background preloader


Facebook Twitter

Cheetahs. Mathematicians have finally figured out how to tell correlation from causation. Thomas Blomseth Christiansen is not an ordinary geek. For the last five years he has been tracking everyday things about his life—from steps to sneezes. He now has more than 100,000 data points, and he has used them to improve his health. After many minor, and some major, changes to his lifestyle, he’s nearly gotten rid of his allergy to pollen. When I met Christiansen, at the Quantified Self conference in Amsterdam, he was eager to tell me how much better his life was this summer compared to any summer in the last five years. He’s one of a growing wave of people convinced that documenting life’s minutiae can yield powerful benefits.

At least in Christiansen’s case, there’s already scientific work that might go some way to explain the success he achieved. The allergy conundrum Christiansen suffers from a pollen allergy, just as many millions around the world do. Despite decades of work, scientists still can’t agree on why we suffer from allergies. Finding a fix. Updated Science: Effects of Radioactivity Over Time. NASA Astronaut Flight Suit - Blue | Alpha Industries. Measure around base of neckline, keeping one finger between your neck and the measuring tape. Measure around body with tape leveled on the fullest part of your chest. Measure around your waist with the tape leveled at the narrowest point of your torso. With arm relaxed at your side, measure from center back neck, to point of shoulder, and along the arm to the wrist (just below round bone). Stand with heels 2—3” apart. Measure pants that fit you well, and feel comfortable.

Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA's Monster Data Center. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah. The legislation, proposed by Utah lawmaker Marc Roberts, is due to go to the floor of the Utah House of Representatives early next year, but it was debated in a Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee meeting on Wednesday.

The bill, H.B. 161, directs municipalities like Bluffdale to “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.” The NSA brought its Bluffdale data center online about a year ago, taking advantage Utah’s cheap power and a cut-rate deal for millions of gallons of local water, used to cool the 1-million-square-foot building’s servers. Roberts’ bill, however, would prohibit the NSA from negotiating new water deals when its current Bluffdale agreement runs out in 2021. Instead, they simply listened to testimony on the NSA and Bluffdale’s support of the center. This single protein influences how your brain copes with stress. New research has suggested that there’s a single protein that determines whether someone will cope with stress, or whether they’ll be more susceptible to depression. The results challenge the way we currently treat depression, and could lead to the first preventative therapies for the mental illness.

While much research has focussed on the effects of various brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine on depression, for the first time, scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine in the US have found that a protein called beta-catenin (B-catenin) appears to make some people deal with stress and fend off depression better than others. B-catenin is a protein that’s expressed throughout the brain and has been known to play many roles in the human body, including boosting cell development. Now the new study suggests that the levels of B-catenin in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) - the brain’s reward and motivation centre – could be the key driver of stress and depression. Deep Impact. 10 Types of Diet Books That Prove You Can't Eat Anything.

How Gravity Explains Why Time Never Runs Backward. We can’t avoid the passing of time, even at the DMV, where time seems to come to a standstill. And daylight savings notwithstanding, time always ticks forward. But why not backward? Why do we remember the past and not the future? For a group of physicists, the answers to these deep and complex questions may arise from a familiar source: gravity. Even though time is such a fundamental part of our experience, the basic laws of physics don’t seem to care in which direction it goes.

For example, the rules that govern the orbits of planets work the same whether you go forward or backward in time. “The problem of the arrow of time has been boggling minds forever,” said Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Most people who’ve thought about this arrow of time say it’s determined by entropy, the amount of disorder in a system (like, say, a bowl of cereal, or the universe). Click to Open Overlay Gallery “It’s a big open question,” Carlip said. A random genetic mutation has made HIV harmless in two patients. French researchers have pinpointed a genetic mutation that has resulted in two men showing no symptoms or clinical traces of HIV, despite being infected by the virus for at least three years. They’ve found that, in both patients, the HIV virus was shut down as a result of its genetic code being altered - something they believe was triggered by the activation of a group of enzymes known as APOBEC enzymes.

The research suggests that by activating these enzymes in other patients, we may be able to disable the AIDS-causing virus even after someone’s already been infected. In fact, it's one of the first potential "cures" put forward that would result in a patient remaining infected by HIV. The scientists were so fascinated by the two patients because neither had developed any symptoms, despite being infected with HIV for years. One of the men had been diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, and the other was diagnosed in 2011. We’ll be eagerly watching what happens next. Watch A Feather And A Bowling Ball Fall At The Exact Same Speed. To this day, I’ve never felt dumber than when elementary school me thought that 100 pounds of bowling balls would fall faster than 100 pounds of feathers.

I was a fool and I’ll never forget it. This video doesn’t show that riddle in action but something even cooler: how things fall at the same rate inside the world’s largest vacuum chamber. Brian Cox visited NASA’s Space Power Facility in Ohio which can suck out 30 tons of air in the giant chamber to remove air resistance and mimic space. It’s not as cool as dropping items and watching them fall in space (nothing is) but still, it’s pretty damn cool. Counting Crows. Australian researchers have created the most accurate quantum computing technology to date. Australian researchers have created the most accurate quantum computing technology to date Artist impression of an electron wave function (blue), confined in a crystal of silicon-28 atoms (black), controlled by a nanofabricated metal gate (silver). Image: Dr Stephanie Simmons/UNSW Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have achieved a huge breakthrough in quantum computing - they’ve created two kinds of silicon quantum bit, or qubits, the building blocks that make up any quantum computer, that are more than 99 percent accurate.

These quantum bits are made from silicon, the same material that makes up the transistors in today’s computers and phones, but the information in these bits is processed and stored in atoms, which means they’re capable of storing exponentially more information. “We have demonstrated that with silicon qubit we can have the accuracy needed to build a real quantum computer," Dzurak told ABC Science. Love technology?

Cheating on physics gets us great microscopes and three Nobel Prizes. This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry honors an interesting mix of developments. It honors three researchers who overcame an apparent physical limitation in our ability to image microscopic objects, in the process building microscopes that are proving to be incredibly useful for biology. But because the breakthroughs depended in part on our understanding of the behavior of individual molecules, the prize comes in chemistry. The limit in question is the diffraction limit, first described back in the 1800s by Ernst Abbe. This limit means that the best resolution we can obtain in imaging an object is half the wavelength of the light we're using to image it.

At least, that was the case until recently. The view from Hell The first of these is called STED microscopy, for stimulated emission depletion. Rather than try to resolve the population of molecules better, Hell decided to limit the number of molecules that are glowing at any given instant. Seeing single molecules. Queensland scientists discover cancer-fighting berry. Updated Usually when you treat a tumour it takes several weeks for it to resolve, but this is very, very rapid. Dr Glen Boyle Scientists have been surprised by the rapid cancer-fighting properties of a berry found only in Far North Queensland. An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas. An experimental drug derived from the berry, EBC-46, has so far been used on 300 animals, including cats, dogs and horses. Dr Boyle said in 75 per cent of cases, the tumour disappeared and had not come back.

"There's a compound in the seed - it's a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it's there in the first place, we don't know," he said. There were no side effects, but what amazed scientists most was how fast it worked: the drug took effect within five minutes and tumours disappeared within days. Win FREE copies of the 13 BEST Python books (giveaway) Size Comparison - Science Fiction Spaceships.

New technique gets pure hydrogen out of splitting water. Continued concerns about global warming have boosted work on alternative fuel sources that reduce emissions. Hydrogen is an appealing, clean-burning fuel. Currently, most hydrogen comes from the processing of fossil fuels, which produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct. However, the electrolysis of water produces hydrogen without the release of greenhouse gases—provided the electricity used in the process comes from renewable energy. Currently, the favored method for producing hydrogen involves what are called proton exchange membrane electrolyzers (PEMEs).

Unfortunately, PEMEs are expensive because they require precious metal catalysts. Recently, researchers have developed a system that limits the mixing of gases and uses precious metal catalysts more efficiently. The chemical mediator they used is called silicotungstic acid (H4[SiW12O40]). Loading the mediator with hydrogen was tested in an airtight electrolysis cell containing either a Pt or carbon felt anode and a carbon cathode. Penguin Cam. Frozen Planet: Filming Snowflakes Forming. Papua New Guinea - Mount Tavurvu Explosion August 29, 2014. Astronaut Reid Wiseman Tweets Photo Of Monza From The International Space Station. Monza will be packed out today with the tifosi trying to get the best view of the circuit.

While most will have paid a small fortune for a decent view, Reid Wiseman can see the whole of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit for free. He tweeted this awesome photo from the International Space Station. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The Most Popular Physics Book Ever Written, Now Completely Online. Image by Tamiko Thiel, via Wikimedia Commons Last fall, we let you know that Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website joined forces to create an online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. They started with Volume 1. And now they've followed up with Volume 2 and Volume 3, making the collection complete. First presented in the early 1960s at Caltech by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, the lectures were eventually turned into a book by Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands. The new online edition makes The Feynman Lectures on Physics available in HTML5. The Feynman Lectures on Physics is now listed in our collections of Free eBooks and Free Textbooks.

Photograph by Tom Harvey. Via Metafilter Related Content: Free Online Physics Courses (part of our larger collection, 1,300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities) Free Physics Textbooks ‘The Character of Physical Law’: Richard Feynman’s Legendary Course Presented at Cornell, 1964. There’s sea plankton on the International Space Station. Scientists analysing samples from the outside of the International Space Station’s windows have found something surprising - sea plankton from Earth.

Even more impressive, the tiny microorganisms have managed to survive in space. A Russian news agency, ITAR-TASS, reports that the research confirms “that some organisms can live on the surface of the International Space Station (ISS) for years amid factors of a space flight, such as zero gravity, temperature conditions and hard cosmic radiation. Several surveys proved that these organisms can even develop.”

So how did tiny plankton make it all the way into space? Vladimir Solovyev, the head of the Russian ISS orbital mission, told Stuff that the plankton may have been “uplifted” 420 km to the ISS by air currents on Earth. So far there’s no word from NASA on whether there’s been plankton found on the outside of the American segment of the ISS. The forgotten history of cricket in the USA. SAINT-GENIÈS-DE-MALGOIRÈS, France – French farmer Nicolas Duntze remembers a time when school did not begin until late October, so the entire community could participate in the local harvest.

Today, though, all French schools start in the first week of September—peak harvest season. “Society evolved—agriculture was no longer the center of the world,” Duntze tells Quartz, wearing chocolate brown espadrilles, threadbare fisherman’s mules that were probably once tan. “But if you no longer have this local workforce of youth and students to pick peaches—well, they still need to be picked, you know.” French nostalgia for life on the farm runs deep, but few actually want to toil in the fields.

Duntze is skeptical of this justification, and said the France’s small-scale farmers won’t survive without fighting for fair-labor standards for all agricultural workers, regardless of nationality. “Rural fields cannot become experiments in social erosion.” “Here in France we have millions to feed. An Afternoon with Pinky and The Brain: Pinky and The Brain vs Pulp Fiction (SF Sketchfest) The Art Of Animation. MIT Scientists Figured Out How To Eavesdrop Using A Potato Chip Bag. Nasa validates 'impossible' space drive.

Make your milk come alive. Norris Numbers. Internal memo: Microsoft to cut off all 'external staff' after 18 months, imposing mandatory... Food Science • Liquid Nitrogen Under Vacuum • ChefSteps. Facebook’s Unethical Experiment Manipulated Users’ Emotions. Sky-scraping boffins mash amateur astronomers into huge virtual telescope. The complete guide to World Cup sex rules. 10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing.

526 Mailable Live Animals. PETA Runs Deceptive Campaign About Autism. In Efimov State, Physicists Find a Surprising Rule of Threes. The Key Chemicals in Red Wine - Colour, Flavour, and Potential Health Benefits. We Are Now In Command of the ISEE-3 Spacecraft. Towel Day - Celebrating the life and work of Douglas Adams. An Australian physicist has literally rewritten the dictionary. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece | Magazine. Here's Why This Year's Cold Winter Doesn't.

Best dark matter signal yet hints at heftier particles - space - 04 April 2014. This Is What the GOP's War On Science Looks Like. An Unexpected Discovery in the Brains of Autistic Children - Wired Science. Wyoming rejects science education standards over climate change. What if I wrote a book? Giant virus resurrected from 30,000-year-old ice. Closing the 'free will' loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell's theorem. Women Outnumber Men For The First Time In Berkeley’s Intro To Computer Science Course. GoPro: Red Bull Stratos - The Full Story. A Quarter Century after Chernobyl: Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany. Texas Public Charter Schools Are Teaching Creationism. This Simple Chart Explains the Devastating Influence Industry has on Scientific Integrity |...

The Shocking Math Behind Science Teacher's McDonald's Diet. Less maths makes HSC physics 'dumb' Benny Hill Meets Metal.