Hairy Ball Theorem Updated

The Hairy Ball Theorem  (HBT) was first postulated (and then proved) by Luitzen Egbertus...

"Graunching" A Review Of The Literature

One of the first technical papers to reference ‘Graunching’ was ‘Railway Noise: Curve Squeal...

Head Bobbing In Birds - The Science

The question : ‘Why do some*(see note below) birds bob their heads when walking?’ has perplexed...

'Groucho Running' The Science

Please observe the following unusual locomotive behavior which begins at around 55 seconds into...

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Martin GardinerRSS Feed of this column.

I specialise in beachcombing the scholarly journals and university websites for uncommonly intriguing academic articles by uncommonly intriguing people. Articles such as moustache transplants, the... Read More »


There are currently a number of research teams worldwide working towards the implementation of bionic heads and faces which can attempt to express human emotions, however “… most of them can not express continuous changing expressions effectively, and they just express limited pre-existing emotional state.” explain the developers of a new Chinese Bionic Head.

“Previous studies of slithering have rested on the assumption that snakes slither by pushing laterally against rocks and branches.” explain a joint research team from the Applied Mathematics Laboratory, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, of New York University and the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biology, at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
What is the optimum stroke angle for a duck’s foot when paddling? 

Although a duck may already intuitively know the answer, the question has now been clarified for us humans as part of a recent research project undertaken at the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in the US.

Research Scientist and Post Doctoral Scholar Dr. Daegyoum Kim performed the study along with professor Morteza Gharib. The team employed a range of experimental setups with mechanical flappers, clappers and paddlers in tanks of fluid which was seeded with silver-coated glass microspheres and illuminated by an Nd:YAG laser.
The Windows® NTFS disk filing system was first introduced in 1993, but despite its undoubted sophistication, not everyone is convinced that it is perfectly tuned for all possible eventualities. Prompting Dr. Fanglu Guo and Dr. Tzi-cker Chiueh from Symantec Research. Laboratories, Culver City, USA to develop their DAFT disk operating system.
Would one normally expect a health-professional’s stethoscope to hang more predominantly to their left, or their right? And if there is a bias, what conclusions may be drawn? In 2007, professor Emmanuel Stylianos Antonarakis MBBCh performed a cross-sectional questionnaire survey with 186 medical doctors of all grades from the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. The prevalent stethoscope-hang side (if there was one) was noted and correlated with handedness, footedness, eyedness, earedness, hand clasping, arm folding, and leg crossing of the subjects.
What makes adult human males attractive (to adult human females) ? Of the many possible factors, at least three have been scientifically investigated, measured, and described by ‘Honest Signals’ researcher Dr. Nick Neave, of the School of Life Sciences, Department of Psychology, at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Factor one: Facial hair (of the right length)

“A within-subjects design employed one condition (facial hair) incorporating five levels (clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, light beard and full beard).”