Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Do We Clap?



Michael (from vSauce) outdoes himself as he analyses the social phenomenon of clapping, cocooning (a la the Solarians in Asimov's Naked Sun), and the social evolution of homo sapiens.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Castafiore Emerald


The Castafiore Emerald. An adventure where nothing really happens, and where myriad people toil and huff and puff, all the while being silently mocked by la gazza ladra. Where, under a moonlight night, a band of gypsies gather round the fire, lost in music and the celebration of life.

The Genius of Herge.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Dark Matter detection : potential breakthrough

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COSMOS_3D_dark_matter_map.jpg
3D map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter
(Source : Wikipedia)
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), based on the International Space Station, is designed to  detect and analysis the flux of cosmic rays to great precision. The AMS team today announced the observation of an excess of positrons in the cosmic ray flux, possibly signalling the first detection of dark matter. 

Link to the news item

Thanks to IFLS for the link.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Albert Einstein's voice!

Einstein reads the essay, "The Common Language of Science". His voice is not too far off from what I would have expected. But it is the height of awesomeness to finally be able to listen to it!

Link, from Open Culture.


Women in Science # 3 : Maria Sibylla Merian

The practice of science has (almost) always been the domain of the patriarchy, the purview of carriers of the xy chromosome. There have been instances in history, however, when women have overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles to achieve immortality in the annals of science. Immortality in the annals, yes, not in the minds of people though. This series is an attempt to remind us of these extraordinary individuals, and perhaps (hopefully) inspire.

*                     *                        *

Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 - 13 January 1717) 

Swiss naturalist and illustrator. Known for her contributions to the field of entomology, especially her careful observation and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly.

House Sigils for Literary Characters

HBO has been marketing the new season of Game Of Thrones pretty heavily, and has even started a new site that lets one creates one's own House Sigil. 

Ali Coluccio from Bookriot has made some very nice sigils. The picture on the left is one of them.





I tried my hand at it. Unfortunately, the result was far from encouraging. I shall henceforth cease and desist from such attempts.









Links

(1) Join The Realm (HBO, Game of Thrones)


(2) Ali Coluccio, on Bookriot.


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Calvin & Hobbes : Baby Raccoon Storyline

Monday, April 01, 2013

Secret bookshelves passages thingy

This one is for the bibliogasmisers all over the world. You need a house first though. 

There are two posts to link to here. The first one is at Bookriot, and the second is at Saturday Salon.

Thanks a lot to Indy for this link.

Christopher Jonassen : Planets underneath a frying pan

Complex and beautiful artwork out of everyday object : that is the essence of Jonassen's art

The photo are of the bottoms of oft-used frying pans that look amazingly like planets.

Link

Dennett speaks on religion, likens it to the common cold

Daniel Dennett is a philosopher, scientist and overall extremely cool dude. He is the author of the book Darwin's Dangerous Idea : Evolution and the Meanings of Life. For more, visit his personal webpage.

In this BBC interview, he compares religion to the common cold. He ends by describing religion as a "drug for the eyes and ears".

BBC News link

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Various uses of salt

I got this from facebook. Don't know if these work though.  :(

1. If you drop a whole egg on the floor, pour salt all over the egg, let it sit for awhile, then
use dustpan, the egg will come right up, without all that mess.

2. Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing.

3. Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away.

4. Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.

5. Put a few grains of rice in your saltshaker for easier pouring.

6. Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting.

7. Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.

8. Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a cracked egg will stay in
its shell this way.

9. A tiny pinch of salt with egg whites makes them beat up fluffier.

10. Soak wrinkled apples in a mildly salted water solution to perk them up.

11. Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick.

12. Soak toothbrushes in salt water before you first use them; they will last longer.

13. Use salt to clean your discolored coffee pot. 

14. Mix salt with turpentine to whiten you bathtub and toilet bowl.

Solar System Challenge

Thanks to IFLS for the link.

Solar System Challenge:

Featured on Slate.com




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BBC News - Termites 'engineer fairy circles'

Well, I reckon we need bigger termites for crop circles then, eh!

BBC News - Termites 'engineer fairy circles':

Thanks to IFLS for the link!



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How a microbe chooses among seven sexes : Nature News & Comment

The original article can be found here.

How a microbe chooses among seven sexes : Nature News & Comment


Thanks to IFLS for the link.


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Retronaut - Hippo cart

I wonder what the top speed of this cart would be.

Retronaut - Hippo cart:

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Cameras to focus on dark energy : Nature News & Comment

The principle that they seek to exploit is called "weak gravitational lensing". An optical example can be seen below.


Nature News link



























The Art of "Quotemanship" and "Misquotemanship"

I came across this piece after seeing the following quote, supposedly attributed to Orwell. 

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations."

Even if it looks, sounds, walks, and quacks like an Orwell quote, it still might NOT be an Orwell quote




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5 fantasy series for A Song Of Ice And Fire fans | Den of Geek

5 fantasy series for A Song Of Ice And Fire fans | Den of Geek:

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Biologist Bob Goldstein Talks Tardigrades

Biologist Bob Goldstein Talks Tardigrades: Bob Goldstein, a biologist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, talks about tardigrades (also known as water bears or moss piglets) in this video from Science Friday, a weekly science talk show that airs on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Tartigrades can survive boiling, freezing, desiccation, radiation and the vacuum of space. Many of the nearly indestructible creatures even survived a trip on a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit, resisting radiation and the vacuum of space.

Current Biology says, "Tardigrades, commonly known as water-bears, are among the most desiccation and radiation-tolerant animals and have been shown to survive extreme levels of ionizing radiation." They are the only animal that have survived combined exposure to space vacuum and solar radiation.

Tardigrades can put themselves in an extreme hibernation state, known as the "tun" state. Tardigrades have been completely dried out and then resurrected ten years later. They are not rare and can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, including your backyard. Take a look:



Goldstein's tardigrades lab can be found here. Another interesting video about tardigrades can be found here.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Women In Science # 2 : Olga Ladyzhenskaya

The practice of science has (almost) always been the domain of the patriarchy, the purview of carriers of the xy chromosome. There have been instances in history, however, when women have overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles to achieve immortality in the annals of science. Immortality in the annals, yes, not in the minds of people though. This series is an attempt to remind us of these extraordinary individuals, and perhaps (hopefully) inspire.

*                       *                          * 

Olga Ladyzhenskaya (7 March 1922 - 12 January 2004)

Russian mathematician. Known for her terrific work in fluid dynamics. Author of the book The Mathematical Theory of Viscous Incompressible Flows, among others.

Women In Science #1 : Emmy Noether

I started this series on facebook some time back. However, the interval between the posts became so large that I  started forgetting what the current serial number of the post was. So I have decided to do it here, and repost from here to facebook.

* * * 

The practice of science has (almost) always been the domain of the patriarchy, the purview of carriers of the xy chromosome. There have been instances in history, however, when women have overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles to achieve immortality in the annals of science. Immortality in the annals, yes, not in the minds of people though. This series is an attempt to remind us of these extraordinary individuals, and perhaps (hopefully) inspire.

* * *


Most famous for Noether's Theorem, describing a fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws.

A belated happy birthday to you, Professor Noether. Thanks to IFLS for reminding me.

Reformulation (original post, not a repost)

134am has, in the recent past, become more of a infodump, a place to post things that I have liked while trawling through the net. In short, it has lost its originality (whatever that means). I do not have much time to rake up "original" stuff, so this trend will continue in the near future. However, I will however try to post a "serials", a series of posts on some theme. My first theme is "Women in Science", and my second is "Week(end)ly Evo-lunacy". Lets see how well these go. I had been doing these on my facebook account, but it damn hard to keep track of, with me especially forgetting the serial number of the latest post, which is downright embarrassing. So, yes, new direction! :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shuttle kills comet

How the space shuttle killed an American Halley's Comet mission

Bees are more like planes than helicopters?

Hovering is a bother for bees: Fast flight is more stable

Black Holes get cheaper.

Researchers find it would require 2.4 times less energy to create a black hole than thought

New results indicate that new particle is a Higgs boson | CERN

New results indicate that new particle is a Higgs boson | CERN:

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Students get class-wide As by boycotting test, solving Prisoner's Dilemma - Boing Boing

Students get class-wide As by boycotting test, solving Prisoner's Dilemma - Boing Boing:

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Green signal for spiritual university evokes sharp criticism - The Hindu

Green signal for spiritual university evokes sharp criticism - The Hindu:

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Two Adorable Talking Twins! - YouTube

Two Adorable Talking Twins! - YouTube: "http://youtu.be/IQbYc7qLgBc"

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Minimalist Posters That Cleverly Showcase Famous Scientists’ Greatest Achievements – Flavorwire

Minimalist Posters That Cleverly Showcase Famous Scientists’ Greatest Achievements – Flavorwire:

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Clearly, humanity has a long way to go still

Pacifier war - YouTube:

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Look who's talkin'!

Silly with Lilly - YouTube:

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Cordyceps: attack of the killer fungi!

Cordyceps: attack of the killer fungi - Planet Earth Attenborough BBC wildlife - YouTube:

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IMSc Open Day 2013 : The Hindu

Open day at IMSc - The Hindu - The Hindu: Mobile Edition

Mishor biblical?

Swarming Locusts Descend on Egypt

A sinking feeling

Sinkhole Science: A Primer

Jurassic Park for real?

Species Revival: Should We Bring Back Extinct Animals?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to be German in 20 easy steps – part 1

How to be German in 20 easy steps – part 1:

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Pluto Rocks! Name them!

Pluto Rocks!:

I voted for Cerberus and Persephone.

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Can the shape of a country determine its economics?

Can the shape of a country determine its economics?:

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Beautiful: Calvin & Hobbes Superimposed In Real Photos | Geekologie

Beautiful: Calvin & Hobbes Superimposed In Real Photos | Geekologie:

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1981,News On Internet - YouTube

1981,News On Internet - YouTube:

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Iceberg calving

(14) 7 February 2013 06:12:

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10 Bizarre Products from the Past | Truth Mafia

10 Bizarre Products from the Past | Truth Mafia:

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30 years ago, you could buy a Lifetime, Unlimited First-class Travel pass with American Airlines. Now they're Regretting it.

Messy Nessy Chic 30 years ago, you could buy a Lifetime, Unlimited First-class Travel pass with American Airlines. Now they're Regretting it.:

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