Archive | Science

Dreams of the Universe: Is Particle Physics Unscientific?

From string theory to the multiverse, the theories of modern physics look increasingly exotic and untestable. But while they may be good for selling books, are they bad science? Do we need a return to empirical experiment, or should imagination be allowed its playground?

The Panel
Cambridge string theorist David Tong, experimental physicist Tara Shears, and author of The End of Science John Horgan seek the place where facts and fantasy collide.

This lecture was submitted via the Disinfo contact page.

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Sales Of Plug-In Cars Exceed 600,000 Worldwide

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via CleanTechnica:

It hasn’t even been four full years since the first plug-in hybrid and electric cars went on sale across the globe, and in many places plug-in cars are still few and far between. Yet across the world, consumers are turning to plug-in cars in greater numbers, with the top ten countries now accounting for over 600,000 plug-in vehicle sales according to a tally by Hybrid Cars.

Most of these sales happened after 2010, when the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt (the two top-selling plug-in cars worldwide) went on sale, though there are a handful of EVs accounted for dating back to 2006. The numbers show that plug-in sales have increased at a staggering pace, with the total number of electrified vehicles jumping from 180,000 in December of 2013 to over 405,000 little more than a year later in January of 2014. Plug-in car sales have since climbed past 500,000 by the end of summer, and Hybrid Cars accounts for at least 603,932 plug-in vehicle sales at the end of last month.

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The Danger of Sleep Deprivation

By Eric Skiff via Flickr (CC by -sa 2.0)

By Eric Skiff via Flickr (CC by -sa 2.0)

I’m queuing this post at 10:30pm and can barely keep my eyes open. Sleep is my favorite treat. Unfortunately it shouldn’t be considered a “treat,” but rather a necessity.

via The Atlantic:

I’m sure a lot of subway riders are skilled nappers, but this car seemed to be particularly talented. Going over the Brooklyn Bridge on a recent morning, just as the sun was coming up, a row of men in nearly identical black suits held on to the straps with their eyes closed. Their necks were bent at the slightest of angles, like a row of daisies in a breeze, and as the car clanged over the tracks and the sun pierced through the grimy train windows, it finally dawned on me they were all sound asleep. Not even the bumps and the light could stop them from sneaking in 15 more minutes of shut-eye before work.

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How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?

In 2012, an 82-year-old Nun easily broke into one of America’s most secure weapons facilities. In 1982, inspectors discovered that a massive hyper-secure vault used to store nuclear weapons had an unlocked back door next to a public road. In 1997, one of Russia’s top generals claimed that almost a hundred bombs were missing and unaccounted for.

This week, Science Faction takes a look at the jaw-dropping history of Nuclear Security blunders in ‘How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?’

(Information is drawn primarily from released Oversight reports and Congressional hearings – Full list of sources at the end)’

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‘Hidden brain signatures’ of consciousness in vegetative state patients discovered

Brain networks in two behaviorally similar vegetative patients (left and middle), but one of whom imagined playing tennis (middle panel), alongside a healthy adult (right panel) (credit: Srivas Chennu)

Brain networks in two behaviorally similar vegetative patients (left and middle), but one of whom imagined playing tennis (middle panel), alongside a healthy adult (right panel) (credit: Srivas Chennu)

via Kurzweil: Accelerating Intelligence:

Scientists in Cambridge, England have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state that point to networks that could support consciousness — even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Although unable to move and respond, some patients in a vegetative state are able to carry out tasks such as imagining playing a game of tennis, the scientists note. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, researchers have previously been able to record activity in the pre-motor cortex, the part of the brain that deals with movement, in apparently unconscious patients asked to imagine playing tennis.

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It’s Not Science Fiction, It’s Biomimicry– With Guest Dr. Michael Nosonovsky

Via Midwest Real

“In the first half of the 20th century, the prevailing idea was that humans could be masters of nature and the universe. We thought that human power was unlimited. We thought- ‘we can change rivers, we can move mountains,’ we can actually conquer nature. Then sometime in the second half of the 20th century, we made the realization that the relationship between nature and humans is actually much more complex than that.”  -Dr. Michael Nosonovsky.

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

IMG_6042If you love technology, congratulations! You’re living in what is, without a doubt, the most exciting time for it in human history. We’ve got self-driving cars, Oculus Rift, ubiquitous pocket-dwelling supercomputers and giant televisions in nearly every home. It’s almost enough to make you forget about ISIS, Ebola, killer asteroids and climate disaster.

Almost.

So let’s dampen the fear mongering feedback loop a bit further by jumping the technological brainwashing (I use that phrase with great affection) up a few notches.Read the rest

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Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant

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via BBC:

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

Details of the research are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

BBC One’s Panorama programme had unique access to the project and spent a year charting the patient’s rehabilitation.

Darek Fidyka, 40, from Poland, was paralysed after being stabbed repeatedly in the back in the 2010 attack.

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Anthropology unlocks clues about Roman gladiators’ eating habits

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via Phys.org:

Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes after training as a tonic. These are the findings of anthropological investigations carried out on bones of warriors found during excavations in the ancient city of Ephesos.

Historic sources report that gladiators had their own diet. This comprised beans and grains. Contemporary reports referred to them as “hordearii” (“barley eaters”).

In a study by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the MedUni Vienna in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern, bones were examined from a gladiator cemetery uncovered in 1993 which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century BC in the then Roman city of Ephesos (now in modern-day Turkey). At the time, Ephesos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and had over 200,000 inhabitants.

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6 Bullshit “Facts” About Psychology That Everyone Believes

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

Muspar writing in Cracked back in 2009:

Psychology is one of those subjects that everybody likes to think they know something about. We love to go around diagnosing our friends and co-workers, both to make sense of the world and to make ourselves feel like we’re smarter than they are.

But like any science that makes its way into the pop culture, a lot of the “common sense” statements we hear every day are so wrong that they border on raving idiocy. Such as…

#6. “If You Let Your Anger Out, You’ll Feel Better!”

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

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