National Academy Of Sciences Delivers Highly Readable Climate Change Warning f

6climate, climate change, environmentalism,

Trailer for “Under the Skin”

Read more on the in an article titled “See more of Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien in ‘Under The Skin’ trailer”

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Wagemark gives consumers a say on executive pay | Toronto Star f

I’m adding this to the Commons world view.

6the commons, worldview,

Andrew's Brain, by E. L. Doctorow f

This quote inspired an idea for a story: “But it is dangerous to stare into yourself,” he says. “You pass through endless mirrors of self-estrangement. This too is the brain’s cunning, that you are not to know yourself.”

6toread, to read, neuro, neuroscience,

The Climate Casino, by William Nordhaus, and More f

A list of books that explore climate change.

6climate change, toread, to read,

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change f

6climate change, capitalism,

Kowloon Walled City: A rare insight into one of the most densely populated places on earth which housed 50,000 people f

Would make a great set for a sci-fi movie

6over population, china, photography,

Ex-Worker at C.I.A. Says He Leaked Data on Surveillance f

6Life Path, surveillance,

Tom Campbell on why virtual reality is a better model than string theory. 

6Physics, Nature of Reality,

Why No One Should Mess With The Ocean f


Astronomers Gear Up to Discover Earth-Like Planets

If one looks only for the shiniest pennies in the fountain, chances are one misses most of the coins because they shimmer less brightly. This, in a nutshell, is the conundrum astronomers face when searching for Earth-like planets outside our solar system.

Astronomers at the University of Arizona are part of an international team of exoplanets hunters developing new technology that would dramatically improve the odds of discovering planets with conditions suitable for life – such as having liquid water on the surface.

Terrestrial planets orbiting nearby stars often are concealed by vast clouds of dust enveloping the star and its system of planets. Our solar system, too, has a dust cloud, which consists mostly of debris left behind by clashing asteroids and exhaust spewing out of comets when they pass by the sun.

Read More.


6science earth planets astronomy,


4 Hurdles to Making a Digital Human Brain

Check this LiveScience article that weighs in on the current and overall technical complications with creating a digital human brain:

. The brain isn’t a computer

Perhaps scientists could build computers that are like brains, but brains don’t run like computers. Humans have a tendency to compare the brain to the most advanced machinery of the day, said developmental neurobiologist Douglas Fields, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Though our best analogy is a computer right now, “it’s humbling to realize the brain may not work like that at all,” Fields added.

The brain, in part, communicates through electrical impulses, but it’s a biological organ made of billions of cells, and cells are essentially just “bags of seawater,” Fields said. The brain has no wires, no digital code and no programs. Even if scientists could aptly use the analogy of computer code, they wouldn’t know what language the brain was written in.

. Scientists need better technology

Kristen Harris, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Austin, slipped into a computer analogy herself, saying that researchers tend to think a single brain cell has the equivalent power of a laptop. That’s just one way of illustrating the daunting complexity of the processes at work in each individual cell.

Scientists have been able to look at the connections between individual neurons in amazing detail, but only by way of a painstaking process. They finely slice neural tissue, scan hundreds of those slices under an electron microscope, and then put those slices back together again in a computer reconstruction, explained Murray Shanahan, a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London.

To repeat that process for an entire brain would take lifetimes using current technology. And to get an idea of the average brain, scientists would have to compare these trillions of connections across many different brains.

“The big challenge is giving me — the scientist — the tools to do that analysis at a faster level,” Harris said. She added that physicists and engineers might be able to help scientists scale up, and she is hopeful the BRAIN initiative will spur such collaboration.

. It’s not all about neurons

Even if newer machines could efficiently map all of the trillions of neuron connections in the brain, scientists would still have to decipher what all of those links mean for human consciousness and behavior.

What’s more, neurons only make up 15 percent of the cells in the brain, Fields said. The other cells are called glia, which is the Greek word for “glue.” It was long thought that these cells provided structural and nutritional support for the neurons, but Fields said glia might be involved in vital background communication in the brain that’s neither electric nor synaptic.

Scientists have detected changes in glial cells in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, Fields said. A 2011 study found abnormalities in glial cells known as astrocytes in the brains of depressed people who had committed suicide. Fields also pointed out the neurons in Einstein’s brain were not remarkable, but his glial cells were bigger and more complicated than those found in an average brain.

. The brain is part of a bigger body

The brain is constantly responding to input from the rest of the body. Studying the brain in an isolated way inherently ignores the signals coming in through those pathways, warned Gregory Wheeler, a logician, philosopher and computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.

“Brains evolved in order to make the body move around in the world,” Wheeler said. Instead of modeling the brain in a disembodied way, scientists should put it in a body — a robot body, that is.

There are already some examples of the kind of machine Wheeler has in mind. He showed the audience a video of Shrewbot, a robot modeled after the Etruscan pygmy shrew created by researchers at the Bristol Robotics Lab in the United Kingdom. The signals coming in from the robot’s sensitive “whiskers” influence its next moves.

(via kenobi-wan-obi)


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: 'Science fiction goes hand in hand with real research', scientist admits f


Article by Hannah Furness from The Telegraph (

Science fiction stories can inspire real scientists to make new discoveries, a research fellow of The Royal Society has admitted, as she claims a vivid imagination goes hand-in-hand with analysing data.

Dr Zita…

(via szabotron)

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Prince Rupert’s drop

The prince Rupert’s drop is a truly amazing thing.When molten glass hits cold water, its outer surface cools rapidly and shrinks as it solidifies. Since the center is still fluid, it can flow to adjust to the outer shell’s smaller size. As that center eventually cools and solidifies, it also shrinks, but now the outer shell is already solid and can’t change its shape to accommodate the smaller core. The result of this is a high amount of internal pressure, as the inside pulls the outside from all directions the glass is set to release a lot of energy. If you break the thin glass at the tail, a chain reaction travels like a shock wave through the drop. As each section breaks, it releases enough energy to break the next section, and so on, shattering the whole drop in less than a millisecond. At the same time The glass can be extremely strong aswell glass breaks when tiny scratches pull apart and spread into fractures. Since the surface is compressed by internal stress, scratches can’t grow, and the glass is very difficult to break.

Credits: ScienceCubed -


Source: science-junkie

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