filkertom: (science)
Intuit is sponsoring a contest, Small Business Big Game, wherein a small business can win television commercial time on the broadcast of the Super Bowl. GoldieBlox, an awesome company that makes engineering toys for girls, is in the Final Four. You can see their video (and the other three in the running) here, and vote once per day on every web-accessing device you have. Check it out, won't you? Even if you prefer one of the other companies, it's great exposure for deserving small businesses.
filkertom: (science)
On this date in 1856. Possibly one of the greatest scientists, one of the greatest people, who ever lived... and one who got screwed almost every step of the way. Edison, Marconi, J.P. Morgan... the list of people who elbowed their way in front of or stomped over Tesla is long and diverse.

If you ever listen to radio, or use alternating current (hint: everything you plug in), you owe thanks to Tesla.

What's your favorite current science project? Kickstarter, government grant, whatever. Mine is the Bukito portable 3D printer.
filkertom: (mst3k_itstinks)
71% on Rotten Tomatoes. First shows are at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

I'm looking forward to it. I hope it's good. Gotta say this, though: When a movie reviewer complains about the science in a Superman film, it'd better be really, really hosed science.

Because, Superman.
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
Any other crowdfunding we need to know about?
filkertom: (science)
Are you ready for this shit:
Australian scientists have successfully revived and reactivated the genome of an extinct frog. The "Lazarus Project" team implanted cell nuclei from tissues collected in the 1970s and kept in a conventional deep freezer for 40 years into donor eggs from a distantly-related frog. Some of the eggs spontaneously began to divide and grow to early embryo stage with tests confirming the dividing cells contained genetic material from the extinct frog.


Although none of the embryos survived longer than a few days, the work is encouraging for others looking to clone a variety of currently-extinct animals, such as the woolly mammoth, dodo, Cuban red macaw and New Zealand’s giant moa.


“We’re increasingly confident that the hurdles ahead are technological and not biological and that we will succeed. Importantly, we’ve demonstrated already the great promise this technology has as a conservation tool when hundreds of the world’s amphibian species are in catastrophic decline.”
I bet none of these guys have ever even heard of Jurassic Park.
filkertom: (science)

Got any others that are cool like that? (Good starting point: go to the YouTube page for the vid and check out the column to the right.)
filkertom: (kermitflail)
Because, after all, the cake is a lie.

What's your favorite kind of Pi? I think 3.141592653 slices of apple or raspberry key lime is pretty much perfect (as long as there's not too much crust).
filkertom: (science)
How freakin' cool is that?

Now that we've found it... what should we do with it? (Don't say "pairing it off with Zeetha". That's Bosun Higgs. Totally different. Mostly.)
filkertom: (i_has_a_sad)
It's not often the phrase "Heroic Reagan Administration Official" springs to mind.

Charles Everett Koop has passed away at the age of 96. And he definitely wasn't the type you'd consider progressive by his resume: personally against homosexuality, abortion, and pre-marital sex, he nevertheless was a strong proponent of educating the public about them and defending people's rights involving them. He was especially big on informing people about AIDS at a time when not a lot was known about it. And he was virulently anti-smoking.

In other words, even though he didn't agree with them, he upheld the laws of the land. And he tried to make things safer for everyone, using his office as a bully pulpit to make people listen to actual, accurate information about hotly politicized topics.

Rest Well, Dr. Koop, and thanks.
filkertom: (science)
NASA about to launch Sunjammer, the world's largest solar sail.

Of course, we've been ridin' it for years. Check out Track 21 on Dream of a Far Light by our good friends Wild Mercy.

Any good music, or space stories, or nifty tech advances we need to see? Link 'em up.
filkertom: (got_impin)
No, it has nothing to do with Captain Jack Sparrow. It's an indiegogo crowdfunding project creating cups, straws, and glasses that change color if they come in contact with a date-rape drug. They've got about 64 hours and a fair chunk of change to go, so won't you help?

(h/t [personal profile] cluegirl)
filkertom: (Default)
Whether it's the winter solstice, that whole Mayan calendar thing, or merely the birthday of Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, allow me to contribute to your feeling that now you've seen everything:

So. What stuff are you taking with you when the world dissolves into chaos and fire? I got two external hard drives, my dice bag, and my stuffed Bear right here. And an off-off-off-brand Android tablet filled to the gills with Harry Potter fanfic.
filkertom: (science)
James Anderson, one of our regulars her (under the user name [personal profile] jasperjones22 is a science grad student with a very common problem: lack of funding. Specifically, travel expenses to get to a conference.

So, for at least the first one, he's set up a fundraiser at indiegogo.

Rewards are a certain amount of his brainpower, depending on how much you donate. Ten bucks, one science question answered. $500, you've got your own Hermione Granger. Except, you know, male. And hairier.

He doesn't need a lot. If, over the next 38 days, you can spare something, won't you help?

What other good crowdfunding/Kickstarter/indiegogo projects should we know about? These things change constantly.
filkertom: (takei_ohmy)
No, really. Coolest comment for me:
... It isn't just numbers on a whiteboard or in a computer model - practical experiments are being planned by the scientists involved in the new research to see if warp bubbles can be created on a microscopic level using lasers. The fact that such experiments can even be designed, let alone whether or not they succeed, is a giant leap for mankind....
Cue "Uplift" and "Fire In The Sky".
filkertom: (Default)
Says he wasn't attacking religion, but scientific illiteracy. Yep.
filkertom: (science)
You know, the one from yesterday.

Whether you personally believe in it or not, evolution is a fact.

Biological species evolve. Period. The evidence of that is vast and conclusive.

There are two misnomers which, I think, pollute the whole debate.

First, it's always referred to as "the theory of evolution", implying somehow that it's not settled. The proper term is Darwin's theory of natural selection, which is the leading explanation of the primary mechanism of evolution. I happen to think that natural selection is that mechanism, again based on a huge amount of well-tested evidence.

Second, the difference between the actual definition of "theory" and the common interpretation of what that word means. The key is the word "hypothesis", which means "a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it."

In other words, a hypothesis is speculation. A scientific hypothesis is speculation which comes with a clear notion of how it can be proven or disproven through experimentation. A theory, which in modern science refers to scientific theories, is the final result of that experimentation.

As demonstrated through the testimony of the Scopes trial (and dramatized in Inherit the Wind), there really isn't very much in the theory of natural selection that's incompatible with the Christian Creation myth. Science, by necessity, deals with the mechanics of things, and natural selection is clearly the mechanic by which species evolve.

The fear that Bill Nye has, one that I share, is that the education of the next several generations of American students may be based upon beliefs, rather than upon science and the scientific method. To eschew long-verified facts, indeed the very concept of verifying facts, is to literally deny reality. And there's a big problem with reality: It doesn't have a political or religious agenda. It does what it does.

Being unprepared for reality because you believe it doesn't conform to your philosophy is dangerous madness.

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