Posts

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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1:11 AM | H.G. Wells’ stories about BUGS
Update: Added one more Wells bug story! This short post is something of a public service.  Earlier today I saw some tweets from film critic Scott Weinberg referencing an urban legend related to the very silly 1977 Bert I. Gordon film Empire … Continue reading →

July 15, 2014

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9:06 PM | The TetZooCon was on
So, TetZooCon 2014 happened, and you won't hear a bad word said of it among those of us who attended. The event was a spin-off of the incredi-popular Tetrapod Zoology blog, authored by fish-hating mega-brain Darren Naish, and also the similarly named podcast, hosted by Darren and partner in tapir in-joke crime, John Conway. I'm sure neither will need an introduction around these parts; suffice it to say, the event reflected the incredibly diverse range of topics discussed on the blog and […]
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3:55 PM | Medieval Italian Skeleton Reveals Livestock Disease
A sip of unpasteurized sheep or goat's milk may have spelled doom for a medieval Italian man.
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3:33 PM | Comets and Heliocentricity: A Rough Guide
In the standard mythologised history of astronomy of the Early Modern Period comets are only mentioned once. We get told, in classical hagiographical manner, how Tycho Brahe observed the great comet of 1577 and thus smashed the crystalline spheres of … Continue reading →
Editor's Pick
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2:06 PM | The DNews Explainer: Does the Government Legally Recognize Religions?
Tara takes a look at what our government's founding documents say about religion, and what Congress can or can't do with respect to it. Translation: Time to delve into the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.

July 14, 2014

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4:57 PM | Interview: Paleoartist Maija Karala
"Forest Green." A dandy paravian, © Maija Karala and used with her permission.I'm always excited to see new work pop up in Maija Karala's DeviantArt gallery. A Finnish biologist and writer, her enthusiasm for biology also finds voice through her illustrations, which range from fleshed out scenes to charming sketches. I can't remember exactly when I began following Maija's illustrations, but I do remember being particularly struck by her Tarpan fending off a lion. "Don't Mess With Tarpans." […]
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4:03 PM | [DataViz] The digital humanities network on Twitter (#DH2014)
It is now common in the field of digital humanities: the public of the lectures is at least as much present on Twitter than physically in the room. From July 7 to 12, the annual international conference of Digital Humanities DH2014 was held on the campus of Lausanne, at the invitation of LADHUL (UNIL) and DHLAB (EPFL) and brought together more than 750 researchers from all around the world. During this same period, 16,000 tweets […] The post [DataViz] The digital […]
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1:00 PM | Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave
Digging through a cave in central Britain, archaeologists uncovered 26 ancient gold and silver coins belonging to the Corieltauvi tribe.

July 12, 2014

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1:30 PM | Cursed, 450-Year-Old Shipwreck To Be Explored
The cold, dark waters of the Baltic Sea have preserved the Mars, a Swedish war ship that sank in 1564.
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9:29 AM | Physics Week in Review: July 12, 2014
This week, the marvelous documentary about the discovery of the Higgs boson, Particle Fever, became available on iTunes. It’s well worth a download. And Higgs fever continues apace, at least... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

July 11, 2014

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7:50 PM | Exploration Begins on 'Cursed' 1564 Shipwreck
The ship sank during a bloody battle against a fleet from Denmark and the German city of Lübeck.
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1:30 PM | Korean Mummy's Hernia Diagnosed 300 Years Later
This diagnosis is 300 years too late.
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1:10 PM | Were Ancient Child Skulls Gifts to the Lake Gods?
Children's skulls found at the edges of Bronze Age settlements may have been a gruesome gift for the local lake gods.
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3:49 AM | Physics demonstrations: Geiger counter
In recent months, I’ve been diving wholeheartedly into learning how to build and design electronics.  My ultimate goal is to build a Tesla coil, but before I do, I’ve been warming up with a variety of kits and designs online. … Continue reading →

July 10, 2014

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5:17 PM | 200-Year-Old Bottle of Seltzer Found in Shipwreck
Still corked, the perfectly preserved stoneware bottle was produced in the early 1800s by Selters, one of the oldest mineral waters in Europe. Continue reading →
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2:44 PM | The history of “scientist”
Today is a red-letter day for readers of The Renaissance Mathematicus; I have succeeded in cajoling, seducing, bullying, bribing, inducing, tempting, luring, sweet-talking, coaxing, coercing, enticing, beguiling[1] Harvard University’s very own Dr Melinda Baldwin into writing a guest post on … Continue reading →
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1:21 PM | The DNews Explainer: What Powers Does a President Have?
The Supreme Court ruled that President Obama's recess appointments to fill openings in the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional. Was he abusing his power? What powers belong to the executive branch of our government?
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12:20 PM | Earliest Case of Down Syndrome Found in Medieval Cemetery
The earliest case of Down syndrome comes from a 5- to 7-year-old child who lived in medieval France some 1,500 years ago.

July 09, 2014

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8:46 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Mysterious World of Dinosaurs
Contrary to the beliefs of some - who seem to think that I collect these books by holding a net out of the window and reciting an arcane incantation until obsolete illustrations start falling from the clouds - I do actually physically own the vast majority of the books I review in Vintage Dinosaur Art. As time goes on, finding fresh old books and not paying through the nose becomes increasingly difficult. Praise be, then, to the Amnesty International book shop in Brighton, which is where I […]
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12:00 PM | Brazil’s World Cup Exit: Worse Than 1950 Trauma?
Brazil’s humiliating exit from the World Cup is as close as it gets to a national trauma.

July 08, 2014

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10:14 PM | The End of Beer
It’s last call for our beer theme. And this 1908 postcard from our collections seems a good nightcap. If you’re still thirsty, we have some top-shelf options for you: Our recent beer podcast Our recent beer webcast Old beer podcast on beer and brewing with another visit to Dogfish Head Brewery What the heck, how about a final image from our collection - a brewing book with a long title, published in 1692. (Top image from the Donald F. Othmer Papers, CHF Archives, […]
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7:24 PM | Quantum math makes human irrationality more sensible
Vagaries of human decision making make sense if quantum math describes the way the brain works.
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7:14 PM | Quantum math makes human irrationality more sensible
ContextQuantum Physics,Psychology by Tom Siegfried 3:24pm, July 8, 2014 Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, suspected that it could provide insights into human psychology. Now a new field called quantum cognition is exploring how quantum math can explain some seemingly irrational human behavior.Wikimedia CommonsPeople often say that quantum physics is weird because it […]
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