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Current Topic: Science

The Centrifuge Brain Project, by Till Nowak
Topic: Science 7:40 am EST, Feb 11, 2013

Dr. Nick Laslowicz, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Centrifugal Research:

Our confidential field-studies and covert experiments have confirmed: To the best of our knowledge, everything is possible. And if it is not, what the Hell, we try it anyway.

Jesse Hicks:

Wherever there's a system, an established order, someone will have an incentive to uphold it. And someone else will have equal incentive to break it.

Nick Bilton:

It is in everyone's interest that we move from unscientific fears to real scientific testing.

Rafiq Kathwari:

The world is vast. Plumb
your own universe.

The Centrifuge Brain Project, by Till Nowak

A Bird Ballet, by Neels Castillon
Topic: Science 7:40 am EST, Feb 11, 2013

Stella Adler:

Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.

Neels Castillon:

Thousands and thousands of birds came and made this incredible dance in the sky.

Sophie Windsor Clive:

A chance encounter and shared moment with one of nature's greatest and most fleeting phenomena.


Life is too short to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.

A Bird Ballet, by Neels Castillon

If you find it bleak, that is your problem
Topic: Science 7:53 am EST, Feb 27, 2012

Cormac McCarthy:

Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

Luis Bettencourt, on Cormac McCarthy:

He just asks really good questions.

David Bell:

What the history of war makes clear is that the administration's embrace of "remote control warfare" does not signal an abolition of restraints on war's destructive power. Using technology to strike safely at an opponent is as old as war itself. If you are concerned about American aggression, it is not the drones you should fear, but the politicians who order them into battle.

Dennis Overbye:

It would be silly to think that we won't have better answers and better questions 50 or 100 years from now, but for the moment this is the story science can tell. If you find it bleak, that is your problem.

Sam Kean:

Jim Carter rejects field theory outright, preferring a mechanical universe based on particles he calls "circlons." Circlons look like long springs coiled into a donut, and he has reimagined everything from the big bang to the periodic table in terms of them.

Carter transforms a few trashcans and a smoke machine into a device that makes giant smoke rings. Carter believes that smoke rings behave as circlons do at a microscopic level, and the device will allow him to test a few ideas rattling his brain. But instead of getting down to business, he regales his neighbors by puffing rings across his yard all afternoon.

Freeman Dyson:

Many of the leaders of the first revolution, like Einstein, spent the rest of their lives pursuing various radical ideas that led nowhere. Each of them imagined that his own personal vision would be the key that would open the door to the second revolution.

"Leonard Nimoy":

It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies. And in the end, isn't that the real truth?

The answer ... is No.

A High Level of Perception
Topic: Science 6:46 am EST, Feb 22, 2012

Tyler Cohen:

The most dangerous people are those that have been taught some financial literacy. They're the ones who go out and make the worst mistakes. It's the people that realize, "I don't know anything at all," that end up doing pretty well.

Richard Thaler:

Many people love lotteries.

In using lotteries to motivate it is important to get the details right.

The idea is to play on people's feelings of regret.

Alison Gopnik:

What teenagers want most of all are social rewards.

An Afghan human smuggler:

They will know you are lying, but as long as you say the same thing whatever they ask you, you will be fine.

John Horgan on the theories of Robert Trivers:

Fooling others yields obvious benefits, but why do we so often fool ourselves? First, believing that we're smarter, sexier and more righteous than we really are -- or than others consider us to be -- can help us seduce and persuade others and even improve our health, via the placebo effect, for example. And the more we believe our own lies, the more sincerely, and hence effectively, we can lie to others.

Philip J. Buckenmeyer, et al:

CONCLUSION: The 5-Hour Energy Shot(R) did not significantly improve short- or long-term cognitive function for selected computer-based tasks despite a high level of perception that it was working effectively compared to a placebo with college-aged participants.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

The long shadow of Mt. Rainier | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
Topic: Science 11:02 pm EDT, Oct 26, 2011

Phil Plait:

Mt. Rainier is a volcano, climbing to a height of over 14,000 feet (4300 meters). There are no other mountains anywhere near that height nearby, so it's really prominent in the landscape. The rising Sun catches the peak, and the shadow is cast on the underside of the cloud layer. The dramatic sunrise colors really make this an incredibly beautiful shot.

The long shadow of Mt. Rainier | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

On the tip of a butterfly tongue
Topic: Science 8:21 am EDT, Oct 11, 2011

David Hockney:

Don't we need people who can see things from different points of view?

From the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition:

Dr. Witold Kilarski of the EPFL-Laboratory of Lymphatic and Cancer Bioengineering in Lausanne, Switzerland shot Litomosoides sigmodontis (filaria worms) inside lymphatic vessels of the mouse ear at 150x magnification using aFluorescent confocal microscopy.

From the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition:

Charles Krebs from Issaquah, Washington brings us this portrait of a water boatman (Corixidae sp.), viewed in reflected light.

The double compound eyes of a male St. Mark's fly (Bibio marci), submitted by Dr. David Maitland from Feltwell, UK.

The tip of a butterfly tongue viewed in polarized light by Stephen S. Nagy, M.D. from Helena, Montana. (Stephen S. Nagy, M.D.)

Via Bruce Sterling:

CrowdOptic, a maker of crowd-driven mobile solutions for the enterprise, today announced the release of CrowdOptic Analytics, an advanced, behind-the-scenes tool used by live event producers for monitoring their spectators' event viewing and photo-taking activities during live events. The CrowdOptic platform features a one-of-a-kind technology which senses where crowds are focusing from moment to moment, by tracking the precise paths of spectators' phones as they view and take photos and video of the live action. CrowdOptic monitors, in real time, the GPS location and compass headings on each of the hundreds, or often thousands, of mobile phones in a crowd (using GPS to locate the phones and compass headings to determine the direction the phones are pointing) and finds the point where two bearings, taken from two different locations, intersect.

Leafsnap: An Electronic Field Guide
Topic: Science 6:26 am EDT, May 10, 2011

Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.

Leafsnap contains beautiful high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark. Leafsnap currently includes the trees of New York City and Washington, D.C., and will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States.

Ali Dhux:

A man tries hard to help you find your lost camels.
He works more tirelessly than even you,
But in truth he does not want you to find them, ever.


Is our curse the endless pursuit of a happiness which can never be attained?

Leafsnap: An Electronic Field Guide

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse
Topic: Science 11:55 am EST, Dec 23, 2010

William Castleman:

Time lapse video of Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse on December 21, 2010 from 1:10 AM EST (6:10 GMT) to 5:03 AM EST (10:03 GMT) from Gainesville Florida.

via w1ld and Decius:

Amazing Spectacle: Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Dance Your Ph.D.
Topic: Science 7:49 am EDT, Oct  6, 2010

The dreaded question. "So, what's your Ph.D. research about?"

You could bore them with an explanation.

Or you could dance.

Garrison Keillor, quoting you:

I could have done that. Why didn't I?

An exchange:

Decius: This looks good!

k: This is gonna be sooo bad.

Decius: I don't have a solution for the problem of bad taste.

Joss Stone:

Don't tell me that I won't
I can

Marge Simpson:

Bart, don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice.

Sarah Silverman:

You're very free if you don't love money.

Cormac McCarthy:

Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

Dance Your Ph.D.

arXiv vs. snarXiv
Topic: Science 8:29 am EDT, Jun 21, 2010

David Simmons-Duffin:

The snarXiv is a ran­dom high-energy the­ory paper gen­er­a­tor incor­po­rat­ing all the lat­est trends, entropic rea­son­ing, and excit­ing mod­uli spaces. The arXiv is sim­i­lar, but occa­sion­ally less ran­dom.

Marge Simpson:

Bart, don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice.

Ira Glass:

Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap.

Martin Schwartz:

Science makes me feel stupid too. It's just that I've gotten used to it.

arXiv vs. snarXiv

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