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The press still thinks [global warming] is controversial. So they find the 1% of the scientists and put them up as if they’re 50% of the research results. You in the public would have no idea that this is basically a done deal and that we’re on to other problems, because the journalists are trying to give it a 50/50 story. It’s not a 50/50 story. It’s not. Period.
Neil deGrasse Tysonpodcast interview (via we-are-star-stuff)

(Source: fourteendrawings, via we-are-star-stuff)

46,638 notes

usuallycrazy:

Twitch Plays Pokemon is the wildest thing I have ever watched and I frankly can’t stop.
If you’ve been living under a rock (or you’re just not up on Pokemon news, that could be a thing, in which case, your life must be so very sad), there’s a Twitch chat room with far too many people in it undergoing what the creator refers to as a “social experiment.” Each person in the chat submits a command they want the player to do and, with a 20-30 second delay, the Pokemon Trainer does the command.
It’s made it the most frustrating game of Pokemon ever played but also the best. Because they’ve been playing for five days straight, have four badges, and have somehow maneuvered two cave mazes.
Due to the delay and trolls, we have often found our poor trainer opening his menu, checking his bag, and looking to the Helix Fossil he acquired in Mount Moon. 
Which of course, does nothing.
But in the middle of a Pokemon battle, better open my bag and check on the Helix Fossil.
About to cut down a tree. Better open my bag and check on the Helix Fossil.
I’m trying to enter this cave. Gosh, I need to make sure I haven’t dropped my Helix Fossil.
The people in the chat room have come to the conclusion that the Helix Fossil is an artifact of the Pokemon Trainer’s religion and that his ultimate goal is to resurrect Omanyte from the fossil.
Oh yes, they’ve brought religion into the game.
Even to the point where, when players in the chat were discussing that they needed a Pokemon to learn Surf, some had said “Let’s just wait until we get a Lapras later in the game. That just gets handed to us and will be much easier to do and we won’t run the risk of needing to deposit anybody in the PC and accidentally releasing anybody.” (We’ve already accidentally released our starter, so our current strongest Pokemon is a Pidgeot we call Based Pidgeot or Bird Jesus) 
Others said “Let’s pick up the Eevee from Celadon Town! We’ll go to the Department Store, buy a Water Stone, and get a Vaporeon! It will be much better.”
We wasted all of our money on 8 Poke Dolls and an accidentally purchased Fire Stone.
Flareon has been called a heretic in this game.
Flareon is literally Satan to these players.
You weren’t there for the Celadon Department Store, okay. We got lost in there for one whole day and I watched it happen. It was awful. The work we put into getting this dumbass Flareon was awful.
So, we had to deposit Flareon in the PC because he was utterly useless. Which was when we accidentally released our Charmeleon.
The players determined this was simply what the Helix Fossil wanted and we had to trust in our Bird Jesus and never follow false gods again. Just let Lapras happen. Trust in the Helix Fossil.
Now, the players had been stuck in Rocket Hideout on those damn moving arrows for exactly two days. So the creator instated a chatroom based vote where you could decide on anarchy—the way we had been playing the whole time with individual players participating in a free-for-all—or democracy.
If 75% of the players had agreed on one form of governing, that was the system we were currently using in chat.
Democracy involves each player submitting a command and the game tallying to see which action is voted for most and popular vote wins.
This game has user-inserted religion and now creator inserted government.
The players spend so much time arguing over which form of government to use that we often get nowhere.
This is the weirdest virtual reality based Japanese RPG I have ever seen.
I have no idea what kind of social experiment the person who created this chat room is trying to do—they wish to remain anonymous—but this is positively delicious mayhem and I may never see this many people excited about a game made in 1996 again.

usuallycrazy:

Twitch Plays Pokemon is the wildest thing I have ever watched and I frankly can’t stop.

If you’ve been living under a rock (or you’re just not up on Pokemon news, that could be a thing, in which case, your life must be so very sad), there’s a Twitch chat room with far too many people in it undergoing what the creator refers to as a “social experiment.” Each person in the chat submits a command they want the player to do and, with a 20-30 second delay, the Pokemon Trainer does the command.

It’s made it the most frustrating game of Pokemon ever played but also the best. Because they’ve been playing for five days straight, have four badges, and have somehow maneuvered two cave mazes.

Due to the delay and trolls, we have often found our poor trainer opening his menu, checking his bag, and looking to the Helix Fossil he acquired in Mount Moon. 

Which of course, does nothing.

But in the middle of a Pokemon battle, better open my bag and check on the Helix Fossil.

About to cut down a tree. Better open my bag and check on the Helix Fossil.

I’m trying to enter this cave. Gosh, I need to make sure I haven’t dropped my Helix Fossil.

The people in the chat room have come to the conclusion that the Helix Fossil is an artifact of the Pokemon Trainer’s religion and that his ultimate goal is to resurrect Omanyte from the fossil.

Oh yes, they’ve brought religion into the game.

Even to the point where, when players in the chat were discussing that they needed a Pokemon to learn Surf, some had said “Let’s just wait until we get a Lapras later in the game. That just gets handed to us and will be much easier to do and we won’t run the risk of needing to deposit anybody in the PC and accidentally releasing anybody.” (We’ve already accidentally released our starter, so our current strongest Pokemon is a Pidgeot we call Based Pidgeot or Bird Jesus) 

Others said “Let’s pick up the Eevee from Celadon Town! We’ll go to the Department Store, buy a Water Stone, and get a Vaporeon! It will be much better.”

We wasted all of our money on 8 Poke Dolls and an accidentally purchased Fire Stone.

Flareon has been called a heretic in this game.

Flareon is literally Satan to these players.

You weren’t there for the Celadon Department Store, okay. We got lost in there for one whole day and I watched it happen. It was awful. The work we put into getting this dumbass Flareon was awful.

So, we had to deposit Flareon in the PC because he was utterly useless. Which was when we accidentally released our Charmeleon.

The players determined this was simply what the Helix Fossil wanted and we had to trust in our Bird Jesus and never follow false gods again. Just let Lapras happen. Trust in the Helix Fossil.

Now, the players had been stuck in Rocket Hideout on those damn moving arrows for exactly two days. So the creator instated a chatroom based vote where you could decide on anarchy—the way we had been playing the whole time with individual players participating in a free-for-all—or democracy.

If 75% of the players had agreed on one form of governing, that was the system we were currently using in chat.

Democracy involves each player submitting a command and the game tallying to see which action is voted for most and popular vote wins.

This game has user-inserted religion and now creator inserted government.

The players spend so much time arguing over which form of government to use that we often get nowhere.

This is the weirdest virtual reality based Japanese RPG I have ever seen.

I have no idea what kind of social experiment the person who created this chat room is trying to do—they wish to remain anonymous—but this is positively delicious mayhem and I may never see this many people excited about a game made in 1996 again.

(Source: acutelychildish, via cupboardfull)

486 notes

wildcat2030:

University of Vienna app uses your phone for research while you sleep
Our mobile phones generally lie dormant while we’re asleep, which means that millions of powerful processors are going unused for hours at a time. Samsung Austria and the University of Vienna’s Faculty of Life Sciences have teamed up to try and tap the potential of all that unused processing power. Power Sleep is a new Android app that allows mobile phone users to donate the processing power of their devices to scientific research while they are asleep. The Power Sleep app provides users with a simple alarm clock function. When the alarm is set and the user’s phone is plugged in, fully charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network, the app begins to process data sent from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP) database. The research is focused on deciphering protein sequences in order to help with medical advancements in disciplines such as genetics and heredity, biochemistry, molecular biology and cancer research. “In order to fight diseases like cancer and Alzheimers, we need to know how proteins are arranged,” says Thomas Rattei, professor of bioinformatics at the University of Vienna. “This requires trials that need a tremendous amount of processing power. Power Sleep is a bridge between science and society. It promotes not only our research, but allows people in Austria to become part of the project and, at the same time, to do good in their sleep.” (via University of Vienna app uses your phone for research while you sleep)

wildcat2030:

University of Vienna app uses your phone for research while you sleep

Our mobile phones generally lie dormant while we’re asleep, which means that millions of powerful processors are going unused for hours at a time. Samsung Austria and the University of Vienna’s Faculty of Life Sciences have teamed up to try and tap the potential of all that unused processing power. Power Sleep is a new Android app that allows mobile phone users to donate the processing power of their devices to scientific research while they are asleep. The Power Sleep app provides users with a simple alarm clock function. When the alarm is set and the user’s phone is plugged in, fully charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network, the app begins to process data sent from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP) database. The research is focused on deciphering protein sequences in order to help with medical advancements in disciplines such as genetics and heredity, biochemistry, molecular biology and cancer research. “In order to fight diseases like cancer and Alzheimers, we need to know how proteins are arranged,” says Thomas Rattei, professor of bioinformatics at the University of Vienna. “This requires trials that need a tremendous amount of processing power. Power Sleep is a bridge between science and society. It promotes not only our research, but allows people in Austria to become part of the project and, at the same time, to do good in their sleep.” (via University of Vienna app uses your phone for research while you sleep)

(via we-are-star-stuff)

768 notes

we-are-star-stuff:

Why You Can’t Draw Things Even If You Know What They Look Like
Why can’t you just draw the things you’ve seen? Because no matter how carefully you’ve observed things during your life, you haven’t been observing them the right way. Here’s an experiment that shows how looking at the world isn’t enough to allow you to recreate it.
The Challenge
Most of the people reading this have read a few comics during their lives. Even the most casual observer knows a few animated characters. Think of a simple one, and one that you’ve seen your whole life. Think of Mickey Mouse’s head, or Homer Simpson’s face. Now pick up a pencil and a sheet of scratch paper and try to draw it. Really try, just for two minutes. Do it from memory.
I’m guessing it didn’t go so well. This isn’t just a matter of technical inability. Although no novice would be able to recreate a professional animator’s work, the lines involved aren’t complicated. Put a drawing of one of those characters in front of the average person, and although their work would be shaky, it would resemble the original well enough. The problem is, when drawing from memory, memory fails us. We can’t think of how the lines fit together.
It’s also not a tedious example of the famous Holmesian quote, “You see, but you do not observe”. Most of us have never counted the number of steps that lead up to our front door, and we wouldn’t notice if the number were altered. But put a bad knock-off of a certain cartoon character in front of us, and we know that they look “off” the instant we set eyes on them. People do “observe” these characters. Although we can’t draw them, we do accurately remember what they look like. It’s not a trick. We both do and don’t remember some of the most famous icons in our lives, depending on how we are trying to remember them.
The Experiment
One experiment brings this into focus. Subjects sat in a chair while they were given a series of guided tours along three paths in a virtual city. The subject experienced each path differently. They used a joystick to move along one path, guided by a researcher who gave them directions. To explore another path, they just sat back and watched as they moved through the city. The last tour involved no motion; the subjects were only shown a series of snapshots that took them from one location to another. Although it was possible to understand how one would move in virtual space to get from one snapshot area to the next, the participants didn’t actually move.
At the end of the experiment, the participants were tested. The first test was pretty simple: point to the way “back” from the end of the path to the beginning. Then there was a test of recognition — did people recognize the scenes they’d just walked through? Finally, the participants were asked to draw the route of the path. No matter how they moved through the path, the participants did equally well at pointing their way back and recognizing where they’d been. When it came to sketching the path, the snapshot path was hopelessly inaccurate compared to the other two sketched paths.
Although the participants knew every step of the way, and although they knew the rough direction they’d gone, they weren’t able to recreate the path in their head. When they had been drawing the other paths, they were doing it by recreating the actual motion of the trip in their head. They weren’t able to do the same with the snapshot path, so when they were asked to trace the path, their mind went blank. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t remember the path they’d been on. The problem was that they didn’t have the specific memory they needed in order to do the task.
Paperless Drawing
This is why we can’t recreate drawings even if we can remember them. When we rely on memory to complete a task we need a memory that pertains to that specific task. Passively remembering how something looks, and actively remembering how to reconstruct it are two separate processes.
What’s more interesting about the experiment is the fact that we don’t necessarily need to practice the “drawing” part of drawing in order to learn to draw. The participants in the experiment didn’t need to actively make their way through a scene to remember what the path looked like. This could mean that we don’t need to actually put pen to paper and practice the physical motion in order to improve our drawing skills. All we need to do is imagine how we would recreate the characters while we look at them.
This might be the basis for a cool, if time-consuming, experiment. There are plenty of people attending art classes. It would be interesting if one such class were split into two groups; one group that actually practiced art, and one group that had a teacher who led them through virtual exercises on how to “see” like an artist, without ever putting pencil to paper. Obviously, the physical process of sketching is a skill like anything else, and the people who were physically drawing would have an advantage. It would be cool to see how the virtual students stacked up against the practical ones. This experiment proves that we need to learn to draw with our mind, as well as our fingers, but could we learn to draw with our mind alone?
[source]

we-are-star-stuff:

Why You Can’t Draw Things Even If You Know What They Look Like

Why can’t you just draw the things you’ve seen? Because no matter how carefully you’ve observed things during your life, you haven’t been observing them the right way. Here’s an experiment that shows how looking at the world isn’t enough to allow you to recreate it.

The Challenge

Most of the people reading this have read a few comics during their lives. Even the most casual observer knows a few animated characters. Think of a simple one, and one that you’ve seen your whole life. Think of Mickey Mouse’s head, or Homer Simpson’s face. Now pick up a pencil and a sheet of scratch paper and try to draw it. Really try, just for two minutes. Do it from memory.

I’m guessing it didn’t go so well. This isn’t just a matter of technical inability. Although no novice would be able to recreate a professional animator’s work, the lines involved aren’t complicated. Put a drawing of one of those characters in front of the average person, and although their work would be shaky, it would resemble the original well enough. The problem is, when drawing from memory, memory fails us. We can’t think of how the lines fit together.

It’s also not a tedious example of the famous Holmesian quote, “You see, but you do not observe”. Most of us have never counted the number of steps that lead up to our front door, and we wouldn’t notice if the number were altered. But put a bad knock-off of a certain cartoon character in front of us, and we know that they look “off” the instant we set eyes on them. People do “observe” these characters. Although we can’t draw them, we do accurately remember what they look like. It’s not a trick. We both do and don’t remember some of the most famous icons in our lives, depending on how we are trying to remember them.

The Experiment

One experiment brings this into focus. Subjects sat in a chair while they were given a series of guided tours along three paths in a virtual city. The subject experienced each path differently. They used a joystick to move along one path, guided by a researcher who gave them directions. To explore another path, they just sat back and watched as they moved through the city. The last tour involved no motion; the subjects were only shown a series of snapshots that took them from one location to another. Although it was possible to understand how one would move in virtual space to get from one snapshot area to the next, the participants didn’t actually move.

At the end of the experiment, the participants were tested. The first test was pretty simple: point to the way “back” from the end of the path to the beginning. Then there was a test of recognition — did people recognize the scenes they’d just walked through? Finally, the participants were asked to draw the route of the path. No matter how they moved through the path, the participants did equally well at pointing their way back and recognizing where they’d been. When it came to sketching the path, the snapshot path was hopelessly inaccurate compared to the other two sketched paths.

Although the participants knew every step of the way, and although they knew the rough direction they’d gone, they weren’t able to recreate the path in their head. When they had been drawing the other paths, they were doing it by recreating the actual motion of the trip in their head. They weren’t able to do the same with the snapshot path, so when they were asked to trace the path, their mind went blank. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t remember the path they’d been on. The problem was that they didn’t have the specific memory they needed in order to do the task.

Paperless Drawing

This is why we can’t recreate drawings even if we can remember them. When we rely on memory to complete a task we need a memory that pertains to that specific task. Passively remembering how something looks, and actively remembering how to reconstruct it are two separate processes.

What’s more interesting about the experiment is the fact that we don’t necessarily need to practice the “drawing” part of drawing in order to learn to draw. The participants in the experiment didn’t need to actively make their way through a scene to remember what the path looked like. This could mean that we don’t need to actually put pen to paper and practice the physical motion in order to improve our drawing skills. All we need to do is imagine how we would recreate the characters while we look at them.

This might be the basis for a cool, if time-consuming, experiment. There are plenty of people attending art classes. It would be interesting if one such class were split into two groups; one group that actually practiced art, and one group that had a teacher who led them through virtual exercises on how to “see” like an artist, without ever putting pencil to paper. Obviously, the physical process of sketching is a skill like anything else, and the people who were physically drawing would have an advantage. It would be cool to see how the virtual students stacked up against the practical ones. This experiment proves that we need to learn to draw with our mind, as well as our fingers, but could we learn to draw with our mind alone?

[source]

126,372 notes

moonfall-requiem:

If you’ve ever wondered when Jupiter will next be aligned with Mars, Van Cleef & Arpels has a watch that will tell you. Its new Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication watch has six rotating disks, each bearing a tiny sphere representing one of the six planets visible with the naked eye.

The disks rotate at different speeds so that each sphere makes one revolution around the dial in the time it takes the actual planet it represents – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn – to orbit the sun.  Mercury in 88 days, Venus in 224, Earth in a year, Mars in 687 days, Jupiter in 12 years and Saturn in 29. It’s a very complex watch and a true display of supreme watchmaking. Time is indicated by a shooting-star symbol rotating around the dial’s circumference. Leveraging the brand’s specialty in jewelry, each of the planets are represented by precious and semi-precious stones, ranging from red jasper to serpentine and turquoise. An even more extravagant edition is available with baguette-cut diamonds set into the bezel.

The planet module was designed by Christian van der Klaauw, renowned for his movements featuring astronomical indications. The movement is self-winding and contains 396 components.  The case is 44 mm in diameter and made of rose gold. The dial is made of aventurine and the planets of semiprecious stones.  Price: about $245,000; a diamond-set version will be about $330,000.

[1] [2] [3] [video]

(via we-are-star-stuff)