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Interaction hierarchy of bird flocks mapped

By Yunkyu Sohn An experimental study shows that even birds have hierarchical social orders among them. By using delayed correlation analysis on birds’ flight directions, the authors uncover a weighted directed influence network of the bird flock. The topological structure … Continue reading ?

Milky Way Exists on the Outskirts of a Vast Supercluster of 100,000 Galaxies (Best of 2014)

Astronomers have determined that our own Milky Way galaxy is part of a newly identified ginormous supercluster of galaxies, which they have dubbed "Laniakea," which means "immense heaven" in Hawaiian. This discovery clarifies the boundaries of our galactic neighborhood and...

Physics of how to break a wishbone

Engineers at the University of Michigan show and tell (and add excess music to the showing and telling) how best, in their professional view, to break a turkey wishbone: (Thanks to investigator Gary Dryfoos for bringing this to our attention.) Here is a demonstration, by investigators elsewhere, of how not to take advantage of the physics […]

Sad news: John Hoyland, father of “nominative determinism”, is gone

Very sad news. John Hoyland, my good friend and longtime collaborator, has died. John created “Feedback“, the best column in New Scientist, my favorite magazine (favorite other than Annals of Improbable Research, of course). As a happy subscriber to New Scientist, I knew and loved John’s work, long before I met him. We began corresponding […]

Foot and Fry on the Igs

Greg Foot and Hannah Fry, the “Head Squeeze” team from BBC Future, look at a few things that have won Ig Nobel Prizes. They then suggest several other studies that might merit future honors.  Their suggestions for non-winning papers are all things that either did win a prize or are follow-ups to things that won […]

A proof that glug-glug-glug the number 17

Peter Sheridan Dodds demonstrates, in this quick video, how to present something that seems like it sounds like a mathematical proof. The narrator teaches a course called “Principles of Complex Systems“, at the University of Vermont. The video is something of a randomistical bonus feature of the course:

Slick Invention May Be Key to Stuck Ketchup, Toothpaste

Hate when you can't get the last of the toothpaste from the tube? Or when your plane is delayed so it can be deiced? Those days may soon be over thanks to what is essentially surfaces coated with liquid. Researchers at both Harvard and MIT have taken advantage of the...

"Time is Slowly Disappearing from Our Universe" (Or, is It Timeless?)

What if the time part of the the space-time continuum equation was literally running out? Perhaps evidence suggests that time is slowly disappearing from our universe, and will one day vanish completely --a radical theory may explain a cosmological mystery...

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