Interesting Stuff: Early May 2009

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.


Biology (macro):

  • 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.

Biology (micro):

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.


  • 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.)
  • A nice April Fools joke that I missed in April.

Psychology and Cultural Studies:

  • How bad smells and other environmental factors influence moral judgement.
  • 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.

2 Responses to “Interesting Stuff: Early May 2009”

  1. Dan Howitt Says:

    Great resource. Thanks for the summary and all the article links. Dan Howitt NYC

    Dan Howitt
    New York

  2. Flesh-eating Dragon Says:

    You’re welcome. We read so many interesting things on the Internet, things that make us feel a little more enriched to have learned them, that if we don’t keep a record we can’t possibly remember them. This series is my way of dealing with that problem.

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