Nine minutes of the 2011 Tohuku earthquake, which caused the deadly Japanese tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, recreated in 3D-printed resin by Luke Jerram.
(via The Finch and Pea)
Let me take a chunk out of this and post it for easy reading.
“Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,” managed to offend a select group of…
As human beings, we have an innate ability to make something out of nothing. We see shapes in the clouds, and a man in the moon; gamblers are convinced that they have ‘runs of luck’; we take a perfectly cheerful heavy-metal record, play it backwards, and hear hidden messages about Satan. Our ability to spot patterns is what allows us to make sense of the world; but sometimes, in our eagerness, we are oversensitive, trigger-happy, and mistakenly spot patterns where none exist.
In science, if you want to study a phenomenon, it is sometimes useful to reduce it to its simplest and most controlled form. There is a prevalent belief among sporting types that sportsmen, like gamblers (except more plausibly), have ‘runs of luck’. People ascribe this to confidence, ‘getting your eye in’, ‘warming up’, or more, and while it might exist in some games, statisticians have looked in various places where people have claimed it to exist and found no relationship between, say, hitting a home run in one inning, then hitting a home run in the next.
Because the ‘winning streak’ is such a prevalent belief, it is an excellent model for looking at how we perceive random sequences of events. This was used by an American social psychologist called Thomas Gilovich in a classic experiment. He took basketball fans and showed them a random sequence of X’s and O’s, explaining that they represented a player’s hits and misses, and then asked them if they thought the sequences demonstrated ‘streak shooting’.
Here is a random sequence of figures from that experiment. You might think of it as being generated by a series of coin tosses.
The subjects in the experiment were convinced that this sequence exemplified ‘streak shooting’ or ‘runs of luck’, and it’s easy to see why, if you look again: six of the first eight shots were hits. No, wait: eight of the first eleven shots were hits. No way is that random …
What this ingenious experiment shows is how bad we are at correctly identifying random sequences. We are wrong about what they should look like: we expect too much alternation, so truly random sequences seem somehow too lumpy and ordered. Our intuitions about the most basic observation of all – distinguishing a pattern from mere random background noise – are deeply flawed.
This is our first lesson in the importance of using statistics instead of intuition. It’s also an excellent demonstration of how strong the parallels are between these cognitive illusions and the perceptual illusions with which we are more familiar. You can stare at a visual illusion all you like, talk or think about it, but it will still look ‘wrong’. Similarly, you can look at that random sequence above as hard as you like: it will still look lumpy and ordered, in defiance of what you now know.”
by Ben Goldacre - ‘Bad Science’.
Skeleton of conjoined twins engraved plate by Johann Gottlieb Walter 1775
There are 176068 kg of stuff on the Moon, 22628 kg on Venus and 8403 kg on Mars.
You probably know Edward Anthony Jenner (1749-1823), he was an English scientist that observed that farmers who caught cowpox (a disease similar to smallpox but much less virulent) while working with cows were known not to catch smallpox, and he thought there had to be a causal connection. He developed a theory, and he tested it, and he was right, in fact, he developed the smallpox vaccine (the first successful vaccine).
He was a scientist, and he was clever, and his theory is the product of his intelligent use of the scientific method.
He saved human lives, a lot.
“What evidence is there that all of it isn’t wrong?”
Also, treat them better, scientists! Turns out everyone knows that rodents used in lab research aren’t so healthy. Most are overweight and don’t exercise much, and I can’t think of any biomedical outcome these factors wouldn’t affect. This is part of an interesting piece on the ethics, use, and appropriateness of different animal research models from Slate. Transgenic guys, too - crazy!
It’s long been said that if you’re an obese, alcoholic, diabetic mouse … then boy have we got some cures for you.
This just in! Lab mice aren’t the best medical model for humans! WHO WOULD OF THUNK IT.
May the _____ be with you.
Don’t translate for them they should know! /glare