Sunday, January 29, 2012

For Our Friends in Social Studies

How to use Google better:
BTW, the advice on screen capturing is for a Mac. On a PC use the "print screen" button. You can crop the picture elsewhere. (Eg. On Word, crop the picture, then copy and paste to make to crop permanent.)

 From elsewhere on the same site: WWII as a Facebook feed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

World's Longest-Running Experiment

Is brittle coal pitch a liquid or solid?
85 year-long experiment continues.
You can watch it unfold live. The next drop
is expected around 2013.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alternative Certification

Some people can learn from books. Some need a teacher. The downside of teachers is that we are expensive and not very responsive at 2:00 in the morning or whenever you might most like to learn. Either way, however, reliable, professional teachers are needed to provide grading: to assure that the student has learned.

Uh oh!

Update: Sept '14
It is only one study, possibly biased (the article says little about method and I am too lazy to research further.) but MIT says that online courses teach as well as classrooms. Uh oh!

A tricorder?*

Somewhere in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum there are terrahertz waves that can penetrate human bodies and react differently to different chemicals. We have large lab devices to make these. We may soon have small ones. Possibilities!

Repeat: there is serious talk of a handheld, non-contact device that can analyse the inside of a human.

*A tricorder is a gizmo from Star Trek. It is a handheld device that can analyse things without opening or even touching them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking Like a Neanderthal

Neanderthal man had bigger brains than we homo sapiens do but they didn't think the same way. New Scientist has some ideas on how they would have thought.

Matt Ridley (the Rational Optimist) thinks the most important difference was our eagerness to trade. By trading, we benefit from our own innovations as well as the other guys' innovations and the innovations of everyone he knows. We might not have been smart enough to think of connecting a sharp rock to a straight stick, but if we meet anyone who was, we get sharp spears too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Different Approach to Global Warming

What if action on global warming focused on something other than CO2. What if it was more effective? A new study investigates how we could reduce warming by concentrating on methane and carbon black (soot).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On Goldilocks and Climate Change

So are we cooking under greenhouse gasses or on the verge of a new ice age? Or mightn't it be both?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aviation Photo Contest

Aviation Week and Space Technology is having its annual photo contest.  

Reader's choice - Defense (click for contest finalists)                                                     
 Best of the Best has a Canadian Perspective (click for artist's work)
Jason Pineau, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter rests under a thin band of aurora borealis on Point Lake, Northwest Territories.