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December 2007

Written By: grantb on December 31, 2007 No Comment

SONG: “First Man in Space” (cover) (To download: right-click & “Save As”)

ARTIST: grant. Originally by Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp) and Phil Oakey (of the Human League).

SOURCE: Well, it’s a penitential cover version. I was late with a song last month, and this is my penance. It doesn’t have a scientific source per se, although [...]

Written By: grantb on December 30, 2007 No Comment

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii recently had to make a strange correction to the Deep Impact mission. The ship, which thrilled scientists in 2005 by successfully firing a metal probe into the nucleus of a comet, was slated to do it all again with a new target in 2008 – but, well, um, the target has vanished:

The [...]

Written By: grantb on December 30, 2007 No Comment

This chart shows the universe as understood in 1660 – a solar system with a giant Earth at its center.

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Written By: grantb on December 29, 2007 No Comment

New Scientist unveils yet another thing Nokia is designing cell phones to do – read the menu for you:

Snap a picture of, say, a dessert menu and the phone will recognise the characters and translate the words within a few seconds (www.tinyurl.com/3xryg6). The prototype shown to New Scientist can translate 9000 Chinese and 600 Japanese [...]

Written By: grantb on December 28, 2007 No Comment

Scientific American reports on a series of studies that mess with our sense of common sense. Nuclear power plants should be creating nuclear waste, and coal plants should be creating smog, right? Wrong. Nuclear plants do create nuclear waste, but not nearly as much as coal-burning plants do:

Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is [...]

Written By: grantb on December 27, 2007 No Comment
Songs for Giant Isopods

[n.b.: Subsequent to writing this post, I wound up writing a song about isopods myself. I think it's one of my better ones; check it out for yourself.]

I swear I didn’t know about this project while writing my goofy song about Jaekelopterus. But yes, another marine arthropod – a “deep-sea woodlouse larger than many dogs” – [...]

Written By: grantb on December 26, 2007 No Comment

The Burning Man festival is a bit of a hassle for folks in rural Nevada, who once a year get overrun by thousands of freaks, punks, hippies and ravers, clogging up the streets and doing who knows what at all hours of the night out in what’s usually the pristine, solitary wastes of the Black Rock desert. But now, as [...]

Written By: grantb on December 25, 2007 No Comment

A drawing of a human egg cell, from Gray’s Anatomy (the book, not the TV show). From its description quoted on Wikipedia:

Human ovum examined fresh in the liquor folliculi. (Waldeyer.) The zona pellucida is seen as a thick clear girdle surrounded by the cells of the corona radiata. The egg itself shows a central [...]

Written By: grantb on December 24, 2007 No Comment

The so-called Bad Astronomer picked the top 10 astronomy pictures of 2007.

Go and see them.

They’re beautiful.

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