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Archive for the ‘General Science’ Category

Chew Chew Train

Friday, June 28th, 2013

It is not often—or ever, really—that one comes across the phrase “string of beaver attacks,” but it’s a phrase which this blog, in its infinite whimsy, can scarcely pass up. And, yes, that appears to be exactly what has been going on in Belarus (h/t Charlie Pierce): It was the most ...

The Menagerie

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Maybe it’s just me, but this launch a few weeks ago sounds like some weird new remake of Incredible Journey, or perhaps a new Animal Planet sitcom. From Discover: a crew of geckoes, forty-five mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, fish, snails, and plant seedlings were rocket launched on the Bion M1 into space, ...

A Screaming Came Across the Sky…

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Gravity’s rainbow, indeed. It’s hard not to be impressed—if not downright terrified—by the screaming meteorite that buzzed Russia last week, and only a day before an asteroid the size of an apartment building passed us with only about 17,000 miles to spare (for reference, the Moon is about 250,000 miles away). ...

What Should We Be Worried About?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

“We” in this instance refers to humanity. Some background. Edge.org is a sort of “online salon,” a virtual Algonquin Roundtable where people engage in high-minded conversation and debate on a wide variety of issues, most of which I do not even understand. Every year, they pose an “annual question” and post ...

Meet the Beetles

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Those of us who have been called—and consider ourselves—“bookworms” rather like the tactile feel of a printed book. But another type of bookworm prefers the taste of a good book—and, it turns out, these “worms” provide a detailed record of certain species of insects. The “bookworm”—of the entomological, not intellectual, variety—is ...

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Last week, Sandy wasn’t the only thing happening in the world—there were also things that rhyme with Sandy. Like candy. Last week was Halloween, of course, and as one Brooklyn-based friend of mine (with a seven-year-old child) put it on The Facebook Machine, “Did you think Halloween was canceled this ...

Yet Another Post About Sandy

Monday, November 5th, 2012

I think there has been enough comment on Sandy elsewhere on the Intertoobz and in meatspace, so no one needs me to rehash all the stories, explanations, and arguments. For those interested, here is a good recap from the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog.

Statue of Limitations

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Slightly off-topic (shock!) but I have always been fascinated by the Easter Island statues. A 2010 book, The Statues That Walked, corrects some of the myths about the Easter Islanders, and presents the results of experiments aimed at determining how a primitive people got those giant monoliths (called moaì) from ...

Triceratops, You’ll Like It!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Anyone who has ever wrestled with a lobster or a particularly stubborn crab leg in a seafood restaurant could perhaps sympathize with poor Tyrannosaurus Rex, trying to chow down on a Triceratops. In particular, how the heck do you eat one of those things, what with the big bony shield ...

Sandy In My Shoes Brings Memories of the Salty Air…

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Apologies to The Drifters... OK, so today everyone—on The Facebook Machine and even in the real world—is talking about the so-called “Frankenstorm,” aka Hurricane Sandy. I always associate the name “Sandy” with singer/actress Sandy Duncan, so my mind has been riven with images of a giant, 100-foot Sandy Duncan attacking the ...