The Australian: ‘Genius pieta definitely’ done by Michelangelo.
“Only a genius could have painted this — the darkness which underscores the suffering, the Virgin who looks as if she’s screaming and the figure of Christ after he has been deposed from the cross. It’s small, but the technique is extraordinary.” Gotta find an image of this one on the ‘net.
BBC News: Dinosaur origins pushed further back in time.
“We’d rather have a skeleton because footprints are a little open to interpretation.” How about a second set of tracks at a different location to verify the estimated geologic time period, too?
Spiegel Online: Mapping Ancient Germania: Berlin Researchers Crack the Ptolemy Code.
“A 2nd century map of Germania by the scholar Ptolemy has always stumped scholars, who were unable to relate the places depicted to known settlements. Now a team of researchers have cracked the code, revealing that half of Germany’s cities are 1,000 years older than previously thought.” Aw, this is really neat.
The New Yorker: Inside the Senate’s battle over climate change.
“I believe Barack Obama understands that fifty years from now no one’s going to know about health care [snip] Economic historians will know that we had a recession at this time. Everybody is going to be thinking about whether Barack Obama was the James Buchanan of climate change.”
New Scientist: The slippery slope to obesity.
“REWARD pathways in the brains of overweight people become less responsive as they gain weight. This causes them to eat more to get the same pleasure from their food, which in turn reduces the reward response still further.” We’re lemmings who eat our way off the cliffs.
MedPageToday: Sex in the U.S.: Survey Finds ‘Enormous Diversity’.
Ya gotta take everyone’s word for it.
International Business Times: Animal farms are pumping up superbugs.
“The low-dose antibiotics do not kill the disease. They make the disease stronger, more resistant to those and other antibiotics. The animals — the cattle, pigs and chickens — thus treated become superbug factories.” Industrialized farming comes at a horrible cost. Give me range grass-fed.
GigaOm: Without Scale, Algae Fuel Companies “Playing”.
From my understanding, you’d need comparable square mileage to the State of Rhode Island; doable in southern AZ, NM and West TX.
ProPublica: Pa. Environmental Agency Butts Heads With Gas Drilling Company Over Water.
“A private lab that tested water in Dimock found that water supplies in the areas affected by methane contamination were also contaminated by toxic industrial solvents including toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported earlier this month.” Apparently there will be a duel of scientists in the PA legal system over this. I don’t see how the gas outfit can argue with pre-drilling well reports, and the above lab test. If they lose, I predict the usual ‘bankruptcy and leaving the cleanup to taxpayers’ strategy that seems to get repeated over and over again, that noone ever learns from.
NewWest.Net: Wildlife and Highways: New Ideas Sought for Colorado’s ‘Berlin Wall’.
”The argument for crossings, in addition to protecting the animals and humans, is also one of habitat. In particular, the crossings open avenues for maintaining genetic and demographic diversity.” Nothing’s sadder than to see an endangered species, dead by the side of an interstate, knowing that its needless death could be easily prevented.
Eurekalert: Women’s study finds longevity means getting just enough sleep.
“A new study, derived from novel sleep research conducted by University of California, San Diego researchers 14 years earlier, suggests that the secret to a long life may come with just enough sleep. Less than five hours a night is probably not enough; eight hours is probably too much.” Five to six and a half hours is, apparently, the sweet spot for long life.
Scientific American: Genetically inserted insecticide contaminates U.S. waterways
“It remains unclear what impact the Bt toxin may be having in any of these aquatic ecosystems, if any. But it is clear now that the insecticides genetically engineered into plants — like their manufactured chemical counterparts — are capable of traveling with the rain from field to stream.” Wikipedia on Bacillus thuringiensis.
BBC: Dolphin species attempt ‘common language’.
“Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two distantly related species, often come together to socialise in waters off the coast of Costa Rica. Both species make unique sounds, but when they gather, they change the way they communicate, and begin using an intermediate language. That raises the possibility the two species are communicating in some way.” One hopes they’re not shouting “Socialist!” and “Fascist!” at each other.
Slate: Scientists have found an Earthlike planet. Can we go there?
“Current space shuttles don’t go much faster than 17,500 miles per hour. At that pace, it would take 766,000 years to get to Gliese 581G—that’s more than three times longer than homo sapiens have been around.” No good options. Yet. [Always the optimist.]
Abduzeedo: Exceptional NASA Pictures.
Just because they’re always fun to look at.
New Scientist: Anti-antibiotics: Bugs, drugs and bureaucrats.
“Approval processes are becoming ever lengthier and more protracted, but new superbugs don’t hang around waiting for regulators.” Squandered timeframe means we need to backseat a bit of oversight and safety to simply survive. Stupid and shortsighted, all the way around.
Chronicle of Higher Ed: What Are Books Good For?
“In the long night of culture, we knowledge workers are restless sleepers. We need dreamers — in technology and science as well as the arts. Right now we are walking through two great dreams that are shaping the future of scholarship, even the very idea of scholarship and the role “the book” should play within it.” Hear, hear.
Psychology Today: Forget regret.
“Regret is not so ennobling, really. It can have some rather nasty consequences, and not only for you, but for others.” Bookmarked for sharing in the future.
PhysOrg: New study shows over one-fifth of the world’s plants are under threat of extinction.
NY Times: Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans.
You probably read this yesterday. Given a lifetime of discussions with members of all these groups, I can’t say I’m surprised - except for the fact that Catholics scored lower than Mormons. Catholic schools must be slipping.
nakedcapitalism: “A Little Bit Like Custer Underestimating The Number Of Indians On The Other
“... the low-balling of oil spill impacts is continuing to this day. For example, our tax dollars are being used to convince kids that Gulf seafood is safe, because oil ‘floats’, dispersants are harmless and wildlife is hearty.” Using a rubber duck to simulate the effect on wildlife? You’ve got to be kidding.
Discover: How a Fungus Makes a Jet Stream to Carry Spores Abroad.
Yes, there is fungus among us.
BBC News: Stonehenge boy ‘was from the Med’
”We see the beginning of the Bronze Age as a period of great mobility across Europe. People, ideas, objects are all moving very fast for a century or two. [snip] At the time when the boy with the amber necklace was buried, there are really no new technologies coming in [to Britain] ... We need to turn to look at why groups of people — because this is a youngster — are making long journeys.” Of course, that made me curious as to what a Bronze Age boat looked like.
New Scientist: Cancer-fighting Viagra, the drug that keeps on giving.
Standing tall against cancer, one supposes.
Technology Review, arXiv blog: Time Likely To End Within Earth’s Lifespan, Say Physicists.
“The only way out of this conundrum is to hypothesise some kind of catastrophe that brings an end to the universe. Then all the probabilities make sense again and the laws of physics regain their power.” Sounds a little like Revelation, doesn’t it?