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Mad science has never been so cute!
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 Post subject: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:41 pm 
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I have missed this feature of the old newsgroup, and having today run across a story on an internet-connected toaster that can toast the morning news into your breakfast, I figured it was time to start the thread over here, since no one else was doing it.

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/09/11/wacky_toaster/

Happy Lascaux Day! This is the anniversary of the discovery of the amazing cave paintings of Lascaux, by four kids and a dog. Nothing mad about that, but Lascaux is so cool, it might as well be mad!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:24 am 
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From the metamaterials that brought you the invisibility cloak, hidden portals!

http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080919/ ... .1113.html

Unfortunately, so far they can only hide them from microwaves, but you've got to start somewhere. It can be pretty dicey, escaping those roaming bands of ravenous sandwich warmers.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:01 am 
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(Edit) Sorry - somehow misposted in wrong thread :oops:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:42 am 
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I see no one cares about real mad science but me. (sniff) :(

But I shall not be deterred. You playactors and dabblers may ignore and shun the works of true genius, but in the end, the world of SCIENCE! shall be mine!

Meanwhile, a plant that blogs, a robot expo, supergrowing knotweed (suitable for rampaging), and monkeys who wait tables:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-p ... 681966.stm

X-rays generated by Scotch tape:
http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081022/ ... .1185.html

Scientists erase specific memories in mice:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20081022/hl ... riesinmice
(See also the astounding powers of disco, in the links at the bottom - stay alive with Stayin' Alive!)

Harnessing the power of the electric eel for human use
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27308292/

Glow-in-the-dark cat clone! Why? Because we can!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp ... 4#27329174

And - a new state of matter! Yeah, you thought we had as many we needed, but you were wrong wrong wrong! Bweee-hee-hee!
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 185213.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:36 pm 
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Jaw drops.

Glee! I'm delighted to see mad science is alive and well, and not merely the purview of fiction. Thanks for the links!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:50 am 
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Narbonic fans raided!

Okay, it doesn't say anything about Narbonic fans in the text, but they were holding a Mad Science Halloween party when they were called on by the antiterrorism squad. You know they've read Narbonic!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1083265/Students-Weird-science-Halloween-party-arrested-anti-terror-laws.html

Quote:
Students in 'Weird Science' Halloween party arrested under anti-terror laws
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:02 PM on 05th November 2008
A group of students had their 'Mad Scientist' party brought to an abrupt end when police mistook them for terrorists.
The private party, held in Hackney, north London, was organised by a group of friends dressed in white laboratory coats and wigs, who put on a display of theatrical 'experiments' to entertain guests.
But when police entered the building for a routine check in the early hours of Sunday morning, they discovered scientific debris and plastic skeletons and mistook it for terrorist paraphernalia or drug-making equipment.

Caretaker of the property, Richard Watson, 29, was arrested under The Anti-Terrorism Act and questioned while the entire area was evacuated and roads cordoned off with police tape.
He said: 'I was handcuffed and put in the back of the police van for over an hour while the bomb squad and drugs team came down.
'There was a ridiculous amount of police there. Every time I looked out of the van I could see a new group of them swarming around.'
Three fire engines and three ambulances were also called to the scene as Mr Watson was searched and interrogated.

He said: 'They told me they were arresting me on suspicion of making explosives. I laughed at first but then I realised they were being serious.
'I appreciate that the police are under a lot of pressure and they have to be very cautious about terrorist issues but this was all just food colouring, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.'
Police later released Mr Watson without charge.

Timmy Sampson, 27, was one of the 'mad scientists' conducting the experiments.
'Myself and a few friends decided on a bad science theme for the party. We were all wearing crazy wigs and lab coats', he said.

'I brought down my childhood chemistry set and a few teddy bears for us to dissect in front of our friends. It was hilarious, we were making things fizz and pop and throwing talcum powder around. It was like a performance art piece.
'The police saw all the mess and assumed that we were making bombs which I thought was a bit presumptuous considering it had just been Halloween.'
The group of party-goers, calling themselves The Bearded Kitten/Sugar House Gang have cult notoriety in London for their subversive gatherings and live events.
One of the organisers, Barney Sutton, 26, said: 'We just like playing silly games and creating a ludicrous atmosphere at parties and events. We've never been mistaken for terrorists before.'
Shanara Begum, 26, a spokesperson for Hackney Police said: 'A raid was conducted on the property and some paraphernalia was found. The London fire brigade and expo teams were also called to the scene.
'The expo teams deal with bomb threats and explosives but the scene was later declared non-suspicious and the case was handed over to Tower Hamlets our neighbouring borough.'


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:26 am 
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......ouch.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Now this is what I call SCIENCE!!!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/scien ... ref=slogin

Scientists are talking for the first time about the old idea of resurrecting extinct species as if this long time staple of science fiction were a realistic possibility, saying that a living mammoth could perhaps be regenerated for as little as $10 million.

The same technology could be applied to any other extinct species from which one can obtain hair, horn, hooves, fur or feathers, and which went extinct within the last 60,000 years. Though the stuffed animals in natural history museums are not likely to burst into life again, these old collections are full of items that may contain ancient DNA which can be decoded by the new generation of DNA sequencing machines.

If the genome of an extinct species can be reconstructed, biologists can work out the exact DNA differences with the genome of its nearest living relative. There are now discussions of how to modify the DNA in an elephant’s egg so that generation by generation it would progressively resemble the DNA in a mammoth egg. The final stage egg could then be brought to term in an elephant mother, and mammoths might once again roam the Siberian steppes. The same would be technically possible with Neanderthals, whose full genome is expected to be recovered shortly, but ethically more challenging.

A scientific team headed by Stephan C. Schuster and Webb Miller at Pennsylvania State University report in today’s issue of Nature that they have recovered a large fraction of the mammoth genome from clumps of mammoth hair. Mammoths were driven to extinction toward the end of the last ice age, some 10,000 years ago, after the first modern humans learned how to survive and hunt in the steppes of Siberia.

Dr. Schuster and Dr. Miller said there was no technical obstacle to decoding the full mammoth genome, which they believe could be achieved for a further $2 million. They have already been able to calculate that the mammoth’s genes differ at around 400,000 sites on its genome from that of the African elephant.

There is no present way to synthesize a genome-sized chunk of mammoth DNA, let alone to develop it into a whole animal. But Dr. Schuster said a short-cut would be to modify the genome of an elephant’s cell at the 400,000 or more sites necessary to make it resemble a mammoth’s genome. The cell could be converted into an embryo and brought to term by an elephant, a project he estimated would cost some $10 million.

Such a project would have been judged entirely impossible a few years ago and is far from reality even now. Still, several technical barriers have fallen in surprising ways. One is that ancient DNA is always shredded into tiny pieces, seemingly impossible to analyze. But a new generation of DNA decoding machines uses tiny pieces as their starting point. Dr. Schuster’s laboratory has two, known as 454 machines, each of which costs $500,000.

Another problem has been that ancient DNA in bone, the usual source, is heavily contaminated with bacterial DNA. Dr. Schuster has found that hair is a much purer source of the host’s DNA, with the keratin serving to seal it in and largely exclude bacteria.

A third issue is that the DNA of living cells can be modified, but only very laboriously and usually at one site at a time. Dr. Schuster said he had been in discussion with George Church, a well known genome technologist at the Harvard Medical School, about a new method Dr. Church has invented for modifying some 50,000 genomic sites at a time.

The method has not yet been published and until other scientists can assess it they are likely to view genome engineering on such a scale as being implausible. Rudolph Jaenisch, a biologist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the proposal to resurrect a mammoth was “a wishful thinking experiment with no realistic chance for success.”

Dr. Church, however, said there had recently been enormous technical improvements in decoding genomes and that he expected similar improvements in genome engineering. In his new method, some 50,000 corrective DNA sequences are injected into a cell at one time. The cell would then be tested and subjected to further rounds of DNA modification until judged close enough to that of the ancient species.

In the case of resurrecting the mammoth, Dr. Church said, the process would begin by taking a skin cell from an elephant and converting it to the embryonic state with a method developed last year by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka for reprogramming cells.

Asked if the mammoth project might indeed happen, Dr. Church said that “there is some enthusiasm for it,” although making zoos better did not outrank fixing the energy crisis on his priority list.

Dr. Schuster believes that museums could prove goldmines of ancient DNA because any animal remains containing keratin, from hooves to feathers, could hold enough DNA for the full genome to be recovered by the new sequencing machines.

The full genome of the Neanderthals, an ancient human species probably driven to extinction by the first modern humans that entered Europe some 45,000 years ago, is expected to be recovered shortly. If the mammoth can be resurrected, the same would be technically possible for Neanderthals.
But the process of genetically engineering a human genome into the Neanderthal version would probably raise many objections, as would several other aspects of such a project. “Catholic teaching opposes all human cloning, and all production of human beings in the laboratory, so I do not see how any of this could be ethically acceptable in humans,” said Richard Doerflinger, an official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dr. Church said there might be an alternative approach that would “alarm a minimal number of people.” The workaround would be to modify not a human genome but that of the chimpanzee, which is some 98 percent similar to that of people. The chimp’s genome would be progressively modified until close enough to that of Neanderthals, and the embryo brought to term in a chimpanzee.
“The big issue would be whether enough people felt that a chimp-Neanderthal hybrid would be acceptable, and that would be broadly discussed before anyone started to work on it,” Dr. Church said.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:41 pm 
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All right! I've been waiting for a damn mammoth since I was a kid!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:00 am 
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And now we can get Neanderthal mammoth-trainers, too! I'm telling you, it opens up whole new worlds!

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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:33 pm 
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Great thread! I read about the x-rays from scotch tape from Fark, but not the others.

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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:10 pm 
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I think the time the CDC resurrected the killer flu that caused the 1918 pandemic so that they could infect some animals with it should top the list in terms of both madness and science...
...great idea, guys...
(when it comes out, c.f. Annu Rev Microbiol. Vol. 63. Resurrected Pandemic Influenza Viruses by Tumpey TM, Belser JA)


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 12:25 am 
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Ah, how I love the mad science posts.


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:42 am 
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Though some might quibble that the money would be better spent on school libraries, health care, or the development of alternative fuels, I'm sure everyone here will be glad to know that DARPA got refunded, though not perhaps at the levels the military-industrial complex has come to expect.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05 ... athy-push/

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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 10:45 am 
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Peni Griffin wrote:
Though some might quibble that the money would be better spent on school libraries, health care, or the development of alternative fuels, I'm sure everyone here will be glad to know that DARPA got refunded, though not perhaps at the levels the military-industrial complex has come to expect.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05 ... athy-push/

If I were the President, I would double DARPA's funding in a heartbeat. So many times science fiction has become science fact through their determination. After all, look at what's become of one of their craziest projects ever...the internet.

I've got another far-out tale to add. Robert S. Bobrow at SUNY-Stony Brook published a review (Robert S. Bobrow, Paranormal phenomena in the medical literature sufficient smoke to warrant a search for fire, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 60, Issue 6, June 2003) that suggests scientists fund more studies into the paranormal. Specifically, he writes that lycanthropy "could be more common than realized," since one case study reports a 26 yo male was able to hide his condition from coworkers.


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:07 pm 
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A new great tale of mad science!

In one study, researchers were able to make adenovirus more infectious by adding a solution of 1% tears in water.


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:47 am 
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I just got invited to a seminar at the Veterinary Hospital. Researchers inserted rectal thermometers into cows at different angles, and determined that the angle changes the temperature measured by less than .1 degrees.


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:47 am 
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That sounds less "mad" than "disaffected."


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Not new, but definitely evil mad science - The Pain Ray.

It even looks like mad science....

Image

The Auld Grump


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 3:50 pm 
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Great picture...I hope to see more mad science posts!!


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:12 am 
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From a graduate textbook on designing scientific studies:

The presence of an attractive technician may cause subjects' blood pressure to rise. It is advised to use automatic cuffs to avoid bias.


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 Post subject: Re: Mad science is still among us
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:24 pm 
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http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-st ... pon,20892/

Okay, so this one isn't real...but still mad :)


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