Science updates

Ozzy Osbourne is a mutant. As the article itself says, this explains a few things. (via Skepchick.)

Some scientists ended up trying to pin down more accurate decay rates for radioactive materials, and found out that they have regular variation - mostly seeming related to the sun! This is extremely strange, as the article says - but in ways that the article doesn't even mention. (via Flatrock.)

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Airborne cars.

This Saturday, I was a passenger/copilot on a short jaunt. The flying meetup group that I'm part of organizes a couple events a month, but I don't go to most of them. This one was a trip to York, PA; the airport there has a restaurant that specializes in weekend fly-in brunch.
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akilika recently introduced me to the "Eowyn Challenge". I'm going to be posting what are basically walking workout updates, but in the form of my progress along the hobbits' path in The Lord of the Rings.

In order to not spam my friendslist I'll be posting them under a filter. Let me know if you're interested in getting the updates!

Science Friday

History lesson, science edition:
According to archeology, humans first invented techniques to control fire approximately 400,000 years ago (but it was not a widespread technology until about 100,000 years ago.) We figured out techniques for agriculture and animal husbandry during an innovative period about 10,000 years ago, which led to permanent towns and all that came from that.

The article that got me starting down this line of thought was about the fact that much of the world's population is much closer to the 10,000-year-ago point than to modern US social and technological norms.

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Full Moon

My wife and I decided (after a rough day for both of us and a cooking attempt that turned out pretty good but not quite perfect) to stop at a bar for a drink after errands. We ended up in a decent sports bar.

Wrestling was on one of the screens. After we'd been there for a while and were almost done... I noticed a very busty, very scantily clad lady coming into the ring with a pillow. They showed Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong to judges' seats by the ring. A half dozen other women in lingerie with pillows came into the ring and a massive pillowfight/wrestling match ensued. Afterwards, a midget crawled from under the ring and gave them boxes of breakfast cereal to snack on.

The entire bar (all 5 patrons and 2 barkeeps) watched with puzzlement and amusement.

Either I wasn't paying enough attention when I was a kid, or wrestling has kicked it up a notch on the weirdness scale.


From Sciencedaily: Chickens have better-evolved color vision than humans - if there is an Intelligent Designer out there, boy will he ever be pissed at us...

All kidding aside, whenever I've given any thought to vision and evolution, I've been curious how closely the mechanisms for wavelength recognition were related between different evolutionary paths. This was good information for me. The limitation of vision to only one of the several bands of atmospheric transparency always seems arbitrary to me; exactly what you would expect from a randomly evolved creature, rather than one designed to mesh perfectly with its environment.

The International Space Station has a new window. While most people who will care probably already knew, this was the best gallery of pics that I've seen yet.

Not news, just fun: How to measure the speed of light using only chocolate and a microwave. High school (or possibly college) physics being revisited in an entertaining way.

On a completely different note: An interesting glimpse into Roger Ebert's failing health. I hope I can handle major health issues and eventual death with half the grace he is showing. This also explains to me why, starting mid-last year, I began to find articles by him discussing atheism, and more generally "A-bullshit-ism." I had not found his actual blog before this article, but I'll be following it now.
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