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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

Did you even know there was a discipline called paleomagnetics?   Probably not.(1)   It isn't easy to find a category on this site to put it in, that's for sure.

But a discipline it is and it even has its own controversies, as all science must; namely, the nature of Earth's magnetic field 1.1 billion years ago.

The Earth's magnetic field in two sentences:   it wraps around the globe and helps shield us from cosmic rays - lest we all burst into flame or turn into orange rock and say things like, "It's clobberin' time!"  

fantastic four cosmic rays magnetic core
I'm not one of the more fundamentalist types in the broad science community who had any issue with Francis Collins leading the NIH.   His credentials are impeccable and the same people who were backflipping with glee over Stephen Chu as Energy Secretary despite his weird militancy about global warming seemed to mind that Collins liked to go to church.   Not an issue for me, I was more worried about his overselling of personalized medicine.
Ahoy maties, how the time flies. It is "Talk Like A Pirate Day" once again and the science communities be awash in pirattitude.

Or not, perhaps 'tis just me.

But if it's not just me, and the little Buccaneer in you is also seeking others to celebrate with and to find out more information on this important event, abandon all hope ye who blog here because I just don't have a lot more than you could find in 4 seconds of a Google search.

Talk Like A Pirate Day began, so the legends go, in 1995, when John 'Ol Chumbucket' Baur and Mark 'Cap'n Slappy' Summers' were engaging in a friendly game of tenpins or raquetball or whatever it is pirates do and one of them yelled "Arrrgh!" in pain. A holiday was born.
In creating a science site for kids (that would be Kids Science Zone - if you haven't written anything there, feel free to do so) , the majority of comments I have gotten have been likely about the same as I would have gotten if I had opened up this site to a large community of people with advice to give - namely a lot of suggestions from people who don't use it about how awesome it would be if it had X, Y or Z added.
Today an archaeologist revealed that even in ancient Israel they were making outstanding likenesses of Alexander the Great.   Israel was a far cry from his usual stomping grounds but he had passed through on his way to Egypt and they had become so enamored with him - and his thousands of troops, we can assume - that they capitulated.

More interestingly, outstanding Hellenistic artists created likenesses of him, so the great ones were not limited solely to places like Alexandria.

Alexander was the first 'cult of personality' as his images attest:
Michael Cosmopoulos was raised in Athens but has been in St. Louis since 2001.  Yet his heart and his science never left Greece.   Since 1999, he has been working at a site in Pylos and he recently came across a real-life palace dating back to the time of the Trojan War.

The Trojan War is just a story, of course (though if you don't think so, which figure from Homer's historical work do you think I am?)(1) but historians debate what kernels of truth may be in there.