Woman adds vaginal yeast to sourdough starter, Internet flips out


When Zoe Stavri woke up with a yeast infection, she had a strange and intriguing idea: what about adding some of her vaginal candida to sourdough starter? Read the rest

The last quarter-century of climate talks explained, in comics form


Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years' worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week. Read the rest

Randall "XCKD" Munroe's Thing Explainer: delightful exploded diagrams labelled with simple words

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words arrives in stores today: it combines technical diagrams and wordplay in pure display of everything that makes XKCD brilliant and wonderful in every way.

What do bats and skateboarders have in common?

Bats and skateboarders have something special in common. They both use inertia to land their tricks which, in a bat's case, means landing upside down.

Read the rest

Watch this film about living with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) by a filmmaker who has it


Don't miss this amazing film.

Read the rest

500 phrases from scientific publications that are correlated with bullshit


Matthew Hankins catalogs 500 phrases used in scientific articles that researchers use to figleaf the fact that their results aren't statistically significant, and to hand-wave-away the fact that they're publishing anyway. Read the rest

How scientists trick themselves (and how they can prevent it)


A smashing editorial in Nature catalogs the many ways in which scientists end up tricking themselves into seeing evidence that isn't there, resulting in publishing false positive. Many of these are familiar to people who follow behavioral economics (and readers of Predictably Irrational). But, significantly, the article advocates a series of evidence-supported techniques (some very simple, others a little more mostly/tricky) to counter them. Read the rest

Our Generation Ships Will Sink

As noted in Cory's review, Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora makes an undeniable case for ecological stewardship through a rigorous, gripping technological speculation about climate science, biology, space propulsion and sociodynamic factors. In this exclusive feature essay, Robinson explains the technology behind the best science fiction novel of 2015.

Gorgeous glass cabinets of curiosity


Danish artist Steffen Dam creates exquisite, minimalist "cabinets of curiosity" fashioned from glass and containing specimens of his own creation.

"My aim is to describe the world as I see it," Dam says. "One could also say to describe what’s not tangible and understandable with our everyday senses. My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed."

See more at his site: Steffen Dam (via Instagram/saatchi_gallery)

Read the rest

Small eel photographed by accident on coral reef is first green fluorescent fish ever recorded

In 2011, a reclusive Kaupichphys eel photobombed David Gruber off Little Cayman Island. Photo: JIM HELLEMN

A new study says that this small eel photographed by accident on a Caribbean coral reef is the first green fluorescent fish ever recorded.

Read the rest

What is reputation?


On the Web, reputation is a critical currency. But reputation is tricky. The way it's measured changes from platform to platform, network to network. And the way we evaluate the reputation of people, products, companies, information, and even the reputation systems, is affected by our own biases. Big time. Gloria Origgi literally wrote the book on reputation, titled La Reputation. A researcher at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Origgi is a philosopher, cognitive scientist, novelist, and journalist. Over at my friend John Brockman's essential site EDGE, Origgi tackles the big question of "What is reputation?" From her interview:

Take, for example, the reputation of doctors. This is one of the most interesting examples that I like to cite. Everybody, and I don't know if it's the same in the United States, but it is surely a fact in France and in Italy that if you ask someone about his or her doctor, he will reply that this is the best doctor in town. Everybody has the best doctor, which is clearly paradoxical because we can't all have the best doctor. The way in which we select doctors is very mysterious, because you don't have explicit ratings of doctors. You have websites now that rate the doctors, but health is a very sensitive issue, and you give trust to someone for many, many different reasons. But in the end, everybody ends up being convinced they have the best doctor.

I try to understand why. What are the good things?

Read the rest

Victoria's Secret's "floral, fruity" perfume almost matches DEET as a mosquito repellent


Floral/fruity scents have long been characterized as attractive to mosquitoes, so it's natural that New Mexico State’s Molecular Vector Physiology Lab researcher Stacy Rodriguez tested a floral/fruity perfume against DEET in a lab trial. Read the rest

Green tea doesn't promote weight loss

Panda_Tea_Green_Tea (1)

A meta-analysis of green tea's impact on metabolism and weight-loss, undertaken by the Cochrane trust, finds no statistically significant correlation between drinking green tea and losing weight. Read the rest

How beetles breathe under water

From KQED Science:

Surface tension is the property of any liquid that describes how its particles stick together. In the case of water, surface tension is especially strong, enough to form a kind of film where it meets the air, whether at the surface or in a bubble...

If you’re a bug the size of a paperclip... surface tension makes a difference. Harnessing it, some aquatic beetles carry the oxygen they need underwater in the form of a temporary bubble, sort of like a natural scuba tank. Others encase themselves in a layer of air and draw oxygen from it their whole lives.

"Nature’s Scuba Divers: How Beetles Breathe Underwater" (Deep Look)

Read the rest

Man killed by his tapeworm's cancer


A Colombian HIV-positive man who'd gone off his meds died when a tapeworm in his body developed cancer and spread tumors to his lungs. It's the first known case of a person dying of a disease that had infected their parasite. Read the rest

Library where you can check out dead animals

At the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, anyone can check out skulls, taxidermy mounts, pelts, and other bits and pieces of dead animals for free. Librarian Celia Rozen says that the most popular items are bear and wolf furs used in Boy Scout rituals and also snowy owl mounts requested by Harry Potter party planners. As you might expect, educators appreciate the opportunity to make their lessons more, er, tangible.

“It gets them excited about being in biology class,” South Anchorage High School science teacher Chris Backstrum told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It starts the year off on a good foot."

"Need a wolf fur? A puffin pelt? All you need is a library card and a visit to the ARLIS library" (ADN)

"Something Preserved" (Great Big Story)

(photos by Marc Lester/ADN) Read the rest

NASA looks directly at the sun so you don't have to, and it's gorgeous


NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in orbit keeps a constant vigil on the Sun to help us understand how solar variations impact life on Earth. Launched in 2010, the SDO is part of NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program. NASA just released this magnificent 4K video shot by the SDO of our star's nuclear fire. It's titled "Thermonuclear Art."

Read the rest

More posts