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Aurorae Out an Airplane Window

It’s fun to look out an airplane window at night and try to identify stars above and cities below. But I’ve never had as good a view as this: That time-lapse video is by Paul Williams, a systems designer based in London. He flies toShow More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy: Mercury

Quick: What’s the hottest planet in the solar system? You might think Mercury, because it’s the closest to the Sun. But in fact, it’s not! Venus is hotter due to its runaway greenhouse effect. But that’s not to say Mercury isn’t loaded with astronomical goodness. Show More Summary

Premiered This Day (1981): Caveman

image Directed by Carl Gottlieb and starring Ringo Starr, this film is probably best known for introducing Starr to his future wife, Barbara Bach. Famed Animator Jim Danforth oversaw the creation of the dinosaurs. A more interesting film with overtones of The Creature From The Black Lagoon (0:57) is Island of the Fish Men, also starring Bach.

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

The countdown to fieldwork has begun in earnest, I’m trying my best to keep my priorities in order despite a trip to Boston (which will be fun), unseasonably warm weather (which has been great), and a few pressing deadlines (which I’m working through). These pressures, however, come with the territory and won’t keep me from… Read More ?

The Iran deal sharpens the Persian Gulf region’s sectarian divide

This post is part of the “Iran and the Nuclear Deal” symposium. How has the Iran nuclear framework deal affected Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Persian Gulf region? In an ideal world, the framework should begin to lower the region’s sectarian tensions, paving the way for a new era of interdependence. As Iran’s moderates ascend and […]

Life Underground: Anything Anyone Would Teach Me

Going underground most days for work is probably the weirdest-sounding this about this job. At Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, we use the lab to be underground because of the protection it affords us from cosmic rays, weather, and other disruptions, and with it we get a shorthand description of all the weirdness of lab

The Power of Touch

When Nicolae Ceau?escu came to power, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, Romania saw the proliferation of leag?ne—literally, “cradles,” otherwise known as institutional homes for the very young. Ceau?escu wanted to increase Romania’s industrial output, and he thought that that required a larger population. Show More Summary

Chewing Like a Girl

“You throw like a girl” remains a common, if now generally frowned upon, playground insult. It is also, according to the German-American scientist Erwin Straus, an observable phenomenon. Writing in the Psychiatric Quarterly in 1952,Show More Summary

I've forgotten more Czech than Barbara Partee has learned

One of the most memorable trips of my life took place in 1994 and involved traveling as a graduate student to Prague in the company of some of the most formidable linguists of North America and Europe. It was my first return to the country of my birth since I’d left Czechoslovakia as a small […]

Trends in Cognitive, Computational, and Systems Neuroscience 2015

What are the Hot Topics in cognitive neuroscience? We could ask these people, or we could take a more populist approach by looking at conference abstracts. I consulted the program for the recent Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting (CNS 2015) and made a word cloud using Wordle. Show More Summary

Breath Clay

From a page at Chambers Wines about the VinItaly exhibition in Verona: Caption: "Some translations are more successful than others". But what, asks Francois Lang, is "Breath Clay" a (bad?) translation of? We can find a clue in this YouTube video entitled "Breath Clay", The description starts like this: Il respiro dell'argilla genera un territorio unico dove l'uomo con […]

Why Chinese is Easy: The Smart Way to Learn Chinese Tones

Tones. A huge issue people have when learning Chinese is the fact that it’s a tonal language. Let’s start with the bad news. If you don’t get tones down well, it will be really hard for native Mandarin speakers to understand you. Now for the good news. Show More Summary

Do You Think Matter Thinks?

If matter could think, then matter would not be matter as currently understood. Can abstracta think? Sets count as abstracta. Can a set think? Could the set of primes contemplate itself and think the thought, I am a set, and...

The Wilberforce Award: The population puzzle part 2

Our Neuroanthropology blog has moved to PLoS Blogs, and if you are interested in the topic of sustainable population growth, you may be interested in The Culture of Poverty Debate, The Culture of Poverty Debate continued, and Culture of Poverty: Analysis and Policy. Attention to the Population Puzzle has been gaining attention with blogs written by: […]

SpaceX Launch Today: Space Station Supplies and Another Booster Landing Attempt

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket today at 20:33 UTC (4:33 p.m. Eastern) from Florida. The primary goal: Send a Dragon capsule loaded with two tons of supplies to the International Space Station. The secondary one: Land the first stage booster on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean. First things first. Show More Summary

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