Coelacanth Dreams Of Lung

by on March 24, 2011

An Original Origin of Species

Photographer Daniel Lee depicts the ascent of man from coelacanth in twelve shots that get creepier as they get closer. Check out the gallery at Bored Panda.

Using Photoshop software to combine human portraits with animal features, Lee creates composite digital images that are startlingly lifelike. Though image editing tools make such overt manipulation possible, they also allow subtle yet powerful adjustments that are completely

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Hans Rosling – Maytag Man

by on March 21, 2011

The effusive and endlessly optimistic Hans Rosling sings the world-historic virtues of clean socks and fresh sheets, and gives us a new demarcation of poverty/comfort – the wash line.

We have a washing machine. Now we can go to the library.

More Professor Rosling.…
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Easybake Killer Android

by on March 12, 2011

Based on two recent technological advances, here’s a simple recipe for an undetectable robot death machine.

– Take one part ever-more-realistic-looking human simulacrum.

– Mix in a dollop of cellular circuitry.

Genetically modified cells can be made to communicate with each other as if they were electronic circuits. Using yeast cells, a group of researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has taken a groundbreaking step towards being

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Comedy Theory Or, “Why Don’t You Go Wash Your Hands And Then Make Me A Cheese Sandwich.”

by on March 6, 2011

As the father of a 9 year old boy, I find that I can usually get my fill of long explanations of what makes jokes funny without even asking, but 1) sometimes I want MORE, and 2) what about people who aren’t the parents of 9 year old boys?

So, while I’m over here reveling in these guys’ word counts, almost everybody else can consider this a public service. Go …
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The Placebo Effect: Even Weirder Than You Think

by on February 18, 2011

Your brain fools itself in lots of little ways. Most of them are perceptual biases, things you have to overcome if you want to know how the world works. Here’s one that’s actually kind of useful.

Bonus: Kinetic type!

(Hat tip to Kylie Sturgess)…
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Love – A Common STD

by on February 17, 2011

Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist at Rutgers, puts to bed the notion of truly casual sex.

Any kind of sexual stimulation of the genitals triggers the dopamine system in the brain and can push you over that threshold into falling in love with that person. And in fact, with orgasm, there’s a real flood of oxytocin and vasopressin, other chemicals in the brain associated with the feeling of deep attachment.

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This Is Your Brain On Dieting

by on February 10, 2011

There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that dieting isn’t particularly good at helping maintain long term weight loss. Now, a new study hints at a possible cause. Dieting might be making lots of unpleasant, stressy changes in your brain, that could linger long after you’ve gained back whatever weight you managed to take off.

Over at Neurotic Physiology, Scicurious digs into the research, which suggests that mice who …
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Stem Cells: Just As Cool As You Think

by on February 4, 2011

On the topic of stem cells and their use in medicine, it’s not always easy to sort out the fairly factual from media mendacity. Fortunately, thanks to a February 7th episode of National Geographic Explorer, there’s at least one cool thing that we know stem cells can do. Applied properly, they can help severe burns heal practically overnight. And for added awesome, “applied properly” means they were sprayed on …
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Pathological Curves

by on February 1, 2011

Surface detail from subBlue on Vimeo.

They consigned these curves to the back of the math books. They said, these are pathological curves, and we don’t have to discuss them. […] The mathematicians who were saying these were pathological shapes, they were breathing those words with fractal lungs.

Ethno-mathematician Ron Eglash unfolds the fractal for us, and then locates it in African architecture, village planning, courtly etiquette, and in …
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When Your Brain Is Its Own Worst Enemy

by on January 27, 2011

We homo sapiens feel a certain sense of superiority, what with our language, civilization, technology, and general big-brainedness. But those brains aren’t always aware of their own limitations. At last year’s TEDx Canberra, Ash Donaldson gave a crash course on the ways that our brains fool us into thinking we’re smarter than we actually are. Emphasis on the crash.

And cognitive dissonance is only one example of how we …
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How to be Happy

by on January 25, 2011

I can’t vouch for the science, but this seems like pretty good advice all around.

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Immune Boosting Cold Remedies? Not So Much

by on January 24, 2011

If you’ve ever had a cold, known someone who’s had a cold, or walked down the cold remedy aisle at the pharmacy on your way to the contraceptives, chances are you’ve seen them. Pills, powders and potions, all claiming to treat cold and flu symptoms by helping your body help itself.

“Immune boosting” remedies, like vitamin pills and herbal supplements, purport to provide a jolt of extra juice to your …
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