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A blue stoplight to prevent runaway photosynthesis

Through photosynthesis, solar energy is converted into biological energy. It is often thought that photosynthesis becomes stronger as light becomes stronger, but actually photosynthesis may run out of control if subjected to an overabundance of light, causing reactive oxygen species which break the photosynthetic apparatus. Show More Summary

Maltese Phrases You Just Can’t Translate.

Our beloved bulbul is having it rough but took time out from his shitty job and PhD woes to call my attention to this wonderful post by Max Dingli; never mind the silly “untranslatable” framing (I wish that meme would dry up and blow away), these are just world-class phrases that make me want to […]

Tuesday assorted links

1. Missing moods.  And apolitical reasons to hate politics. 2. No boo necklace markets in everything.  Avoid those monsters. 3. The Jewish-American accent.  And Donald Trump’s linguistic style. 4. Alan Turing’s computer-generated music has been restored. Show More Summary

Hillary Won Last Night's Debate

I spent the whole day yesterday at an auto dealership buying my wife a new car. But last night I didn't dream about the car, but about Hillary who appeared young and stunning and topless, but with very small breasts....

Gun Rights and Due Process Took a Beating Last Night

Despite a rancorous campaign season, there is at least one belief that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton share: Americans have far too much liberty when it comes to firearms and due process. Between Sec. Clinton’s resurrection of the failed proposal to ban people on terror watchlists from buying guns and Mr. Show More Summary

Clinton back to Debt-Free—Not Tuition-Free—College?

Education didn’t come up much in last night’s debate, but Hillary Clinton regularly uses “college” with some form of “free” after it to illustrate how she would help middle-class families, and she did so again last night. Whenever she...Show More Summary

Bank of Dave

Tom Clougherty’s recent post on competition (or the lack thereof) in UK banking nicely highlights the problem posed by barriers to entry into the British banking industry. That there is indeed an entry problem should be obvious fromShow More Summary

Quantum computing advances with control of entanglement

When the quantum computer was imagined 30 years ago, it was revered for its potential to quickly and accurately complete practical tasks often considered impossible for mere humans and for conventional computers. But, there was one big catch: Tiny-scale quantum effects fall apart too easily to be practical for reliably powering computers.

Cosmic dust demystified

The solar system is a dusty environment, with trillions of cosmic dust particles left behind by comets and asteroids that orbit the sun. All this dust forms a relatively dense cloud through which the Earth travels, sweeping up the interplanetary dust particles very effectively.

Physicists develop a more sensitive microscope

Anyone who has taken a photo in a poorly lit restaurant or dim concert venue knows all too well the grainy, fuzzy outcomes of low-light imaging. Scientists trying to take images of biological specimens encounter the same issue because they tend to work in low light to avoid damaging delicate samples. Show More Summary

First quantum photonic circuit with an electrically driven light source

Whether for use in safe data encryption, ultrafast calculation of huge data volumes or so-called quantum simulation of highly complex systems: Optical quantum computers are a source of hope for tomorrow's computer technology. For the...Show More Summary

Quantum computing a step closer to reality

Physicists at the Australian National University (ANU) have brought quantum computing a step closer to reality by stopping light in a new experiment.

A new device fills missing space in optics' arsenal of light measurement

Interferometers have myriad uses, from detecting gravitational waves to teasing apart the interactions of molecules within our bodies. The instruments make such minute measurements by manipulating beams of light using an optical delay—an effect that's typically achieved by adding length to one of the beam's path, which slows the signal down. Show More Summary

Artificial Blood Vessels Grow After They're Implanted

Researchers are looking for a way to make artificial blood vessels, for children born with certain defects. But the fact that current artificial blood vessels can't grow as a child grows is a problem.

Stop Complaining about 'Fake' Colors in NASA Images

Instead of just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the light show the universe is putting on, some people feel compelled to object: Those colors are fake! Here's why such complaints are unwarranted.

The Issue of Immigration—Running the Numbers

Yesterday I quoted from the Course of Human Events blog’s posting about The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government, a new analysis of the forces behind the Revolution by Yale history professor StevenShow More Summary

Insect battles provide clues to evolution

There's much to learn from animal warfare, even when the animals are barely visible Full story at This is an NSF News item.

25 Strangest Sights on Google Earth

In lieu of a whirlwind trip round the world, check out some highlights courtesy of Google Earth.

The Complicated Sex Lives of Giant Pandas

Female giant pandas ovulate and are receptive to mating only a few days of the year. And males have some of the smallest penises relative to body size. Alas, sex is complicated and involves squeaks, anal rubbing, male posturing and sitting on each other.

Neanderthals Fashioned 'Jewelry' Out of Animal Teeth and Shells

About 40,000 years ago, the Neanderthals, the stocky cousins of modern humans, fashioned tiny beads out of animal teeth, shells and ivory, a new study finds.

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