Sep 2, 2009 | 42
Landing humans on Mars is a completely achievable feat with current technology—if you are okay with the idea of a one-way ticket, points out physicist and Scientific American columnist Lawrence Krauss in an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times .
Jul 29, 2009 | 7
Psychologists are up in arms about the posting of the 10 original Rorschach tests on Wikipedia. As detailed in today's New York Times, many of them fear that the easy availability of the inkblots could undermine their usefulness in assessing personality and mental illness.
But Rorschach tests themselves are not particularly effective in the first place, argue Scott O. Lilienfeld, James M. Wood and Howard N. Garb in the April 2005 issue of Scientific American Mind, "What's Wrong with This Picture?" See what impressions you get from that article.
Image of a Rorschach inkblot image from Wikipedia.
Oct 18, 2007
For most research scientists, winning the Nobel Prize stands as the pinnacle of success, the ultimate goal that takes intelligence, dedication, luck and ambition (and don't be fat, Watson would say, because fat folks are not ambitious). Once the King of Sweden drapes that medal around your neck, life is good--people want to hear you speak, offer you presitigious positions, and are more inclined to give you what you want.
To their credit, some scientists take the opportunity to tackle very "out there" research. Soon after he won his 1995 Nobel in physics, Martin Perl launched a project to find "free quarks." Conventional thinking says there can be no such things--quarks must remain bound in the particles in which they build--but some scientists speculate that some free quarks might have been left over during the big bang. Perl recognized the long-shot odds of finding free quarks, but it was a project he could do because of his Nobel. A graduate student would be committing career suicide.
Jul 20, 2007
Last month, I caught a preview screening of Sunshine, Danny Boyle's sci-fi psycho thriller flick that opens today. It stomps along a trail laid down by 2001: A Space Odyssey and subsequently trodden by much lesser films: ship goes on an important mission; things go wrong; complex processing machine (carbon- or silicon-based) becomes unhinged; people start dying; lots of teeth-gnashing among moviegoers who want to yell to the actors, "why are you so stupid?" Sunshine's special effects, though, are quite amazing--it really feels hot in that cinematic sunlight.
After watching the film, I couldn't help but wonder about the premise. The sun's about to die--but not the way conventional astronomy dictates, in which the sun consumes its supply of hydrogen in its core, swells out as a red giant (and boils away the earth's atmosphere), blows off its outer layer and turns into a white dwarf.
Deadline: Jul 14 2013
Reward: $1,000,000 USD
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and&
Deadline: Jul 25 2013
This challenge provides an opportunity for Solvers to build a web-based or mobile “app” to explore data relationships in scholarly conte
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