What most people don’t know, that they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food. There are no wild seedless watermelons, there’s no wild cows, there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild …
We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection. That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden, you’re going to complain?
So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that because we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So, chill out.
Electricity running between lines looks like a wizard’s duel.
"Probably no stars will physically hit each other. There’s just so much space between the stars, but when Andromeda collides with us it’ll have a huge impact on the Milky Way. Some things will get thrown into the black hole in the middle, some stars will get ripped off and thrown away into space, so it’ll be dramatic. And the entire night sky will change." - The Universe S1E9 Alien Galaxies
Lost forever - nitrocellulose decay and why you shouldn’t smoke near vintage film
Nitrocellulose was the primary material used in film production until 1952, when it was discontinued and replaced with ‘safety film’ which was acetate based. It was a considerable safety improvement seeing as it doesn’t burn 20 times faster than wood or contain it’s own oxygen allowing it to burn underwater like nitrocellulose can; although acetate is still able to break down to form acetic acid and water limiting it’s longevity in a process known as ‘vinegar syndrome’.
Above: acetate based film affected by ‘vinegar syndrome’.
Not only was nitrocellulose incredibly flammable, it was found to gradually decompose producing nitric acid and a sticky flammable gunpowder like material. In order to prevent this film archivists store it at low temperature and humidity which allows it to be stored indefinitely.
Above: nitrocellulose film showing nitrate base deterioration.
Unfortunately, a majority of early 20th century material has been lost through fires or through the film’s degradation. Furthermore, some silent films were deliberately destroyed by film studios to make room for ‘talkies’. Roughly 50% of the films made up until 1950 are lost, while 70% of the silent films made before 1929 are gone forever.
The oldest surviving and first ever film, is known as the ‘Roundhay Garden scene’ (above). It was produced on acetate on the 14th of October, 1888 over 2 seconds.
Guide for handling, salvage and safe disposal of nitrocellulose film here.
Psychologists are aware that intelligence scores are somewhat subject to cultural influence and social opportunity, but some have still insisted that we cannot raise our IQ by much. This is because our general intelligence (or “g”) is a fixed trait that is insensitive to education, “brain training”, diet, or other interventions. In other words, they say, we are all biologically limited in our intelligence levels. The idea that IQ is fixed for life is built into the questionable politics of IQ testing. The most serious consequence of this is the use of IQ tests to blame educational difficulties on students rather than on teaching systems. But it is the job of psychologists to find better ways to teach, not to find better ways to justify the poor performance of students. This particular use of IQ tests has caused one leader in the field of intelligence research, Robert Sternberg, to refer to IQ testing as “negative psychology” in a 2008 article.
Those who hang dearly onto the notion that IQ is fixed for life have managed to ignore decades of published research in the field of applied behaviour analysis. This has reported very large IQ gains in children with autism who have been exposed to early intensive behavioural interventions once they have been diagnosed with learning difficulties.
Another 2009 Norwegian study examined the effects of an increase in the duration of compulsory schooling in Norway in the 1960s which lengthened the time in education for Norwegians by two years. The researchers used records of cognitive ability taken by the military to calculate the IQ of each individual in the study. They found that IQ had increased by 3.7 points for every extra year of education received.
Discovered way back in 1646, the ‘Chemical Garden’ experiment sees solid metal salts react to a solution known as waterglass to create a series of flourishing crystal ‘plants’.
Watch them grow: http://bit.ly/1oh16oj
During World War II, residents on the islands in the southern Pacific Ocean saw heavy activity by US planes, bringing in goods and supplies for the soldiers. In many cases, this was the islanders’ first exposure to 20th century goods and technology. After the war, when the cargo shipments stopped, some of the islanders built imitation air-strips. These incorporated wooden control towers, bamboo radio antennae, and fire torches instead of landing-lights. They apparently believed that that this would attract more US planes and their precious cargo. This behaviour, it turns out, is not a singular occurrence. Anthropologists have found examples of similar behaviour at different times in history, albeit in island populations. In a commencement speech at the California Institute of Technology in 1974, the physicist Richard Feynman used the concept to coin the phrase “cargo-cult science”. The cargo cult’s air-strips had the appearance of the real thing, but they were not functional. Likewise, Feynman used the term “cargo-cult science” to mean something that has the appearance of science, but is actually missing key elements. The phrase has since been used to refer to various pseudo-scientific fields such as phrenology, neuro-linguistic programming, and the various kinds of alternative therapies. Practitioners of these disciplines may use scientific terms, and may even perform research, but their thinking and conclusions are nonetheless fundamentally scientifically flawed.
Homemade Lego and smartphone machine solves the Rubik’s cube in record time
We should care about scientific misconduct because it damages society’s confidence in science, despite the fact that science is the basis for so much medical progress, technological innovation and economic prosperity. Such damage gives traction to climate change deniers, creationists, homeopaths and many other quacks, as well as weakening the financial support for science from the public purse. While the high-profile cases inflict major damage on public perceptions, all sorts of misconduct undermine scientists’ trust in the literature that forms the basis for research progress.