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
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
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
[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
Amidst all of the will they/won’t they Radiohead drama currently clogging up our Twitter feeds, we also came across this really amazing clip of YouTube user sloanchurman, a 29-year-old woman who was born deaf and recently received a hearing implant. As she explains in the comments area, “[I] have worn hearing aids from the age of 2, but hearing aids only help so much. I have gotten by this long in life by reading lips. This was taken as they were activating the implant.” Suffice it to say that if witnessing this amazing moment doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, we don’t know what will. … Read More
UC Berkeley researchers, whose work was published in a study in the journal Current Biology on Thursday, have created a computer program that may allow us to view the images in another person’s brain. Using an MRI machine to record the brain signals of three subjects as they watched videos on YouTube, the team then took the recorded signals and ran them through their computer program’s database of 18-million-seconds of random YouTube clips, not including the ones the subjects had actually been watching. Their program was able to reconstruct muddy composites of the movies that the subject had been viewing from the random information they were given, to a bizarrely accurate extent, capturing movement, shape, color, even text.
“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery,” said Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study. “We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.” It’s true — moving images have never been captured in this way before, and this technology seems to be the first step towards getting a glimpse into the mind of a person in a coma, or being about to record and watch your own dreams — or at least a visual approximation of them. Click through to see a side-by-side video of the original footage watched by the subject and the composite the Berkeley researchers’ computer created and prepare to be amazed. … Read More
So here’s an intriguing story that’s been working its way through the blogosphere: a pair of UC Berkley researchers have determined that the final scene of Franco Zeffirelli’s The Champ, in which Jon Voight’s washed-up boxer dies in front of his son (played by nine-year-old Ricky Schroeder), is the saddest movie scene of all time — that is, it has been scientifically proven to be the film clip most likely to make people cry. Don’t argue, it’s science.
The details of the research are compelling, and its conclusions were certainly not arrived at hastily. And yet… there’s just something about this story that rubs your author the wrong way. The “cry-ability” of a movie doesn’t seem all that measurable — like laughter or fear, crying at a movie seems such a singularly personal and subjective experience that it hardly seems quantifiable. Which begs the question: what makes you cry at the movies? … Read More
Next time you go to the beach, better pack the vinegar, because that age old wives tale about how to cure jellyfish stings has been debunked. It turns out that the science behind the classic Friends episode that taught so many beachgoers what to do in the event of a jellyfish attack (because “there’s… Read More
From Galileo’s bushy beard to Newton’s flowing curls, there have been more epic hairstyles in science than you might think. Nowhere is that fact clearer than in Melbourne graphic designer Simon Bent‘s Science vs. Delirium, a series of portraits that renders history’s greatest scientists in the kinds of psychedelic colors and patterns you might have seen ’60s acid-rock posters. Intending to restore these figures as pop-culture icons, Bent has certainly succeeded in making his subjects look cooler than ever. Click through for a tripped-out gallery of your favorite scientists. … Read More
How do mermaids give birth? What’s inside a weredog? Well, let’s see… Fascinated with dissection drawings of Leonardo da Vinci and regional Brazilian folklore, artist Walmor Corrêa — whose work we spotted on How to Be a Retronaut via Metkere– has created a series of fantasy creature studies. His annotated anatomical diagrams could hang in a natural history museum if nocturnal goat-munchers and backwards-footed fairies were real. The artist has also built skeletons with bird beaks and mammal tails and classified hundreds of fictional animal mutants, but this series is our favorite. Peek into our gallery and see. … Read More