Posts

July 26, 2014

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11:40 AM | Tonga May Have Been a Vast Seafaring Empire
The seafaring empire of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean once spanned more than a thousand miles, serving as the hub through which distant settlements exchanged artifacts and ideas, researchers say.

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9:17 AM | Physics Week in Review: July 26, 2014
Meet the 2014 recipient of the AIP Gemant Award, my own Time Lord, Sean Carroll. “Science isn’t a separate kind of human endeavor, utterly different from other things that we do,” said Carroll.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:13 AM | Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods
Let me say this immediately: Emily Carroll’s work is amazing.  Her work first came to my attention, as it did for many people, through an io9 post describing some of the best horror webcomics available.  The post included a link … Continue reading →

July 25, 2014

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8:00 PM | Logarithms celebrate their 400th birthday
Four centuries ago, John Napier provided human calculators the time-saving gift of logarithms.
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5:17 PM | Logarithms celebrate their 400th birthday
Four centuries ago, John Napier provided human calculators a faster way to multiply ContextHistory of Science by Tom Siegfried 4:00pm, July 25, 2014 Before modern-day calculators, slide rules were used to perform calculations. John Napier’s development of logarithms, published 400 years ago, provided the principle that made slide rules possible.xddorox/Flickr (CC BY […]
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4:46 PM | Interview: Ross Campbell
We here at LITC were pleasantly surprised by Ross Campbell's art in the recent Turtles in Time #1, which depicted all of its prehistoric creatures with various feathery coverings (including, presciently enough, the ornithischians.) When it turned out that Ross Campbell is active on Deviantart, well, that was too tempting an opportunity to resist. I reached out with a few questions, and he was kind of enough to reply.So how did you end up on the Turtles in Time creative team? Did you have […]
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4:02 PM | Mystery Men
Three faceless men crouch in front of a device. The first grasps a small pot, preparing to add it to a pile of finished pottery. An enormous factory looms over him. The others look on, envious of the factory that makes pots so easily. Except they are not even facing the factory, and … I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about. All I know is that this picture is somehow connected to the Atoms for Peace program. The rest is a mystery. Part of the Atoms for Peace mission was to […]
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1:43 PM | Explainer: 3 Lesser Known, Active Terrorist Groups
We've all heard about the atrocities committed by groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, but other terror groups are in operation that may not be so well known to the general public.
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1:00 PM | Carving Defaced by King Tut's Possible Father Found
The carving dates back more than 3,300 years and bears the scars of a religious revolution that upended the ancient civilization.

July 24, 2014

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12:40 PM | What Do People of a Region Need in Order to Secede?
Secession seems to be in the air, in places as disparate as Iraq, Ukraine, and Scotland. Why can't people just secede whenever they want?

July 23, 2014

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6:15 PM | Bat-Pterodactyls
Italian Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727-1806), at the time chairman of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the principality of Pfalz (Germany), was the first naturalist to speculate about pterodactyls in 1784. Fig.1. Pterodactylus antiquus (Upper Jurassic, Eichstätt, Bavaria), specimen studied by Cosimo Collini in 1784 and copper engraving of the fossil to illustrate his scientific study [...]
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6:15 PM | Bat-Pterodactyls
Italian Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727-1806), at the time chairman of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the principality of Pfalz (Germany), was the first naturalist to speculate about pterodactyls in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:34 PM | 400-Year-Old Crucifix Found by Canadian Student
A tiny crucifix found during the excavation of a 17th century colony on Newfoundland symbolizes early religious freedom in North America. Continue reading →

July 22, 2014

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9:31 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Mysterious World of Dinosaurs - Part 2
In the first part of our examination of The Mysterious World of Dinosaurs, we came upon chubby, oily-looking tyrannosaurs, alarmingly carnivorous-looking stegosaurs, and Godzilla. However - and as the title implies - this book goes beyond the eponymous archosaur clade, taking a look at various other Mesozoic monstrosities. Bring on the zombie-pterosaurs!Now let's be fair - depicting pterosaurs in dessicated, mummy-like fashion was commonplace at the time this book was produced. Contemporary […]
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6:05 PM | The Summer Issue of Chemical Heritage Magazine is Here
Chemical Heritage magazine has escaped from captivity yet again. This time it has crime in mind. If you have an appetite for detective stories or obscure poisons you’ll find much to chew on.  If you’re worried about the increasingly rude conversations around scientific “controversies,” well, keep worrying. (There aren’t any simple answers.) If you want more to worry about, check out the history of Atoms for Peace or find out why depression diagnoses keep […]

July 21, 2014

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5:20 PM | Who Are the Kurds?
Spread across several countries in the Middle East, the Kurdish people tend to be left out of the news, which is dominated by the violence surrounding them. Tara looks at their history, and their prospects today for independence.
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11:00 AM | Switching On Hearing
It’s an iconic and powerful photo. The face of a young child, born deaf, hearing sounds for the first time. Jack Bradley, photojournalist from the Peoria Journal Star, captured the exact moment a doctor fitted five year old Harold Whittles … Continue reading →

July 20, 2014

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8:00 AM | Are Voter ID Laws a Good Idea?
We need photo ID for all kinds of things -- flying, driving, buying alcohol, performing banking transactions. Why not for voting?

July 19, 2014

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9:07 AM | Physics Week in Review: July 19, 2014
It’s been a busy week on the physics front, so let’s get the shameless self-promotion out of the way upfront. I chatted with NPR’s Arun Rath on Weekend Edition about my recent New... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:23 AM | GUEST POST: Adjunct Instructors Petition for Change
Note: We’re pleased to feature a guest post by former Cocktail Party Physics co-blogger Ann (Lee) Kottner. Jennifer has graciously given me space to ask for some help from the science writing... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

July 18, 2014

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9:17 PM | You shouldn’t try to pigeonhole quantum physics
A quantum analysis shows a way to violate math’s pigeonhole principle, by allowing three particles in two boxes with no two in the same box.
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8:35 PM | You shouldn’t try to pigeonhole quantum physics
Subatomic particles violate a basic principle underlying the concept of numbers and counting ContextQuantum Physics by Tom Siegfried 5:17pm, July 18, 2014 The pigeonhole principle states that if you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes, at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole. A quantum analysis shows a way to violate the principle, by allowing three particles in […]

July 17, 2014

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6:37 PM | Principia
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July 16, 2014

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5:28 PM | Blue Blood Donors
In the first half of the 20th century, scientists faced a vexing  problem. Too many people were being sickened and killed by bacterial endotoxin—a substance in a bacteria’s outer membrane toxic to animals and resistant to heat—contracted through vaccines and surgery tools. The only way to determine if something was contaminated was to test it on animals, a slow and expensive process. In 1956 a scientist named Fred Bang was studying the blood circulation in horseshoe […]
Editor's Pick
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4:35 PM | Geologist’s Nightmares
Adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews mentions in an article published in 1922 in the “Asia Magazine” and later in his book “On the Trail of Ancient Man” (1926), a strange creature, said to inhabit the Gobi-desert in Mongolia: “Then the Premier asked that, if it were possible, I should capture for the Mongolian government a specimen [...]
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4:35 PM | Geologist’s Nightmares
Adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews mentions in an article published in 1922 in the “Asia Magazine” and later in his book “On the Trail of Ancient Man” (1926), a strange creature,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:45 PM | Why Are Israelis and Palestinians at Odds?
With Israel and the Palestinians on the brink of war, Tara Long examines the age-old conflict between the two. What are they fighting about?
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1:44 PM | DNews: How Did They Build the Pyramids? With Water!
Powerful things can often derive from simple principles, and this one's a doozy. It turns out the Egyptian pyramid builders were able to move the massive stones by greasing the sleds -- with water!
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1:00 PM | Postal/ZIP codes cartography: mapping the administrative organization
Postal codes numbering is an excercise that all states conduct differently. Some go from one end of the country to another. Some previously cut the country into regions. Others start numbering cities and then take into account the less urbanized areas, etc … This post provides a set of maps of postal codes in the world, according to the same principle: the low numbers are colored in red and the high […] The post Postal/ZIP codes cartography: mapping the administrative […]
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12:00 PM | Ancient Priest's Tomb Painting Found Near Great Pyramid
A wall painting, dating back over 4,300 years, has been discovered in a tomb located just east of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
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