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26 Miles Across the Sea

China opens the longest bridge in the world ~ but it won't carry that title for long (story and video):

FWIW ~ Eye Gunk

Once again, the brave folks at Mental Floss enlighten us regarding things we always wondered but were too grossed-out to ask about:

Passages of Time

ceramic vessels; photo courtesy INAH

The Art of Data

The appeal and growing realization of data visualization:

Insomniac Theater

And so to bed. How many of us have fallen asleep in the theater ~ or wanted to? That's the whole point of this play, where the seats are ... beds (video):

The Art of Physics

Jackson Pollock's paint drippings and splatters were not so random after all, according to a Harvard mathematician and his colleagues, a physicist and an art historian from Boston College. "We are all students of nature," says L. Mahadevan, the mathematician, "and so was Pollock. Often, artists and artisans are far ahead, as they push boundaries in ways that are quite similar to, and yet different from, how scientists and engineers do the same."
To create your own Jackson Pollock, go to !

City Brain, Country Brain

A study shows the real difference between us (and it has nothing to do with what's parked in the front yard):

Out of the Blogs of Babes

A 7-year-old named Art, who "really think[s] arthropods are cool," blogs about Life Before the Dinosaurs. Read it and learn:
P.S., Good job, Mom! :)

New Feat: New Feet

A lovely dog named Naki'o lost all four paws (and the tip of his tail) to frostbite. Now, he can run, jump, play, and even swim with his new prosthetic feet (story and video. NB: you'll have to suffer through a one-minute ad before the video starts, but it's definitely worth it!):


Got an extra minute? Dispel flakes, pulling along strings of a web ... oh, heck, I don't know how to describe it, but the creator calls it Sketch of Voronoi: ...
See? This is what I love about the Internet. I looked up "Voronoi." It's not a planet from Dune or The Ear, the Eye and the Arm (both awesome books, btw)! This is what Wolfram Math World says about the Voronoi Diagram:
"The partitioning of a plane with n points into convex polygons such that each polygon contains exactly one generating point and every point in a given polygon is closer to its generating point than to any other. A Voronoi diagram is sometimes also known as a Dirichlet tessellation."

from Wolfram Math World

Feather or Not

OK, so someone named optica1983 put up a very entertaining video of a seagull in Cannes stealing his/her video camera, which kept on recording:
The question is, Is it for real? It certainly seems so, but then I found another video by optica1983 that makes me wonder:

Come On and Take a Free Ride

Catalina Express is offering a free trip to the island for anyone wanting to go on his/her birthday (you must register online, and the offer is good to April 30, 2012 only):

Anna Anna Bo Banna

The name game. So one's moniker can play a role in determining one's success in life, but what I wonder is, Do the statistics change with the times?
My guess is that what people think of a certain name has something to do with their perception of the person whose name it is ~ and therefore with the way they treat that person. But society's taste in names changes over time. For example, there was a time when "Bertha" was popular, and there may be again. Did Berthas back then lead more fulfilled lives than a Bertha would now?|utmccn=%28referral%29|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/&__utmv=-&__utmk=38203555
for more on this subject, read

FWIW ~ "Portlandia"

Friday, July 1. IFC.

Circus Minimus

British MPs have voted to ban wild animals in circuses (story and a video that should be required viewing for U.S. Democrat legislators):

Rags to Riches

Little Yoda, who was found in an alley, has won the title of World's Ugliest Dog (story and video):

Energy Secretary Bill!Bill!Bill!Bill!

Bill Nye is asked what he would do if he were the Secretary of Energy (story and video):

S Bl M Seeks F for Propagation of Species

AP photo

Hyacinth macaw Coco has had an odd sort of life so far, but it's one he'd like to share. The trouble is, there aren't that many females around anymore, and as macaws mate for life, he's a little picky. Plus, he's in a zoo in Paraguay (story and video):

Fab Indeed

In this case, "FAB" stands for "Fuel from Aquatic Biomass." It's an experiment conducted by the City of Santa Rosa and students from Sonoma State University, one of whom explains the exciting concept in this video:

Winston Churchill (of Malibu) Speaks

An eighth-grader named Winston Churchill (I kid you not) does the original Winnie proud with this graduation speech:

The Boy Who Lived On

J.K. Rowling announced the grand opening of Pottermore, "an online reading experience unlike any other." "A lucky few," she said, can help shape it. Go to


What do Silicon Valley, California, and Eindhoven, Holland, have in common? They're both major IT centers ~ and both are home to a startlingly high number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder:

Laughing at Life

Humorous shots from the Life magazine archives:

... And I Am Pleasantly Bewildered

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (


There are several important characteristics of sophismata. First of all, a sophisma is a sentence rather than an argument. In particular, a sophisma is a sentence that either:
  1. is odd or has odd consequences,
  2. is ambiguous, and can be true or false according to the interpretation we give it, or
  3. has nothing special about it in itself, but becomes puzzling when it occurs in a definite context (or “case,” casus).
Here are some some examples of kind (1), sentences that are odd or have odd consequences:
This donkey is your father.
A chimaera is a chimaera.
As examples of kind (2), ambiguous sentences that can be true or false according to the interpretation given to them, consider:
All the apostles are twelve.
The infinite are finite.
Every man is of necessity an animal.
As an example of kind (3), sentences that have nothing special about them in themselves, but that become puzzling when they occur in a definite context (“case,” casus), consider:
The sentence ‘Socrates says something false’, in the case where Socrates says nothing other than ‘Socrates says something false’.
(This is paradoxical, and is one of the forms the Liar paradox can take.)

What's In a Name?

For its name alone, Random Acts of Culture deserves applause, but its mission warrants our thanks, too:

Backyard Campout ~ June 25

Register to be part of the National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout!:
A beginner's guide:
A slightly more advanced guide(!):

The Eagle Has Taken Off!

Remember the Decorah eaglets we watched hatching back in April? Well, they're "all growed up" and ready to go! Now we can watch as they take their first flights (story and livestream video):

Homeward Bound

The Jules Verne returns, 2008; photo, ESA/NASA
On Tuesday, June 21, Europe's space freighter ATV-Johannes Kepler will return to Earth somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, bringing with it trash from the International Space Station. The freighter and its cargo will be incinerated by the heat generated once it hits our atmosphere (story and video of Jules Verne):

Big Gulp

A black hole in a constellation about 4 billion light years away was sitting around quietly until a star about the size of our sun came a little too close, and ... :

Flying Into the Future

The year 2050, according to Airbus (video):

Killer Video

Swedish musician and his doppelgangers perform "Killer Queen" (video): *sigh* ... I think I'm in love!

A Hole Lot of ... Whatever

" 'At the hearts of most large galaxies, including our own Milky Way, lies a supermassive black hole weighing millions of times the sun's mass,' said Michael Koss ... [of] NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the University of Maryland in College Park (UMCP). 'Some of them radiate billions of times as much energy as the sun.' " Koss' study found a nearby galaxy with two black holes (story and short video):

On His Own Two Feet

A young man who was paralyzed in a car accident is able to walk at his college graduation with the help of some amazing technology (video):

Epic Vocabulary

It took 90 years, almost 2 million index cards, and 21 volumes, but University of Chicago scholars have finally completed a dictionary of the language of Mesopotamia:

You're Government

It's your chance to balance the budget, at an interactive budget workshop June 11 at Santa Monica College:

Putting More Energy into Education

... and that's not necessarily a good thing, in this case. The energy industry seems to be having a lot of say in what public school students are being taught about energy sources. According to an article in The Washington Post, "... the energy industry is spending significant sums of money on education in communities with sensitive coal, natural gas and oil exploration projects."

Extreme Life

Is it hot in here, or is it just me? A worm found living 2.2 miles below the surface of the Earth, where only microbes had been thought to exist:
Also (story and video):

Share and Share a Bike

The number of cities with bike-share programs is growing, but the largest by far is in Hangzhou, China. (Interestingly, one of the stumbling blocks here in the States is the helmet law) (story and video):

Write If You Find Work

A study of Australopithecine fossils suggests that females left home when they came of age, while males stuck around:

For Your Gustatory Pleasure

Would you eat a mushroom that ate a diaper (and, therefore, everything on/in said diaper)? Would you do it if doing so could save us from 112 million tons of trash (aka the 18 billion diapers Americans throw away) per year? A scientist in Mexico discovered that the oyster mushroom can break down the average diaper in four months ~ and still be edible afterward:

Sky's the Limit

Steve Jobs will be announcing the coming of iCloud. What is it? Ummm ... :

Riddle of the Sphinx

A little robot called Djedi used its "micro snake" camera to capture pictures of hieroglyphs on the floor and walls of the secret (well, heretofore secret) passages leading to the king's and queen's chambers in the Great Pyramid of Giza (video):

Off the Hook

Using magnetism and a combination of certain metals, scientists have invented a fishing hook that repels sharks. This, they hope, will reduce the number of sharks accidentally caught during commercial fishing:

Happy Landings

... and Impressive Endeavors! L.A.'s own California Science Center is one of the four institutions that will get a Space Shuttle Orbiter to keep on display: