Boing Boing 

Breathtaking aurora snapshot from the Space Station

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Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweets from the International Space Station: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10 minutes ago on the #ISS #aurora." Another shot below.

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Is it OK to pee in the ocean?

Yes.

Canadian government orders scientists not to disclose extent of polar melting


Stephen Harper's petro-Tories have a well-earned reputation for suppressing inconvenient environmental science, but they attained new Stalinist lows when their ministers prohibited Canadian Ice Services from disclosing their government-funded research on the rapid loss of Arctic ice.

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Aloha shirt featuring critters from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur


The 19th century German biologist's seminal illustrations of weird sea-life have been adapted for a gorgeous Betabrand cabana shirt.

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Tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body

It's actually multiple muscles, and the myth may have emerged because you've probably never felt your tongue get tired. Even still, it isn't the strongest muscle system. The honor of strongest single muscle likely belongs to the masseter, in your jaw. From Scientific American:
gene tn3By sticking a pliable air-filled bulb into a subject’s mouth, scientists can measure the maximal pressure the tongue can exert on an object. This device, called an Iowa oral performance instrument, is placed on the tongue and subjects are asked to push it toward the roofs of their mouths as hard as they can. Scientists also use this bulb to measure endurance, or how long the tongue can hold a certain posture.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Brian Fies's 2012 graphic novel Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? expresses a beautiful, melancholic and hopeful longing for (and suspicion of) the futuristic optimism of America's 20th century, starting with the 1939 World's Fair. Cory Doctorow finally got caught up with the future and read it. Read the rest

X-ray of the Smithsonian's two-headed shark and other specimens

sharktwo The National Museum of Natural History's Sandra Raredon maintains the "fish library," a job that includes X-raying the specimens like this two-headed smooth-hound shark. Below, a small tooth sawfish and Atlantic angel shark.

"A Two-Headed Shark and Other X-Rayed Beauties at the Smithsonian"

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$35 electrochemical analyzer


Aaron writes, "The good folks of the George Whitesides Laboratory have been dedicated to making cheap medical tests and analytical gadgets for quite some time. Now, they've really outdone themselves with this beautiful $35 electrochemical analyzer that can do everything from glucose tests to environmental analysis."

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Biology student in Colombia faces jail for reposting scholarly article


Colombia's draconian copyright law (passed after US pressure) provides for prison sentences for simple copyright infringement; Diego Gomez, a biodiversity conservation Master's candidate at University of Quindío shared a paper related to his fieldwork, and the paper's author has brought a prosecution against him.

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Bright golden bat

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Named after King Midas, the Myotis midastactus golden bat that calls Bolivia's tropical savanna home was recently determined to be its own unusual species.

“Apparently it isn’t related to camouflage, because two other species of Myotis that occur in the same area are consistently darker and use similar [daytime] roosts,” Oswaldo Crus Foundation wildlife biologist Ricardo Moratelli told National Geographic.

The bat's curious coloring may be a result of its particular insect diet.

Particle Clicker: meth-addictive supercollider sim


The game, which I found absolutely and delightfully addictive, was created in a weekend by a group of undergrads at the CERN Webfest.

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Trailer for Stephen Hawking movie

The trailer for "The Theory of Everything," the Stephen Hawking biopic based on his first wife Jane Hawking's memoir "Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen."

Video: fun physics phenomena

(Veritasium)

Orbiting a comet

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Today, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft became the first probe to orbit a comet. Later this year, Rosetta's Philae lander is expected to touch down on the surface.

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Stunning great white shark footage

Absolutely breathtaking great white shark footage captured by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researchers using their SharkCam underwater drone near Mexico's Guadalupe Island.

REMUS SharkCam is a specially outfitted REMUS-100 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with video cameras and navigational and scientific instrumentation that enable it to locate, track, and film up close a tagged marine animal, such as a North Atlantic white shark (great white). The vehicle is pre-programmed to home in on a signal from a transponder beacon attached to the animal at depths up to 100 meters (330 feet) and in a variety of patterns and configurations.

Dery on disease and art

Over at Thought Catalog, BB contributor Mark Dery goes deep into the pathological sublime with Richard Barnett, author of "The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration":

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In Ohio, half a million people told not to drink contaminated tap water

A massive algae bloom in Lake Erie in October, 2011 is seen in this Landsat-5 satellite image. The green scum is mostly Microcystis, which produces a liver toxin and can cause skin irritation. (Image: NASA)


A massive algae bloom in Lake Erie in October, 2011 is seen in this Landsat-5 satellite image. The green scum is mostly Microcystis, which produces a liver toxin and can cause skin irritation. (Image: NASA)

"Water at a Toledo, Ohio, treatment plant has tested positive for a dangerous toxin, and nearly 500,000 Ohio residents have been told not drink the tap water," reports the Los Angeles Times. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency today in three counties. Two water samples have tested positive for microcystin, a toxin possibly caused by an algae bloom in Lake Erie.

Experimental drugs tested in African Ebola outbreak

There are several Ebola drugs in development and they're starting to reach struggling victims, especially Western aid workers, who agree to participate in ad hoc trials.

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Most social science results have never been replicated

Replication — where researchers re-do experiments to see if they get the same result — is a really important part of the scientific process. And it's hardly ever done in social science.

Mysterious holes in Siberia may be craters of climate change explosions

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Holes like this one have been appearing in Siberia — at least three are known so far. There are a couple of theories for what's causing them and both are linked to climate change.

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Where does the word "scientist" come from?

This account of the 19th-century debate over whether or not the word "scientist" is accurate and pleasing to hear is a great reminder that some of the best history stories are the ones you don't even think to ask about.

Bill Nye: We May Discover Life on Europa

Bill Nye on why we may be decades away from discovering life on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Scientists track the origins of a ship buried under the World Trade Center

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In 2010, construction crews found the hull of a very old ship, buried at the site of the World Trade Center towers. Using dendrochronology, scientists now know how old the ship is and what city it was made in.

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Paleontology on the Moon

An experiment on Earth suggests that it might be possible to find microscopic fossils on the Moon.

How Ebola works

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The MicrobeWiki has a really detailed explanation of the biological mechanisms behind an Ebola infection. It gets a little technical in places, but it's a good read if you've ever wondered how the virus creates hemorrhaging and why it's hard to treat.

One of the reasons that Ebola is so deadly is that it has multiple ways of interfering with or avoiding the human immune system. While the virus is busy destroying the human body, the immune system is either still in the process of discovering that there is a problem, or is in such disarray that it would be next to impossible to mobilize a unified effort to fight off the invader.

Humans are eating a scaly anteater into extinction

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Never underestimate omnivores with a penchant for animal-based traditional medicine.

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Read Dune with public radio's Science Friday

If you liked learning about the science of Tatooine, you'll enjoy reading Dune with the Science Friday bookclub.

Medical experimentation and vulnerable people

Fourty-two years after the exposure of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a group of educators, activists, and writers discuss the history and the present of medical experimentation and medical ethics.

Why do some women get pregnant even though they're on the Pill?

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The answer is more complicated than simply missing a dose, or failing to take your birth control at just the right time each day. Scientists are just beginning to understand how individual differences in body chemistry can affect how well the Pill works.

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The history of botched executions

The first use of the electric chair was both an official success and a horrific example of what can happen when the technology of executions doesn't work the way we expect it to.