Solved: Mystery of Death Valley's "Sailing Stones"

xMovingRocks_0.jpg.pagespeed.ic._QqJ8YH-PF

Scientists have now solved, through observation, the mystery of the "Sailing Stones" that travel across Death Valley's dry lakes.

Read the rest

Respected medical journal changes hands, starts publishing junk science for hire


Experimental & Clinical Cardiology published for 17 years out of Oshawa, ON, but is now owned by shadowy figures in Switzerland, whose payments are processed through Turks and Caicos, and they'll publish anything under the journal's banner, provided it's accompanied by a payment of $1200.

Read the rest

Habits for living a more rational life


From the Center for Applied Rationality, a "Checklist of Rationality Habits" intended to help you spot when you're tricking yourself. One of my favorites is the next-to-last: "I try not to treat myself as if I have magic free will; I try to set up influences (habits, situations, etc.) on the way I behave, not just rely on my will to make it so."

Read the rest

Whale vaginas are amazing


Mammal penises, including those of cetaceans, are pretty easy to find, while vaginas are more difficult to examine; historically, accounts of animal reproduction have emphasized the features of penises and theories of sperm competition, but a burgeoning scientific emphasis on whale vaginas is revealing structures and strategies that are amazing and wonderful.

Read the rest

Canadian government caught secretly smearing scientist who published research on tar-sands


The Harper petro-Tory government's money comes from the people who got rich from the tar-sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, and they've done everything they could to suppress science critical of Alberta crude; finally a scientist who wasn't under their thumb published his work and they started maneuvering behind the scenes to discredit him.

Read the rest

Breathtaking aurora snapshot from the Space Station

wisemaaaa

Astronaut Reid Wiseman tweets from the International Space Station: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. 10 minutes ago on the #ISS #aurora." Another shot below.

Read the rest

Is it OK to pee in the ocean?

Yes.

Canadian government orders scientists not to disclose extent of polar melting


Stephen Harper's petro-Tories have a well-earned reputation for suppressing inconvenient environmental science, but they attained new Stalinist lows when their ministers prohibited Canadian Ice Services from disclosing their government-funded research on the rapid loss of Arctic ice.

Read the rest

Aloha shirt featuring critters from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur


The 19th century German biologist's seminal illustrations of weird sea-life have been adapted for a gorgeous Betabrand cabana shirt.

Read the rest

Tongue is not the strongest muscle in the body

It's actually multiple muscles, and the myth may have emerged because you've probably never felt your tongue get tired. Even still, it isn't the strongest muscle system. The honor of strongest single muscle likely belongs to the masseter, in your jaw. From Scientific American:
gene tn3By sticking a pliable air-filled bulb into a subject’s mouth, scientists can measure the maximal pressure the tongue can exert on an object. This device, called an Iowa oral performance instrument, is placed on the tongue and subjects are asked to push it toward the roofs of their mouths as hard as they can. Scientists also use this bulb to measure endurance, or how long the tongue can hold a certain posture.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Brian Fies‘s 2012 graphic novel Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? expresses a beautiful, melancholic and hopeful longing for (and suspicion of) the futuristic optimism of America’s 20th century, starting with the 1939 World’s Fair. Cory Doctorow finally got caught up with the future and read it.

Read the rest

X-ray of the Smithsonian's two-headed shark and other specimens

sharktwo The National Museum of Natural History's Sandra Raredon maintains the "fish library," a job that includes X-raying the specimens like this two-headed smooth-hound shark. Below, a small tooth sawfish and Atlantic angel shark.

"A Two-Headed Shark and Other X-Rayed Beauties at the Smithsonian"

2_usnm_42374_pristis_pectinata__xray.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscale rayyyyy

$35 electrochemical analyzer


Aaron writes, "The good folks of the George Whitesides Laboratory have been dedicated to making cheap medical tests and analytical gadgets for quite some time. Now, they've really outdone themselves with this beautiful $35 electrochemical analyzer that can do everything from glucose tests to environmental analysis."

Read the rest

Biology student in Colombia faces jail for reposting scholarly article


Colombia's draconian copyright law (passed after US pressure) provides for prison sentences for simple copyright infringement; Diego Gomez, a biodiversity conservation Master's candidate at University of Quindío shared a paper related to his fieldwork, and the paper's author has brought a prosecution against him.

Read the rest

Bright golden bat

Ww yellow animals 01 600x450

Named after King Midas, the Myotis midastactus golden bat that calls Bolivia's tropical savanna home was recently determined to be its own unusual species.

“Apparently it isn’t related to camouflage, because two other species of Myotis that occur in the same area are consistently darker and use similar [daytime] roosts,” Oswaldo Crus Foundation wildlife biologist Ricardo Moratelli told National Geographic.

The bat's curious coloring may be a result of its particular insect diet.