Behind the unveiling of J.K. Rowling as the author of a pseudonymously published detective novel lies a messy and not-terribly-precise science called "forensic stylistics". Using specially designed software — or, less often, just a trained eye — experts in the field try to match writing styles and discern the true authorship of disputed texts. But, even when they turn out to be right, as in the Rowling case, their findings are less than exact. Linguist Ben Zimmer explores the field and its usefulness at The Wall Street Journal.
Christian Stangl (previously here) turned a common process into a gorgeous abstract short film using macro footage of things as they dry out. Life needs water. But this fluid tends to evaporate over time into a gaseous state. Drying out is a chemical process that takes hours, days or even weeks. Without enough water the… READ THE REST
Researchers closely studied the wings of two moth species from China and Africa, and found that their tiny scales form a "metamaterial" that absorbs bat sonar — thus becoming an acoustic cloaking device. Pretty darn cool. The paper is paywalled here, but Nature has a good lay-persons' writeup … The researchers measured the acoustic reflections… READ THE REST
Cody from Cody's Lab bought 10 kilograms of bananas at the store, then proceeded to extract 9 grams of potassium from them. He could have gotten about twice that, but his condensation device had a design issue that caused the condensate to solidify and clog the tube. Great fun to see him toss it in… READ THE REST
Earlier this month, stargazers were dazzled by a rare celestial event as The Great Conjunction offered a view of Jupiter and Saturn huddled close together in the night sky. The planets themselves aren't actually in closer proximity to each other, but just the idea of seeing this optical convergence that hasn't been viewed from Earth… READ THE REST
None of us are getting any younger. And while the ravages of time work differently on everyone, there seems to be one area where everyone from seniors down to the way-too-young start feeling discomfort first. Oh, that aching back. A lot of that may have to do with how many of us spend huge portions… READ THE REST
Sony, Variety, MTV, and The New York Times are on board. The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg, and Katy Perry too. Mercedes-Benz, Disney, and yes, even Star Wars. They're all instantly recognizable brands that use WordPress as the engine to run their iconic website locations. It's no exaggeration to call WordPress the engine that runs the… READ THE REST