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Science Links:

Facial recognition in wasps. Apparently, wasps can tell apart individuals based on differences in facial features like we can. The article also contains a wonderful close-up photo of different individual wasp faces with their uniquely colored patterns.

Identifying individual whale songs. A group of researchers are trying characterize the similarities and differences between killer whale and pilot song dialects. In an interesting, coordinated effort made possible by the internet, the researchers are recruiting people on the internet to help pick out similar songs (Whale FM for those interested in checking out the effort).

Pigeons can do math! Granted, they've only tested up to the number 9, but it's still impressive that they grasp the concept of greater than or less than as well as monkeys do. Bird-brain as an insult doesn't really work, anymore.

Animals using tools. A review of multiple instances of tool usage in lots of different animals, complete with some mind-blowing video clips. My favorite is this one:



Not completely sure if I buy that the rats are actually laughing, but it's cute, and fun to think of them as tickle addicts.

Starlings get distracted by bling. Apparently, brightly colored keys influence their treat selection much like gaudy packaging influences us.

Orangutans like to play with iPads. They are as fond of playing with apps and seeing videos of fellow orangutans (particularly ones that they recognize from neighboring enclosures) as we are.


iPod apps are also fun for frogs :).

A real-life dragon. Highly cute in real life, complete with "wings":


Ultra-sonic screwdriver as a sensor to detect weak points in planes. This is here
mainly because it's sonic, and it's essentially a tricorder. Muahahaha!

Ultra-fast camera makes light look "slow". At a trillion frames per second, the camera can capture light scattering off solid surfaces:



They're carbon nanotubes, so thin that they can float on the air currents, but strong enough to withstand all that tension.

Wave-shaped clouds. The wave pattern comes about due to wind sheer, apparently. It definitely makes a very crisp effect:


Earth's other moons. They're highly temporary, lasting for months before being flung into space or our atmosphere, but apparently, at any one time, there's at least one in orbit (in addition to the thousands of pieces of space debris we've left in our orbit).

Hacking for the early 1900s. Hackers hijacked a demonstration of the first wireless telegraph by getting it to spit out Morse Code insults. Because the lulz were irresistible, even back in the day.

A proposed overhaul of the way we keep time. The change entails a new calendar that would make the dates land on exactly the same date each year (with an additional week added every five or six years), and the abolishment of time-zones (because GMT is supreme).



Fluffy Hum:

Victorian poet scientists. Some physicists from the 19th century, like Maxwell, would turn to poetry to showcase their geekery. If only we still did that today.

19 traditions added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. Includes Tsiatista, a duel between warring poets who try to come up with progressively more elaborate rhyming couplets.

Vowels control your brain. Words containing different types of vowels ("o" and "ah" sounds, versus "e" and "i" sounds) tend to conjure different associations of size and heaviness.

Writers and Kitties. A collection of photos of famous writers and their cats. It's interesting to see how the different writers interact with their feline counterparts.

When did girls start wearing pink? An interesting review of the history of gender-specific colors for little kids. Back at the turn of the 19th-20th century, all kids would wear white dresses and not cut their hair until they were six. Also, pink was originally thought of as the boy color.



Food:

The flavor network. From the Barabasi lab, a systems biology view of flavors and spices used in cooking. It's interesting to see how different cultures use different palettes:


Crystallized beverages up close. Images of the crystalline structure from various, mostly alcoholic drinks. My favorite is the coke.

The best hangover cures. Not that I drink, but it was an interesting collection of remedies and accompanying explanations.



Weird and Wonderful:

Deep-diving into a sink-hole. It creates a spectacular image:


UFO. In this case, it's an unidentified falling (man-made) object. No one has any idea what it is, though.


Priests being rowdy in Bethlehem on Christmas, of all things. Bizarre, indeed.

The endless obsession with what might be.
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