This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
Neurologists Find Logic and Empathy to be Mutually Exclusive: Brain Physically Can’t Do Both At the Same Time
A new study published in NeuroImage found that separate neural pathways are used alternately for empathetic and analytic problem solving. The study compares it to a see-saw. When you’re busy empathizing, the neural network for analysis is repressed, and this switches according to the task at hand.
Anthony Jack, an assistant professor in cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, relates the idea to an optical illusion. You can see a duck or a rabbit in the image, but not both at the same time. This limitation to what you can see is called perceptual rivalry.
Jack’s new study takes this concept beyond visual perception, and investigates how the brain processes situations. It found separate neural networks for social/emotional processing and for logical analysis.
Olympic Cauldron: Up Close
For many, the Olympic Cauldron was the highlight of last night’s Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the cauldron represented the climax of the opening ceremony and remained the Olympic’s best-kept secret until last night’s unveiling.
The cauldron featured 204 copper petals, each representing one of the competing nations. The petals were brought to the stadium by each team as part of the athletes’ procession. As each team completed their entrance, they attached a petal to a long pipe in a ring at the centre of the arena.
When the cauldron took centre stage, seven young athletes selected by former British Olympic champions passed the flames from the torches to some of the petals, eventually setting all of them ablaze. The 204 petals then rose simultaneously, forming a giant Olympic torch for all of the world to witness. For full coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London, visit the official website at:olympicopeningceremony.tumblr.com.
Online browser-based interactive resource allows you to examine human anatomy:The BioDigital Human is a 3D platform that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments. Explore the body in 3D!The BioDigital Human is a 3D platform that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments. Interactive tools for exploring, dissecting, and sharing custom views, combined with detailed medical descriptions provide an unprecedented new visual format to learn about your body.This app uses the exciting new web standard for 3D - WebGL.
Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise in 20 Years
In Star Trek lore, the first Starship Enterprise will be built by the year 2245. But today, an engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail – building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the Enterprise complete with 1G of gravity on board, and says it could be done with current technology, within 20 years. “We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let’s do it,” writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE Dan. This “Gen1” Enterprise could get to Mars in ninety days, to the Moon in three, and “could hop from planet to planet dropping off robotic probes of all sorts en masse – rovers, special-built planes, and satellites.” (via Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise in 20 Years)
U.S. firm The Amazing Jellyfish (theamazingjellyfish.com) takes the bioluminescent bodies of creatures that have died of natural causes and encase them in resin, thus preserving not just their bodies, but also their incredible glow-in-the-dark properties.
Photograph of a crumpled yet functional all-CNT-FET device. Image credit: Aikawa, et al. ©2012 American Institute of Physics
Thanks to the flexible yet robust properties of carbon nanotubes, researchers have previously fabricated transistors that can be rolled, folded, and stretched. Now a team from Japan has made an all-carbon-nanotube transistor that can be crumpled like a piece of paper without degradation of its electrical properties. The new transistor is the most bendable reported to date that doesn’t experience a loss in performance.
The researchers, Shinya Aikawa and coauthors from the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo University of Science, have published their study in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.
“The most important thing is that electronics might now be usable in places or situations that were previously not possible,” coauthor Shigeo Maruyama, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tokyo, toldPhysOrg.com. “Since our device is so flexible and deformable it could potentially be stuck anywhere. This could lead to active electronic devices that are applied like a sticker or an adhesive bandage, as well as to wearable electronics.”
Unlike other field-effect transistors (FETs), the new FET is unique in that all channels and electrodes are made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), while the substrate is made of highly flexible and transparent poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). Previously, the majority of flexible, transparent FETs have used gold or indium tin oxide as electrodes. However, gold decreases the devices’ transparency while brittle indium tin oxide limits the flexibility. A few recent FETs have been made that consist entirely of CNTs, but so far these devices have been built on thick plastic substrates, limiting their flexibility.
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35 años de la APPLE ][ 2 — 35th Anniversary of the Apple ][
Pongamoslo de esta manera: si Apple solo hubiera fabricado la Apple 1, el día de hoy la compañía seria solo recordada por algunos profesores interesados en la prehistoria de la computadora personal. Pero si la compañía hubiera desaparecido después de haber liberado la Apple 2 ][ aun así seguiría siendo una de las mas reconocidas compañías de computadoras de todos los tiempos. La Apple 2 ][ fue — y es — así de importante.
Put it this way: if Apple’s only computer had been the Apple I, it would be remembered today only by scholars with an arcane interest in the prehistory of the personal computer. But if the company had folded after releasing the Apple II, it would still be one of the best-known PC companies of all time. The II was — and is — that important.
One hundred years after Alan Turing was born, his eponymous test remains an elusive benchmark for artificial intelligence. Now, for the first time in decades, it’s possible to imagine a machine making the grade.
Turing was one of the 20th century’s great mathematicians, a conceptual architect of modern computing whose codebreaking played a decisive part in World War II. His test, described in a seminal dawn-of-the-computer-age paper, was deceptively simple: If a machine could pass for human in conversation, the machine could be considered intelligent.
Artificial intelligences are now ubiquitous, from GPS navigation systems and Google algorithms to automated customer service and Apple’s Siri, to say nothing of Deep Blue and Watson — but no machine has met Turing’s standard. The quest to do so, however, and the lines of research inspired by the general challenge of modeling human thought, have profoundly influenced both computer and cognitive science.
There is reason to believe that code kernels for the first Turing-intelligent machine have already been written.
“Two revolutionary advances in information technology may bring the Turing test out of retirement,” wrote Robert French, a cognitive scientist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in an Apr. 12 Science essay. “The first is the ready availability of vast amounts of raw data — from video feeds to complete sound environments, and from casual conversations to technical documents on every conceivable subject. The second is the advent of sophisticated techniques for collecting, organizing, and processing this rich collection of data.”
Science Fiction = Science Fact