Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chile tsunami

Twenty-four hours after the Chilean earthquake, the resulting tsunami has rolled across the Pacific Ocean to wash up on the shores of Japan and Alaska. It was easily managed nearly everywhere it hit, almost always less than a meter in … Continue reading

Posted in science | 4 Comments

Waiting for the tsunami

This morning I woke up to a tsunami warning in my email inbox. The automatic email, generated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), informed me that there had been a massive 8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile less … Continue reading

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The old and the new

While taking my daily walk today, I came upon an older Portuguese man standing at the end of a right-of-way, holding an umbrella in one hand and a cane in the other. The right-of-way cuts through an orchard, and is … Continue reading

Posted in Portugal | 6 Comments

When the US poisoned its citizens

Deborah Blum has written a fascinating article on a bit of American history that I certainly never learned in school. Did you know that the US government used poison as an enforcement tool during Prohibition? Doctors were accustomed to alcohol … Continue reading

Posted in culture | 6 Comments

Saturn V: an oldie but a goodie

Back in the glory days of NASA, when the budget was vast and the race was on to beat the USSR to the moon, US engineers developed the most powerful rocket engine in human history. Fifty years later it is … Continue reading

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Mark Twain reviews a romance

In 1908, Mark Twain wrote a letter describing a torrid romance he had just read by a young English author named Elinor Glyn. The idea of women writing such things was practically unheard of then, and Twain was most impressed … Continue reading

Posted in culture | 4 Comments

All in the kiss

Is there a point to the classic liplock other than romance or foreplay? According to a 2007 study in Evolutionary Psychology, kissing is actually a sharing of biological data. (Warning: this is more than you may ever want to know … Continue reading

Posted in culture, science | 6 Comments

The Mariana Trench to scale

The Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the oceans (that we know of). It’s so deep that the true dimensions of it are hard to grasp, but this visual illustration does a great job of clarifying things, even as … Continue reading

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The Olympic story of Petra Majdic

Why this story is not getting more attention, I do not know. It’s got everything sports journalists usually drool over: top ranked athlete, injury, gutsy performance, medal against all odds. But this top ranked athlete is a cross-country skier, which … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, life | 9 Comments

Weightlifting ant

Dr. Thomas Endlein of the University of Cambridge scooped first prize in the BBSRC Science Photography competition with this fantastic image of an Asian weaver ant lifting 100 times its own weight — while clinging upside down to a glass … Continue reading

Posted in science | 2 Comments