Welcome to another collection of Interesting Stuff, where I share my personal journey of learning more about the world through the Internet. I’ll publish another edition in about a fortnight, and in the meantime you can see my provisional nominations on Twitter.
- Alternative approach to searching chemically for alien life.
- Asteroids get sun tan.
- Watching the chemistry of how meteoroids burn.
- The most distant object ever seen. And a nice graph.
- A video comparing the sizes of stars.
- Phil Plait reports on what’s coming up in astronomical missions.
- Catalyst had a story on coronal mass ejections.
- Refined measurement of how fast the universe is expanding.
- Snails that hitchhike on larger snails.
- Catalyst on how bees can be trained to recognise pictures of human faces.
- One of this months popular science stories was about dancing parrots. I’ve linked to Ed Yong’s article on it.
- Birds (or at least, zebra finches) reconstruct their songs in a few generations.
- In my previous collection, I mentioned the inside-out rod cells of nocturnal animals. Here’s more.
- An article on molecular evolution (as in the study of molecules that evolve) intrigued me because I didn’t realise that this branch of science was so developed. So I dug around for more information.
- Reawakening a prehistoric defence against HIV?
- Why salmonella is more virilent in space.
History and Palaeontology:
- New website launched: the World Digital Library (announcement). It’s a little unintuitive to navigate – you have to follow the links that say “open” to actually see the items.
- A talk by John Wilkins on the history of the Tree of Life. (You may experience technical difficulties depending on your browser.)
- Fossilised pelvis shows how neanderthals gave birth.
Media and Blogs:
- The ABC ran a documentary last night for the 20th anniversary of Media Watch and I enjoyed the nostalgia. (For Americans wondering what Media Watch is, basically, imagine giving someone like Fev at Headsup a television show to host.)
- John McIntyre’s blog (which I mentioned prominently in the previous edition of this series) has moved. (Incidentally, the comment facility in the new blog didn’t work for me when I tried to leave one. I’ve had similar issues on some other blogs and intend to discuss this further in a seperate post, in the hope that owners of such blogs can benefit from more information.)
Psychology and Cultural Studies:
- How bad smells and other environmental factors influence moral judgement.
- I took part in a survey on Cognitive Daily on how themes in instrumental music are perceived.
- Neurological study in which children with autism tap their fingers.
- The SNARC Effect compared between different cultures. (I ask some questions in the comment thread.)
- A study of thin French women, or rather, perceptions of the ideal body in different parts of Europe (e.g. how in Britain many women perceive themselves too thin, but in France, few do).
- From Catalyst, an article on polymer solar cells. A good introduction to the topic with an interesting Australian angle.
- I first learned about the scramjet engine in the early nineties. So it amuses me that the latest technology could maybe last five minutes.
- Nanotubes as pollutants.
- A nice April Fools joke that I missed in April.
- Cute squirrel video via Podblack.
- Funny cartoon about goblins (illustrating why we have scepticism).
One more thing. The recently-launched website acquine.alipr.com purports to automatically judge the aesthetic quality of an image. Not surprisingly, it is laughably bad at it (not necessarily a bad thing, as we all enjoy a good laugh). I tested it with various photographs from the archives of this blog, of which the following pictures scored very poorly – 15% or less. I don’t think my photos are really so bad, do you?