On the 12th Day of Christmas, Hubble gave to me... [Starts With A Bang]

At the last dim horizon, we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be oppressed. -Edwin Hubble

Hubble didn't need a thousand words to describe how beautiful and wondrous the Universe is, and the Hubble Space Telescope can -- perhaps -- say even more in just a simple picture.

Well, the Boston Globe, starting today, has a full 25-day advent calendar of Hubble pictures, which it reveals one of per day. Today's? (And click to enlarge.)

a01_00000001.jpg

Planetary nebula NGC 2818. The remnant of this dead star -- once slightly more massive than our own Sun -- should have a white dwarf at the center (maybe you can see it if you look hard). The spectacular shell is made up of the outer layers of the star that were blown off by the tremendous pressures that occurred during the star's collapse.

But if you're anything like me, you're impatient, and don't want to wait 25 days to get all of your pictures in. No problem: check out last year's top 25 Hubble shots, which includes this little-known gem: the open star cluster NGC 6791. Just for perspective, here's the ground-based (pre-Hubble) image.

NGC6791-AnOldLargeOpenCluster.jpg

With Hubble, you get to go in for a closer look...

09_200825.jpg

And if you think it's just stars, don't forget that with Hubble, we can see behind the star cluster as well. There are nearby galaxies here,

close galaxies NGC 6791.jpg

as well as super-distant galaxies! (Anything in the lower image that looks like a smudge, a line, or anything other than a point-like star actually is a galaxy!) Hubble reveals them all.

far galaxies NGC 6791.jpg

And that's why Hubble is the seasonal gift that keeps on giving! So keep up with the advent calendar, and let me know if you want an explanation of any of the images they post!

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select On the 12th Day of Christmas, Hubble gave to me... [Starts With A Bang]

What if you saw something that rocked your world ... and you didn't notice? [Cognitive Daily]

ResearchBlogging.orgIf you're a regular read of Cognitive Daily, you're, relatively accustomed to seeing surprising things. Indeed, it's gotten to the point where you might even expect it. You've seen optical illusions and videos that baffle the imagination. Yet most participants in psychology research studies aren't aware of the many ways the mind can be "tricked." One of the most dramatic tricks, which we've discussed several times, is the phenomenon of Change Blindness. An object can change right before your eyes, and you're likely not to notice. When you're made aware of the change, you find it hard to believe that you could have been so dense -- and you're not alone; nearly everyone falls for it.

In several studies, a student or other unwitting recruit is being interviewed by an actor, who is then substituted for a completely different person, and the recruit is usually unsurprised by the change. But even though we don't overtly notice these major changes, perhaps it still affects us in some unconscious way.

Travis Proulx and Steven Heine had 81 student volunteers fill out a questionnaire about their entertainment preferences. For one group of students, partway through the experiment, when the female experimenter went to retrieve a second questionnaire, she secretly switched with another identically-dressed experimenter, who administered the second portion of the test (here's a video of the swap [2.8 MB]). Another group instead answered questions about their own death, designed to increase their sense of mortality. A final group served as a control, with no experimenter swap or mortality questions.

Finally, all three groups read a scenario about the arrest of a prostitute, and were asked to act as a judge and determine the amount of a punitive bond ranging from $0 to $1000. Did swapping experimenters affect their judgment? Here are the results:

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select What if you saw something that rocked your world ... and you didn't notice? [Cognitive Daily]

Being Scientific: Fasifiability, Verifiability, Empirical Tests, and Reproducibility

If you ask a scientist what makes a good experiment, you’ll get very specific answers about reproducibility and controls and methods of teasing out causal relationships between variables and observables. If human observations are involved, you may get detailed descriptions of blind and double-blind experimental designs. In contrast, if you ask the very [...]

See original: The OpenScience Project Being Scientific: Fasifiability, Verifiability, Empirical Tests, and Reproducibility

Stephen Colbert: what's the sound of one hand tweeting? qwerty

Stephen Colbert
what's the sound of one hand tweeting? qwerty

See original: FriendFeed - search Stephen Colbert: what's the sound of one hand tweeting? qwerty

Ghosts

Scientists and paranormal detectives probe the minds of the haunted and dissect the most compelling evidence of ghosts. Is It Real?: Ghosts : channel.nationalgeographic.com
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Phil Jones to temporarily step down as head of CRU [A Few Things Ill Considered]

Well, I see no one takes my advice on anything!

The Associated Press

LONDON -- Britain's University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.

The university says Phil Jones will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.

The allegations were made after more than a decade of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists were posted to the Web following the security breach last month.

The e-mails were seized upon by some skeptics of man-made climate change as proof that scientists are manipulating the data about its extent.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Phil Jones to temporarily step down as head of CRU [A Few Things Ill Considered]

Climategate and why Monbiot is wrong [A Few Things Ill Considered]

If you do not know what climategate refers to you probably got here via some odd typo in a google search. If you do but have not yet read Real Climate's post on it, you should do so. It is too late to rename the whole affair, but I thing "Swifthack" would have been more apropos.

Climategate is big news and not just in the climate blogosphere, all the major newspapers have opined. Here in cyberland, I have seen a doubling of traffic without really writing a thing about it or having a high traffic site link to me, I am assuming general interest in the story is the reason. Most of what I would have to say on it has been expressed well elsewhere so, not having much time, I will not do a general take on it. In a nutshell, I assume that what the denialists have dug up is the absolute worst of thousands of messages over ten years and so there is just no "there" there. Some words are surely regrettable but c'mon, this was thought to be private conversation. A real conspiracy would have something somewhere along the lines of "I know we are wrong but...", wouldn't it?

The only climategate response I feel like replying to is one from George Monbiot.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Climategate and why Monbiot is wrong [A Few Things Ill Considered]

Block cipher: a recently approved encyclopedic article at Citizendium http://ff.im/chGif

EvoMRI: Block cipher: a recently approved encyclopedic article at Citizendium http://ff.im/chGif

See original: Twitter Block cipher: a recently approved encyclopedic article at Citizendium http://ff.im/chGif

Graham Steel: Why machine-readable data should matter to you

Graham Steel
Why machine-readable data should matter to you - http://blogs.openaccesscentral.com/blogs...
Joe Dunckley, Mr. Gunn, suelibrarian and 5 other people liked this
PQ - "One of the things we do here at PhysMath Central (and our sister companies BioMed and Chemistry Central) which not all publishers do is format our full-text articles in freely-available XML and MathML. From a production point of view it makes sense as we can generate html and pdf versions of the article from the same source, but beyond that there are a plethora of possibilities that anyone could exploit due to their machine-readability. However it seems that machine-readable documents have yet to find an enthusiastic audience beyond a few data-miniing specialists." - Graham Steel
Hadn't seen this post before. Lovez the Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/dmje... from Mike Ellis. Also See Mike's post "Pushing MRD out from under the geek rock" http://electronicmuseum.org.uk/2009... - Graham Steel
Mike and Chris are both folks fighting the good fight (see also http://blog.openwetware.org/science... for where I first came across Mike) - Cameron Neylon
Thanks for that, Cameron. - Graham Steel

See original: FriendFeed - search Graham Steel: Why machine-readable data should matter to you

Smurfs connect with Planar Cell Polarity

See paper by Narimatsu et al. Cell. 2009 Apr 17;137(2):295-307. www.cell.com Planar cell polarity (PCP) regulates polarity across the plane of the tissue and plays key roles in organizing tissue shape and function. One example of such a tissue is the inner ear, shown here as a 3D reconstruction with stereocilia (red) and centered kinocilia (blue). In Smurf ubiquitin ligase mutant mice, the inner ear displays cells with altered planar orientation and disorganized packing. ... cell press ...
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Amateur climatologists exposed (again) [The Island of Doubt]

Anyone who still thinks, fears or harbors even the tiniest suspicion that the stolen CRU emails offer evidence that climatologists are cooking their data must read Tim "Deltoid" Lambert's examination of one of the most widely cited examples of the alleged crimes.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Amateur climatologists exposed (again) [The Island of Doubt]

80% of US Consumers Won't Pay For Online Content http://j.mp/49p0Sv

sandygautam: 80% of US Consumers Won't Pay For Online Content http://j.mp/49p0Sv

See original: Twitter 80% of US Consumers Won't Pay For Online Content http://j.mp/49p0Sv