds.
science  physics  chemistry  ! 
december 2006 by ap
Grasping the Depth of Time as a First Step in Understanding Evolution | New York Times
One of the most powerful limits to the human imagination is our inability to grasp, in a truly intuitive way, the depths of terrestrial and cosmological time. That inability is hardly surprising because our own lives are so very short in comparison.
evolution  faith  science  psychology 
november 2006 by ap
Silicon Superstitions – When we don’t understand a process, we fall into magical thinking about results. | Jef Raskin | ACM Queue
Computer systems exhibit all the behaviors best suited to create superstitious responses. You will try something, it won’t work, so you try it again – the exact same way – and this time it works, or not. That’s random reinforcement.
technology  psychology  faith  science  ! 
october 2006 by ap
My mother, the alien | Bad Astronomy Blog
[T]here are so many similarities between alien abduction stories and the way mothers take care of infants. Alien abduction victims are whisked away, helpless, for no apparent reason; […] strange and unexplained things are done to the victims, […]
science  psychology  ! 
august 2006 by ap
Eugenics doesn’t work. Ask why, asshole. | GreyThumb.Blog
I just watched a documentary entitled “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” [which] was fascinating, esp. from an evolutionary point of view. It provides a great cautionary tale illustrating [one] of the reasons why compulsory eugenics doesn’t work
science  biology  evolution 
july 2006 by ap
The Solar System Perspective Project is intended as an aid to the imagination, an attempt to dispel the grade school mobile by means of a more accurate model, built to scale. It provides the opportunity to observe the relative sizes of the planets and to
science  physics  astronomy  scale  visualisation  art  amusing  ! 
july 2006 by ap
Hydrogen Atom Scale Model
I used to think that things like rocks and buildings and my own skeleton were fairly solid. But they’re made up of atoms, and atoms, as you can see here, contain so little actual material that they can barely be said to exist. We are all phantoms.
physics  science  scale  visualisation  amusing  ! 
july 2006 by ap
Fire Rainbow | Urban Legends Reference Pages
When the plate crystals in cirrus clouds are aligned optimally (i.e., with their faces parallel to the ground), the resulting display is a brilliant spectrum of colors reminiscent of a rainbow.
science  physics  beauty  ! 
july 2006 by ap
B. K. Zafar’s Home
[Wiki respository of a bunch of great articles.]
mathematics  philosophy  programming  science 
june 2006 by ap
Facts on Farts
[From where the gas comes from to why it stinks, with technical explanations to answer almost every question you’ve ever had (or not) about flatulence. Why am I bookmarking this? Uhm, well it’s kinda neat actually…]
health  science 
june 2006 by ap
Misconceptions: Pareidolia | Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy
So the next time you hear of someone seeing the face of God in a turnip, […]. Before you wonder if it’s Jesus or Mary paying you a visit, remember, sometimes it’s not really Lenin in the shower. It’s just dirty bath water.
psychology  science 
april 2006 by ap
Free Books from Samizdat Press
Samizdat Press is devoted to the free distribution of books, lecture notes and software. Our special focus is material of a pedagogical nature.
programming  science  :ebook 
december 2005 by ap
SETI and Intelligent Design | SPACE.com
Our sought-after signal is hardly complex, and yet we’re still going to say that we’ve found extraterrestrials. If we can get away with that, why can’t they? Well, it’s because the credibility of the evidence is not predicated on its complexity.
science  faith 
december 2005 by ap
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