Posts

July 10, 2014

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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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4:32 PM | EQLs Vs. UFOs
“Swamp gas?” Mulder, F.W. in the “X-Files ” (1993) Summer is traditionally Silly Season, when newspapers publish strange stories about aliens and monsters again and again to bridge holiday time – and so will July on “History of Geology” be dedicated to frivolous science stories… Earthquake Lights – or short EQLs – seem to be [...]
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4:32 PM | EQLs Vs. UFOs
“Swamp gas?” Mulder, F.W. in the “X-Files ” (1993) Summer is traditionally Silly Season, when newspapers publish strange stories about aliens and monsters again and again to bridge... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:55 PM | Long-Lost Iron Age Temple Unearthed in Iraq
The discoveries date back over 2,500 years to the Iron Age, a time period when several groups vied for supremacy over what is now northern Iraq.

July 07, 2014

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9:00 PM | Mysterious Earthen Rings Predate Amazon Rainforest
Square, straight and ringlike ditches scattered throughout the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon were there before the rainforest existed, study finds.
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1:57 PM | Intoxication & Civilization: The Podcast
This episode of Distillations of takes on the frothy subject of beer, and explores the science, culture, and history behind the suds. "Intoxication and Civilization: Beer’s Ancient Past" features beer and wine archaeologist Patrick E. McGovern and chemist, professor, and home brewer Roger Barth. Our guests discuss the science behind beer, how modern craft breweries can help us understand ancient beers, and how technology has allowed us to drink like an ancient king. They also discuss the […]

July 06, 2014

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4:17 PM | Virtual Recreation of Newton’s ‘Experimentum Crucis’ Two Prism Experiment
Well, a virtual recreation with a bit of license. This started as a test to see if the physically based render program Luxrender  can make a believable simulation of white light passing through a prism.  Unbiased render engines like Luxrender send out very many virtual photons and calculate their paths according to physical laws, andRead More...

July 05, 2014

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3:24 PM | Published on…
Today I have been mildly irritated by numerous tweets announcing the 5th July 1687, as the day on which Isaac Newton’s Principia was published, why? Partially because the claim is not strictly true and partially because it evokes a false … Continue reading →
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9:51 AM | Physics Week in Review (Independence Day Edition): July 5, 2014
It’s Fourth of July weekend in the US, so our American readers are hopefully enjoying the long weekend away from the Internet. For everyone else, Jen-Luc Piquant has her usual round of nifty... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

July 04, 2014

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1:30 PM | Amelia Earhart's Disappearance: The Answer in Photos?
A piece of aluminum sheeting found on the island where Earhart is thought to have died might match pictures of a window patch on her plane.

July 03, 2014

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6:30 PM | Marmot Day And Other Surprisingly Real Holidays
Don't feel bad if you're not observing Waffle Iron Day. But do check out our list of unusual holidays that have a traceable origin.
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5:57 PM | Of Beer and Genes
I have a low tolerance for alcohol, which became embarrassingly public on our recent beer webcast. My co-host, Bob, and I were drinking with beer archaeologist Pat McGovern and chemist and home brewer Roger Barth. There was lots of history, culture, and science on the show, as well as actual beer. I found the conversation fascinating, and we didn’t get to talk about half the things we wanted to. But there is one moment that will stick in my memory. I had drunk half my bottle, (the […]
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5:50 PM | Geology and Generals: How Geology influenced the Battle of Gettysburg (Part II.)
“With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.” The Art of War, by Sun Tzù The battleground of Gettysburg was shaped by ancient tectonic movements, sediments transported by rivers and deposited in lakes and finally [...]
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5:50 PM | Geology and Generals: How Geology influenced the Battle of Gettysburg (Part II.)
“With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.” The Art of War, by Sun... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:15 PM | Planetary Tables and Heliocentricity: A Rough Guide
Since it emerged sometime in the middle of the first millennium BCE the principal function of mathematical astronomy was to provide the most accurate possible predictions of the future positions of the main celestial bodies. This information was contained in … Continue reading →
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1:30 PM | Scientists’ grasp of confidence intervals doesn’t inspire confidence
Confidence intervals are often misrepresented and are commonly misunderstood, even by researchers.
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2:44 AM | Cloaking from earthquakes?
There has been a lot of excitement among researchers about the science of invisibility over the past decade, and a variety of designs of invisibility cloaks have been suggested since the groundbreaking 2006 papers.  I’ve talked a lot about invisibility … Continue reading →
Editor's Pick

July 02, 2014

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8:31 PM | Scientists’ grasp of confidence intervals doesn’t inspire confidence
ContextNumbers by Tom Siegfried 9:30am, July 3, 2014 Sometimes it’s hard to have confidence in science. So many results from published scientific studies turn out to be wrong.Part of the problem is that science has trouble quantifying just how confident in a result you should be. Confidence intervals are supposed to help with that. They’re like the margin of error in public opinion […]
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6:48 PM | Viking 'Hammer of Thor' Unearthed
An inscription on a 1,000-year-old amulet confirms that small Viking charms do represent Thor's hammer. Continue reading →
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12:50 PM | The DNews Explainer: Who Are the U.S. Military Advisors in Iraq?
With the terror group ISIS making a bid to overrun Iraq, the U.S. is sending 300 "military advisors" into the country. What's their job and who are they?

July 01, 2014

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9:19 PM | Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Mighty Giants
Welcome back to the wonderful world of old-school dinosaur books - hey, it's been a while. The Mighty Giants - part of the Dinosaur World Pop-Up Books series (which ran to at least two books, apparently) - was published in 1988, but for all its scientific infidelity, it might as well have been published in 1978...or 1968. Yes, it's one of those. Hold on to your pear-shaped tyrannosaurs and oddly uniform teeth, everyone!Long-term readers of the blog - who are so committed that we should probably […]
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7:27 PM | A Feast for Mosquitoes
We’ve been writing a lot about mosquitoes lately in Chemical Heritage magazine, so blood suckers were on my mind when I was riding a Washington, D.C. Metro train a few weeks ago and noticed a strange advertisement. A poster requested participants in a study to test a potential malaria vaccine delivered by mosquitoes. If you don’t mind letting a malaria-ridden mosquito feast on your blood, you could be paid to be a test subject. Normally mosquitoes are the carriers of malaria, so I […]
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4:09 PM | TetZooCon Approaches!
Darren Naish and John Conway will be hosting the first TetZooCon in eleven short days, at the London Wetland Centre. I have been drooling over the announced speaking lineup since I learned of it, but with an ocean between us, it's just not in the cards for me. The deadline for booking your place at the event is this Friday, July 4. At £40, the price is very reasonable (if only airfare and lodging didn't cost anything). John opens the conference with his welcome, followed by Darren on […]
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2:20 PM | Football in the archives – the second half
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