Category Archives: science!

Space Oddity

…performed by Cmdr Chris Hadfield.

It’s marvelous.

In lieu of actual words

Because 3-D printing just boggles the hell out of me.

Check out the article for a photo of the ear that was grown. It looks very ear-like.

Fly-by post

Spam header of the day: “A complete line of products for failures in bed.”
Not much of a market for those, I would think.

In Real Science(TM) news, a spider has been discovered that builds decoy spiders, legs and all, possibly to deter predators.

Hope everyone who celebrates had a good Christmas, and everyone who doesn’t a nice vacation day. Mine was quiet. Cooking got short shrift for a number of reasons, but dinner still turned out surprisingly well. The initial plan was roast chicken with mashed parsnips and roasted carrots, but I lacked the time/energy. So.

Peeled and chopped the parsnips and carrots into roughly equal-sized pieces. Added two chopped onions. A couple of stalks of wilted celery I didn’t want to toss. Mixed it all in a bowl and tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sautéed on medium heat until almost but not quite soft. Added bone-in chicken breasts, herbes de Provence, and chicken stock, and braised until the chicken was done. Removed chicken. Mashed veggies, which by this point were mushy, with butter, cream, and a tablespoon of cognac.

I served this with stuffing, but it didn’t need it. Forgot the cranberry sauce, and didn’t miss it. The chicken picked up the flavor of the veggies, and stayed moist. Call it Braised Chicken Breasts w/ Puree of Root Vegetables. Whatever you call it, it’s a keeper.

In other news, WordPress site is still getting killed with spam. I’ve gotten more in the last couple of months than I did in the last year and a half. Akismet snags the bulk of it, but still. How many counterfeit designerwear sites are there out there?

Dogs Teaching Chemistry!

(h/t to A Blog Around the Clock)

Creativity is Ageless

Articles like this give me hope that my best writing years may not be behind me.

Prevailing wisdom about the role creativity plays in aging is that it can help slow down the process of mental decline, memory loss, and brain-related health issues such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. But there is now a growing body of evidence that the aging brain may be more creative and capable of innovation than younger brains.

Maybe it’s premature of me to be thinking about this now. I am 54, which is supposedly the new 41-and-a-half or whatever the Age of the Moment is at the moment. But I got into this game so much later than other writers I know that I still feel like a newb at times. I’M STILL A KID, DAMMIT. Except that I’m not. I’ve crossed the border into the land of interesting medical tests, creaky knees, and AARP. I’ve heard that writing productivity can slow starting at age 60, and the gulf between 54 and 60 is not quite as wide as I would like it to be. I’m a slow enough writer as it is–I don’t want to get even slower. Worse yet, I don’t want to lose the ability to, well, make shit up. I want the idea furnace to continue to burn hot.

My mom lived to 87. I would love to still be writing at 87. Even if I have to tell the voices in my head to speak up.

(h/t to The Passive Guy)

Endeavour

The photos that folks have posted of Endeavour’s last flight are gorgeous, but the most poignant thing I read was a tweet by a musician named Marian Call:

And as it flew, the big plane whispered to the space shuttle, “Please. I’ll never go there. What was it like? Tell me.”

R&D

I’m not sure I agree with all of Lowe’s arguments, but I do believe this is the funniest description of R&D that I have ever come across:

R&D, on the other hand, is not the profitable side of the business. Far from it. We are black holes of finance: huge sums of money spiral in beyond our event horizons, emitting piteous cries and futile streams of braking radiation, and are never seen again.

Big Idea: Physicists Carve a Niche in Time

Every so often, you stumble over a discovery that just settles in your backbrain and fizzles away.

But creating a time cloak—something that could hide not just an object but an event—is even more ambitious. Rather than just rerouting the rays of light striking an object, a time cloak would have to deflect all the light beams influenced by the object as it moves through space. The time cloak would, in essence, create an interval during which all information about what an object is doing disappears.

Big Idea: Physicists Carve a Niche in Time.

Alive Inside

The video of the nursing home patient reawakened by the music he loved has been rocketing around the internet:

There’s a follow-up article in today’s Washington Post. You can donate old iPods so that others can feel the same magic again:

According to Dan Cohen, spokesman for the Music and Memory Project, the reaction to the clip has been tremendous. “I am truly delighted and surprised,” he told The Washington Post in a Thursday phone call.

For those interested in helping the project, Music and Memory accepts donations of iPods of any kind, he said. The group starts people out with the iPod shuffle, but also uses other iPods and iPads to help improve the lives of nursing home residents.

http://www.musicandmemory.org/index.html

Could ‘advanced’ dinosaurs rule other planets?

Jurassic World

He (Breslow) adds: “An implication from this work is that elsewhere in the universe there could be life forms based on D-amino acids and L-sugars. Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them.”

Could 'advanced' dinosaurs rule other planets.