Academic paper about 4chan's /pol/ forum

"A Longitudinal Measurement Study of 4chan’s Politically Incorrect Forum and its Effect on the Web" [PDF] is the first UN-sponsored study of one of the internet's worst places: /pol/. Read the rest

AI's blind spot: garbage in, garbage out

Social scientist Kate Crawford (previously) and legal scholar Ryan Calo (previously) helped organize the interdisciplinary White House AI Now summits on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation and what to do about it. Read the rest

The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"

The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

The FEEL FLUX grants the sense of slowing down time

I’ve been playing with my FEEL FLUX for weeks and its hit rate in the amazement department is 100%.

Each time you drop the metal ball through the copper tube you’d expect it to zip out the other end but instead, it lazily creeps from one end to the other and dribbles out into your waiting hand.

 

SILENT CATCH

A “Silent Catch” is what happens when you toss the ball into the FF and it slowly glides down the sides without making contact with it.  I have to say that it’s satisfying and magical every time I pull off the maneuver.

As the ball glides down the tube, the magnetic field changes inside the metal wall and when this happens, a bit of voltage is created.   This reaction is not unlike a tiny, temporary battery and is called an electromotive force. The movement pattern of the voltage moves down with the ball and looks like this:

 

 

What could be simpler?

The tube’s material is an electrical conductor and drives current around in circles as the ball descends. The scientists at my laboratory tell me that when this happens, a second magnetic field is created that opposes the downward motion of the magnetic ball. The ball wants to fall through the tube at 9.8 meters per second but the field wants to halt it and of course, gravity wins in the end. And here’s the crazy part – the faster the initial downward motion, the more powerful the slowing force becomes. Read the rest

Watch: Particle accelerators explained in a wonderful animated short

In this video from The Royal Institution, University of Oxford Accelerator Physicist Dr. Suzie Sheehy explains about how you go about designing a particle accelerator.

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'Voyage of Time,' Terrence Malick IMAX film with Brad Pitt narration, is an awesome cosmic meditation

You know what America needs right now? A little perspective.

For that, I recommend you head to your local IMAX theater and see Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience.” It's a psychedelic meditation on the history of the cosmos that's very kid-friendly, and a wonderful reminder of the big, big picture.

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Bird songs visualized as gorgeous mandalas

Design student Sugko at Sejong University used a CymaScope to visualize bird songs, with beautiful results. Read the rest

Super cool skull sculpture uses magnets, how do they work?

Ferrofluid is so awesome.

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Poland abandons total abortion ban: "a lesson in humility" -UPDATED

Mass protests in Poland and across the world have led Poland's far-right government to drop its Vatican-pleasing total ban on abortion, which was so sloppily overbroad that it potentially criminalized miscarriage and surgeries to save foetuses' lives. Read the rest

"Power Poses" are bullshit

In 2010, three psychologists published a paper on "power poses", with their finding that people who adopted "power poses" -- think of superheroes on skyscrapers -- felt more powerful and took more risks. Read the rest

Adorable doglike robot can climb fences and open doors

The Ghost Minitaur is the latest iteration of terrifyingly cute agile legged robots. I for one welcome our doglike robot overlords. Read the rest

Most detailed 3D map ever made of our Milky Way shows over one billion stars

The largest all-sky survey of celestial objects ever made by humans was released this month, using data from The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite.

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Pigeons can distinguish real words from fake non-words

We know that pigeons are capable of becoming crafty drug smugglers or connoisseurs of fine art, but now we know they can kind of tell when we're making up words.

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How a Pythagoras Cup works

The legendary cup, designed to punish greedy drinkers, explained masterfully by Salad Fingers' dad Sir Martyn Poliakoff. His YouTube channel is packed with similarly excellent videos wherein lab assistant Neil is persuaded to execute unnerving experiments. (previously.) Read the rest

Climate denial's internal contradictions spring from a need to defend economic doctrine

A trio of scholars who study the psychology and philosophy of science have written a fantastic paper for Springer's Sythese looking at the way that climate change conspiracy theorists construct their view of the world, and how these conspiracy theories contain self-contradictory theses (like the idea that climate change can't be predicted and the idea that the data shows we're actually headed for an ice-age). Read the rest

Psychology's reproducibility crisis: why statisticians are publicly calling out social scientists

Princeton University psych prof Susan Fiske published an open letter denouncing the practice of using social media to call out statistical errors in psychology research, describing the people who do this as "terrorists" and arguing that this was toxic because of the structure of social science scholarship, having an outsized effect on careers. Read the rest

SF writer Peter Watts needs help diagnosing mysterious, debilitating illness

Blue writes, "Peter Watts has be stricken with debilitating pain, loss of range of motion and motor control. Watts' doctors remain baffled despite a battery of tests, and Watts has reached out to his fans to ask for their theories and ideas as to what might be causing his illness." Read the rest

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