Interesting Stuff: Early June 2010

The voting period for the Three Quarks Daily Prize in Science is nearly over, but there’s still some time remaining as I write this. The eighty science-related blog posts that are candidates include some that I have read before, and many that are new to me.

Among the articles I’ve seen before (and indeed linked to from this blog), there are some very worthy candidates, notably #38: Evolution: the Curious Case of Dogs by Christie Wilcox. However, my vote went to an article I hadn’t previously read, candidate #70: On Seeing Yourself by Meera Lee Sethi. This is not your typical science-related blog post. It’s written more in the language of a story, and develops a character around the first person protagonist even as she muses on psychological aspects of reflections and self-recognition.

In votes, Meera’s essay is not doing so well. To win the voting round, an article must be among the twenty most popular, and hers is not currently making the grade. (At the time of writing, it has eight votes in its favour, and there are almost thirty candidates with that many votes or more.) So if you agree with me about its worthiness, you might consider adding a last minute vote of your own.

Now, having said all I want to say about the 3QD competition for now, here are some other interesting links that I’ve come across recently.

Interesting Stuff: Late May 2010

In personal news, a very good friend died of cancer in the last few days. I feel I should post some sort of tribute, but also that it would be best to wait until after the funeral, so for now I’ll say no more.

Here are some items that have caught my attention since last time.

Interesting Stuff: Early May 2010

Some links to things you should check out.

  • My blog stats page alerted me to the fact that I’ve been included in Skepticator, an aggregate of (a) skeptical blogs and (b) blogs written by complete nobodies who might occasionally mention skeptical issues in passing. So thanks for that.
  • We know that people with at least some autism spectrum disorders have an abnormal cortisol cycle, so upon reading how the presence of a beautiful woman can raise cortisol levels, I thought … now there’s a therapy idea. :-)
  • An interesting way to compare genetics with operating system instructions.
  • On Australian television, Catalyst ran a nice article on the psychology of magic. The video is well worth watching.
  • It’s a pity that Chocri don’t ship to Australia. I had fun creating a monstrosity with milk chocolate, orange, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, caramel drops and sprinkles, but eventually I had to close the browser and throw it away.

And one more thing. There are still a few days left to vote in the Chatterbox Challenge (until 13 May). The most efficient way to try out all of the candidates is as follows.

  1. Read the rest of this entry »

Interesting Stuff: Late April 2010

I don’t have much for you this time around, but here are some things you should know.

Interesting Stuff: Early April 2010

Stuff worth reading:

In other news I’ve recently upgraded Firefox to verion 3.6.*, and here’s an updated list of the main add-ons I use. Theme: Whitehart. Extensions: Character Identifier, Coral IE Tab, Custom Toolbar Buttons, Extended Cookie Manager, Find Toolbar Tweaks, LinkVisitor, Tab Mix Plus, Zoom Toolbar.

I’ve not been managing my time well lately. Far too much to do, far too little done.

Interesting Stuff: Late March 2010

Some interesting articles that I’ve found recently, followed by some personal updates and other bits & pieces.

  • Essay on the resurgence of scurvy in the early 20th century.
  • Tasmanian Devils that seem to be resistant to facial tumour disease.
  • Video of simulated flight over Martian terrain.
  • Octopuses fooled by high-definition video.
  • Find out what’s on the other side of the world. [Update: that link is dead, so try this instead.]

A little more about that last item. Some years ago I figured out that the opposite side of the world from my present location could be determined more or less as follows: take the latitude of the Straits of Gibraltar, and the longitude of the southernmost tip of Greenland, and where they intersect, there you are. But how close is that? What location in Australia is precisely opposite those coordinates? Using the online Antipodes Map above, I’ve discovered that the answer is a point off the west coast of Kangaroo Island.

How might you specify your antipode with reference to landmarks rather than distances/coordinates?

In personal news, here’s an alarm clock radio I bought recently. It has features I’ve always wanted but have never been able to find before, so I’m very pleased with it.

Interesting Stuff: Early March 2010

Here is another short collection of interesting things I’ve seen online recently.

I’ve been watching the blog Universe, which has turned up at Scienceblogs recently. The jury’s out on whether I should add it to the sidebar, but it’s promising. Reminds me of an email conversation with a friend in which we speculated on what the RSS feed of the universe would look like. My friend suggested this:

  • September 3, 2008, 11:23: Particle and anti particle created, annihilated
  • September 3, 2008, 11:23: Particle and anti particle created, annihilated
  • September 3, 2008, 11:23: Particle and anti particle created, annihilated

Interesting Stuff: Late February 2010

A few links worth sharing:

Interesting Stuff: Early February 2010

Installments of Interesting Stuff will be shorter this year, as I can’t keep spending as much time on it. I will be sticking mostly to blogs for my material and not trawling through PhysOrg etc as I did last year.

Here are some recent articles, most of which were published while I was on holiday.

  • Two articles about the colours of dinosaur feathers [1, 2].
  • Neuroscience of comedy.
  • Small, ground-based telescopes are now capable of analysing exoplanet atmospheres.
  • Clean smells and dark sunglasses influence moral behaviour.
  • The January 11 episode of 365 Days of Astronomy is my favourite so far this year.

I’ve added a sidebar link to the blog Observations of a Nerd. Christie’s articles on feral dogs in Moscow and toads that don’t have tadpoles are well worth reading.

Interesting Stuff: Early January 2010

Over the Christmas break I’ve rested from the task of gathering interesting links to publish on this blog, but here are a few that I couldn’t resist:

Bad editing can often amuse. A recent example is this article, in which the photograph caption describes archaeological finds that “can be dated back to the time of Jesus, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009” (funny, I could have sworn it’s been a couple of thousand years). This belongs in the same file as an article from October which tells us Americans are not doing enough to “prevent health”.

In personal news, we now have a date for Dad’s 60th birthday party, at which the trivia quiz I developed will be used. The party will be held on February 20, after which I should be able to publish the quiz online.