Tag Archives | Science

Twitter To Hand Over Billions Of Tweets To Scientists

341px-Twitter_logo.svgAll Your #FFs are belong to science.

Five hundred million tweets are broadcast worldwide every day on Twitter. With so many details about personal lives, the social media site is a data trove for scientists looking to find patterns in human behaviors, tease out risk factors for health conditions and track the spread of infectious diseases. By analyzing emotional cues found in the tweets of pregnant women, for instance, Microsoft researchers developed an algorithm that predicts those at risk for postpartum depression. And the U.S. Geological Survey uses Twitter to track the location of earthquakes as people tweet about tremors.

Until now, most interested scientists have been working with a limited number of tweets. Although a majority of tweets are public, if scientists want to freely search the lot, they do it through Twitter’s application programming interface, which currently scours only 1 percent of the archive. But that is about to change: in February the company announced that it will make all its tweets, dating back to 2006, freely available to researchers.

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Science Fails Validity Checks

Picture: Wikimedia Commons (CC)

Picture: Wikimedia Commons (CC)

Science works by building on the work of the past. What happens when you check to make sure that work can be trusted?

via The LA Times:

In today’s world, brimful as it is with opinion and falsehoods masquerading as facts, you’d think the one place you can depend on for verifiable facts is science.

You’d be wrong. Many billions of dollars’ worth of wrong.

A few years ago, scientists at the Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology.

The idea was to make sure that research on which Amgen was spending millions of development dollars still held up. They figured that a few of the studies would fail the test — that the original results couldn’t be reproduced because the findings were especially novel or described fresh therapeutic approaches.

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Scientists Construct 3-D Model of Ant To Study Strength

PIC: (C)

PIC: OSU (C)

These studies could lead to remarkable new developments in cybernetic technology. Look for it on a battlefield or near a police roadblock (hard to tell the difference these days) near you!

A recent study into the biomechanics of the necks of ants – a common insect that can amazingly lift objects many times heavier than its own body – might unlock one of nature’s little mysteries and, quite possibly, open the door to advancements in robotic engineering.

A small group of engineers at The Ohio State University combined laboratory testing and computational modeling conducted at the Ohio Supercomputer Center to determine the relationship between the mechanical function, structural design and material properties of the Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides). Their results were recently published in an article, “The exoskeletal structure and tensile loading behavior of an ant neck joint,” in the Journal of Biomechanics.

The study focused on the ant’s neck – the single joint of soft tissue that bridges the stiff exoskeleton of the ant’s head and thorax.

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Humans Evolving Faster According to Expert

Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way…071210_evolution_hmed2p.hmedium

Humans are evolving at an increasing rate, thanks to medical advances and a larger population, Pobiner said at the “Future Is Here,” a two-day conference celebrating the future of humans, the planet, life beyond Earth and deep space, hosted by Smithsonian Magazine. But just as humans are continuing to evolve, human parasites are evolving, too.

“I invite you to look into the eyes of our ancient relatives,” Pobiner said. “Why did most human ancestors go extinct, while homo sapiens survived? The answer has a lot to do with human brains.” [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

The human brain represents only about 2 percent of the body’s weight, but consumes 20 percent of its energy. The biggest evolutionary changes have occurred in the neocortex, the brain’s outer wrapping that processes abstract thinking, long-term planning, empathy and language, Pobiner said.

via Human Evolution ‘Definitely Not’ Over, Expert Says | LiveScience.… Read the rest

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Super Happy Comments Funtime!

hypnotogeometry1Hey Thad, where are the regularly scheduled rants that we’ve become accustomed to over the last year or so? Well, I decided several weeks back I should probably actually put the finishing touches on the book I wrote that’s coming out next month (if all goes right) and that maybe I should wrap that up before I spend more of my time ranting at y’all. They’ll be back here soon, and you know what else? Video rants all Lee Camp style. As far as I can tell, the problem with my writing is that no one reading it can tell how ridiculously good looking I am (riiiiight). I mean, how are gay dudes supposed to masturbate to an internet article? How are women supposed to make weird scrapbooks with hearts around me while jotting down the names of our future children? This needs to be resolved and so I’m buying a decent video camera here soon to do just that.… Read the rest

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Why is the Vatican Searching for Aliens?

PIC: Lewis Francis (CC)

PIC: Lewis Francis (CC)

Is there any theological motivation in the search for life beyond earth? Or is this just the academic bent of our Jesuit pope being felt early in his papacy?  Is it a terrible pursuit of heresy or worse, the work of the Devil?  Or is the Vatican searching for some greater inspiration for humanity?

The last time the Vatican was moved to pursue a momentous astronomical discovery was in 1580 to reform the Julian calendar.  It was known that the equinoxes and solstices had drifted some distance off from true, and Pope Gregory XIII sought a reform to respect the traditional Easter celebration date as set by the Council of Nicaea in 325.  The Gregorian Tower was ordered erected in the Holy See and stocked with the finest instruments of the day.  Jesuit astronomers were able to refine the length of the year from 365.25 days to 365.2425 days (a reduction of about 10 minutes and 48 seconds per annum or <0.002%).  To compensate for the calculated discrepancy, a Papal Bull decreed that all calendars would skip 10 days.  The day of Thursday Oct 4th 1582 on the Julian calendar was immediately followed by the day of Friday Oct 15th 1582 on the new Gregorian calendar, and Easter has been when it’s supposed to be ever since.However, does the pursuit of the discovery of extraterrestrial life have a practical end such as that for calendar reform?… Read the rest

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El Niño Temporarily Slows The Earth’s Rotation

El Niño is coming for your gravity!

via How El Niño temporarily slows the Earth’s rotation | Ars Technica.

Above the surface, there are fluids that can move independently of the Earth, like the atmosphere. That motion can actually apply a torque that acts to speed up or slow down the Earth’s rotation. The El Niño Southern Oscillation is a major source of year-to-year variability in Earth’s average surface temperature and, it turns out, its rotational velocity. During La Niña conditions, the winds conspire to push warm surface water in the Eastern Pacific westward, bringing cooler water up to the surface. Conversely, during an El Niño, the warm surface water extends to the eastern side of the Pacific, keeping a lid on the cool water beneath. This difference has a large effect on atmospheric circulation patterns.

It has been known for a while that this manages to slightly alter the Earth’s rotation, but University of La Rochelle researcher Olivier de Viron and Jean Dickey of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory set out to study how two slightly different flavors of El Niño compare.

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Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments Against Global Warming: Roy Spencer, PhD

Picture: Victor Korniyenko (CC)

Picture: Victor Korniyenko (CC)

Climatologist, author, and former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer offers ten good skeptical arguments against global warming. Raw Story published a response to this via The Guardian, if you’d like to read it.

via Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments « Roy Spencer, PhD.

As suggested by a friend, I’m following up my Top Ten bad global warming arguments list with a Top Ten good arguments list. These are in no particular order, and I might have missed something important.

These ten were just off the top of my head….there’s no telling what might be lingering deeper in my brain.

I have avoided specific alternative causal mechanisms of natural climate change, because I view them individually as speculative. But taken as a whole, they represent a class of unknowns that can’t be just swept under the rug just because we don’t understand them.

For some reason, all of these ended up being phrased as questions, rather than statements.

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Randall Carlson on Freemasonry, Alchemy, Sacred Geometry, And Much More

"Georgia Guidestones" photo credit @Afua Richardson 2014

“Georgia Guidestones” photo credit @Afua Richardson 2014

Via WhereDidTheRoadGo.com and SacredGeometryInternational.com:

DOWNLOAD THE MP3 HERE!

Randall Carlson on Freemasonry, Alchemy, Sacred Geometry and more
We are joined once again by Randall Carlson for a discussion that ranges from Sacred Geometry and Cataclysm, to the Georgia Guidestones and Freemasonry, to Space Exploration, Alchemy, and the Future of the Human Race.

Randall Carlson is a master builder and architectural designer, teacher, geometrician, geomythologist, geological explorer and renegade scholar. He has 4 decades of study, research and exploration Into the interface between ancient mysteries and modern science, has been an active Freemason for 30 years and is Past Master of one of the oldest and largest Masonic lodges in Georgia. He has been recognized by The National Science Teachers Association for his commitment to Science education for young people.

The acclaimed 1997 TBS/CNN documentary “Fire from the Sky” was based upon his research into Earth change and catastrophic events.… Read the rest

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Best Explanation of Quantum Field Theory That You Will Ever Hear

via chycho

higgs_field_I15-76-Higgs4

Below you will find an excellent lecture by Dr. Sean Carroll delivered on 12 June 2013 at the 46th Annual Fermilab Users Meeting, focusing on the importance of the discovery of the Higgs boson confirming the existence of the Higgs field – giving us a glimpse into the world of “Particles, Fields and The Future of Physics”.

For me, the highlight of the lecture occurred during the question and answer period, at approximately 1:14:32, when one of the members of the audience asked the following question:

Question: “So, could you explain a bit more on measurement? You said that you have wave and it interacts with an entangled amount of waves and then pops out a particle, right?

I found the following response by Dr. Carroll to be the best description of quantum field theory that I have ever come across:

Sean Carroll: “Yes.

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