Tag: science

Book report: The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ

Book report: The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ

Books
For those of you who, like me, are reasonably intelligent folks who have long wondered why you weren't bestowed with outrageous genetic gifts like musical genius or athletic ability, have I got the book for you! It's The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ by David Shenk. OK, I'm being a little facetious. But honestly, Shenk's book offers a lot more than just a purely scientific analysis of the nature/nurture debate. To my surprise, The Genius in All of Us is a bit of a hybrid -- part case study, part self-help/motivational literature. He lays out the premise right away in the prologue, telling the story of how baseball legend Ted Williams became one of the game's most feared sluggers not by sheer chance (nature), but by simply busting his ass for years (nurt
Was the American space program built in… Yugoslavia?

Was the American space program built in… Yugoslavia?

Movies
When most Americans think of Yugoslavia technology, this is probably the first thing that comes to mind (at least for those of us who remember the '80s): But if the trailer to the upcoming documentary Houston, We Have a Problem! is to be believed, the former Yugoslavia has a pretty rad space program back in the day. So rad, in fact, that the United States bought the whole thing from Marshal Josip Broz Tito in March of 1961. Then, just two months later, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before Congress announcing America's ambitious plan to land a man on the moon. In September 1961 he gave a speech at Rice University that included the now-famous quote, "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy,...
The Storm Chasers Drinking Game

The Storm Chasers Drinking Game

Funny Stuff, TV & Radio
Crab fishing is so last year, people. Now it's all about risking your life to chase down deadly tornadoes to get video footage and, time permitting, scientific data I guess. We're almost a month into the latest season of the Discovery Channel's hit reality series, Storm Chasers, and I thought an accompanying drinking game was overdue. After all, I may be a failed meteorology student but I am not a failed drinker. So for those of you who live to follow the latest twister-chasing exploits of Team Dominator (led by Reed Timmer), Team TIV (brow-beaten by Sean Casey), Team TWISTEX (led by Tim Samaras), and formerly Team DOW (poorly led by Dr. Joshua Wurman), hunker down in your storm cellars and drink up! If you like this drinking game, you can check out my other ones here.
Say hello to Elektro, the Westinghouse Robot

Say hello to Elektro, the Westinghouse Robot

History
He's all but forgotten today, but at one time Elektro was king of all robots. He was assembled by Westinghouse at their Mansfield, Ohio facility in 1937/38 and made his public debut at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Elektro stood at a height of seven feet, six inches and weighed 260 pounds. 60 of those pounds were his brain, which was comprised of "48 electrical relays." At the Westinghouse Pavilion of the World's Fair, Elektro the Moto-Man demonstrated a wide variety of skills such as speech, counting, stand-up comedy, and of course, smoking! Witness the marvels of modern 1930s technology in this excerpt from the 1939 promotional film The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair. "Stand aside puny human, as I enjoy the mild, refreshing tobacco flavor of Philip Morris!" ...
Damn nature, you scary!

Damn nature, you scary!

Internet
Pictured: Japanese honeybees (Apis cerana japonica) forming a "bee ball" in which two hornets (Vespa simillima xanthoptera) are engulfed and being heated. The body heat trapped by the ball will overheat and kill the hornets. Photo taken in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, Honshu Island, Japan. Related articles Damn Nature U Scary of the Day (thedailywh.at) Damn Nature You Gowjus: Sand Zoomed 250x (geekologie.com)
Powerful new video of the Joplin, Missouri tornado

Powerful new video of the Joplin, Missouri tornado

Internet
As if the impact of the Joplin tornado hasn't been well-documented enough, now comes new video from storm chasers Jeff and Kathryn Piotrowski. They film the twister as it hits Joplin and are there in the immediate aftermath. There's nothing explicit in here (aka visibly dead people), but the emotion of the moment may be a bit much for some. You've been warned. Related articles Joplin tornado toll rises to 141 (cnn.com) Elephant Helps In Joplin, Missouri (wycd.radio.com) The 10 deadliest tornadoes in world history (grayflannelsuit.net)
The 10 Deadliest Atlantic Hurricanes in History

The 10 Deadliest Atlantic Hurricanes in History

Featured Posts, Listcruft
Today marks the beginning of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season (which runs until November 30). Throughout the summer we'll be looking at some of the worst hurricanes in history, in terms of death tolls and damage amounts. Up first is a review of the ten deadliest hurricanes ever spawned in the Atlantic Ocean. One interesting fact that stands out to me is that unlike the list of the ten deadliest tornadoes, only three of these tropical cyclones occurred after 1950. This is a direct result of improved weather forecasting technology, which can typically allow for days of advanced notice rather than hours. So as a comparison, the infamous Hurricane Katrina, while still dealing a devastating blow to the U.S. Gulf coast, isn't even in the top 20 in terms of casualties -- although the nearly ...
Tube talk: Nova – “Musical Minds”

Tube talk: Nova – “Musical Minds”

TV & Radio
Quite by chance, I caught Dr. Oliver Sacks' appearance on The Daily Show a few days ago, where he was promoting an episode of PBS's venerable science magazine Nova called "Musical Minds".  Dr. Sacks is a British neurologist whose book Awakenings was the basis for the excellent movie with Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro.  "Musical Minds", based on his 2007 work Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, boasted no such celebrities but was pretty interesting nonetheless. The bulk of the special was dedicated to profiling four people who have very deep but very different connections to music.  Two of them (Derek Paravicini from England and Matt Giordano from upstate New York) have a high degree of innate musical ability that allows them each to seemingly overcome a significant neurologic
English manglage: Spit take

English manglage: Spit take

Blogstuff
I can only imagine that the only thing worse than being hit in the eyes by the venom of a spitting cobra would be being hit in the eyes by the venom of a spitting cobra and then having to try to edit an article about said cobra.  That's the only explanation I can think of for the gaffes in this recent article from Yahoo!  (courtesy LiveScience.com): Man that's gotta suck.  Not only does the cobra nail you with some venom but it shouts at you too.  "HAVE A FACEFUL OF THIS, JERKOFF!!!#!@  WOOO!$!!@#"