Some of the science and SF links originally posted on Google+, Twitter , and Facebook this week:
Recommended free Kindle book (limited time only):
Free for the Kindle (or if you are running the Kindle App), at least at the moment:
"Long Eyes" by Jeff Carlson. This collection includes "sixteen stories about strange worlds, biotech, commandos, and the girl next door" along with Carlson's commentary about his inspiration for each story. Kickstarter project plug:
Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology »
Kickstarter plug: the Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology will be edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer:
"The anthology will emphasize women's speculative fiction from the mid-1970s onward, looking to explore women's rights as well as gender/race/class/etc. from as many perspectives as possible. The contributors are not yet established so we hesitate to name names, but rights to reprint stories from Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree Jr. would be sought in addition to a wealth of newer voices in the field."You can learn more about the project at http://blog.geekradical.org/
Geek Life:What It Means To Be A Geek »
Are geeks the most enthusiastic people on the planet? And what does it mean to be both a girl and a geek?
Science and Science Fiction in the Arts
- Harvard sociobiologist E.O. Wilson on the origins of the arts | Harvard Magazine May-Jun 2012 »
Could there be a Shakespeare of the ants? E.O. Wilson writes about the arts - painting, music, literature - and how they are influenced by neuroscience and human evolutionary history.
- Strongest Female Protagonist in YA? | Strange Chemistry »
Who is your favorite female YA novel protagonist? For current novels, I'd have to go with Hermione from the Harry Potter series. From my youth, I'd vote for Mia in "Rite of Passage" by Alexei Panshin.
- Scientist Spotlight: Aaron Blaisdell | The Science & Entertainment Exchange »
The Science & Entertainment Exchange interviews animal behavior expert Aaron Blaisdell, who has been a consultant to Disney Animation. He says:
"Practitioners of science and fiction are both in the business of exploring the question “what if?” For a scientist the question is a hypothesis to be tested, for the fiction storyteller the question is explored in the medium of film or writing. Personally, I find good fiction gets my creative juices flowing, which translates into better, by which I mean more creative and thoughtful, science."
- How Movie Makers Use Science To Make Magic : NPR »
NPR talks to scientists from Pixar and ILM about creating digital characters:
"... capturing that emotion in a performance is very difficult, and that's what our animators bring to the table. Once the emotion is there, then other artists are responsible for making sure that, you know, the plastic looks like it should and that the lighting is going to reflect the desires of the director."
- Untangling The Hairy Physics Of Rapunzel (YouTube)
Science Friday looks at the science behind CGI
Science of the Future?
- 14 extinct animals that could be resurrected »
If you could resurrect one extinct animal, which would it be? Saber toothed cats? Passenger pigeons? The dodo? Giant sloths? T-rex?
- UK team develops Trek 'tricorder' »
This sounds very cool:
"At its heart are bacteriophages - viruses that attack bacteria. By attaching antibodies to the viruses, they can be made to "stick" to specific micro-organisms. [...] Like strands of pasta, the viruses "line up" when stirred in a solution. But just as meatballs disturb rows of perfectly aligned spaghetti, bacteria cause the viruses to separate and tangle.
Polarised light shone through the viruses makes it possible to show when the bugs are present. The light is blocked by aligned viruses, but passes through them when they become tangled. This generates an electrical signal displayed as a set of numbers on a computer screen. "
- DVICE: Biophotovoltaic table harvests electricity from moss »
- The Virus that Destroyed the Dutch Economy »
A virus that infected tulips in 17th century Netherlands helped destroy the Dutch economy. Amazing how a simple virus could generate such unexpected consequences. Truth is stranger than fiction.
- “Mythological Beast of a Virus” Found in Californian Hot Spring | 80beats | Discover Magazine »
A chimeric RNA-DNA virus would be a rare beast indeed. The results haven't been confirmed, but if they turn out to be accurate:
"... it suggests that viral evolution and the ability of different viruses to swap genes is more widespread and general than we had thought. "
- Fish Glow Green After Genetic Engineering »
At +National Geographic: Zebrafish were genetically engineered so that their organs would glow green if affected by common freshwater pollutants, including endocrine disruptors.
- Study reveals how ancient viruses became genomic 'superspreaders' »
Understanding the "dark matter" of our genomes - the ancient viruses incorporated in our DNA:
"We suspect that these viruses are forced to make a choice: either to keep their 'viral' essence and spread between animals and species, or to commit to one genome and then spread massively within it. This is the story of the epidemic within every animal's genome, a story which has been going on for 100 million years and which continues today."
- Rare protozoan from sludge in Norwegian lake does not fit on main branches of tree of life »
From one of the scientists who made the discovery:
"We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life that lives in this lake. It is unique! So far we know of no other group of organisms that descend from closer to the roots of the tree of life than this species. It can be used as a telescope into the primordial micro-cosmos"
- Giant lava coils seen for the first time on Mars
A beautiful pattern left by water and lava on ancient Mars.
(See the image at the top of the page)