Guardian.UK: Mobile phone masts linked to sharp rise in births.
“Do mobile phone towers make people more likely to procreate? Could it be possible that mobile phone radiation somehow aids fertilisation, or maybe there’s just something romantic about a mobile phone transmitter mast protruding from the landscape?” Researching potential positives, instead of the usual negatives?
New Scientist: No black holes found at LHC – yet.
Discover Magazine: Giant Magnifier Reaches 5,000 Degrees Using Only Sunlight.
“The burst of heat that spreads out from a nuclear explosion is so intense that it can inflict serious burns five miles away. At the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico, a device called a solar furnace—essentially a three-story-high magnifying glass—routinely simulates the effects of such a blast.” This isn’t the only one around here. I believe Sandia has a riff off this.
NY Times: In 500 Billion Words, a New Window on Culture.
Semiotics profs are gonna go bananas ...
Haaretz: Roman statue discovered in Ashkelon after storm damage.
“Her clothing was chiseled meticulously – her toes are delicate, we see her sandals and her small emphasized bosom. Simply a stunningly beautiful statue.” Too bad all the other damage had to take place to reveal this little treasure.
Science Daily: Ancient forest emerges mummified from the Arctic.
“Ellesmere Island was quickly changing from a warm deciduous forest environment to an evergreen environment, on its way to the barren scrub we see today. The trees would have had to endure half of the year in darkness and in a cooling climate. That’s why the growth rings show that they grew so little, and so slowly.” 2 to 8 million years, that’s quite a spread. One assumes further study will narrow it down further. Extinct species ... seeds ... ?
Discover Magazine: Scientists Identify Mummified Head of a Murdered French King.
“It’s a hard life (and death) being a French king. Even if you’re popular, you’re assassinated. Revolutionaries disinter your body long after your death and make off with your mummified head. And then finally, 400 years after your death, your head supposedly turns up in the garage of a collector.” Interesting that it tends to be our least-attractive features that identify us.
Civil War Memory: Now, I am a Conservative, a Neo-Confederate so That’s My Point of View
There seems to be quite a dust-up going on in Civil War history these days, as concerns slavery and ‘black Confederates.’ Indeed, there seems to be a small movement gaining too much attention (sound familiar, fellow bloggers?) intent on revising widely accepted history. It’s instructive to watch historical interpretation being tested in realtime.
Later: Had to futz with the title to make it fit. Apologies.
Washington Post: Nearly 17% of Americans suffer food poisoning each year, study shows.
“One in six Americans gets sick from food every year, and about 3,000 die from those illnesses.” And what they don’t mention is that food poisoning can set off genetic autoimmune triggers, leaving longterm illness in its wake. Don’t take it lightly!
Discover Magazine: Are Gun-Toting Climate Skeptics Taking Pot Shots at Wind Turbines?
Discover Magazine: The face of Ariadne.
New Scientist: Living dinosaurs ... How birds took over the world.
“Ever since a single fossil feather was dug up 150 years ago, the origins of birds have been one of biology’s most contentious issues. That has all changed with a string of recent discoveries, most notably the famous feathered dinosaurs of China. In a little over a decade these have transformed our understanding of bird origins.”
NY Times: Out of Our Brains.
“There is no more reason, from the perspective of evolution or learning, to favor the use of a brain-only cognitive strategy than there is to favor the use of canny (but messy, complex, hard-to-understand) combinations of brain, body and world.”
Eurekalert: Study shows how flu infections may prevent asthma.
“Some infections appear to result in important protective effects against asthma.” There IS such a thing as ‘too clean.’
naked capitalism: Lesley Hazleton Explores the Koran.
A breath of fresh air.
NY Times: Out of Our Brains.
“But we seem to be entering an age in which cognitive prosthetics (which have always been around in one form or another) are displaying a kind of Cambrian explosion of new and potent forms. As the forms proliferate, and some become more entrenched, we might do well to pause and reflect on their nature and status.” Such as, what do you do when you can’t charge your batteries.
New Scientist, CultureLab: Louis XIV: The science king.
“When Louis XIV died in 1715, surgeons still belonged to the same profession as barbers and wigmakers in France, and the only functions they were allowed to perform were to shave, bleed and bring babies into the world. When a surgeon was called to remove the king’s anal fistula in 1686, he did the job with a slightly modified barber’s razor. All that was soon to change, however, largely thanks to Louis XIV himself ...”
Science Daily: Pomegranate juice components could stop cancer from spreading.
Interesting. This was direct application - not chugging juice from the supermarket.
Daily Mail.UK: Tiny numbers and letters discovered on the Mona Lisa.
“Da Vinci put a special emphasis on the Mona Lisa and we know that in the last years of his life he took the painting with him everywhere. We also know that da Vinci was very esoteric and used symbols in his work to give out messages.” Hmmm. Perhaps I need to start embedding secret coded messages in the weblog ...
Fast Company: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees.
“The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds.”
SF New Mexican: LANL airborne plutonium higher than expected.
“A somewhat unexpected discovery along the way was the potential radiation exposure to residents of Southern New Mexico caused by the original atomic bomb blast at Trinity Site on July 16, 1945. A sparsely scattered population in the area was neither warned nor evacuated, nor were they informed of possible health effects from the test. Researchers found ‘hot spots’ from the test at levels 10,000 times higher than current standards for the public.” The commonly-accepted view, that the early atom bomb experiments were without local effects, has always bothered me.
Boston Globe, The Big Picture: Kawah Ijen by night.
“Photographer Olivier Grunewald has recently made several trips into the sulfur mine in the crater of the Kawah Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia, bringing with him equipment to capture surreal images lit by moonlight, torches, and the blue flames of burning molten sulfur.” An unbelievable photo set. A MUST SEE.
LiveScience: Lost Civilization May Have Existed Beneath the Persian Gulf.
“To make an ironclad case for such human occupation during the Paleolithic, or early Stone Age, of the now-submerged landmass, Rose said scientists would need to find any evidence of stone tools scattered under the Gulf.”
Discover Magazine: “The world is getting warmer”.
NPR: Neil Armstrong Talks About The First Moon Walk.
“There were many uncertainties about how well our Lunar module systems and our Pressure suit and backpack would match the engineering predictions in the hostile lunar environment. We were operating in a near perfect vacuum with the temperature well above 200 degrees Fahrenheit with the local gravity only one sixth that of Earth.” Read the whole thing.