Science History

Neil Armstrong's Heartbeat - EKG Up For Auction

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This article has been updated - please see:
One Small Step - Two Small Strips ( Or Maybe Three )




RR Auction of Amherst New Hampshire has announced a 2013 Space and Aviation Autograph and Artifact Auction.  Items on sale will appeal to aviation and space buffs.  RR Auction states that "Offerings include over 850 museum quality artifacts from the Golden Age of aviation and space flight".

How To Build A Perpetual Magnet Woo Generator

    "The general public sees perpetual motion inexactly. Probably they view each machine as a special case. The physicist or engineer, on the other hand, is very precise and classifies perpetual motion machines according to which law of thermodynamics they violate."

Kevin T. Kilty
Riff-Raff = Woo

Army physician William Beaumont was stationed at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island in Michigan in the early 1820s, when it existed to protect the interests of the American Fur Company. The fort became the refuge for a wounded 19-year-old French-Canadian fur trader named Alexis St. Martin when a shotgun went off by accident in the American Fur Company store and duck shot tore into his abdomen at close range June 6th, 1822. 

That accident is key to much of our early knowledge about the workings of the digestive system, say speakers at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting.

Using chromosomal data drawn from genetic databases, a group of researchers were able to identify the surname of one in every eight people from a sample of 911 American men. Sometimes other private information could be determined, including their geographic locations or the identities of their relatives.  

Can anyone ever truly take credit for a discovery? Every researcher stands 'on the shoulders of giants', as Sir Isaac Newton said. Scientists talk to each other and argue and hone their thoughts based on the criticisms and reactions they get. No one lives in a bubble and great things happen when a lot of smart people know each other and debate as often as possible.

But when the debates are well-known, it's difficult to assign credit and far too easy to take it away. In modern times, tearing down statues of giants and standing on the rubble happens more often than standing on their shoulders and reaching new heights. And everyone wants to stand on the rubble of Albert Einstein.

A greeting card appropriate to Silchester, about 1500 years ago.

The English is from a little bit later, more likely King Alfred’s time.  However, for the Britons still living there, although surrounded by Saxons, I have to use Modern Welsh, since only a few Ogham inscriptions from that time survive.

How did Tycho Brahe die?

It's been a mystery for over 400 years.  11 days after he took ill, he passed away on October 24th, 1601 and in that wake arose a host of speculations, myths, conspiracies and hypotheses.

One persistent theory, that involved both misadventure and claims of murder, was mercury; that he had self-experimented/self-medicated the mercury, or that he was poisoned.

In 2010, Brahe was exhumed from his grave in Prague and a Danish-Czech team of researchers has been working to determine the cause of his death. The results of this intensive work now make it possible to rule out mercury poisoning as a cause of death.
 

An advocate for gene-centrism recently wrote that the concept is a reductive mechanism for the understanding of evolution.
The first part of that statement is correct; it is reductive, and is therefore lacking those qualities that are necessary for properly understanding a “big-picture” process such as evolution.

The second part of the statement is not correct. Gene-centrism did not develop as an explanation of evolution; it began as, and has remained a political movement within evolutionary biology, the goal of which is to destroy group selection as a credible evolutionary process.
If you've been in science media for any length of time, there are two arguments you will hear invoked to support almost any questionable position; that Einstein did his best work while he was a patent clerk and that Galileo was oppressed by the Catholic Church.

One of those is wrong; Galileo was not actually oppressed by a Church, he was really oppressed by fellow scientists(1) , the Pope was actually quite supportive of Galileo but fellow scientists were looking for ways to torpedo him. Yet colloquially, Galileo is held up as this sort of 'religion against science' example in a way that shows many people believe it was some sort of unscientific Dark Age prior to his arrival.  Not true at all.
 
The first man to walk on the moon passed away today, a few weeks after heart surgery. He was 82.