Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sci Fi Short: Plurality

Posted YouTube user: dennisaliu

I don't know why this has been sitting my bookmarks for all this time without being posted, but it has. It's amazing, and you should watch it now.

That is all.


APOTD: Ghost Nebula

Caption: NOAO

This image was obtained with the wide-field view of the Mosaic Camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. vdB 141 is a reflection nebula located in the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes referred to as the ghost nebula, its awkward name is its catalog number in Sidney van den Bergh's catalog of reflection nebulae, published in 1966. Several stars are embedded in the nebula. Their light gives it a ghoulish brown color. North is down and East is to the right. Imaged August 28, 2009.

Image: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF [high-resolution] Read NOAO Conditions of Use before downloading

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:14- Alien Ninja Horseman Babies

In this week's episode, our collective uber-ADD was in full effect. So Tara and I manage to make our way to everything from Spontaneous human combustion, UFO's and paranormal beliefs, to TMNT remakes, future technology, as well as a few other things. All in all, I think it's a fun episode. If you agree, why not Subscribe on iTunes ? Also, I had a sudden burst of inspiration during production. So those of you who make it past the outro music, will be handsomely rewarded. Well, reward might not be the right word. let's just say, something lurks just beyond the closing credits this week, and leave it at that....

In This Weeks Episode: We begin with a brief mention of Mississippi's recent decision to finally ratify the 13th amendment - I make up for last week's Pope song with a bit of wholesome x-tian rap - A Texas man does his best to make a Horseman baby - while a Florida man earns a fine for harassing (not a euphemism)  a baby manatee - an Oklahoma man spontaneously combusted, or not (not) - And Tara discovers the looming Michael Bay TMNT remake - Physicists learn to make ghosts - google glasses are finally starting to look cool - a Russian man gets caught cheating via street view- as well as a few other things along the way.

Our Favorite Things: Tara recommends the website, which allows  restaurant workers to rate their employer. For my pick, I've chosen to recommend Ray Kurzweil's most recent book " How To Create a mind, the secrete to human thought revealed."

Finally, because it really MUST be seen to truly be appreciated: "Rappin' for Jesus"

Posted by YouTube user: brianspinney

Monday, February 25, 2013

Eye Candy: Giant Dry Ice Bubble Experiment

Posted by YouTube user:http: brusspup

Fun with dry ice.

Bionic Hand That Can Feel Set To be Transplanted Later This Year

Though a number of new artificial limbs have been developed which can be controlled by the brain through both direct and indirect neural interfaces -either by being wired directly into the patient's nervous system or by monitoring electrical fluctuations in the brain via an external controller or interface. Figuring out how to integrate artificial systems directly into the human nervous system to allow for communication both to and from such devices and the brain, remains a difficult problem to resolve. Which is why as exceptional a thing as they still are, even the most advanced modern prosthetic devices are typically capable of delivering either control or sensation, but not both.

One of the promising looking attempts to overcome the current limitation of advanced prosthetic replacements, are experiments being conducted by a Swedish research group called  École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).  Having already had significant success with previous devices, the EPFL now has plans to fit an unnamed man from Rome, with an advanced robotic hand which they described as the first ever to deliver real-time sensory feedback, directly through the recipient's own nervous system.

The planned procedure -which is set to happen later this year in Switzerland-  follows the success of an earlier portable version of the hand that was tested In 2009, on a man who suffered the loss of half of one of his arms in an auto accident. After being temporarily fitted with this earlier version of the device, xxx was reportedly able to manipulate and grasp objects with his new hand, as well as being able to feel the sensation of needles pricked into it's palm. All that despite this earlier version of the prosthetic having only two sensory zones. The current model is capable of transmitting sensory feedback from all of it's fingertips, as well as it's palm and wrist, potentially providing a much more life-like feeling for it's recipient.

According to Dr. Silvestro Micera, who is Head of the Translational Neural Engineering Laboratory at EPFL and Professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy, the newest version of the device will be attached directly into the patient’s nervous system via electrodes clipped onto the median and ulnar nerves in the arm. The expectation is that this method of attachment should allow for a bidirectional flow of information between the prosthetic and the patient's brain, enabling it's recipient to control the device by thought, while simultaneously receiving tactile sensations from the prosthetic itself, and all in real time.



Speaking of neural computer interfaces. In the above Ted Talk, brain-machine interface scientist Miguel Nicolelis, discusses his own on going research into the science behind said interfaces, using a monkey named Aurora.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Favorite Show EP:13 Curious Squatch and The Man in The pointy Hat

It's late, so is the episode, I'm tired. The End.

In This Weeks Episode: Pope Ratzinger set to step down at the end of February - The Russian Meteor thingGroup claims to have definitively Identified Bigfoot DNA - Counting the days till the conspiracies begin, following The conclusion of the Chris Dorner case - The world's shittiest cruise - A drunken Florida man, a car fire, and a taco.

Our Favorite things: Tara shares the rest of her comics from last week's trip to the comic shop, while recommend zefrank's True Facts videos.

New Genetic Study PROVES Bigfoot is a Thing! [SPOILER ALERT: No it Doesn't.]

Just before we set out to record this weeks podcast Tara reminded me of a story that had made the rounds earlier in the week, about a genetic study which had supposedly produced definitive evidence of the existence of Bigfoot. What I didn't realize at the time of recording, was that the "study" in question was the same one that had been announced in November of last year, by Texas Vetrenarian and genetic researcher Melba Ketchum. Once I realized this was the case, I started to wonder why it was in the news again. Turns out, after months of struggling through the peer review process, the team's research paper was finally published on Feburary 14th, in the well known and highly respected "DeNovo Scientific Journal".

What's that?  "I've never heard of the Denovo Scientific Journal."  you say? Well, that's probably because - according to the Huffpo, anyway- it was first registered with (anonymously) on February 4th, 2013, for a period of one year, and currently contains only one published paper "The Bigfoot Genome Paper"; AKA, the "study" in question. Seems legit, right?

Aside from the dubious method of publication, which we'll get back to shortly, the problems with the study, the likely rational explanation, as well as why the paper was rejected for publication by legitimate scientific journals, seems pretty obvious. Best case scenario, the samples were contaminated. Which the group, of course, insists couldn't possibly be the case, since they were very careful to eliminate that possibility. Which I'd be willing to give them the befit of the doubt on, had the 1,100 samples used in the study not been collected, handled, and stored, by untrained individuals, from 34 different sites across North America [Yahoo News]. Which, again, one might be willing to forgive, if their claims weren't so definitive.

Melba Ketchum's statements from DNA Diagnostics Inc's Press release on their "Bigfoot Genome Paper"

Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens. "

"Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.

Mmmm-kay. Maybe it's just me. But, "mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence", sounds a lot like: Collection of unrelated genetic materials most likely originating from multiple sources, some of which we can't identify. But, okay. Is there anything else we should know?

Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a ‘license’ to hunt, trap, or kill them.

Soooo.... Remind me again why you decided to self publish? I mean, the flaws in your study's methodology seem glaringly obvious, even to a dum-dum like me. And you did just say you wanted to give constitutional rights to a creature no one other than you has ever "confirmed" the existence of. But I have a feeling you suspect more devious intentions towards your work, are to blame.

Melba Ketchum on her paper's rejection in mainstream journals (VIA Huffington Post):

"It has been a long and tedious battle to prove that Sasquatch exists... Trying to publish has taken almost two years. It seems mainstream science just can't seem to tolerate something controversial, especially from a group of primarily forensic scientists and not 'famous academians' aligned with large universities, even though most of our sequencing and analysis was performed at just such facilities."

Oh, THERE it is. It always comes down to this, doesn't it? What I've come to call "the X-files argument"; the assertion that the mean old dogmatic doctrine of the scientific establishment is holdin' ya down, cause they're all just too close minded to challenge accepted facts. In short, it's nonsense.

Even if  the "scientific establishment" did choose to dogmatically resist or deliberately deny their findings, it wouldn't matter. Because, as the saying goes: the great thing about science is that it's true, weather you believe it or not. Which really means- objective truths, are objective truths, regardless of who discovers them. So If you've done your science correctly. If what you think you've found, really is what you say it is. Then proving it's true, is only a matter of someone else looking in the same place, and seeing the same thing. And sooner or later that WILL happen regardless of weather you, or anyone else for that matter,  tells them where to look or not. But if what you've claimed to have discovered, truly is something that only you can manage to see. Then whatever it is you may think you've found, it isn't science. That's what that whole peer review process Melba's research couldn't get past, is all about. 


Sources:,  Ben Radford: (Yahoo News)- (, The Huffington Post

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flash Games: Faith Fighter

Because it's hilarious and awesome. Even though I suck at it at and have yet to NOT get my ass kicked.  

VIA: Left Hemispheres

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Russian Meteor videos

As you are likely well aware -because unlike me, you exist in the same time frame as most other people in the world- a large meteor went streaking across the sky in Russia early Friday morning (FEB 15th). The object is not believed to have been directly related to the much more massive -150 feet (45 meters) wide- asteroid 2012 AD14, which passed within about 17,000 miles of Earth later the same day, without incident.

NASA has estimated the size of the object over Russia, at 50-55 feet across, and 7,000 -10,000 tons, and that it was traveling somewhere in the range of 40,000 MPH, when it exploded. The blast created as the meteor impacted with the Earth's atmosphere is estimated to have been the equivalent of a 470-kiloton explosion, and managed to cause sever damage to a Zinc processing plant, as well as shattering windows throughout the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring about 1000 people. The incident is being described as the most significant of it's kind since the Tunguska event of 1908, in which an unknown object - possibly a small comet - exploded over the Russian wilderness, leveling trees for several hundred square miles. 

There are obviously LOADS of videos and pictures available of the incident. Of the two I've chosen to post, the one above is sort of a compilation, which includes bits from many of the most popular videos, along with some stuff I hadn't seen from security cameras, as well as footage of some of the damage caused by the blast. The one below, I choose because it captures the gap between the object's passing, and the sound of the explosion itself. Which, as you'll see, happens a considerably long time after the object has disappeared from view, illustrating just how fast it was actually traveling.

Posted by YouTube user: Idan Drori


Source: All of the Internets 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Darwin day! Ze Frank's True Facts about the Katydid

Posted by: zefrank1

If I were better at planning posts for the site, had a different work schedule, or hadn't just spent the better part of the past four hours fighting with my internet connection, I would have prepared something of substance for Darwin day. Instead, here's my admittedly anemic, and just barely on time/on topic offering, in the form of yet another true fact video from ze Frank. This time around, evolution checks in on the Katydid. All in all,  things seem to be going well for the creature... except for where the monkeys are concerned.



My Favortie Show EP:11- Caffeinated Colonics and Vigilante Justice

As my beloved technology continues to torment and betray me, this week's episode of My Favorite Show arrives a little over a week late. Last week, I just didn't feel like fighting with the internets, and this week, it took revenge upon me. But, I finally managed to edit what we got into submission, and I hope you'll be pleased with the result. Since it is the first show of a new month, that means, new artwork. And in case you couldn't guess by the subject mater, this month's artwork was done by me.

In This Week's Episode: We begin with the tale of Kai, the hatchet weilding hitchhiker. Who has, of course, already been remixed HERE - Tara discovers the phenomena of coffee enemas - we discuss the ongoing saga of Chris Dorner 's Vendetta against the LAPD - The real purpose of a so-called "Anti human/animal hybrid bill" in Mississippi: SPOILER ALERT: it's really about abortion -  and a company threatening to sue podcasters for trademark infringement, as well as the ongoing issue of trademark trolls in general.

Our Favorite Things: This week, Tara and I took a trip to our favorite comic shop, where she picked up an issue of the series "The Boys". Which, for those of you who prefer the digital format, you can also find on the comixology site/ mobile apps. Not to be out-geeked, this week, I have chosen one of my new favorite podcasts: Nerd Poker with Brian Posehn. In which, Posehn and friends gather to play D&D.

Subscribe on iTunes

Because I can:

Posted by Youtube user: RelapseRecords