Thursday, September 29, 2011
From This Week's Compendium:
See that? THAT, is an entire freezer full of human breast milk. More importantly, THAT, is an entire freezer full of human breast milk produced entirely by one human being. No, really. Why would someone have a freezer full of breast milk, much less what looks to be multiple gallons of the stuff?
When a couple’s newborn had to spend time in the NICU, mom became concerned that she might stop lactating. So, she began pumping -and storing. Eventually, the baby came home, and the milk the couple didn’t end up using for their own infant, was donated to milk banks; cause apparently that’s a thing you can do. It wasn’t long before the couple was once again, with child, -cause, ya know, the first time around went so smoothly- and once again, that child would spend time in the NICU, prompting mommy to resume her pumping regime. Like their first, the couple’s second child eventually made it’s way home, where their was -if nothing else- certainly plenty to eat. But this time, the couple was unable to donate the excess milk mommy made -at least where milk banks were concerned, I presume they overlooked the: “random fetishists on the internet” option- because of certain medications she was taking at the time of pumping; thus leaving the couple with a freezer full of unused -potentially, chemically tainted- breast milk.
As so often happens when starting a family, the couple was soon faced with a move, and paying the high cost of transporting a freezer full of mommy juice; seriously, think about how much of this stuff you have to have in order to determine it to be, TOO EXPENSIVE TO MOVE! Not wanting to throw out the precious fluid, cause, ya know, what kind of sensible person would do that? Daddy, soon had a solution.That solution of course, was to try and see just how long he could survive, on nothing but mother’s milk. Cause, Ya know, There’s nothing creepy or weird about that.
Just how far will this experiment go? And what will the results be? Well, it looks like we'll never REALLY know the answer to either of those questions, as the couple had intended to blog about Pop’s little experiment, but appear to have rather quickly discovered that the internets, is not always a kind place, as that blog is already down. Now if I could just keep my lunch that way, everything will be fine.
And you guys thought Ice cream made from human breast milk was creepy.
Posted by Youtube user: WilliamShatner
In case you don’t already know, amongst his various other activities, William Shatner occasionally likes to release…let’s call them “vocal albums”. My favorite of his offerings came from His 2004 album “has Been”, in the form of a track called “I can’t get Behind That”; which featured a guest appearance from Henry Rollins -yes, THAT Henry Rollins. For his next album, “Seeking Major Tom”, due out in 2011, Shatner recorded this version of Iron Man, featuring Zakk Wylde. The results are…well, let’s call it “Shat-tastic™”.
And if you thought was good, wait till you hear his version of Bohemian Rhapsody…GGB On Tumblr
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Now, while I would be willing to claim that I posses a better understanding of particle physics than your average person on the street, the truth is, I'm just some random geek on the Internet with a thing for science. And while I am both aware, and at least have a basic understanding of many of the basic principals and theories associated with particle physics, I SERIOUSLY lack the expertise to try and explain to you in technical detail exactly what's been going on inside the particle accelerators at CERN, so I won't even try to get too technical. But the basic gist of things is this:
The observation in question was made a few months ago during an experiment in which sub-atomic particles called neutrinos, were generated By CERN in Geneva, and fired across 454 miles to a particle detector in Italy. According to the results of the experiment, CERN's neutrinos managed to arrive at their destination in Italy, 60 Nanoseconds faster than a photon; a measurement well outside the experiment's 10 nanosecond margin of error. Now, I realize that 60 nanoseconds may not sound like much, mostly because, on a macro scale, it isn't. But, ANY amount of acceleration beyond the limit of light speed is a big deal, as it is -as far as we know anyway- physically impossible to travel faster than light.
Einstein's theory of special relativity, and the speed limit it imposes, is one of the most well-established, and thoroughly tested concepts in physics. One which has been challenged, and repeatedly proven true, for over a century now. So one unconfirmed data point, from one unreplicated experiment, is not likely about to send it crashing down. But, there is always the chance, however unlikely it may seem, that other researchers will be able to both confirm and replicate these results, and change one of the fundamental laws of physics. But just for the record, my money, along with that of basically everyone else who's chimed in on this subject, is still on Einstein.
Source: AP, Bad Astronomer
You can also view this post on: GGB on tumblr
For more info on CERN's findings, and what it would mean if proven true, here's an Interview from the BBC with physicist Brian Cox on CERN's findings:
Posted by Youtube user: SuperRorylewis
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Posted by Youtube user:yesterday2221
Description from Youtube:
"A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy."
Yes, I know I just posted a Time lapse, and this makes two video only posts in a row, and though I do strive for variety- this was just too cool not to share now.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Posted by Youtube user: Wayside Creations
Because it's one of my new favorite things, I've decided to start sharing new episodes of Wayside Creations' fan-made Fallout series Nuka Break, as they are released. I'm starting two episodes behind, so if you don't want to wait, go and check out episode 2 -and the fan-film if you missed it here last week- on Wayside's Youtube channel. If you happen to have a thing for special effects, be sure to check out Zack and Ralis in their new DIY effect series Mad Monster Lab, as well.
NASA's Kepler mission has announced the first direct detection of a circumbinary planet – a planet orbiting two stars- in a binary star system designated Kepler-16, located 200 light-years from Earth. While potential planets have previously been detected in other binary systems, Kepler-16b, as this newest exoplanet is now known, is the first confirmed planet to have been observed orbiting both it's parent stars.
A binary star system, as the name suggests, is a system with two stars orbiting around a common center of mass. Because from our vantage point on Earth, each of the two stars regularly passes in front of the other during their orbit, Kepler-16 is classified as an eclipsing binary.
Observations of Kepler-16 showed a drop in light from the system, not only when the stars eclipsed one another, as expected, but also a when neither star was eclipsing the other, indicating the presence of a much smaller 3rd object orbiting around them. By measuring the gravitational tug applied to the stars by this third objects, scientists were able to estimate it's mass, and Kepler-16b, as the new planet is now known, is believed to be a cold, uninhabitable world, about the size of Saturn, comprised of gas and rock.
Though Kepler-16b may be a cold, gaseous world -incapable of harboring any Jedi resistance fighters -or even sand people. As Kepler's Principal investigator William Borucki points out, the confirmation of a planet orbiting in a binary system - which are much more common than the single star system in which we reside-
"confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life," and "Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now."
VIA: GGB on tumblr
Red dye, soap bubbles, ferrofluid (a liquid which becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field), capillary action, and magnetism, combine to make an oddly mesmerizing time lapse.
Earlier this week, a paper published in the Journal Science described a collection of dinosaur feathers suspended in amber. The 11 samples described in the paper were found amongst a collection of some 4,000 amber deposits held in various museums in Alberta, Canada. These ancient feathers were trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin) around 70-80 million years ago, sometime during the late Cretaceous period.
According to the paper's abstract, the structure of the protofeathers found in the deposits, demonstrate several different evolutionary adaptations of the feather, including those used in flight, as well as underwater diving. And because of their preservation inside amber, these specimens also reveal the actual pigmentation of the feathers; which range in color from brown to black.
For those of you who haven't kept up with your paleontology or evolutionary biology very well over the years, and find all this talk of dinosaurs and feathers a bit confusing; and because it's been a while since I indulged myself with a lengthy science entry, I offer the following:
The dominant view in science today is that modern birds are in fact, dinosaurs. More specifically, birds are considered by most scientists to be modern examples of a family of dinosaurs known as theropods, which evolved during the Mesozoic era ( 250 to 65 million years ago). This idea, or at least the idea that modern birds were descended from dinosaurs, was first proposed shortly after the publication of Charles Darwin's origin of species in 1859, by British biologist Thomas H Huxley.
Huxley came to believe in the dinosaur's ancestry to birds, after comparing the anatomy of the "first bird" fossil, Archaeopteryx Lithographica, with that of a small theropod dinosaur called Comsognathus, which he noted were -aside from Archaeopteryx's feathers and hands- extremely similar to one another. Huxley made his case for the link between the two animals, and their likely ancestry to modern birds in, "On the Animals which are most nearly intermediate between Birds and Reptiles" , published in "The Annals and Magazine of Natural History", in 1868.
At the time of Huxley's research the popular consensus was that dinosaurs had not developed into birds, but that birds -like every other modern species- had their own lineage; one which had arisen completely independently from dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx, therefore, represented the first primitive form of the species now known as birds, rather than a transition between dinosaur and bird, as Huxley had asserted. As a result of this opposition to the Darwinian notion of transmutation, Huxley's theory faded from interest, and the belief that birds and dinosaurs had evolved separately, remained the most popular scientific view for nearly the next hundred years.
But Interest in Huxley's theory would finally be fully revived in 1964, when American paleontologist John H. Ostrom, conducted his own anatomical comparisons of modern birds and dinosaurs. In the years which followed, others began to conduct similar comparative analysis, and by the late 1970's, many had not only come to accept the relationship of birds to ancient theropods, but some had also begun to speculate that early theropods might also have had feathers. By the mid 1990's, the notion that modern birds were, in fact, living dinosaurs, had largely become accepted fact, and the assertion that their ancient counter-parts had most likely been feathered as well, was also widely believed. But this belief was still a speculative one at this point, as little to no fossil evidence of feathered dinosaurs had yet been found.
But in the past twenty years, dozens of new fossils and various other major finds have also been added to the list of evidence in the case for feathered theropods. From simple impressions found around fossil remains, to quill knobs (the anchor point for wing feathers) found on the forelimb of certain fossilized specimens. In 2010, researchers even managed to determine the color of some of these feathers, by analyzing fossilized melanosomes, found in the fossils of birds and dinosaurs from northeastern China.
In the years since Huxley first proposed an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and modern birds, countless new discoveries have been made which support his theory. And though now widely accepted as scientific fact, there will always be those who question the evolutionary link between birds and ancient theropods; both legitimately and otherwise. But when confronted with the growing fossil evidence, and now, the feathers themselves; perfectly preserved in amber. It seems undeniable that the answer to the question, " Were there feathered dinosaurs?" at least, is a definitive, yes.
Cue the rambling creationist counter-point in...
Source: Wired Science , The Journal Science, Wikipedia, New World Encylopedia
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Posted by Youtube user: FinalCutKing
Normally, I maintain a very strict NO CAT VIDEO policy, but just this once, I have to make an exception. Please forgive my weakness.
VIA: GGB on Tumblr
When I first found this story, I assumed the headline attached to it, "How to Make a Transparent Mouse with a Few Simple Ingredients", really meant, as is typically the case, something far less unusual than it sounded. Turns out, I was wrong. Scientists from Riken, a natural sciences research center in Japan, have actually developed a solution that really does make tissue transparent, dead tissue of course, but it was the transparent part that I was suspicious of. Oh, and did I mention that there's urine and anti-freeze involved? Well, sort of.
Using a simple recipe containing urea (see, I told ya), a cell membrane-softening detergent (Ooh, does that mean that Snuggle comes in "Flesh softening" now?) called Triton-X (oh, guess not) , and Glycerol, a component of antifreeze; researchers were able to create a solution called Scale (yes, the "l" is italicized on purpose, I don't know why). Other clearing agents similar to this already exist, but the degree to which they render tissues transparent varies, and they can often interfere with fluorescent tags inserted into the tissues for study. A two week soak in Scale, on the other hand, eliminates both these problems. And because this newest clearing agent allows researches to look as deep as they like into tissues, such as the brain, without interfering with their tagging agents, researchers hope that Scale will provide a simpler and more effective way to trace circuits of the brain in order to create better connectivity maps of the organ; delicate work, that is currently still being done by hand.
It should go without saying that a two week soak in urea, Glycerol, and flesh-softening detergent, would be, not only unpleasant, but not particularly conducive to allowing living tissue to remain that way. So for now, at least, Scale's applications are limited to dead tissues. But researchers do hope to develop a milder version that could be used on living tissue as well. Which could be great news for teenagers of the future, who could no longer be limited to tattoos, piercings, ridiculous clothing, and silly hair cuts, to piss-off their parents; and could instead, be getting things "transparented".
I can hear it now:
"TRANSPARENT IS BEAUTIFUL TOO!" and "I'm totally having my skin transparified to protest racism and animal cruelty. Organs are beautiful man, not food! And there is no hate, if we're all see-thru."
Source: Discover Magazine VIA: GGB on tumblr
Monday, September 12, 2011
Posted by Youtube user:ipeeepay
Normally, I'm not much for puns. But somehow, George manages to make them funny. So, for those of you who also enjoy George Hrab (Music/The Geologic Podcast) and terrible, terrible puns, I give you both; along with Evan Bernstein (The Skeptics Guide to The universe) and Brian Brushwood (NSFW/Scam School/Weird Things).
And if you are a fellow skeptic/science geek/ETC, who is somehow unfamiliar with George, Brian, or Evan, be sure to follow the links provided to check out their various podcasts, as well as the rest of George's music.
Posted by Youtube user: ipeeepay
VIA: GGB on Tumblr
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I can not accurately describe for you how badly I want the Darwin (Danzig) and Sagan (Slayer) shirt. Two of my favorite minds, masquerading as two of my favorite bands, MUST HAVE NOW.
These, and many more designs, available at:Monsters of Grok
VIA: GGB on Tumblr
Monday, September 5, 2011
Posted by Youtube user: WaysideCreations
More of this please.
Named 2.6g 329m/s, after the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest is meant to protect you; the skin was created by first acquiring the protein which makes the spider silk itself -which is several times stronger than steel- from the milk of goats genetically modified to produce the protein in their milk. Once extracted, the protein was then woven into a lattice work of fibers, which was in turn sandwiched between two layers of otherwise normal human skin cells grown on top of the silk matrix.
As for the goats themselves -since I'm sure you're curious- they were created using a method developed by researcher Randy Lewis and his team from Utah State University, in which the gene responsible for producing the silk is extracted from the spiders which would naturally create the substance, and ultimately inserted into a goat's egg.
While Essaidi's final product was ultimately unable to reach the minimum standard for modern bullet proof vests by stopping a .22 cal riffle bullet shot at normal speed, and the notion that we might someday replace the keratin in our skin with this silk using the same methods as those used to create the modified goats, though entirely plausible, is at best, a distant dream. In the short term, Lewis asserts that the most exciting part about Jalila's experiment is that they were able to grow the skin cells on top of the fibers in the first place, and the potential applications for the skin today in skin grafts and other treatments.
Posted by Youtube user: originalmaja
I admit to using this phrase a lot, probably too much in fact, but, Stephen Fry is without question one my favorite living humans. I would gladly listen to him talk about just about anything for hours. In this video, recorded in October of 2010 at the Sydney Opera House, host Jennifer Byrne talks with him about his life, desire, manic depression, the philosophy of Star Trek, and she even gets him to reveal the true meaning of 42.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Behemoth frontman Nergal was found not-guilty of offending religious feeling by a judge in Poland, again. The charges, in case you forgot, stem from a 2007 performance by the band in Gydnia, in which he referred to the bible as a, "deceitful book", religion as a "criminal sect", and the catholic church as, "the most murderous cult on the planet", before destroying a bible on stage. Nergal was actually cleared of the same charges once before, last year, But prosecutors appealed the ruling.
Late last month, a Polish judge once again found him to be innocent, ruling that his ripping up of a bible during a show was a form of artistic expression consistent with the style of his band. Nergal made the following comments following the ruling:
"I'm so glad to see that intelligence won over religious fanatics in my home country. Though there's still so much work to be done to make things right… But I'm sure that I'm on the right path to ultimate freedom! The battle is won, but the war ain't over."
Amen. (irony intended)
Source: Metal Injection
Posted by Youtube user: Behemothofficial
In 1993 three teenagers, Damien Echols(18), Jason Baldwin(16) and Jessie Misskelley(17)- one of whom, Damien Echols, was rumored to be a satanist- now known as the West Memphis 3, were arrested for the sexual assault and murder of three 8 year old boys, Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byer. Despite NO substantiated physical evidence linking them to the crimes, by 1994, the trio was convicted of the murders based on a confession given by Misskelly -which the defense would later charge was obtained via coercion- and a statement made by a woman named Vicki Hutcheson; in which she claimed that Jessie Misskelly and Damien Echols had taken her to view a "Satanic esbat", a coven or witch's meeting associated with Wicca and Neopaganism. As a result of their conviction in the case, Misskelly and Baldwin would received multiple life sentences, while Damien was sentenced to death.
Following their convictions the boys maintained their innocence, not a particularly unique position for an inmate to maintain. But soon, they begin to draw public support. Over the years this group of supporters would eventually grow to include a variety of celebrities and musicians, as well as the parents of two of three victims, and ultimately resulted in the creation of a defense fund. A fund which allowed the Young men the ability to properly challenge the charges against them, which many believed were driven by the religiously driven hysteria dubbed the "Satanic Panic".
An examination of the evidence conducted by Echol's defense team between 2005 and 2007, not only failed to produce ANY evidence linking the Boys to the case, but actually yielded DNA evidence in the form of two hairs found at the scene which were determined to be consistent with the DNA of two other individuals sampled by the defense: Terry Hobbs, victim Steve Branch's step father, and a known associate of Hobbs, David Jacoby. Defense investigators also determined that marks on the victims body's, alleged to have been inflicted with a large knife recovered from a lake near Baldwin's home, were most likely the result of animal activity, and not the weapon in question. Finally, the team showed that Misskelly's confession, obtained after multiple hours of police interrogation of the the then 17 year old, border line mentally challenged suspect, was initially factually incorrect in every significant way -from the time of the murders, to the methods used in the killings- until police lead Misskelly into giving the "correct" answers to their questions.
As for the claim made by Vicki Hutcheson that Echols and Misskelly had taken her to witness a satanic ritual, a claim which helped to bolster the prosecution's assertion that the killings had been part of a satanic rite. In 2004, Hutcheson claimed that her testimony in the trial had been a complete fabrication, one which she claims to have told after West Memphis Police detectives threatened to take her child away and implicate her in the slayings, if she refused to testify as instructed. Hutcheson's claims of police intimidation have never been substantiated.
Armed with their new findings findings, and Hutcheson's recant, the defense made an appeal for a new trial. In 2010, that appeal was granted by the state supreme court, and a new trial was set for later this year. Seemingly convinced that the men, now all in their thirties, would likely win that trial, the state decided to make a deal. On august 19th, the West Memphis three were set free after serving 18 years in prison. They were not, however, cleared of the charges against them.
In order to gain their freedom, Echols and Baldwin were forced to enter something known as a " Alford plea", in which a defendant asserts their innocence of the charges in question, but acknowledges that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; Misskelly entered a similar plea for his charges. This special plea to the charges also just happens to come with the happy side-effect, where the state is concerned anyway, of shielding the prosecution from any criminal liability, including financial damages.
Though there seemed to be little doubt from anyone that all three men would most likely have won their freedom in the new trial granted to them by the Arkansas Supreme Court, Jason and Jessie ultimately decided to agree to the plea -which also came with a 10 year suspended sentence for each defendant- in order to save the life of their friend Damien, who was awaiting execution on death row.
Given my own affinity for the music and sub-culture that was the target of the satanic-panic phenomena, not to mention my own personal dealings with it throughout my childhood, the plight of the WM3 is something I have followed for a long time. In my view, it seems clear that these men were wrongly convicted of the crimes in question, and given the lack of evidence against them; the prosecutions seeming refusal to even consider other subjects -despite even new DNA evidence implicating others in the crime- and all of the attempts that were made during the trial to tie the murders to satanic rituals, it seems equally obvious that religiously-fueled hysteria was ultimately the primary motivator behind the boys arrests and convictions. And while I'm pleased that the men were finally able to at least earn they're freedom, the idea that all of the authorities and institutions involved in their convictions are being allowed to get away with -in my opinion- deliberately ruining the lives of three innocent people in the name of their personal religious convictions, or simple incompetence- angers and disgusts me to no end. But whatever your personal opinion of their guilt or innocence may be, we should all agree that the handling of this case and the result it produced, were anything but justice for anyone, including the victims.
Sources: CNN Justice, WM3blackboard ( Vicki Hutcheson's recant), The WM3 "Time for Truth" Documentary- posted by: globalgriot on Youtube.
Posted by Youtube user: modivationfilms
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Batteries suck. Sure, like any other technology, batteries have improved vastly over the years. But there's just no getting around the fact that the lingering inefficiencies in the ability of batteries to both generate and store energy remains a major defect in all of our favorite portable devices, as well as would be alternative energy technologies like solar power. So as you might imagine, the quest for better batteries is a popular one, and one with many potential solutions. One such solution, to at least some of our battery woes anyway, could be the merging of biology and technology to create organic super-batteries or biological superconductors, using a newly developed living transistor made from bacteria.
A group of biologists and physicists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, recently teamed up to create what they have dubbed "living nanowire", using a strain of bacteria called Geobacter sulfurreducens, which grows long stringy filaments called pili along its body, which it uses to expel electrons generated as a byproduct of it's digestive process. By running current through a small electrode covered in a thin film of the bacteria, researchers were able to measure the conductivity of these filaments, and found that they could conduct electrons better than some metals.
"These nanowire networks showed the same properties of metal networks," Mark Tuominen, professor of physics at UMass and lead author of the paper detailing the findings of the team's research said, "We didn't think nature could make something similar to metal. This is the first time this has been discovered and this is very exciting for us."
Like any new discovery, the potential application of this research is speculative, and no specific details were given as to how or when it could lead to the development of these biological super-batteries; which would also be environmentally-sustainable, as well as cheaper to produce. But given the need for new developments in the world of power storage and generation, there is at least a hope that this discovery might not join the long list of potentially cool new technologies that we never hear from again.
Source: Discovery News
You can also view this post on : GGB on Tumblr