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Smile, you've got a genetic disorder!

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Arjun RajJul 04, 2014Comments
Check out this paper in eLife, in which the authors use machine learning applied to facial images to determine whether people have genetic disorders. So cool! From what I can gather, they use a training set of just under 3000 images of faces (1300 or so of them have a genetic disorder) and then use facial recognition software to quantify those images. Using that quantification, they can cluster ~  read more

Carbon Sniffing from Space

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Catherine KuhnJul 04, 2014Comments
NASA successfully launched the new Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) satellite from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California today. After a 2009 foiled attempt ending with the original satellite, OCO-1, plunging into the Indian Ocean, this second iteration will be the sixth satellite joining the A-train, a constellation of satellites designed to monitor various aspects of earth's atmosphere ~  read more

How to see, how to sample, how to shuffle, and how to see that

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Kevin BoldingJul 03, 2014Comments
Mike Bostock has adapted his talk on visualization of algorithms to web viewing and it is guaranteed that you will feel more insightful having viewed it. He starts from the spatial organization of photoreceptor cells and visually demonstrates in a very useful way the tradeoffs of different algorithms for uniform spatial sampling. New post - Visualizing Algorithms - using vision to study ~  read more

Astronomy, beautiful Astronomy!

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Michelle CollinsJul 02, 2014Comments
The Astronomy photographer of the year shortlist has been revealed! And the entrants are stunning. Pictures include the aurora, a partial solar eclipse with Old Faithful, planets, nebulae, and more!  The competition is run by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, and is now in its sixth year. This years winner will be announced on September 18th. For now, just enjoy the spectacular ~  read more

The destruction and creation of graduate student's confidence

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Lenny TeytelmanJul 02, 2014Comments
Another beautiful PhDComic called "What you think of your Professor vs. Time". It reminds me of Jasper Rine's joking metric for when a student is ready to graduate, "It's not about a complete story or number of papers, but, 'You are ready when you realize that you are way smarter than your PI.' "   What you think of your Prof: http://t.co/so4XYJInrG **Hey, help us make a movie: ~  read more

Basic Physics and Penalty Kicks

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Matthew DavisJul 01, 2014Comments
There's lots of emotion out there regarding penalty kicks to decide a World Cup match, which I'll politely decline to takes sides with here. But, if you wanna know why penalty kicks are so dumb, read this concise 10th-grade physics write-up on the helplessness of the goalie by Wired blogger Rhett ~  read more

So brains are not "less active in lectures than during sleep."

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Lenny TeytelmanJun 30, 2014Comments
Blogger @Neuro_Skeptic covers a paper by Ken Masters, "Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures". It's a response to a 2010 paper by Ming-Zher Poh "A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-TermAssessment of Electrodermal Activity".   Interestingly, Masters is not so much debunking the Poh paper as its abuse in the education field. The excerpt ~  read more

Can campaign finance reform help science?

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Kristen DeAngelisJun 30, 2014Comments
It is no secret that times are tough for funding in science, with funding lines at all time lows for many grant-funding agencies, and have been for some time. Instead of writing to my congress-critters yet again, this time I've donated to Lawrence Lessig's "Super PAC to end all Super PACs" called Mayday in the hopes that real campaign finance reform will result in better congressional support for ~  read more

Emotional Contagion on Facebook *OR* Facebook Did What?

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Matthew DavisJun 29, 2014Comments
The Twitternets are ablaze with news that Facebook conducted an experiment on 693,003 of its users to investigate the hypothesis that emotions were contagious via their social network. First, the experiment: Posts to users' news feeds were evaluated for postive or negative emotional content using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, developed by James Pennebaker and colleagues (full disclosure: ~  read more

In Defense of Wasps: Awesome Bug Photos from Alex Wild

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Matthew DavisJun 28, 2014Comments
Alex Wild (@Myrmecos) writes the Compound Eye blog at Scientific American, which I very much endorse reading if you like bugs and stunning photographs of them. Over the month of June, Alex has taken to defending the awesomeness of the much maligned wasp clade with a series of posts. While wasps are renown for their painful stinging, and making nests in my laundry room, it turns out we humans ~  read more

Why there is no "Journal of Negative Results"

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Arjun RajJun 27, 2014Comments
Can't be in a biomedical research for very long without hearing someone say "Why isn't there a Journal of Negative Results?" You know, for publishing all the findings that show something people think is true isn't? The obvious reasons are the political ramifications of refuting someone else's work and the lack of glory. A more subtle reason is that it's just so difficult to prove the negative ~  read more

US lags behind UK in Insect Awareness

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Erin Osborne NishimuraJun 27, 2014Comments
I just learned that the UK is right in the midst of celebrating National Insect Week! And I'm over here in the US? I feel like I'm missing out.   Apparently, the Royal Entomological Society has been organizing this biennial event that is celebrated all across the United Kingdom as an effort to increase public awareness of insects. Everyone will have to go on without me on their bug hunts, ~  read more

Before Google Glass: IBM's 1997 Wearable Computer and It's Crazy Promo Video

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Matthew DavisJun 27, 2014Comments
Something tells me bars in San Francisco wouldn't be banning the lady from this epic 1997 IBM promo video. The designer of this Google Glass predecessor was German design demigod Richard Sapper, who since 1980 was IBM's prinicpal design consultant. He also crafted the design of the first IBM Thinkpad, Mercedes and Fiat auto designs, and Mid-Century Modern devices worthy of display in the New York ~  read more

Chemical/Biotech/Science-free products

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Lenny TeytelmanJun 27, 2014Comments
Nature Chemistry just published online "A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products" by Alex Goldberg and CJ Chemjobber. Now, please don't do the thing we always do as scientists where you glance at the abstract but don't open the paper. Read the paper! It won't take long. This is by far the shortest and most brilliant critique of the "nature=good/science=bad" product ~  read more

The Fermi Paradox

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Arjun RajJun 27, 2014Comments
I think almost every scientist has thought at one point or another about the possiblity of extra-terrestrial life. What I didn't appreciate was just how much thought some folks have put into the matter! I found this little article really summarized the various possibilities amazingly well. Reading it really gave me the willies, alternately filling me with joyous wonder, existential angst and ~  read more