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Stanford University

  1. How Well Does Your Computer Know You? Machines May Understand Us Better Than Our Friends or Family

    Time to embrace our robot overlords.

    According to Wu Youyou, lead author on a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "the human-computer interactions depicted in science fiction films such as Her seem to be within our reach." Yay?

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  2. Stanford Researcher Explains the Science of Captain America and the Hulk’s Powers [VIDEO]

    "Get in, losers. We're going to do science."

    Stanford biologist Sebastian Alvarado is here to take the wind out of your sails, pedants. Superheroes will probably never be 100% scientifically accurate, but Alvarado's rationalizations for the real science that could be at work behind the Hulk and Captain America would make the Science Bros. proud. Watch him explain Captain America above and then hit the jump for the Hulk.

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  3. Stanford Researchers Wrote a Report on Silicon Valley’s “Mean Jerk Time” Joke

    I don't even know how peer reviewing this would work.

    The crowning glory of Silicon Valley's season finale was the scene in which the show's many, many men calculated how long it would take to pleasure 800 penises to completion. Now a bunch of Stanford researchers with brain cells to throw around have written a 12 page paper to determine if the "Mean Jerk Time" holds up. Use this information wisely.

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  4. New Study Explores the Nature of Altruism Using Random Acts of Pizza

    Protip: be poor and sad.

    Want a pizza but don't feel like doing that thing where you pay for it? You can always ask the Internet to send you one. If you're on the right part of Reddit, they actually might, which has some Stanford University researchers curious about why.

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  5. “Father of Inflation” Surprised With News of Gravitational Waves [Video]

    Well, this is absolutely beautiful.

    Yesterday Stanford announced that the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation and gravitational waves may have been found. Chao-Lin Kuo, designer of the BICEP-2 detector that made the breakthrough, went to personally surprise Father of Inflation Andre Linde with the news that his life's work had just been validated. Beware: tearjerker territory.

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  6. Scientists Accidentally Discover How to Stop or Start Pain Using Light

    And no, seeing a Pink Floyd show at the Planetarium won't have the same effect.

    Because you're reading this right now and not staring into my shining eyes, you won't understand how excited I am for a major development in optogenetics, the manipulation of nerves using light. Let me be clear: I'm stoked to the max. Researchers have discovered that light can be used to create or end pain, and that's exciting and terrifying news.

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  7. 18-Year-Old Uses Google Glass to Combat Autism, Rest of World Feels Inadequate

    Am I the only one whose sick of these brilliant, good-hearted kids making us twenty-somethings look bad?

    Since the first announcement of Google Glass, it's been a goldmine for comedians (and wannabe-comedians) everywhere. But while many of us were busy mocking this latest tech, one teenager conceived of a way to use it to help those suffering from autism -- by creating a program to recognize expressions and emotion.

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  8. Stanford Researchers Analyze World’s Greatest Picture to Discover Recipe for Reddit Success

    What makes a successful post on Reddit? A lot of things, but laser-eye Abraham Lincoln certainly doesn't hurt.

    After tireless analysis of reams of data, researchers at Stanford University think they've uncovered the formula for success on Reddit. With this weapon in their hands, we can fully expect Stanford scientists and students to conquer Reddit in short order, with the "funny" board becoming 100% devoted to jokes about UC-Berkeley science programs by 2014.

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  9. High-Speed Cameras Create Beautiful Slow-Motion Bird Videos for Science

    Birds: How do they work?

    We know birds can fly, because they do, but we don't know much about how they fly. It probably has something to do with their wings. Part of the problem with studying birds is that they move much faster than we do. That's why students at Stanford University have been using high-speed video cameras to capture slow motion video of birds in flight. The resulting video is really quite beautiful.

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  10. Arguing Could Lead to Better Science Education

    Sometimes it seems that no matter how well an idea is accepted by the scientific community, there's someone out there not willing to believe it. That's why Jonathan Osborne, professor of education at Stanford University, says we should be teaching students how to argue based on evidence, not just cram facts into their head. The challenge, Osborne says, isn't in getting students to argue -- it's getting teachers on board with teaching "argumentation." Why not just argue with them until they agree?

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  11. Here’s What the World Looks Like If You’re a Humboldt Squid

    Stanford researchers have managed for the first time to get an idea of what life looks like from the point of view of the Humboldt squid. You can get a glimpse of things from a squid's perspective in video below as Stanford professor William Gilly explains what National Geographic's Critter Cam helped researchers learn about the animal by following it in it's own habitat.

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  12. Peel-and-Stick Solar Panels Now Reality, Solar-Powered Unicorn Stickers Likely Not Far Off

    One of the most limiting elements of solar power technology so far has been that panels require a rigid surface to support them, making their placement an effort and cost-intensive chore. A new process discovered at Stanford University though, may allow thin and flexible solar panels to be applied to virtually any surface in the near future. The new panels work like decals that can be applied with an adhesive to almost any surface, meaning that middle school children of the future may be able to power their mobile devices with the Lisa Frank stickers on their notebook. Truly, we live in an age of wonders.

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  13. Not Your Imagination: Humanity Getting Progressively Dumber and Crazier

    When the news of the day consists of things like Elmo's underage sex scandal, it's easy to think sometimes that the world and everyone in it is just getting more awful by the minute. According to a recent paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics, it appears that may be exactly the case. In even more depressing news, it seems to be because being intelligent and empathetic are no longer traits that are evolutionarily selected for. Man, we could have told you that.

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  14. Vampires Had It Right: Blood Transfusions From Young Subjects Improve Brain Performance

    In what has to be a strong contender for creepiest news of the week, researchers at Stanford University have found that a transfusion of blood from young mice makes the brains of older mice sharper and more effective. The research is not only ghoulish, but totally galling, meaning that not only vampires but also dictator Kim Jong Il  -- who was long rumored to receive blood transfusions from young virgins, because hey, what's even the point of being a tyrannical dictator if you're not going to be a little batshit loony about it sometimes --may have had a point about the life restoring qualities of other people's blood.

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  15. South Korean Court Upholds 10 Month Jail Sentences For Being A Dick On The Internet

    If anyone was wondering how seriously South Koreans take their rappers educational backgrounds, the answer is: very. A judge in South Korea has upheld the jail sentences of eight people for attempting to defame rapper Tablo on the internet by claiming he did not, as he claimed, have Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Stanford University.

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  16. Cooling Glove Works “Better Than Steroids;” Barry Bonds Totally Pissed Off

    Stanford University resarchers may have stumbled on the next wave of performance enhancers for athletes -- a way to cool the core temperature of the whole body with a glove that pulls heat out through the hands. The glove, which has been in trials for years and is getting ready for a commercial debut, uses veins in the hand designed for heat transfer to rapidly cool athletes following workouts, decreasing the time they need to recover and allowing them to get the most our of every moment.

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  17. Ants Are Basically the Internet but More Harmful to Picnics

    On their own, ants are pretty stupid, but when they are all working together, they can be unnervingly clever, capable of building elaborate nests, making bridges and rafts from their own bodies, and even creating their own primitive aphid ranches. As it turns out, even the Internet itself is taking some unexpected lessons from the world of hymenoptera. When biologists and computer scientists from Stanford University put their heads together to try and learn more about how ant colonies make the decision to send out foragers for food, they found that the decision-making process is remarkably similar to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) -- the method by which websites determine how much bandwidth they can spare for a file transfer.

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  18. This Computer Screen Will Lean In, Turn, and Laugh For You If You’re On a Video Call

    Video calling, although seemingly infinitely better than voice calling, has its disadvantages. Sure, you can see the person, but they still aren't there. In a way, it sort of raises more uncanny valley issues than traditional voice-only calling does and can make people seem artifically distant, stern, uninterested, and cold. Instead of throwing in the towel and going back to conference calls, researchers David Sirkin and Wendy Ju at Stanford University tried to make video calling a little more personal by giving the screen the ability to move with you, making you seem that much closer.

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  19. New Breakthrough Could Mean Batteries That Last 30 Years

    With the advent of sealed battery devices -- like your iPhone or iPod -- there's been mounting concern not only for how long a battery will last on a single charge, but how many charges you can expect to get from a device. Deciding at what point to begin recharging a battery is now a thing to be fretted over, as batteries have a limited number of charge cycles in their functional lifetime. Now, new research could do away with such fears and pave the way for rechargeable batteries that last decades.

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  20. E. Coli May Prove to Be Excellent at Creating Biodiesel

    E. coli, popular intestinal bacteria often associated with fecal contamination, may have some hidden talents up its sleeves according to recent discoveries by Chaitan Khosla, a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at Stanford. It seems that while some strains of E. coli can cause food poisioning, the strains that are naturally present in the human intestine -- yes, it lives in there -- could prove to be particularly good at creating fatty acids that are similar in make-up to gasoline directly from sugars and plant matter. That's way more important than it sounds at first.

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