The British navy discovered a cure for scurvy and implemented it across the whole organization with great success, then forgot about it only to rediscover it at great cost 150 years later.
How wolves change rivers
Why people cheat
Great TED-talk by Daniel Ariely (link) on why people cheat. Very interesting.
The Bonobo monkey understands English, writes, makes fire, and drives golf cars. Amazing.
Future is now: IBM building human brain
IBM has completed a test setup that models 4.5% of the neurons in the human cortex. It used 147,456 CPUs and 144 Terabytes of RAM to accomplish this, but alas. A 100% simulation coverage is expected around the year 2019. This is not a joke. Academic paper here.
Doomed relationship Gantt chart
More unconventional charts and graphics at Lunchbreath’s Flickr-stream.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has done some serious science on how to boil an egg – and he found a way to boil it perfection, time and time again:
In this image, the egg to the right has been in the water for half an hour longer than the egg to the left, yet they’re both perfectly cooked.
How to model a brain with a computer
Kwabena Boahen from Stanford University has come up with an ingenious way to model a brain with a computer chip.
Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
So true. From Wikipedia
Little drummer robot
A little robot that drums on everything on its path! Too cute 🙂
You can even build one yourself (or just buy it).
Man-made chemicals evolve into life-like ecosystem
(…) Joyce and his graduate student Tracey Lincoln, added the enzymes into a soup of building blocks, strings of nucleic bases that can be assembled into RNA, DNA or larger strings, and tweaked them to find pairs of enzymes that would reproduce. One day, some of the enzymes “went critical” and produced more RNA enzymes than the researchers had put in.
It was an important day, but Joyce and Lincoln wanted more. They wanted to create an entire population of enzymes that could replicate, compete and evolve, which is exactly what they did.
Simple steam engine
Behold, the world’s simplest steam engine.
Cosmic climate prediction
Dr. Henrik Svensmark found the following correlation between incoming cosmic rays (blue) and the average temperature of the sea (red):
Quite a correlation, isn’t it? The light blue bars indicate when the earth moved through one of the arms of the galaxy. These arms cause an increase of cosmic rays, and Dr. Svensmark proved that these rays – when they hit the water – are responsible for forming clouds, which in turn cool the earth. So because the earth moves through an arm of the galaxy, we get cold.
Link to very helpful article, link to a brief overview of the results, link to a documentary about this theory.
Buy this kick-ass t-shirt at neatorama.com for just $9.95
Wonderful t-shirts, for sale at wearscience.com
How humans conquered the world
Using genetic information, scientists have come up with this history of how humans conquered the world. Link to original New York Times article.
Dietrich Braess figured out that sometimes, adding or building a road can actually hurt traffic. Wikipedia explains how this is even possible.
Ten things you don’t know about the Milky Way Galaxy
“So you’ve lived here all your life — in fact, everyone has — but what do you really know about the Milky Way galaxy? Sure, you know it’s a spiral, and it’s 100,000 light years across. And of course, you’re smarter, more well-read, and better looking than the average population, but be honest: do you know all ten of these things?
Wired Science Blog
Strange I didn’t wander into the Wired Science Blog before. I found it through blogged.com, which appears to be a very useful service to introduce yourself to new and exciting stuff to read.
Why traffic jams exist
Watch this video. It’s good for you.
Ridiculous Amazon customer reviews
The customer reviews at Amazon’s product page for uranium ore (wtf??) are delightfully ridiculous:
I ordered a bunch of cans of this, and still couldn’t get my time machine to work. I can’t wait to get back to 1985 and my hot girlfriend. Meanwhile, I’m stuck working at the Cafe 80s, dammit.
Time Machines run on Plutonium not Uranium. thats just silly.
You probably connected the Neirmann capacitors wrong on your flux capacitor. They should contact just a few centimeters above the Stendrand coils, but still below the containment field for the fusion material. Uranium ought to work as well as plutonium, the fission material is for collection of free quarks, not any sort of classical power generation.
Scientists model the brain
A team of Swiss scientists have created a working software model of one of the brain’s most complex parts, the neocortical column.
In theory this opens the door to a complete software model of the human brain.
MIT’s Technology Review has the complete story.
Rainbow tables are an elegant way to restore ‘forgotten’ passwords (cough). Basically, it helps computing the reverse of an MD5-hash.
Wikipedia tries to explain it, but I found this nice write-up much more accessible. Bad graphics though 🙂
I found this website with pictures of nuclear blasts. Nuclear blasts are bad, but those pictures are great!
An exceptionally simple theory of everything
This guy has apparently come up with a relatively simple, testable alternative for string theory. Let’s see if it holds up.
The article talks about E8-geometry. Never heard of it, but in this animation it sure looks pretty.