Posts

February 21, 2015

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3:49 PM | What You Missed in Science: Feb. 16-20
From ruby-red seadragons to one-way trips to Mars, look back and catch up on what you may have missed. Continue reading →
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10:46 AM | Physics Week in Review: February 21, 2015
Winter is in full force in the Northeast, so naturally science has some insights to share for those caught in the snowdrifts. For example: Don’t Jump Out of a Window Into Snow: But If You... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

February 20, 2015

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3:25 PM | Randall Munroe, author of the popular math and science webcomic...
Randall Munroe, author of the popular math and science webcomic xkcd, posted a graph about the European Space Agency’s mission to land a probe on a comet last November. The former NASA roboticist pointed out that the most incredible thing about the Rosetta mission wasn’t its unprecedented proximity to a comet, or the decade it took to get there. It was the harpoons used to anchor the Philae lander to the comet.This incongruity between an ancient whaling weapon and an advanced space […]
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3:25 PM | Randall Munroe, author of the popular math and science webcomic...
Randall Munroe, author of the popular math and science webcomic xkcd, posted a graph about the European Space Agency’s mission to land a probe on a comet last November. The former NASA roboticist pointed out that the most incredible thing about the Rosetta mission wasn’t its unprecedented proximity to a comet, or the decade it took to get there. It was the harpoons used to anchor the Philae lander to the comet.This incongruity between an ancient whaling weapon and an advanced space […]
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2:30 PM | Ancient Shrines Used for Predicting Future Discovered
Three shrines, dating back about 3,300 years, have been discovered within a hilltop fortress at Gegharot, in Armenia.
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5:58 AM | La influencia de la mitología en la ciencia (18ª Parte): Kobold
[Nota inicial: Se puede consultar el resto de entregas de la serie sobre la influencia de la mitología en la ciencia desde este enlace]World of Warcraft | FuenteEn la mitología germana, un kobold (o cobold) era una especie de criatura muy parecida a los duendes que todos tenemos en mente y que eran conocidos porque se colaban en las casas cuando sus dueños no estaban y se dedicaban a realizar las labores domésticas. Menudo chollo, ¿no?Partían […]

February 19, 2015

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1:09 PM | Bailey Willis - The Man who made Mountains
U.S.G.S. engineer Bailey Willis († February 19, 1949) was known for his unorthodox approach to geological questions. Puzzled by the geological structures he discovered in mountain ranges, long before computer-models were available, he constructed a machine to simulate the mountain-forming process.In a box with a moveable piston he folded and crushed layers of beeswax and compared the structures with the large tectonic folds and thrusts he had mapped in the Appalachian Mountains. […]
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12:50 PM | Explainer: Swiss Banking Under Scrutiny
The old line about "Swiss bank accounts" being discreet places for people to hide their money has persisted for many years. But is it still true?

February 18, 2015

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11:01 PM | February 18 is National Battery Day. In honor of this day we’re...
February 18 is National Battery Day. In honor of this day we’re offering an excerpt from a magazine piece about an ancestor of the modern battery, the Leyden jar.At its simplest the Leyden jar is a glass bottle that is partly filled with water with a wire running into it (later jars had metal foil wrapped around the inside and outside of the glass and no water). Musschenbroek [the inventor] recorded what happened when he first touched the wire after charging the jar: “Suddenly I […]
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11:01 PM | February 18 is National Battery Day. In honor of this day we’re...
February 18 is National Battery Day. In honor of this day we’re offering an excerpt from a magazine piece about an ancestor of the modern battery, the Leyden jar.At its simplest the Leyden jar is a glass bottle that is partly filled with water with a wire running into it (later jars had metal foil wrapped around the inside and outside of the glass and no water). Musschenbroek [the inventor] recorded what happened when he first touched the wire after charging the jar: “Suddenly I […]
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8:13 PM | Largest Trove of Gold Coins Found off Israel
The largest cache of gold coins ever found in Israel was discovered by chance by divers at Caesarea National Park. The treasure includes at least 2,000 gold coins from the Fatimid period, approximately 1,000 years ago. Continue reading →
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7:23 PM | 'Medicina sin engaños' de J.M. Mulet [Reseña]
¿Sabes como llaman a la medicina alternativa cuando se prueba que funciona? El británico Tim Minchin se hacía esta pregunta en su archiconocido Storm, una divertida canción/poema de este excéntrico genio del humor que compartí por aquí hace ya la friolera de casi tres años. Tendrás que ver el monólogo para saber la respuesta a la pregunta. O leer el último libro de Mulet. Te recomiendo las dos cosas, pero […]
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4:45 PM | Explainer: How Powerful is Nigeria?
Nigeria is expected to surpass the population of the United States sometime before the year 2050, which would put it third in the world behind India and China. Experts expect to see major economic growth during this time. So, how powerful is Nigeria?
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4:03 AM | Dr. SkySkull and the mystery of the subluminal superluminal light!
References in a scientific paper are supposed to answer questions, not raise them, but sometimes they inadvertently create a minor mystery for the reader.  A few weeks back, I blogged about the curious phenomenon of subluminal vacuum beams of light, … Continue reading →

February 17, 2015

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1:20 AM | Mardi Gras at the Leprosarium
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Tomorrow is the final and momentous hurrah of the Carnival season, which culminates with Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday. In New Orleans, the city I call home, Carnival is a season of festivities, decadence, and tradition, one that is celebrated amongst neighbours and visitors alike. Our revelry is an egalitarian one - everyone is welcome to come witness and participate in Carnival. But, for over a century, just a couple of hours […]

February 16, 2015

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4:09 PM | Tweeting the life of the mind
Academic colleagues of mine who are only slightly or not at all involved with social media often ask me why I do it, while those of us who are involved often seem to find ourselves defending or proselytizing (see special essay series…). Yet one of the most important reasons for me is that it gets […]
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11:07 AM | A Biologist´s Dream: The Lost Continent of Lemuria and Human Evolution
“Yet if hope has flown awayIn a night, or in a day,In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone?All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.”“A Dream Within A Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)In the 19th century naturalists realized that similar species are found on different continents or remote islands. For short distances this was explainable by (voluntary or involuntarily) migration […]

February 15, 2015

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12:51 PM | Eppur non si muove - Galileo Galilei and the impossible biomechanics of giants
Until the 17th century the discovery of skeletons of giants was a quite common event. In January 1546 and then in the years 1564, 1580 and 1613 bones were unearthed near the castle of Chaumont (France). The bones were identified as the bones of the giant Teutobochus, king of the barbarians, and exhibited in many French cities. Jesuit Jacques Tissot describes the discovery as follows:“The real story of the life and the bones of the giant Teutobochus, king of the Teutons, Cimbrians and […]

February 14, 2015

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1:00 PM | What You Missed in Science: Feb. 9-13
Here's a selection of DNews content from the past week that you may not have seen, but should.
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12:12 PM | Love Can Move Mountains
January 11, 1996 a single seismograph of the Geological Survey of Canada buried in a quiet wooded area on central Vancouver Island started to record an unusual strong seismic signal – slowly, but perpetually increasing in amplitude over time it was recorded only at this station – nearby station (located within a radius of 20km) didn´t show any movements – this was no ordinary 6.8 magnitude earthquake as could occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.Fig.1. Seismogram […]
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10:43 AM | Physics Week in Review (Valentine’s Edition): February 14, 2015
Today is Valentine’s Day. In love? Or just the opposite? Express how you feel with physics-inspired Valentines—and anti-Valentines for those who perhaps aren’t huge fans of the holiday.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:14 AM | 25 años de 'Pale blue dot'
Hoy se cumplen 25 años desde que la sonda Voyager 1 tomó esta imagen a 6.000 millones de kilómetros de la Tierra.Creo que es un buen momento, siempre lo es, para tomar perspectiva y recordar las inspiradoras palabras de Carl Sagan ante tan distante imagen de nuestro planeta, con un vídeo extraído de la reciente Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey. Que lo disfrutéis ;-)

February 13, 2015

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11:19 PM | What Does It Take to Change a Mind? A Phase Transition
This week’s Virtually Speaking Science episode featured yours truly in conversation with Laurie Paul, a philosopher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Editor's Pick
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10:46 PM | Rube Goldberg’s approach to technology was designed to be...
Rube Goldberg’s approach to technology was designed to be amusing. But behind all the ridiculous impracticality was a truth about much of early -20th-century technology: you could see and interact with the workings of it. Twenty-first-century technology is mostly black boxed, its workings invisible and unknowable by most.Our upcoming podcast on technology and obsolescence (due out on iTunes and our website February 18) inspired me to read Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage: Automation […]
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10:46 PM | Rube Goldberg’s approach to technology was designed to be...
Rube Goldberg’s approach to technology was designed to be amusing. But behind all the ridiculous impracticality was a truth about much of early -20th-century technology: you could see and interact with the workings of it. Twenty-first-century technology is mostly black boxed, its workings invisible and unknowable by most.Our upcoming podcast on technology and obsolescence (due out on iTunes and our website February 18) inspired me to read Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage: Automation […]
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9:29 PM | Top 10 messages to send to E.T.
Fears that sending signals to alien civilizations would provoke an invasion shouldn't prevent transmitting important messages.
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8:43 PM | Top 10 messages to send to E.T.
Fear of alien invasion shouldn’t prevent pursuit of ‘active SETI’ ContextAstronomy by Tom Siegfried 4:29pm, February 13, 2015 In 1974, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico beamed a message toward the star cluster M13, 21,000 light-years from Earth, in hopes that an intelligent civilization might receive it. Scientists with the SETI project, which has […]
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8:22 PM | Skeletons in 6,000-Year-Old Embrace Found in Cave
The prehistoric remains were positioned curled into the fetal position, as if spooning each other.
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3:28 PM | Explainer: Jordan's Fight Against ISIS
Jordan's King Abdullah II has promised a relentless and punishing campaign against ISIS militants attempting to destabilize his country and the Middle East. Can Jordan win the fight against ISIS?
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1:25 PM | Explainer: Venezuela in Crisis
In the throes of economic chaos, Venezuela seems in dire straits. What has brought the country to its current state?
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