Posts filed under “Science”

H1N1 Not So Deadly After All . . .

disease_fatalities_550Back in October, we discussed what I described as an over reaction to Swine flu: H1N1 Fatality Rates: Overreaction?

Many of the comments disagreed.

The WSJ reports today that 1 in 6 Americans were exposed to H1N1, and of those “47 million Americans who were sickened with swine flu from April to mid-November, 9,820 of them died.”

I am certainly not an immunologist or a medical doctor; rather, the point was to show how we all tend to over react to current news, and allow older  but valid (and often more accurate) data to be ignored.

For you students of investing psychology, this was another example of the Recency effect at work . . .



Chart via Information is Beautiful

Category: Psychology, Science

Dumb Discovery of the Day: All Men Watch Porn

Here is yet something else I missed while out to sea last week:  All men watch porn, scientists find. Regular readers know I am very pro-Science, but I cannot see how this research adds anything: “We started our research seeking men in their 20s who had never consumed pornography,” said Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse. “We…Read More

Category: Science

What Earth Would Look Like With Rings Like Saturn

Roy Prol wonders: What the rings would look like from different cities and latitudes accross the world. It’s interesting to imagine how it would effect culture throughout time. It would have influenced religion, mythology, navigation, etc.. Hat tip kottke

Category: Science, Weekend

Climate Skeptics vs Scientific Consensus

I love information, and I especially appreciate a good depiction of information. This ginormous graphic, from Information is Beautiful, does an excellent job conveying a lot of info in an easily digestible manner: Global Warming Skeptics versus Scientific Consensus click for ginormo chart

Category: Science

Its All Relative: Cell Size & Scale

University of Utah’s Learn Genetics site has this terrific animation showing relative size in the micro world: click for interactive chart: via Cell Size & Scale > Previously: Science: It Works, Bitches (November 4th, 2009)

Category: Science

God Hates the Hadron Collider

Apparently, forces of nature and supernature do not like the collider: “The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, just cannot catch a break. First, a coolant leak destroyed some of the magnets that guide the energy beam. Then LHC officials postponed the restart of the machine to add additional safety features. Now,…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

Science: It Works, Bitches!

I don’t recall where I found this (if anyone knows please let me know).

Category: Science, Weekend

Missions to Mars

Cool infographic by Bryan Christie showing all Earth missions to Mars: > Laughing Squid via boingboing

Category: Science, Weekend

H1N1 (swine flu) Fatality Rates: Overreaction?

Whether it is a function of the Recency Bias, or mere ignorance, this infographic suggests Swine Flu worries are wildly overblown: > via Information is Beautiful > UPDATE: December 11, 2009 WSJ: 47 million Americans (one in six people in the U.S.) were sickened with swine flu from April to mid-November 9,820 of them died…Read More

Category: Psychology, Science

Optical illusions show how we see

Beau Lotto’s color games puzzle your vision, but they also spotlight what you can’t normally see: how your brain works. This fun, first-hand look at your own versatile sense of sight reveals how evolution tints your perception of what’s really out there.

“Let there be perception,” was evolution’s proclamation, and so it was that all creatures, from honeybees to humans, came to see the world not as it is, but as was most useful. This uncomfortable place — where what an organism’s brain sees diverges from what is actually out there — is what Beau Lotto and his team at Lottolab are exploring through their dazzling art-sci experiments and public illusions. Their Bee Matrix installation, for example, places a live bee in a transparent enclosure where gallerygoers may watch it seek nectar in a virtual meadow of luminous Plexiglas flowers. (Bees, Lotto will tell you, see colors much like we humans do.) The data captured isn’t just discarded, either: it’s put to good use in probing scientific papers, and sometimes in more exhibits.

Outside the studio work, the brain-like (that is, multidisciplinary) organization is also branching out to bigger public engagement works. It’s holding regular “synesthetic workshops” where kids and adults make “color scores” — abstract paintings that computers interpret into music, as with scrolls fed to a player piano. And lately they’re planning an outdoor walkway of color-lit, pressure-sensitive John Conway-esque tiles that react and evolve according to foot traffic. These and Lotto’s other conjurings are slowly, charmingly bending the science of perception — and our perceptions of what science can be.

Lotto teaches at University College London.

“All his work attempts to understand the visual brain as a system defined, not by its essential properties, but by its past ecological interactions with the world. In this view, the brain evolved to see what proved useful to see, to continually redefine normality.”

British Science Association

Category: Science, Video