Observer.UK: Biographers fear that publishers have lost their appetite for serious subjects.
“There has been a change in the reference culture and big serious books have not rebounded as one might have hoped.” Profit motive, as I’ve mentioned before, has decimated the ranks at America’s university presses. It’s all about money now, not about recording serious information in book form. I expect the question now is, “Can you work some murder mystery into your text about the Higgs Boson?”
Gizmodo: Scientists Discover How Cats Drink, After 4 Years of Research and High-Speed Photography.
FoxNews.com: Marine Runs Marathon in a Gas Mask to Raise Awareness for Disabled Veterans.
Wow. Would that I could attain that level of fitness. Working on it.
BBC: How starling flocks create their aerobatic displays.
“Gradually, more specific studies were conducted, some for instance showing that starlings have a reaction time of under 100 milliseconds, illustrating just how quickly they can respond to another’s flight pattern. Then it became generally agreed that each starling must obey three basic rules: move in the same direction as your neighbour, remain close to them, and avoid collisions.” And here I thought I was so smart saying “magnetic fields.” Shows why all my afternoons of standing with a giant war surplus magnet didn’t have any effect on their flight patterns ... (joking, just joking) ...
Discover: Prescription for an Aggressive Man: Look at More Meat.
“Surprising new research has found that staring at pictures of meat actually makes people less aggressive.” Whatever floats your boat.
NY Times: In Rome, Temple of Venus and Rome Reopens.
”Deputy Culture Minister Francesco Giro said the reopening of the temple was part of a larger program involving the safeguarding of Rome’s archaeological sites. The restoration, he said, was an indication that the Italian government ‘was making every effort’ to protect its ancient patrimony.” A political move, no doubt, after the recent collapses (Room of the Gladiators, Nero’s Golden Palace).
Daily Mail.UK: Spectacular night-time photos of Earth taken from the space station.
Science Daily: NASA’s Fermi telescope finds giant structure in our galaxy.
Guardian.UK: The world’s best underwater photographs 2010.
Oh wow. Cue up something mindbending (like Vangelis) and go through this, slowly. Our world is a mind-blowingly beautiful place.
Later: ‘Twenty Eighth Parallel’ from his “1492: Conquest of Paradise” soundtrack will do, if you don’t mind a suggestion.
Eurekalert: Study shows young, unsupervised children most at risk for dog bites.
“Durairaj found that mixed breeds were responsible for 23 percent of bites followed by Labrador retrievers at 13.7 percent. Rottweilers launched attacks in 4.9 percent of cases, German shepherds 4.4 percent of the time and Golden retrievers 3 percent. The study was done in the Denver area where pit bulls are banned.” I was not raised around dogs. I still don’t know the cues dogs pick up and consider aggressive. Only recently did I learn the trick about ‘no eye contact.’ Never, ever assume someone knows how to behave around dogs. [Caveat: I’ve been bitten six times, over my lifetime.]
BBC News” Statin increase ‘will save lives’.
ProPublica: Science Says Methane in PA. Water Is from Drilling, Not Natural Causes.
“Scientists have tested the molecular composition of the methane found in Dimock and determined that it came from the Devonian layer of shale, thousands of feet below the surface. In geologic geek-speak, it’s called ‘thermogenic,’ meaning it is essentially the same kind of gas that the energy companies are drilling for.” Not all methanes are the same.
Discover Magazine: Why People of Other Races “All Look Alike” to You.
“When a subject saw two pictures of a single person who was a different race, the subject’s brain was essentially flummoxed. Both the Caucasian and Asian groups had a much more difficult time recognizing identical faces from another race ...” A hardwired desensitization?
Guardian.UK: The Americas, the old New World.
National Geographic: Pompeiians Flash-Heated to Death—“No Time to Suffocate”.
“Heretofore archaeologists misinterpreted them as people struggling to breathe and believed they died suffocated by ashes.” The new theory is at once more humane (fast), and more horrible (insta-cooked), at the same time.
NY Times: Dead Coral Found Near Site of Gulf Oil Spill.
“The discovery of the dead corals offers the strongest evidence so far that oil from the BP well may have harmed marine life in the deep ocean, a concern raised by many biologists soon after the April 20 blowout that caused the spill.” C’mon, NYT, you can do better than this. We know how Valdez progressed to the collapse of fish runs. Do your background research.
Motion Graphics Served: Biocomposites GeneX.
Narrated animation of a resorbable bone graft substitute. Not the most exciting subject in the world, but pretty cool nonetheless.
New Scientist: Earth may have had water from day one.
I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever spared a moment to wonder where all the water came from.
YouTube: Swiss Rocket Man, Yves Rossy.
Wow. Haven’t seen this before. A WaPo image gallery clued me in.
CNet: Study: Algae biofuels needs ten years of R and D to compete.
Hmmm. And a whole lot of acreage, from my understanding.
Eurekalert: New statistical model moves human evolution back 3 million years.
“This implies that for 20 million years before dinosaurs became extinct, early versions of primates also lived and evolved. It challenged the accepted theory that primates and other mammals didn’t really thrive on the planet until dinosaurs were gone.” I wonder how solid this new theory is.
Discover Magazine: Isaac Newton, World’s Most Famous Alchemist.
“Holding the yellowed manuscript in his hands and studying the scribbled words, he understood that he was looking at one of the best-kept secrets in the history of science. Today revered as the father of modern physics and the inventor of calculus, Newton was describing a recipe for the Philosophers’ Stone, a legendary substance that reputedly could turn base metals like iron and lead into gold.” He was the product of his age.
Guardian.UK: Ozzy Osbourne genome sequenced.
“Given the swimming pools of booze I’ve guzzled over the years — not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol ... you name it — there’s really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why.”
The Big Blog Theory: The Apology Insufficiency.
New West: A Call for Caution in Oil Shale Development.
“Shell Oil has stated that its oil shale experiments consume three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. If that proportion holds, then producing millions of barrels of oil from shale could wipe out many farms and ranches across the West and damage already-stressed watersheds like the Colorado River.” Unsustainable idiocy. Plant wind farms, don’t rape the land.