Cool Links

Woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) roamed the planet for more than a million years, ranging from Europe to Asia to North America. Nearly all of these giants vanished from Siberia by about 10,000 years ago.

The Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) preferred the more temperate regions of southern and central North America. The Columbians were much larger than woollies, with Columbian males reaching one-and-a-half to two times that of woolly males.

Researchers have discovered the mitochondrial genome of the Columbian mammoth was nearly indiscernible from that of its northern woolly counterparts.   Woolly mammoth may have interbred with elephants.
Did the Chinese come to East Africa before the Europeans?

China says yes and, to prove it, Chinese and Kenyan archeologists are now searching the African coast for the fabled wreck of a Ming dynasty junk, an ancient Chinese sailing vessel, from the fleet of legendary 15th-century explorer Zheng He.

 Researchers have identified several shipwrecks of interest off the Kenyan coast near the World Heritage site of Lamu but after years of excitable hype by China’s state media, the underwater archaeologists involved in the search are warning that the newly discovered wrecks could be from any era or country — and even if a sunken Chinese ship is found, it may no longer be intact or even identifiable.
Anonymous, the proper name given to a secret, loose band of Internet hackers famous for taking out sites they do not like (here's hoping they like Science 2.0) didn't think much of a NATO report on their activities.

"Can one invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty after a cyber attack? And what response mechanisms should the Alliance employ against the attacker? Should the retaliation be limited to cyber means only, or should conventional military strikes also be considered?"
The organic food crisis in Europe has caught popular attention even in America - dozens dead and thousands sickened due to another E. coli occurrence in organic produce - but America has another issue that could harm people who have been educated by advertising into believing that raw and organic is nutritionally different and just as safe.

Raw food, in particular unpasteurized milk and juice, poses a very specific public safety risk that is unrelated to dietary concerns. Consuming a diet loaded with fat and salt is unhealthy, but the government has no business regulating that. Raw milk, however, is different. Unpasteurized milk has a greater chance of being contaminated with disease-causing bacteria than pasteurized milk.
That whole "Facebook of..." thing is a pretty common description these days.  It makes sense, Facebook is wildly popular (even we have a Facebook page) and 4 years ago we were called Facebook for Scientists, which didn't make a lot of sense at the time since writing science on the Internet existed before Facebook.

And if scientists were that social they would be on the actual Facebook more.  They just aren't, as a bloc.   Regardless, IBM thinks if they build it, scientists will come and their sweetener is it will help researchers get funding.  
The EPA believes it has the ability to impose new regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants including mercury and arsenic without Congressional approval.

Oddly, both Republicans and Democrats are against a sweeping power grab by unelected officials who have no accountability and no oversight.   Regardless, until it is resolved, new rules are driving power plants out of existence.

If you think energy prices are too high, wait until more power plants close.     American Electric Power said yesterdsy that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and have to spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations.  Who's going to pay for that?   Consumers.
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: