Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Java Programmers not Humorless

And they have a sense of irony ...

but are more probably like Drew Carey than Jim Carrey.

Who Says Java Programmers Don't Have A Sense Of Humor? | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
I've heard the stereotypes about Java programmers being uptight nerds who don't know how to cut loose. Well, that's about as far from the truth as Enterprise is from Gene Roddenberry's original vision. Contrary to what you may have heard, Javaheads can be quite the cut-ups. In fact, I've been working at Symantec for more than a year now, and compared to the systems administrators and IT support personnel around here, I'm a regular Jim Carrey.

Finding TV Online

A good list of sites, here.   Although its not in this list, I've had some luck finding stuff with Veoh as well.

The Best Tools To Watch TV On Your Computer |
Much like phone companies became complacent with their position of power before the world of VoIP started capturing more of the telecom market, cable TV providers are complacent and oblivious to the rising popularity and reach of Video over IP. More and more people are getting fed up with the exorbitant rates these companies charge, and they are looking to the internet for alternatives.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Anatomically modern humans, in the kitchen, with a lead pipe.

This interesting modeling technique reveals clues that point to extinction most foul.

Competition, Not Climate Change, Led To Neanderthal Extinction, Study Shows
The researchers conclude that the Neanderthal populations that occupied what is now southern Spain were the last to survive because they were able to avoid direct competition with modern humans since the two populations exploited distinct territories during the cold climatic conditions of H4. They also point out that during this population event contact between Neanderthals and modern humans may have permitted cultural and genetic exchanges.

Goodbye, VHS

The last VHS distributor calls it a day, although the owner does not reveal the location of the warehouse full of "free tapes" in the article.

Last major VHS supplier ejects from tape biz • The Register
"It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," Distribution co-owner Ryan Kugler reportedly said. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in [the] warehouse we'll just give away or throw away."

Goodbye VHS. You outlasted Beta, Laserdisc and RCA's Capacitance Electronic Disc, but it was only a matter of time. Last one to watch that ALF Christmas Special tape, don't forget to rewind on your way out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another way to make fine wine.

Another in our on-going series of alcohol alchemy

New Technology Transforms Cheap Wine into 'Vintage' Quality in Minutes
Unpalatable plonk could soon become a thing of the past thanks to new research that has managed to fast-track the aging process necessary to turn astringent young wine into something worth drinking.


The accelerated ageing process centres on the exposure of wine to an electrical field.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

If you don't stand for anything ... you don't stand for anything.

In Sweden these guys are as big as the Green Party; close to capturing an EU seat.  Who knew that Pirates would be the next civil rights champions?  Sort of makes Jack Sparrow look like Albert Schweitzer. 

Pirate Parties are “A Classic Civil Rights Movement” | TorrentFreak
It was almost three years ago that the first Pirate Party was formed in Sweden. Its aim is to deal with over-reaching copyright law, and this is exactly what the Pirate Party stands for in most people’s minds. But there is more.

In recent times, the Pirate Party has been more concerned with government actions that affect ordinary citizens. The wiretapping law (FRA) for example, as well as the likes of IPRED, which will give companies chasing an alleged copyright infringer more powers than the police.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Proving many worlds through failure.

Over at Dynamics of Cats they have a keen sense of how to make use of null results ... clever right down to the last line.

Anthropic Selection of Broken Particle Accelerators
Before the LHC there was the SSC which also met its demise in strange ways.

I think not...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Y'ule Tide Carols

So I'm not sure what to say about this CD of carols composed and performed by folks who, in a fit of genius,  have connected a couple of ideas that may have been better left separate.

Someone went and put together a little music video tribute (also a genius).  If you haven't read the right books, this will seem very odd indeed.   If you have read them, don't miss this other carol.

via: Pharyngula: Squidmas carols!

Teddies in Space

This will make a great screen background.

Out of this world: British teddy bears strapped to helium weather balloon reach the edge of space | Mail Online
t's not often that Britain can claim a win in the space race. But these teddy bears drifting nearly 20 miles above Earth have become the first soft toys to take part in extra-vehicular activity (to use correct NASA jargon) at such an altitude.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

Today's Irony.

Conservative Episcopalians Vote to Create Alternative Branch -
Conservatives from the Episcopal Church voted yesterday to form their own branch of Anglicanism in the United States and said they would seek new recognition in the worldwide church because of their growing disenchantment over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and other liberal developments.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Copernicus Found

Scientists say Copernicus' remains, grave found
Researchers said Thursday they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus by comparing DNA from a skeleton and hair retrieved from one of the 16th-century astronomer's books. The findings could put an end to centuries of speculation about the exact resting spot of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the Sun, not the Earth, as the center of the universe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Monty Python YouTube Channel

I really never expected it, but they threw up their own stuff.
A nice intro video, too.

YouTube - MontyPython's Channel

Monday, November 17, 2008

A project management joke

Send it to the PMP in your life.

The Manager FAQ : programming
Three men: a project manager, a software engineer, and a hardware engineer are working on a project.

About midweek they decide to walk up and down the beach during their lunch hour. Halfway up the beach, they stumbled upon a lamp. As they rub the lamp a genie appears and says "Normally I would grant you 3 wishes, but since there are 3 of you, I will grant you each one wish."

The hardware engineer went first. "I would like to spend the rest of my life living in a huge house in St. Thomas, with no money worries and surrounded by beautiful women who worship me." The genie granted him his wish and sent him on off to St. Thomas.

The software engineer went next. "I would like to spend the rest of my life living on a huge yacht cruising the Mediterranean, with no money worries and surrounded by beautiful women who worship me." The genie granted him his wish and sent him off to the Mediterranean.

Last, but not least, it was the project manager's turn. "And what would your wish be?" asked the genie.

"I want them both back after lunch" replied the project manager.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hobbit on NOVA

The show provides an excellent summary of the findings.
See it in Quicktime, here:

NOVA | Alien From Earth | Watch the Program | PBS

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Cave Paintings to the Internets

This timeline site  chronicles developments in information storage.  There are a lot of important and interesting tidbits to be found, along with greatest hits like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

From Cave Paintings to the Internet: 70,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE Timeline

Friday, November 7, 2008

SongBird 1.0.0 RC1 build available.

As reported by SlashDot:

Nightly Builds - Songbird Wiki
All of the features for our first official 1.0.0 release candidate are code-complete and we're now on a bug hunt! Check out the cool new stuff by grabbing the rc1 build below, and please let us know if you have any issues. Please also review the Release Notes for known issues.

And check out the change to the icon:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hubble Back Online

Nice image of one of Halton Arp's galaxies.

HubbleSite - NewsCenter - Hubble Scores a Perfect Ten (10/30/2008) - Release Images
Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

8tracks avoids the muxtape scenario

They have started adding typical social features, but the really interesting part is how they avoid the RIAA muxtape treatment.  If you don't recall the muxtape quandary, this sums it up.  The trick will be what they do when they grow to "large online radio" status. 

8tracks: The “Legal Muxtape” That Continues To Thrive
8tracks keeps on the right side of the law by making use of a DMCA loophole that allows it to operate as a small online radio station, which have lower licensing fees for the music they stream. Each playlist mimics a miniature radio station: while users are free to share their playlists with friends, the site doesn’t actually show what songs are in the playlist - you have to listen to find out.

Temple at the Dawn of Civilization.

Predating Stonehenge by 6000 years makes the similarities even more remarkable.

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Memory Lane

Well, you've probably already seen this.  And we don't do politics here.  But this is the most important TV footage since... well... since this:

Ron Howard's Call To Action from Ron Howard and Henry Winkler

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Friday, October 24, 2008

Music of the Spheres

This article has sound clips of stellar seismology readings from the COROT telescope for several stars, including the Sun.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Team records 'music' from stars
If you listen closely to the sounds of each star - by clicking on the media in this page - you'll hear a regular repeating pattern.

These indicate that the entire star is pulsating.

You'll also note that the sound of one star is very slightly different to the other. That's because the sound they make depends on their age, size and chemical composition.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Evolution's other big driver

Sometimes its no survival of the fittest ... its just survival that matters.

'Space invader' DNA infiltrated mammalian genomes - life - 20 October 2008 - New Scientist
The team thinks that the hAT transposon invasion occurred about 30 million years ago and spread across at least two continents. "It's like a pandemic, and one that can infect species that weren't genetically or geographically close. It's puzzling, scary almost," Feschotte says.

It may not be a coincidence that the time of the invasion coincides with a period in evolutionary history that saw mass mammal extinctions. This is usually attributed to climate change, Feschotte says, but it is not crazy to suppose that this type of invasion could contribute to species extinction.

The hAT transposon does not occur in humans, but some 45% of our genome is of transposon origin.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ridley Scott to adapt Haldeman's Forever War

Will it stack up to Bladerunner and Alien?  Could be a classic in the making.

Ridley Scott to adapt Haldeman's Forever War - Boing Boing
Ridley Scott has acquired the film-rights to Joe Haldeman's magnificent, Hugo-award-winning classic science fiction novel, The Forever War. This is one of the great anti-war novels of all time

McCain in DMCA smackdown.

Call it karma, call it irony, call it poetic justice.  Or just call it hypocritical.  

McCain begs for YouTube DMCA takedown immunity • The Register
After having several campaign videos removed from YouTube for alleged copyright violations, Republican presidential candidate John McCain wants the video-sharing web site to consider special takedown privileges for politicians and their ilk.

McCain '08 general counsel Trevor Potter yesterday sent a letter to YouTube execs claiming the site is too quick to remove their campaign videos based on "overreaching copyright claims." He wrote that on numerous occasions that the material in question was "clearly" privileged under the US fair use doctrine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to Age Wine (or Scotch)

Here's another way to stretch your beverage dollar.   The machine itself is sort of pricey, but I figure you could rent it out to your friends so they could enjoy their plonk, too.

Lest you forget, we covered dressing up cheap vodka here.

Ultrasound machine turns cheap plonk into fine wine in 30 minutes, says inventor - Telegraph
Mr Jones, 53, said: "This machine can take your run-of-the-mill £3.99 bottle of plonk and turn it into a finest bottle of vintage tasting like it costs hundreds.

"It works on any alcohol that tastes better aged, even a bottle of paintstripper whisky can taste like an 8-year-aged single malt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Internet Radio: Not dead yet

Apparently passed by the House; it still needs Senate approval and Presidential signature.

BetaNews | Pandora sees relief ahead in net radio fee talks
Pandora's Tim Westergren says he's "more optimistic than ever before" that his webcasting service won't be yanked offstage, as the House passed a bill letting net radio stations extend royalty rate negotiations with labels and artists.

The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 would give Congressional blessing for SoundExchange, the music industry's collection service, to work directly with the Digital Media Association, which represents online services such as Pandora, as worked out by an industry agreement last week. The permission to negotiate rates would circumvent rate levels set in 2007 by the Copyright Review Board.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Protester at Senate Banking Hearing - or how to frame a foto

Just about says it all.  As nearly as I can tell, its a real Getty image, probably not shopped.  The Gawker column that re-ran it has a couple of worthy LOL captions in the comments.

Pic Of The Day: Yup, It Really Is "The Greatest Depression." LOL!
A demonstrator behind Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke at this morning's Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee floats the theory that Wall Street killed capitalism for the Lulz.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No more Jerry, brought to you by a Mac

So who wrote the ad campaign contract for bid and forgot to stipulate: "use a PC"?

I'm a PC, Made on a Mac
I don't exactly feel sorry for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), but the brewing brouhaha over its latest ad -- and a very good ad, if I do say so -- is so funny that it's sad. AppleInsider reports that Mr. Softy's new "I'm a PC" pitches, which substitute for the goofy and ill-fated Bill Gates-Jerry Seinfeld team-ups, appear to have been created using Macs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ostriches more ancient than previously thought

A good article on how different types of birds related.

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted): Ratite Flight: Lost But Not Found
Additionally, if you look closely at the above phylogenetic tree, you will notice that it is the ostriches that are the sister group to all the other ratites, not the tinamous, as originally thought.

Further, these phylogenomic relationships remain unchanged after adding crocodilian DNA (crocodiles are the sister group to birds) and DNA from two additional neognath groups (figure 2);

Jerry, we hardly knew ye

Oh well.  Vista continues to look for a friend.

Microsoft announcement tomorrow: No more Seinfeld ads!
In a phone call, Waggener Edstrom flack Frank Shaw confirms that Microsoft is not going on with Seinfeld, and echoes his underlings' spin that the move was planned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Big Science via easy-to-understand video

So - real similar to the previous Big Science post - but as they say: a moving picture is worth about 24,000 words a second.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What an Epigonion Sounded Like

Computer recreated mp3's based on instrument descriptions.

The ASTRA Project website

+ Epigonion sound recostruction example (generated on the EUMEDCONNECT infrastructure)

o Middle age piece (G. Dufay) played on 4 recostructed Epigonions, wooden resonant structure, plucked and hammered strings

+ Epigonion sound recostruction example (generated on the EUMEDCONNECT infrastructure)

o Excerpt from a XVII Century piece (C. Monteverdi) played on 4 recostructed Epigonions, wooden resonant structure, plucked and hammered strings

Big Science in a Nutshell from Cracked

Don't lose any sleep over this. Because, after all, you are sleeping just fine in spite of global warming.

The 5 Scientific Experiments Most Likely to End the World |
surely in their insatiable curiosity and desire to put knowledge above all things, science would never, say, inadvertently set off a chain of events that lead to some sort of disaster that ended the world. Right?

Well, here's five experiments that may prove us wrong.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Steampunk Star Wars

Is there nothing that cannot be re-crafted in corsets and brass?

This line is my attempt to redesign the Star Wars Universe in a steampunk style. My Star Wars ReVision line took many of the elements of Star Wars and broke them down and amplified them. This line takes some of Star Wars original steampunk elements and is an attempt to create a classic Victorian steampunk look.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Muxtape goes dark

Another competitor bites the dust as the RIAA perpetuates its business model. But as pointed out elsewhere, there are alternatives.

RIAA confirms it's behind the Muxtape shutdown
An RIAA spokesperson confirmed to Ars that it was indeed responsible for the site ceasing operations. At issue is Muxtape's hosting and streaming of MP3s, which the RIAA says violates the record labels' copyrights. "For the past several months, we have communicated concerns to Muxtape on behalf of our members," the spokesperson told Ars. "Muxtape has not yet obtained authorization from our member companies to host or stream copies of their sound recordings."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Internet Radio Drowning

The music industry is sharpening its knives for a dinner of golden goose. The Washington Post and Ars are covering it ...

Giant of Internet Radio Nears Its 'Last Stand' -
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Pandora is one of the nation's most popular Web radio services, with about 1 million listeners daily. Its Music Genome Project allows customers to create stations tailored to their own tastes. It is one of the 10 most popular applications for Apple's iPhone and attracts 40,000 new customers a day.

Yet the burgeoning company may be on the verge of collapse, according to its founder, and so may be others like it.

"We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision," said Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora. "This is like a last stand for webcasting."

Pandora can't make money, may pull the plug
Buckling under the weight of the Internet radio royalty hike that SoundExchange pushed through last July, Pandora may pull its own plug soon. Despite being one of the most popular Internet radio services, the company still isn't making money, and its founder, Tim Westergren, says it can't last beyond its first payment of the higher royalties.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Neanderthal Mitochondrial DNA Sequenced

Mitochondrial DNA places the human/neanderthal split at 660K years ago, with no or very rare interbreeding likely.

Leg bone yields DNA secrets of man's Neanderthal 'Eve' | Science | The Guardian
Researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, read the complete sequence of DNA held in tiny biological powerhouses called mitochondria, which provide energy for cells. The mitochondria are only passed down the female line, so can be used to trace the species back to an ancestral "Eve", the mother of all Neanderthals. The team analysed the DNA of 13 genes from the Neanderthal mitochondria and found they were distinctly different to modern humans, suggesting Neanderthals never, or rarely, interbred with early humans. The genetic material shows that a Neanderthal "Eve" lived around 660,000 years ago, when the species last shared a common ancestor with humans.

Monday, July 28, 2008

English Fail blog

Not all mis-uses of English can be funny, but check out the Top Funny Posts.

English Fail Blog: User-Submitted FAIL Pictures of the English Language

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gang signs for geeks

Hand signs to identify yourself as belonging to one of the two oldest rival gangs in computing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Angels and Deamons at the Vatican

Dan Brown gets today's Galileo award.

The Vatican Bans Filming of "Angels & Demons"
Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rome, said: “Normally we read the script but this time it was not necessary. The name Dan Brown was enough.”

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Green Fairy Here

Just the ordinary, everyday, crystal-clear fairy we all know and love ...

Absinthe uncorked: The 'Green Fairy' was boozy -- but not psychedelic
A high alcohol content, rather than thujone, the compound widely believed responsible for absinthe's effects. Although consumed diluted with water, absinthe contained about 70 percent alcohol, giving it a 140-proof wallop. Most gin, vodka, and whiskey are 80 to 100-proof and contain 40-50 percent alcohol or ethanol.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Festo AirJelly

Saw this over at Engadget. Not sure what its for, but it looks fun to fly.

Made in China

The workers at the factory didn't know what the colorful flag represented. But orders kept flowing in for more....

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'Free Tibet' flags made in China
Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say.

The factory in Guangdong had been completing overseas orders for the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hobbit Feet

Flores 'hobbit' walked more like a clown than Frodo - being-human - 16 April 2008 - New Scientist
And because of their long feet, H. floresiensis probably had to bend its knee further back than modern humans do, resulting in a sort of high-stepped gait. "You would watch these hobbits walk and say they're walking a little funny," Jungers says

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Neanderthals Voice

Neanderthals sounded like Eric Cartman. Interesting.

Neanderthals speak out after 30,000 years - being-human - 15 April 2008 - New Scientist
Talk about a long silence – no one has heard their voices for 30,000 years. Now the long-extinct Neanderthals are speaking up – or at least a computer synthesiser is doing so on their behalf.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Al Gore's Zombie Army

Global Warming. Dangerous? Sure. Oh you think flooding, drought and searing heat are the big concerns? Read on. The polar bears may have their revenge after all.

Climate Threat: Thawing Tundra Releases Infected Corpses | LiveScience
Fear of frozen corpses lying beneath the tundra may even be the reason that the United States and Russia maintain stockpiles, according to Donald Henderson. Henderson, an epidemiologist currently at Johns Hopkins University,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An MP3 from 1860

You can probably download it without worrying about the RIAA.

Researchers find song recorded before Edison's phonograph - International Herald Tribune
The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune" was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Hobbits

Ancient Bones of Small Humans Discovered in Palau
According to Berger, the estimated brain size of the early Palauans is about twice the size of the hobbit brain.

Several other features, including the shape of the face and hips, suggest that the Palauan bones should be classified as Homo sapiens.

If the interpretation of the Palauan remains is correct, the find may add more fuel to the debate over whether the Flores hobbit is a unique species, Berger said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who could've predicted?

"By the Power of Grey Skull!"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Music Recorded without the RIAA

Here's an interesting article. A lot of artists produce their own albums hoping for a little recognition. They haven't been scooped up by the RIAA, yet, nor can the record companies hope to corner the entire market on musical talent. Their strategy is to take a few talented people and make them into idols that snag the spotlights, and the dollars. But technology is leveling the playing field. There is a jukebox full of music here! Enjoy.

Slashdot | Recording Music Without the Recording Industry
2008 RPM Challenge
— to write and record an original album in February, just because you can —

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Picture of SpaceShip2

PICTURES: Virgin Galactic unveils Dyna-Soar style SpaceShipTwo design and twin-fuselage White Knight
Virgin Galactic has unveiled a SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, created by Scaled Composites, that harks back to the NASA/USAF Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar glider of the 1960s, while Scaled's carrier aircraft, White Knight II (WK2) has been given a twin-fuselage configuration.

Eukaryotes Reclassified into Four Branches

'Tree Of Life' Has Lost A Branch, According To Largest Genetic Comparison Of Higher Life Forms Ever
“The results were pretty astounding. All non-bacterial life on Earth—called eukaryotic life— can now be divided into four main groups instead of the five groups that we have been working with up to now,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fool me twice ...

... can't fool me again.

AFP: Avoiding scientists' protests, pope cancels university speech
Signatories to the letter protesting the planned visit recalled a 1990 speech in which the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and head of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrinal watchdog, seemed to justify the Inquisition's verdict against Galileo in 1633.

In the speech, Ratzinger quoted an Austrian philosopher who said the ruling was "rational and just".

He concluded with the remark: "The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason."

Largest Rodent to Date

Scientists discover huge extinct rodent - Yahoo! News
Imagine a rodent that weighed a ton and was as big as a bull. Uruguayan scientists say they have uncovered fossil evidence of the biggest species of rodent ever found, one that scurried across wooded areas of South America about 4 million years ago, when the continent was not connected to North America.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spore coming to a Mac near you.

Coming to the Mac in 2008: 'Spore' | CNET
But now, "sim everything" has another meaning for the company: EA is set to announce Tuesday it will release Spore later this year simultaneously for PCs and Macs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What does a guy have to do to get a national holiday?

Columbus blamed for spread of syphilis - health - 15 January 2008 - New Scientist
Syphilis really did come from the Americas, suggests a new study.

There has been a long-running row over from where the dreaded disease came. But new genetic data from deep in the jungles of Guyana suggests that while other forms of this bacterium have plagued humans since early in our evolution, it emerged as venereal syphilis only when carried back to Europe by Columbus and his crew.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why was I so tired in High School?

The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade - New York Times
Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dino Skin Revealed

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Flesh wound reveals dino secrets
The bipedal herbivore, which grew to about the size of a gazelle, had tough, scaly skin with more than 25 layers of collagen - similar to that of today's sharks, reptiles and dolphins.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dropping out of College


Dropping Out of Electoral College -- In These Times
How NPV works is this: Instead of a state awarding its electors to the top vote-getter in that state’s winner-take-all presidential election, the state would give its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. This would be perfectly legal because the U.S. Constitution grants states the right to determine how to cast their electoral votes, so no congressional or federal approval would be required. NPV could go into effect nationwide as soon as enough states pass it (enough states to tally 270 electoral votes—the magic number needed to elect a president). In 2008, NPV bills are expected to be introduced in all 50 states.