Thursday, June 30, 2011

Science Link Dump

I spent about an hour today after work reading a variety of science articles I found and wanted to aggregate them all here for those of you who feel inclined to read some of them. Sometimes I'll post them to Twitter, but 140 characters isn't really enough to explain some of them.

So let's start it off with a gastropod video:

The video was taken by Kerry Weston with the New Zealand Department of Conservation and I certainly was not expecting it to go the way it did. When I think of snails, I don't normally think of words such as stealthy, carnivorous, and brutal as associated with them. But apparently I have been shown the error of my ways. It's so great when that's demonstrated in such a blunt way.

This next video is from NPR and we switch our focus onto the hydrogen bomb.

A Very Scary Light Show: Exploding H-Bombs In Space

If you want a larger video, you can click on the embedded one and you'll be taken to the Vimeo website. I'm always interested in watching old footage of nuclear explosions. It's from a vastly different time, when we weren't really sure of the effects of radiation. We've come a long way since then. I also get the feeling from some of these videos that the US government (and the Soviets as well) were treating their nuclear tests like a kid with a new toy--wanting to see how big of an explosion they could produce, and how many islands they could destroy. I have a nifty chart from a 1996 issue of Popular Mechanics that seems to confirm that:

The following link is for you fans of mathematics out there: MathematiciansWant to Say Goodbye to Pi. Math isn’t my forte, which is why I’m studying Biology, but I try to appreciate it. I’m curious to watch arguments unfold over different concepts, it shows that the science is still changing and the ways of expression are being shaped even today. The article lays out some good arguments for using Tau over Pi, and I’m inclined to agree. It seems akin to an argument about using the Metric system over the United States customary system.
But really, I’m mostly interested so that I can watch and read the arguments over which system is better unfold amongst the mathemeticians. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to listen to informed people argue. Especially over a core science.

Moving away from the specialized subject-specific material, the next article is a wonderful piece about science’s place in diplomacy that’s from Scientific American’s guest blog: LindauNobel Meeting--Peter Agre and Torsten Wiesel: Nobel laureate scientificdiplomacy builds bridges.

I love reading articles that tackle where science intersects with other areas of life. Frankly, there’s not enough being written about that subject, which is a shame. Science hits every area, even if it’s not so obvious at first. There’s a real potential for science to do good in all areas of life and for it to work with other professions. Many times, it will be possible in a surprising way that’s pretty darn novel.

To add another link from Scientific American’s guest blog, I think it’s time for some trivia: Lindau Nobel Meeting--Sentences That WinNobel Prizes.

Obviously there isn’t such a thing as “Nobel Prize-winning sentences,” but it’s neat to compile a representative list from the papers of Nobel Laureates. My favorite is the one from Sir Harold Kroto:

"We are disturbed at the number of letters and syllables in the rather fanciful but highly appropriate name we have chosen in the title to refer to this C60 species."

Science and humor in the same sentence? Blasphemy!

I’m finishing this post with a webcomic from Abstruse Goose, a delightful comic that focuses on many topics, including science. When the topic of the day is science, it’s always insightful, and can be uplifting. This particular comic combines science, maps, and The Lord of the Rings, so where can you go wrong with that? Nowhere, that’s where.

Permanent link

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Boy do I love nature quotations

So I have another post started that will explain what I've been up to with my research project, but in the meantime, I have this one.

I was reading Richard Conniff's blog and came across his post Learning to Feel at Home. It's filled with great quotations about nature, but one quotation in particular struck me as outstanding. It's lent me a nice springboard for my eventually presentation about my project, and so I'm thinking about starting it off with this picture as the first slide.

It's simple, which is part of the reason why I like it. I also expect my audience to not quite understand assassin bugs (or even know anything about them) when I start my presentation, so I think this will help them to understand where I'm coming from and why I chose to pursue my project.