science

Pop Music Is Louder and More Boring Than Ever, According to Science

Has it ever occurred to you that every pop song you hear piped into mall stores or blaring out the speakers of passing cars sounds basically the same, down to the Auto-Tuned chorus? Well, take heart, because that isn’t just you getting old and cranky — scientists have just confirmed that pop music really is… Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we went bird-watching with Birders: The Central Park Effect. We practiced 50 pickup lines for the farmer’s market. We explored the top 10 Madonna controversies. We booked flights for 10 airlines that serve free alcohol. We jumped for this super cute marriage proposal. We read a… Read More

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Gorgeous Photography of Phenomena Beyond the Human Eye

Here at Flavorpill, we’re always game to fill our eyes with beautiful images — but we have to admit, we never knew just how beautiful scientific visions of the world could be. In Seeing Beyond the Human Eye, the latest installment of the “Off Book” series from PBS and Kornhaber Brown, artists and scientists discuss the new and developing ways we can experience the world: namely, through microphotography, astrophotography, slow-motion video, and time-lapse video, all of which create gorgeous images not visible with the human eye alone. “It’s our curiosity and thirst for the unknown that has driven us to uncover the beauty of the universe,” the creators write. “Technology has allowed us to overcome the boundaries of human perception and explore beyond the limits of the naked eye.” Click through to have your mind blown. … Read More

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Has the Definition of “Cool” Changed?

Attention: you may not be as cool as you think you are. But then again, you may be a great deal cooler. According to a team of psychologists from the University of Rochester, “cool” no longer denotes a detached, rebellious James Dean-type figure, but now more aptly describes, um, someone who’s really friendly. In a … Read More

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Why Do Old Books Smell?

When you ask your literary friends why they like physical books more than e-books — if they don’t immediately roll their eyes at the question, that is — they might tell you it’s because they love the smell of books. Well, we agree that there’s nothing quite like the aroma of a used bookstore or a worn paperback, but we’ve never stopped to think about exactly what gives our dusty tomes their scent. Until we watched this very informative video from Abe Books, that is. “A physical book is made up of organic matter that reacts with heat, light, moisture, and most importantly of all, the chemicals used in its production,” we are told. “And it is this unique reaction that causes the unique used books smell… Old books release hundreds of volatile organic compounds into the air from the paper,” and it is this which gives books their scent, “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.” Mmm. Click through to watch the video, and then you can get right back to happily sniffing your bookshelves. … Read More

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Strangely Beautiful Photos of Clear Preserved Animals

Artist Iori Tomita, who graduated from the Kitasato University School of Fisheries Sciences, creates these incredibly strange specimens of animals, turning all the protein in their bodies transparent, and then infusing their bones and cartilage with color so they become strangely compelling, soft-colored skeletons. The process was originally created for scientific specimens, but Iori pushed the process further, refining his technique. He writes, “I create transparent specimens as pieces of work that help people feel closer to the wonders of life. People may look at my specimens as an academic material, a piece of art, or even an entrance to philosophy. There is no limitation to how you interpret their meaning. I hope you will find my work as a “lens” to project a new image, a new world that you’ve never seen before.” Well, this is certainly a world we’ve never seen before. Click through to take a look at some of these strangely beautiful preserved animal specimens, and let us know what you think in the comments. … Read More

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Expensive Nerdy Toys for Kids (That Are Really for Adults)

Sure we’re still feeling the effects of the economic crisis, but let’s pretend that you have millions of dollars just sort of lying around. What would you do with it all? Well, you could run for president, of course, but we know we’d rather throw around a whole bunch of money making all of the nerdiest dreams we had as children come true. Seriously, if you’re the offspring of a software entrepreneur or something, there are some crazy gifts out there for you to put on your Christmas list! Here are some of the priciest geek toys on the market. They may be marketed to kids, but many will clearly appeal more to grown-up fans — and they run from least to most expensive, so prepare yourself now for the end of the list. Seriously, you might want to sit down. … Read More

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German Scientists Shoot the World’s Fastest Film

Recently, a group of scientists at Germany’s largest particle physics center were awarded a Guinness World Record for “fastest movie” after shooting two frames merely 50 femtoseconds apart (or about 800 billion times quicker than in modern film — a femtosecond is equal to one quadrillionth of a second) using an X-ray laser. We know,… Read More

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A New Species of Horsefly Has Been Named After Beyoncé

Um, okay. So, a previously unnamed species of horsefly has recently been dubbed “the Beyoncé fly” on account of its “glamorous golden rear end,” which makes it “all-time diva of flies.” We don’t think we were aware that flies have enough divas to have an all-time diva, but we’ll let that one slide. Bryan Lessard, a… Read More

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15 Amazing Tattoos Inspired by Science

[Editor's note: While your Flavorwire editors take a much-needed holiday break, we'll spend the next two weekends revisiting some of our most popular features of the year. This post was originally published November 8, 2011.] Back in 2007, after spying a colleague with DNA-inspired ink at a party, Discover Magazine’s Carl Zimmer asked his blog readers whether any of the scientists among them were sporting similar tattoo odes to their work. Perhaps surprisingly, the response was overwhelming. “Without intending it, I became a curator of tattoos, a scholar of science ink,” he explains. “Tattoo enthusiast magazines called to interview me. All in all, it was a strange experience; I have no tattoos of my own and no intention of getting any. But the open question I posed brought a river of pleasures.” A collection of the photos that Zimmer received as a result of his query — which range from a tattoo of Darwin’s finches to a pair of colorful odes to Halley’s Comet — were published earlier this month in a new book called Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed. Click through to check out a slide show featuring some of our favorite science-inspired ink. … Read More

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