Cool Links

Mauro Rubini and Paola Zaio studied skeletons from 234 graves in an early Medieval (6th-8th century) cemetery in Molise (south-central Italy). Based on grave goods, they suggest that the people buried in the cemetery were of different ethnic backgrounds - the Eurasian Avars, Lombards, and indigenous Italians - and were semi-nomadic. Three of the skeletons appear to have warfare-related wounds, and one of the three also suffered from leprosy in life.
Francis Crick was a polymath - a literate guy who crossed from the physical sciences to help solve one of the great mysteries of 20th century biology, the double-helix of DNA.   There are numerous others but science has become increasingly specialized and that is essentially, it is said, in a more complex world.

In "It's Sad But True That Most Discoveries In Biology Are Made By Physicists" - Freeman Dyson it was discussed that more and more complex problems would be ill-suited for just one field, biology being an example, and polymaths are becoming more prominent again. 
The new food pyramid is no longer a pyramid, it is shaped more like a pie...but they don't want you to call it a pie, because that isn't very healthy, so they call it a plate.

And it is better than that crazy pyramid (see Obama Administration Replacing A Pyramid With A Pie To Combat Obesity)

but is it natural or the result of more consensus due to lobbying by big corporations in the various food segments?
I don't use auto-correct and you know why?  Because I am never wrong, sure, but also because it is rarely right. has their 15 most popular auto-correct errors from last month and you will fall off your chair laughing.  Here is a sample:

Does positive psychology explain the happiness of Danes?   Granted, surveys are not perfect, but they can be telling; Denmark enjoys the highest "wellbeing" of the countries surveyed and an article in The Atlantic claims its because people trust the government, which seems a little self-serving to the sociologist who might like big government.    The Germans trusted their government also but occupied Denmark in World War II.

What happened next was distinct, though.   When the Danes learned the Germans planned to round up the Jews and send them to camps, they quickly mobilized a plan to get them to Sweden, which enjoyed friendly relations with the Germans and had neutral status.
No one seems to know which organic food has killed 22 people and sickened thousands due to E. coli bacterial contamination.   A day after blaming German sprouts - not a bad guess, sprouts have been the cause of 30 food scares just in the US since 1996 - and a few days after blaming Spanish cucumbers, investigators are admitting they may never know.

It's probably wiser to just not shop in the organic supermarket for a while.

"We have to be clear on this: Maybe we won't be able anymore to identify the source,"  said Andreas Hensel, head of Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, a further sign that this outbreak of E. coli has done to organic food what the earthquake at Fukushima did to nuclear power plants.
Maybe political correctness can get an autistic student voted prom king?   Only in Hollywood movies.  In real life, high schoolers can be vicious.    But for one socially awkward young man, diagnosed as autistic at a young age, high school has been pretty good and he was well regarded enough that his peers at Mariner High School. voted him prom king.

There may be some political correctness at the administrative level - kids like Justin Amandro are in the Exceptional Student Education program while they call the students without any sort of disability regular, which is confusing to non-Americans - but the students do the voting and they clearly like him and took the time to see past a label.
What do you get when you add 1 billion daily Google searches,  60 million Facebook status updates, 50 million tweets and 250 billion emails per day?

A whole lot of melting glaciers, that's what.   While activists are happy about the Depression-era economy and its drop in carbon emissions, the one area of business still working, the Internet, is now getting an evil gaze.   

The Internet has become the fastest growing source of carbon emissions - if the Internet was a country, it would be the planet's fifth-biggest consumer of power, ahead of India and Germany.   And that's only going to grow more.
Like fresh fish?  Apparently so did the Romans, to such an extent a hydraulic system found on an ancient wreck suggests they must have hauled live fish across the Mediterranean for sale and trade.

Consisting of a pumping system designed to suck the sea water into a fish tank, the apparatus has been reconstructed by a team of Italian researchers who analyzed a unique feature of the wreck: a lead pipe inserted in the hull near the keel.

Roman Ship Carried Live Fish Tank - Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Cranky militant females in science resent the heck out of attractive women who are also smart - they insist it is objectification but really it is plain old discrimination to demean the intellectual accomplishments of a woman just because she has great legs - no differently than it would be to understate the intellectual accomplishments of a woman, or anyone else, if they didn't have great legs.

To encourage tolerance and diversity in science, we present the latest in the Science Cheerleader pantheon of women who are in the science field and can kick a hole through a wall with their legs - Mariela:
Colombian immigrant Carolina Salguero came to the U.S. as a teenager, alone and not knowing any English, but she did have a dream: to study science.

Yesterday, 28-year-old Salguero graduated from Hunter College with a double major in biochemistry and economics - and a full scholarship to Harvard awaits.  Salguero's parents sent her from Colombia to Miami - alone - at 16 and she spent eight years wandering and finally got the chance to pursue her science dream at age 24, when Hunter College gave her a science scholarship.  
Extraterrestrial life gets invoked in some study or another every three months - astrobiology approaches astronomy levels of hype with its over-the-top claims about incremental studies.
But a rock wall in a South African mine near where "radiation eating microbes" were found a mile underground may be something else entirely.   

Tullis Onstott
Erica Jong, most famous (I think) for "Fear of Flying" and generally for talking about sex at a time when it was daring, has a daughter Molly , who contributed a piece for a new collection of essays edited by Jong called "Sugar in my Bowl: Real Women Write about Real Sex".   

And it begins...
The wizards at the Czech Technical University's Department of Control Engineering created a machine to show off how their servo motors can be used for precision tasks - and so they made it juggle.  Juggling is, of course, both easy and hard.  Anyone can do it, like playing golf, but doing it will is something else entirely.  Jugglers often have to move to keep the balls in the air because of subtle changes in throwing force and angle.  Not so this Juggler machine:
I get why New York people read the New York Times, what I don't get is why people elsewhere read it - and I have said publicly I am sure many in science would happily trade a 3-day waiting period on gun purchases if the NY Times would agree to a 3-day wait period on its science stories; in both cases so the suspects can be investigated thoroughly.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created another cultural tizzy because some people persist in an irrational belief that anyone in the UN knows anything about anything. 

Recently, WHO issued a fuzzy statement saying maybe, perhaps, alarmism about cellphones and cancer was right after all.   This, despite no quantitative data, no published study, no absolute risk factor and even no definition of "limited evidence" hidden in a footnote
Afficionados of modern poured-concrete design heard NJIT Assistant Professor Matt Burgermaster's presentation at the 64th annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians entitled "Edison's 'Single-Pour System: Inventing Seamless Architecture", which illustrated how, in 1917, Thomas Edison invented and patented an innovative construction system to mass produce prefabricated and seamless concrete houses. Typically most people associate this style of architectural design and type of building technology with the European avant-garde of the early 20th century. 
Literary genius — or at least competence — never blossoms in a vacuum. As much as many creative types like to pose as a mysterious lone wolves skulking through the fringes of society without ever becoming a cog in the machine, man, even their works have been shaped by their external experiences up to that point. Fred Lapides notes that soaking up advice through any reads available opens up new worlds and ideas and can help mold a work from just OK to just plain awesome.
We are losing the war against infectious bacteria. They are becoming increasingly resistant to our antibiotics, and we have few new drugs in the pipeline. Worse still, bacteria can transfer genes between each other with great ease, so if one of them evolves to resist an antibiotic, its neighbours can pick up the same ability. But Matti Jalasvuori from the University of Jyvaskyla doesn’t see this microscopic arms-dealing as a problem. He sees it as a target.
iWatch calls them Limousine Liberals but funding outreach to encourage the common people to ride bicycles while government people remain too important for that and need limousines is a progressive trait, not a liberal one.