Posts

January 25, 2015

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3:00 AM | The Best Australian Science Writing 2014
Edited by Ashley Hay Synopsis: The annual collection celebrating the finest Australian science writing of the year. Why are Sydney’s golden orb weaver spiders getting fatter and fitter? Could sociology explain the recent upsurge in prostate […]

January 22, 2015

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1:32 PM | Seeing Isn’t Believing
Quick – which of these lines is longer? If you said the one on the right, congratulations! You’re wrong, of course, but your brain is working perfectly well. This is an example of an optical illusion, an image specifically created to trick your brain. You probably saw a lot of these as a kid, and […]
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12:47 PM | Fail Safe for Artificial Life
In Jurassic Park the scientists who created the dinosaurs from DNA trapped in amber included what they called the “lysine contingency.” They engineered the dinosaurs so that they could not manufacture the amino acid lycine. The dinosaurs could only survive if they were fed lysine by the park staff. Without the supplement they would quickly [...]

January 19, 2015

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3:10 PM | Golden Rice Follow Up
There is a major anti-golden rice smear and disinformation campaign underway, spearheaded by Greenpeace with other anti-GMO activists on board. They themselves consider golden rice to be a “Trojan horse” for GM technology in general, so they essentially admit that their motivation is to oppose GM technology, even if that means opposing a technology that [...]

January 12, 2015

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2:42 PM | How to nearly derail a woman’s career: Mary-Claire King’s BRCA1 project grant
This item was floating around the twitterz this weekend. I can’t remember who pointed it out first, but I didn’t have a chance to get to it then. I was able to look for it later, and it was worth looking for. Mary-Claire King talks about her some career struggles she faced right on the […]
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1:23 PM | Another Salvo in the Mammoth Extinction Controversy
There are many enduring controversies within science, and they are fun to follow. There are raging debates about the so-called Hobbit or Homo floresiensis, is it a new species or a diseased human? You may be surprised to hear that there is still a controversy over whether or not the dinosaur extinction was due to [...]

January 08, 2015

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3:00 AM | The Best American Infographics 2014
By Gareth Cook (Editor) Synopsis: Year two of this fresh, timely, beautiful addition to the Best American series, introduced by Nate Silver The rise of infographics across virtually all print and electronic media reveals patterns in our […]

January 06, 2015

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9:44 PM | Epiphany Hidden in Fava Beans
January 6 is Epiphany, not a week into the new year and its tradition causes many Louisianians to abandon any resolutions related to gustatory moderation. I’m referring, of course, to the King Cake. In modern tradition, a King Cake is a circular pastry made of Danish-type dough, filled with fruit spread, cream cheese, flavored sugar […]

December 31, 2014

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7:12 PM | Happy New Year 2015!
So just to reiterate, the planets are shown with the correct relative sizes, but not relative spacing because there is no way to fit it on here if I do that! The lower image with the very small sun shows how far apart the planets are with the sun that small. They are VERY far away. I also left out our moon because many people think it's absurdly close to the earth, and I don't want to feed that misconception, even with the "not to scale" caveat. If you want to get a better idea of how […]
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3:00 AM | Mistakes That Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be
By Charlotte Jones (Author) and John O’Brien (illustrator) Synopsis: Popsicles, potato chips, Silly Putty, Velcro, and many other familiar things have fascinating stories behind them. In fact, dozens of products and everyday items had surprisingly haphazard beginnings. Mistakes […]

December 29, 2014

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3:00 AM | House of Karls
By Karl Kruszelnicki Synopsis: In the ruthless pursuit of scientific fact, there is no candidate more formidable than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Power hungry for experimentation, data manipulation and outlandish science propaganda, Dr Karl is Australia’s incumbent […]
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