Free for the Kindle (limited time):
- Amazon.com: Daughter of Elysium - An Elysium Cycle Novel eBook: Joan Slonczewski: Kindle Store
It's excellent science fiction with a strong biological basis. Get your copy!
And if you've read it (or don't mind a few spoilers), see my related post about embryo visualization in the story.
- Jonah Lehrer, science fiction writer | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine
Will increasing creativity mean mankind's demise?
- The neuroscience of Bob Dylan's genius
But how is brain activity reflected in our brain's activity?
"Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. When we tell one another stories about creativity, we tend to leave out this phase of the creative process. We neglect to mention those days when we wanted to quit, when we believed that our problems were impossible to solve. Instead, we skip straight to the breakthroughs. The danger of telling this narrative is that the feeling of frustration – the act of being stumped – is an essential part of the creative process."
- Cambridge Ideas - Bird Tango (YouTube)
A dance inspired by Darwin.
"By day Professor Nicky Clayton researches the social behaviour and intelligence of birds but by night she is an accomplished dancer. Recently, Professor Clayton has been encouraged by Rambert Dance Company to merge the two passions by becoming their Scientist in Residence....."
- The music created by your brain waves could score a horror film
The video: http://youtu.be/XI4Mge8nLMw
"Brain waves are picked up from the parietal and frontal lobes, then sent by radio waves to the motherboard, which converts the radio waves into a wave pulse that is output as sound."
- Do science fiction and fantasy cause recurring dreams?
Looking at the Future
- TEDxBrussels - Rudy Rucker - Beyond Machines: The Year 3000 (YouTube)
Rudy Rucker's vision of the future:
"As in his novel "Software" where computers 'preserve' the human brain, a so-called 'life box' database remains which keeps our memories alive. These machines however cannot substitute humans as our minds perform more physical and biological processes, where artificial intelligence only relies on inferences."
- How to Use Light to Control the Brain
"Over the last several years, optogenetics has provided powerful insights into the neural underpinnings of brain disorders like depression, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Now, in the context of memory research, this study shows that it is possible to artificially stimulate a few neurons to activate an old memory, controlling an animals’ behavior without any sensory input."
- Contrary Brin: From Brain Imaging to Parasite Infestations
- Short Sharp Science: World's toughest bugs survive electron beam and vacuum
Ticks may be the first invaders from Earth to take over other planet.
- The Giant, Prehistoric Squid That Ate Common Sense
What happens when extraordinary scientific claims are made in a press release? As Brian Switek reports, in this case, the claim was made that super-intelligent giant prehistoric squids ate huge ichthyosaurs and artfully arranged their bones. Despite the fact that the claims were extraordinary and were primarily based on speculation, rather than evidence, most news outlet republished the original press release without any analysis of commentary from other scientists. Bad science, maybe, bad journalism, definitely. On the other hand, super-intelligent bone-arranging prehistoric squids would be a great subject for a novel, especially if they could travel through space!
- The secret life of plankton | Video on TED.com
Some beautiful underwater photography.
- Farm-fresh infringement: Can you violate a patent by planting some seeds?
This sounds like science fiction, but it's the present day reality for many US farmers: growing plants could be patent infringement. For a SF take on agribusiness-created plants as intellectual property, see Paolo Bacigalupi's "Calorie Man" (pdf)
- The One-Ton Turkey: Further Adventures in Slow-Cooked Science | The Loom | Discover Magazine
Carl Zimmer reports on seeing feathered dinosaur fossils in China.The dinosaurs are cousins to Tyrannosaurus Rex, hinting that T. Rex could have been feathered too.
- "The two fossils I saw, plus a third, all belong to a new species, which Xu has dubbed Yutyrannus huali (a mix of Latin and Mandarin, meaning beautiful feathered tyrannosaur). They had filament-like feathers, reaching several inches in length. Since they are preserved on widely separated parts of Yutyrannus’s body, Xu leans towards the dinosaurs being extensively covered with feathers."
- Lighting up plant cells to engineer biology - Research - University of Cambridge
- Common things under an electron microscope
- The Mystery of the Glow-in-the-Dark Civil War Soldiers
Truth is stranger than fiction. (The answer to the mystery involves nematode vomit and hypothermia)
- What would your voice sound like on Venus?
I'd probably end up sounding like James Earl Jones.
- Q&A: The Anthropology of Searching for Aliens | Wired Science | Wired.com
Anthropologist Kathryn Denning talks to Wired about how our cultural narratives affect the way we think about extraterrestrial intelligence and possible contact with alien cultures.
"From Star Trek to SETI, our modern world is constantly imagining possible futures where we dart around the galaxy engaging with bizarre alien races. Denning points out that when people talk about these futures, they often invoke the past. But they frequently seem to have a poor understanding of history."