Posts

January 22, 2015

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2:44 PM | From the Contracting Earth to early Supercontinents
“What are they?Creations of mind?- The mind can make Substance,and people planets of its own With beings brighter than have been, and give A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.”“The Dream“, Lord Byron (1788-1824)Already when the first maps of America were published (1507 and after), geographers and naturalists alike noted the similar shape of the west-coast of Africa and the east-coast of South America.In 1620 the English philosopher Francis […]
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2:33 PM | King Tut's Beard Broken Off, Wrongly Glued Back on
After being broken off during cleaning, inappropriate epoxy glue is now holding together the long, narrow beard on the famous mask of King Tut.
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9:41 AM | In which I recommend some bedtime reading
Some time back the Pop Science Guy invited me to write a ‘10 Great History of Science Books’ list for his blog, to which I readily agreed. However being a professional procrastinator when it comes to writing anything I put … Continue reading →
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2:38 AM | Null-field radiationless sources: even more invisible than invisible?
I spend a lot of time talking about invisibility on this blog, as it is a subject near and dear to me: I did my PhD work, completed in 2001, on early historical forms of invisibility.  I like to tell … Continue reading →

January 21, 2015

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7:30 PM | Burned Vesuvius Scrolls Read for First Time
Using a powerful X-ray procedure, Italian researchers have been able to read scrolls buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
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7:30 PM | Peering Inside an Ancient Papyrus: Photos
A new tech that takes advantage of subtle differences in the way X-rays pass through different substances helps researchers discern writing within an ancient scroll.
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4:45 PM | Mummy Mask May Reveal Oldest Known Gospel
A text that may be the oldest copy of a gospel known to exist is set to be published.
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4:18 PM | Distillations Podcast: Trash Talk: The Persistence of Waste
In case you hadn’t noticed, during our short time on Earth we humans have created a lot of stuff. Some of it is life-altering, like the device you’re looking at right now, and some of it is pretty silly, like those plastic, banana-shaped containers made for holding bananas. Regardless of their value, these objects all have one thing in common: one day they will become trash. For all the time we spend creating these wonders, we don’t devote much energy to thinking about what […]
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4:18 PM | Distillations Podcast: Trash Talk: The Persistence of Waste
In case you hadn’t noticed, during our short time on Earth we humans have created a lot of stuff. Some of it is life-altering, like the device you’re looking at right now, and some of it is pretty silly, like those plastic, banana-shaped containers made for holding bananas. Regardless of their value, these objects all have one thing in common: one day they will become trash. For all the time we spend creating these wonders, we don’t devote much energy to thinking about what […]
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2:00 PM | Explainer: Terrorist Watch Lists
Terrorist watch lists in the United States and elsewhere continue to grow, as the times become increasingly violent. How many people are on such lists, and is surveillance against them working as it should? Julian Huguet explains.
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2:00 PM | 15th-Century Irish Town Found Near Medieval Castle
The mysterious settlement's remains include a stone structure with a doorway at its corner.
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12:49 PM | Vintage-ish Dinosaur Art: Travels with Dinosaurs
After a long break from the series, I'm back with my first Vintage Dinosaur Art post in almost two years. Inspired by the cartoony style of Marc's post on Dinosaurs! A Spot-the-Difference Puzzle Book, I scanned a recent acquisition of my own, Travels with Dinosaurs. The book itself has scant information about the publication, but searching the web leads me to a publication date of 1997, making this not-quite-vintage, but it certainly is in spirit, so off we go. The book was written by […]

January 20, 2015

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10:59 PM | Speculation Rages About Dead in Greek Mystery Tomb
At least five corpses lay buried in the Alexander the Great-era tomb in Greece, deepening the mystery around the massive burial. Continue reading →
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9:12 PM | Vin Mariani: alcohol y coca para Su Santidad
Por suerte, esta bebida se prohibió en 1914¿Qué pasaría si os dijera que hubo una vez un papa que le pegaba al alcohol y la coca? Pensaríais que estoy loco o que manejo información privilegiada de los archivos del Vaticano. Pero no es así. La anécdota es real, tiene una explicación histórica y es bastante conocida en el mundillo de la toxicología, pero no por ello deja de ser sorprendente e interesante. Y creo que es […]
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2:10 PM | The specialist in causing pain.
I suppose I ought to rebrand Galileo Galilei as ‘The Gift that keeps on Giving”! The comment is of course directed at all the idiots who think they need to present their image of Galileo to the world, rather than … Continue reading →

January 19, 2015

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9:44 PM | Greek Tomb Held at Least Five Corpses
It wasn't just a single skeleton that lay buried in the mysterious, lavishly decorated tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece. Continue reading →
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8:38 PM | Prehistoric Prognostications 2014: The Results
At the end of 2013, we called for predictions for the palaeontological discoveries of 2014, and due to my pathetic love affair with alliteration, we called the post Prehistoric Prognostications. After the LITC crew made their guesses, we compiled those from commenters. Check those posts out for the full field of predictions. This post is all about sharing those that came the closest. Please let me know if you notice any I missed - I tried my best to be complete, but the fact is that in this […]

January 18, 2015

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5:01 PM | Mysterious Shipwreck Found in Lake Michigan
Beneath the cold waves of Lake Michigan rests an aging shipwreck, its wooden planks encrusted with brown-and-gray zebra mussels, that may be the remnants of a 17th-century ship called the Griffin.

January 17, 2015

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12:01 PM | East Africa Tries to Stem Albino Magic Murders
Tanzania is taking legal steps to stem the murder of albinos for their body parts in magic rituals. Continue reading →
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10:18 AM | Physics Week in Review: January 17, 2015
This week on Virtually Speaking Science, I chatted with physicist Ainissa Ramirez, co-author of Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game about her life as a self-described science... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

January 16, 2015

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12:30 PM | "What a confusion for Geologists" - Geologizing with Darwin
The first stop of the voyage of the Beagle (1831-1836) was “Quail Island” (today Island of Santa Maria) – a small island located in the bay of Praia of the larger island of St.Jago (today Santiago, Cape Verde Islands). This visit is especially interesting as it provides some glimpses in Darwin’s geological background at the beginning of his adventure and his later “evolution” as geologist. Darwin collected basic experience as geologist during a field […]

January 15, 2015

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6:30 PM | Physicists debate whether quantum math is as real as atoms
Physicists debate whether quantum states are as real as atoms or are just tools for forecasting phenomena.
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5:24 PM | Physicists debate whether quantum math is as real as atoms
Words like ‘ontic’ and ‘epistemic’ are hurled as weapons in war over meaning of subatomic equations ContextQuantum Physics by Tom Siegfried 1:30pm, January 15, 2015 Physicist-philosopher Ernst Mach denied that atoms were more than a hypothetical tool, but later work confirmed their existence — as did IBM's 2013 stop-motion movie "A Boy and His […]
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3:09 PM | The "CSI" of Paintings
Many paintings contain secrets hidden to the naked eye. Only after careful analysis can specialists uncover the mysteries hidden underneath the top layers of paint. One long forgotten painting attributed to the 17th-century artist Pietro da Cortona has many strange features only recently revealed. I am now exploring the painting’s mysteries with a team at Villanova University as part of a two-year restoration project. As an art conservator, I had questions at the start of the […]
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3:09 PM | The "CSI" of Paintings
Many paintings contain secrets hidden to the naked eye. Only after careful analysis can specialists uncover the mysteries hidden underneath the top layers of paint. One long forgotten painting attributed to the 17th-century artist Pietro da Cortona has many strange features only recently revealed. I am now exploring the painting’s mysteries with a team at Villanova University as part of a two-year restoration project. As an art conservator, I had questions at the start of the […]
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2:30 PM | 16th-Century 'Lenox Globe' Gets Digital Makeover
A masterpiece of workmanship, the Lenox Globe measures 4.4 inches across and the hollow copper sphere is engraved in almost microscopic detail.
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1:45 PM | "Mad about Geology" - Geologizing with Darwin
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."Chinese proverbJanuary 16, 1832 the H.M.S.Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, arrived to the barren "Quail Island" (today Island of Santa Maria, Cape Verde Islands). It was the first time that Darwin geologized alone in a foreign country, however he was well prepared...In 1831 Charles R. Darwin went on a life changing field trip – not to mention the voyage on board of the Beagle later in that year. The botanist John Stevens […]

January 14, 2015

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9:40 PM | 1882 Winchester Rifle Found Leaning on Tree in Park
The 132-year-old gun, considered an everyman's rifle in the 1800s, was found leaning against a tree. Continue reading →
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9:00 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! A Spot-the-Difference Puzzle Book
There have been a great many 'dinosaur puzzle books' aimed at children over the years, the vast majority of which have been the sort of throwaway fare you'd find in a kiddies' goody bag alongside some cheap 'n' nasty plastic toys, largely devoid of any educational content. Dinosaurs! A Spot-the-Difference Puzzle Book (1995, no relation to anything involving David Norman) is a different matter entirely. Not only is it quite lavishly illustrated, the differences between each pair of pictures are […]
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5:20 PM | skunkbear: A cow head will not erupt from your body if you get...
skunkbear: A cow head will not erupt from your body if you get a smallpox vaccine. But fear of inoculation was so wide-spread that British satirist James Gillray published this cartoon in 1802. The captions reads “The Cow Pock, or the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation- the Publication of the Anti Vaccine Society.” More about the history of smallpox and its eradication here. For more about the history of medicine, check out this magazine article by Robert Hicks about […]
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