Interesting Stuff : Early August 2009

Before I begin the latest round-up of interesting things I’ve found on the Internet, I’d like to mention some of the things I’ve been doing lately.

I got a couple of weird phone calls one night last week, and reported them to the police. Fortunately, nothing actually happened. I’d tell you more about them, but the story is not exactly coherent.

Last weekend I visited my parents’ place. The backstory starts in January of this year with a comment that Elspeth Grant posted on this blog, since when I’ve been helping Elspeth with her research insofar as it applies to my family. Fast forward to the present, and Elspeth gave a talk about her research at the State History Conference in Kadina on Saturday August 1st. She also visited my parents’ farm on the previous Friday, in order to meet us and to get more information.

Elspeth’s website has not yet been updated with details of her presentation, but keep an eye on it.

And now, on with the collection.



  • Fertile mice cloned from skin cells.
  • Chemical discovery leads to understanding/reduction of anaphylactic shock.
  • The latest science on weird insect-infecting fungus.
  • Like humans, rats have varying tolerances for being tickled.
  • How to sound big, if you’re an orang-utan.

Internet and Social:

  • Cute tool to see how many hits a Wikipedia article gets.
  • Apparently Australia turns out to be less sexually egalitarian than other countries. This surprises me, and I want it stopped.

Physics and Technology:


  • Oldest known animal fossils from lake not ocean.
  • Earliest known tree-climbing vertebrate. A few more details here.
  • Fossil pterosaur gives up its secrets.


  • I spent some time browsing some of the TED talks archives on Youtube. Among the best videos I found were two talks by Hans Rosling global statistics versus common assumptions about the world (the second talk is a sequel to the first) plus a talk by Bill Stone about how exploring other planets begins with exploring inside this one. The videos are a few years old, but you definitely want to see them.

That’s all for now. I’ve accumulated some more articles over the last few days while work on this post was in progress, but they can wait for the next installment. I’ll stick them on Twitter some time today.

(P.S. Nobody has yet taken me up on my musical offer. I’m not sure why that is, other than the fact that nobody reads this blog.)

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