Tag Archives | Science

Simulation Theory and the Nature of Reality with NASA Physicist and Author, Tom Campbell

Via Midwest Real

IMG_5913“When the original founding fathers of quantum mechanics were doing these experiments they were really excited… making statements like- ‘if quantum mechanics doesn’t blow your mind, that’s because you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ They realized this was a really big deal philosophically, (and) scientifically… Then they tried to come up with a good explanation. They couldn’t find one… Now they just blow it off as ‘nobody will ever know… it’s just weird science.’ This My Big Toe theory though, explains it.”  -Tom Campbell

If that chopped up quote sounds vague, pseudo science-y, or confusing (especially if you’re not familiar with some of the basic ideas behind quantum mechanics) I get that. But, when you’re grappling with huge issues like the very nature of our reality and you’re trying to take a broad stroke across the top, things tend to get foggy, so bear with me.

(You should know about the infamous, hotly-debated double-slit experiment covered above for this talk.)

Actually, don’t bear with me, or take anything from me, because our guest, Tom Campbell has an impressive career in applied physics.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bill Nye Fights Back

What do you think of Bill Nye, the science guy, disinfonauts? He’s profiled as an heroic but beleaguered underdog by Popular Science:

“Let’s say that I am, through my actions, doomed, and that I will go to hell,” Bill Nye said. He was prepping for a Super Bowl party and making pizza dough from a recipe given to him by his friend, Bob Picardo, who played The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. He ducked beneath the countertop, pulled out a KitchenAid mixer and a bag of flour, and then returned to the topic at hand, which was religion and science and what he believed.

Bill Nye

“Even if I am going to hell,” he continued, “that still doesn’t mean the Earth is 6,000 years old. The facts just don’t reconcile.” He turned back to the mixer, sighed, and slumped a little. For a moment, Nye looked weary at the thought of ill-informed parents undoing his life’s work.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A type of dandruff fungus is found in deep sea vents, lobster guts, and Antarctic soil

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons.

via Popular Science:

What do human scalps, deep sea vents, and Antarctic soil have in common? As it turns out, all of these places are home to one weird group of fungi. A study published today in the journal PLOS Pathogens found that fungi of the genus Malassezia are just about everywhere. And we do mean everywhere.

Scientists have known for quite a while that some species of Malassezia were associated with dandruff and other skin conditions like eczema, and they had long assumed that these fungi were specialized to live on skin. The fungus, which relies on a host to provide fatty acids, is incredibly difficult for scientists to cultivate, or grow in a lab, and it flew under the radar for years. Now the fungus has turned up in the guts of lobster larvae, hydrothermal vents, the roots of orchids and many other incredibly different places.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Study shows the therapeutic benefits of Magic Mushrooms

Psilocybe_semilanceata_6514

Fruit bodies of the hallucinogenic mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr.) Kumm. Specimens photographed in Sweden. By Arp via Wikimedia Commons.

Color me unsurprised.

via News.Mic:

The research: One study concluded that controlled exposure to psilocybin could have long-lasting medical and spiritual benefits. In 2011, Johns Hopkins researchers found that by giving volunteer test subjects just the right dose (not enough to give them a terrifying bad trip), they were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers. This provoked long-lasting psychological growth and helped the volunteers to find peace in their lives, all without side effects. Nearly all of the 18 test subjects, average age 46, were college graduates. Seventy-eight percent were religious and all were interested in finding a scientific experience.

Fourteen months later, 94% said their trip on magic mushrooms was one of the five most important moments of their lives. Thirty-nine percent said it was the most important thing that had ever happened to them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Are We In the Golden Age of Neuroscience?

Gray739

The recent achievements in neuroscience are unprecedented.

via The Wall Street Journal:

More than a billion people were amazed this summer when a 29-year-old paraplegic man from Brazil raised his right leg and kicked a soccer ball to ceremonially begin the World Cup. The sight of a paralyzed person whose brain directly controlled a robotic exoskeleton (designed at Duke University) was thrilling.

We are now entering the golden age of neuroscience. We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history. A blizzard of the new technologies using advanced physics—resulting in scans and tests we know as fMRI, EEG, PET, DBS, CAT, TCM and TES—have allowed scientists to observe thoughts as they ricochet like a pong ball inside the living brain, and then begin the process of deciphering these thoughts using powerful computers.

The Pentagon, witnessing the human tragedy of the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, has invested more than $150 million in the military’s Revolutionary Prosthetics program, so that injured veterans can bypass damaged limbs and spinal cords and mentally control state-of-the-art mechanical arms and legs.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mystery: Have you heard The Hum?

Screenshot of The World Hum Map and Database by Glen MacPhearson, British Columbia.

Screenshot of The World Hum Map and Database by Glen MacPhearson, British Columbia.

Disinfo has covered the mysterious hum before (here and here). But Policy.Mic has a write-up and I thought that the Disinfo community might like to read more about this fascinating phenomena. It appears that scientists are as baffled as ever.

via Policy.Mic (follow link to read the entire article):

Dr. Glen MacPherson doesn’t remember the first time he heard the sound. It may have started at the beginning of 2012, a dull, steady droning like that of a diesel engine idling down the street from his house in the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. A lecturer at the University of British Columbia and high school teacher of physics, mathematics and biology, months passed before MacPherson realized that the noise, which he’d previously dismissed as some background nuisance like car traffic or an airplane passing overhead, was something abnormal.

“Once I realized that this wasn’t simply the ambient noise of living in my little corner of the world, I went through the typical stages and steps to try to isolate the sources,” MacPherson told Mic.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What type of music makes you feel most powerful?

Music lesson: teacher (right, inscription: ΣΜΙΚΥΔΟΣ) and his student (left, ΕΥΔΥΜΙΔΕΣ). Between them, a boy (ΤΛΕΜΠΟΜΕΝΟΣ) narrates a text. Attic red-figure hydria, ca. 510 BC. From Vulci. via Wikimedia Commons.

Music lesson: teacher (right, inscription: ΣΜΙΚΥΔΟΣ) and his student (left, ΕΥΔΥΜΙΔΕΣ). Between them, a boy (ΤΛΕΜΠΟΜΕΝΟΣ) narrates a text. Attic red-figure hydria, ca. 510 BC. From Vulci. via Wikimedia Commons.

Aside from the science, what kind of music do you think makes you feel most powerful?

via Psyblog:

Now a new study finds that music of the right kind can transform the listener’s sense of power.

The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, was inspired by the pre-game routines of athletes (Hsu et al., 2014).

Dennis Hsu, who led the study, explains:

“When watching major sports events, my coauthors and I frequently noticed athletes with their earphones on while entering the stadium and in the locker room.

The ways these athletes immerse themselves in the music — some with their eyes steely shut and some gently nodded along to the beats — it seems as if the music is mentally preparing and toughening them up for the competition about to occur.”

But which type of music is best for boosting your power and what is it about that music that makes you feel powerful?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Secret Science Boards of TED And The Question of Consciousness

TED_CensorshipThere’s a shadowy group lurking in the squeaky clean corridors of the scientific information conglomerate known as TED. Here in the cockles of this monolithic shaft of Copernican cocksuredness hides a gloaming collection of secret scientists who decide the fate of the information you’re allowed to hear. They have no name, so we shall call them the Anonymous Society of Scientist (A.S.S. for short). We may have never known of A.S.S.’s existence if not for the hell raised over the removal of two popular TEDx Whitechapel speeches by Scientist, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and best-selling author, Graham Hancock.

Both Dr. Sheldrake and Graham Hancock’s talks revolved around the idea that consciousness is not necessarily limited to the physical human body, but that it may extend far beyond in ways not yet fully understood. In light of the present paradigm of scientific thought which supposes we are actually “lumbering robots” as Richard Dawkins famously stated, the contrarian claims of Sheldrake and Hancock are not considered suitable for public consumption – so think the veiled harbingers of A.S.S.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Used Cigarette Butts Can Be Turned into Electrical Storage

Carp with a cigarette butt Wouter Hagens, via Wikimedia Commons

Carp with a cigarette butt Wouter Hagens, via Wikimedia Commons

This coupled with cannabis-based batteries? I approve.

via Popsci:

The electrical power of the future just might be waiting in ashtrays across the world. Researchers in South Korea discovered that, with a one-step conversion process, cigarette filters turn into great supercapacitors. This is great news for anyone who wants new electronics that smell like Bourbon Street at 3 A.M.

Supercapacitors are an electrical storage alternative to batteries. In batteries, energy is stored in chemical reactants, while in supercapacitors, it’s stored as an electrical field between materials. Batteries are slow to charge and heavy, but they’re also compact and store great amounts of energy, which means they’ve long held an advantage in consumer products. But supercapacitors work where space constraints matter less: Braking in a car generates a lot of electricity, and in some cars supercapacitors capture that energy and then release it to get the car going again.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Cognitive Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

Sleep and His Half Brother Death. John William Waterhouse, 1874.

Sleep and His Half Brother Death. John William Waterhouse, 1874.

I’ve only had a couple lucid dreams myself.

via Psyblog:

People who realise they are in a dream while they are dreaming — a lucid dream — have better problem-solving abilities, new research finds.

This may be because the ability to step outside a dream after noticing it doesn’t make sense reflects a higher level of insight.

Around 82% of people are thought to have experienced a lucid dream in their life, while the number experiencing a lucid dream at least once a month may be as high as 37%.

Flash of insight

The study, published in the journal Dreaming, recruited participants into three groups (Bourke & Shaw, 2014):

  • Frequent lucid dreamers: those who experienced a lucid dream more than once a month.
  • Occasional lucid dreamers: those who had had a lucid dream at least once in their lives.
Read the rest
Continue Reading