Monkeys make surprisingly terrible random-number generators

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Back in 2002, artists at England's Plymouth University teamed up with Paignton Zoo to see if monkeys could write Shakespeare. Read the rest

Gorgeous 3D printed trilobites

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D. Allan Drummond, the University of Chicago biologist who recently 3D printed and cast a fascinating model of a yeast cell dividing, also creates exquisite bronze sculptures of trilobites, marine arthropods that went extinct 250 million years ago. Images and video below.

See more at Professor Drummond's Instagram feed.

(via SciAm)

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Watch a modern car utterly crush a huge 1959 Chevy

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Here's a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu running into a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air. It's a striking example of how safe modern cars are compared to those from decades past. [via Kottke.] Read the rest

Chelsea Manning interview: DNA, big data, official secrecy, and citizenship

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Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portraits from DNA samples, usually working from found samples -- chewing gum, cigarette butts -- of people she's never met. But this year, she's done a pair of extraordinary portraits of Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower currently serving a 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth for her role in the Wikileaks Cablegate publications.

You can't "boost" your immune system with "health food," nor would you want to

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Your immune system has two approaches: the first wave is a bunch of attacks that make your body less hospitable to germs, like a fever, mucous, and achy lethargy (which keeps you at home, away from opportunistic infectious agents); the second is a tailored antibody attack that kicks in about ten days later. Read the rest

Stop taking "probiotics"

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It's true that your gut biome is awesome, complicated, poorly understood and crucial to your body's normal functioning. Read the rest

Majority of UK booze-industry revenues come from problem drinkers

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69% of the alcohol sold in the UK is sold to "harmful," "hazardous" or "increasing risk" drinkers, accounting for more than 60% of the industry's revenues. The number of alcohol-related hospitalisations in the UK has doubled in the past ten years, to more than 1m/year. Read the rest

Oklahoma's repeat-offender Republican Creationist lawmakers take another run at science education

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Every year, like clockwork, longstanding Oklahoma legislators in the state's house and senate introduce bills that try to find a way around the prohibition on teaching Biblical Creationism in American public schools. Read the rest

Debullshitifying the "sleep science" industry: first up, sleeplessness and obesity

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Chris from Sense About Science writes, "Had trouble sleeping recently? This week Ask for Evidence is turning its attention to the multitude of claims about sleep -- how you should be doing it, what you should be wearing for it, what you should be doing it on. First up is Ben, who got the NHS to change the advice on its website after asking them for evidence about claims that not getting enough sleep could make you obese. (It turns out it's a little more nuanced than they first suggested)." Read the rest

The bizarre magnetic forest rings of northern Ontario

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Geoff sends us a post about "the 'strange phenomenon' of naturally-occurring 'forest rings,' or circles up to 2km in diameter only visible from the air, in northern Ontario. The rings are at least partially caused by electrochemical effects in the soil -- which are apparently strong enough to affect the local water table, such that 'the water is being held up against gravity,' as geochemist Stewart Hamilton discovered. This is 'beyond science fiction,' he gushed." Read the rest

Cool, science-themed dresses

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Shenova's science-themed dresses are beautifully cut and come in prints that celebrate the Fibonacci sequence, the DNA double-helix, printed circuit boards, retinal cells, the periodic table, aerospace engineering, and space-time warps (my favorite!). Read the rest

Take this quiz and learn how to spot misused meteorological terms

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Chris from Sense About Science sez, "Thundersnow, willy-willys and the hottest/coldest seasons on record, there's certainly no shortage of headlines about the weather. But many meteorological terms we hear are misused, say early career researchers." Read the rest

SpaceX releases new video of Falcon 9 launch and landing

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SpaceX today published some wonderful new footage of its recent successful Falcon 9 launch and landing.

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University of Maryland claims sponsor's chocolate milk helps concussion recovery

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The University of Maryland's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program hooks up researchers with businesses: just before Christmas, MIPS sent out a press-release claiming that a local brand of chocolate milk aided in recovery from concussions sustained playing high school football. Read the rest

Why all scientific diet research turns out to be bullshit

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The gold standard for researching the effects of diet on health is the self-reported food-diary, which is prone to lots of error, underreporting of "bad" food, and changes in diet that result from simply keeping track of what you're eating. The standard tool for correcting these errors comparisons with more self-reported tests. Read the rest

Weird and wonderful medical and scientific museum

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We've posted previously about Steve Erenbgerg (Radio Guy)'s online collection of wonderful and strange antique scientific instruments, medical devices, anatomical models, and, of course, radios. SciFri took a video tour, above, of Erenberg's delightful real world cabinet of curiosities!

"Things of Beauty: Scientific Instruments of Yore" (YouTube)

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Petition to name a new element in Terry Pratchett's honour

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Now that the International Union of Applied Chemistry has recognised four new elements, the race is on to decide what to call them. Read the rest

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