Cool Links

In 1977, Harrison Ford had a sporadic career and was mostly a carpenter but he had done another film with George Lucas and sat down with KXAS-TV reporter Bobbie Wygant to discuss it. The new project? "Star Wars". Next stop: mega stardom.
CERN owes its historic aversion to patenting to its 20 European member states, says spokesman James Gillies. They pump millions of euros into the organisation every year to help develop new technologies – and don't want to have to pay to use the inventions in their own country. "So we have to square a circle: how do we protect the technology without double-billing member states?"

Last week, it struck a deal with the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to ensure that it profits better from its engineers' innovations.
British newspapers have always been more contrarian than US ones when it came to global warming coverage.   One skeptic thinks the damaging IAC report last week didn't go far enough.
In line with my article today, How To Make Open Access Better: Make Publishing Free Too, here is an economic analysis of which journal to choose for your publication.
Dorothy wanted to submit to PLoS One, whereas Al wanted to submit to a more prestigious journal. The advantage of publishing in PLoS One is that they have a very high acceptance rate and are fast 
Unlike physics or biology, the social sciences have not demonstrated the capacity to produce a substantial body of useful, nonobvious, and reliable predictive rules about what they study—that is, human social behavior, including the impact of proposed government programs.

The missing ingredient is controlled experimentation (read on)
RICHARD FEYNMAN, Nobel laureate and physicist extraordinaire, called it a “magic number” and its value “one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics”. The number he was referring to, which goes by the symbol alpha and the rather more long-winded name of the fine-structure constant, is magic indeed.

For years, the Britney Spears Guide to Semiconductor Physics has been floating around the Web intriguing, amusing, educating, troubling, or infuriating different people. Doing one better, pop star Lady Gaga is now immortalized in the name of a published physics paper.
The Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe, Stephen Hawking has concluded.
Unless you happened to be a BBC fan (and therefore on the left, so you saw them as 'balanced) you knew the BBC contained liberal bias.  There were too many examples to count and so by 2007 there was an internal report which concluded that greater efforts were required to avoid liberal bias.

"In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people's personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left," Thompson said.
The science blogosphere is shrinking and growing at the same time. Today, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) starts a new network called PLoS Blogs.   Consisting of 11 blogs by scientists and journalists,  it joins several other relatively small networks launched this summer, including those by the Guardian, Wired and Scientopia. 
Atami, Japan, once popular with honeymooners, is turning to a new breed of romance seekers—virtual sweethearts, in a dating simulation called Love Plus.  

Since the marriage rate among Japan's shrinking population is falling and with many of the country's remaining lovebirds heading for Hawaii or Australia's Gold Coast, Atami had to do something
With his new book, Danish scientist Bjørn Lomborg has become an unlikely advocate for huge investment in fighting global warming. But his answers are unlikely to satisfy all climate change campaigners.

The IPCC's head should quit to avoid harming the global warming cause further, says Geoffrey Lean.
It’s an 80-year-old illustration showing the largest animals and plants in the world. The ugly little secret is item no. 10, that totally unnoticeable line in the middle of the picture just below the dinosaur and the snake.

The image first appeared in H.G. Wells, J.S. Huxley and G. P. Well’s book "The Science of Life", published in 1931.
Consider this sad fact: 15 years into the era of Web publishing, most print publications still don’t link at all from inside the text of their articles posted online. They began shoveling their print stories, sans links, into the content-management system way back when; today, they’re shoveling still.

How did we get here? 
If you are anti-military this is not for you but if you've ever shot competition rifle, or just have an appreciation for anyone who is among the best at what they do, you can appreciate this Marine sniper who takes out a target over a mile away - through a brick wall.  The tactical breathing issues alone to make a shot from a mile away are unfathomable.    Better: after he makes the shot, the sniper stays there for another 12 hours.   

I don't recommend doing this at your local shooting range, even if they have a .50 cal.  Why?   The air will positively shimmer when that thing goes off and the recoil, even with a low-recoil gas system, will make inexperienced shooters physically ill.
Bad Agronomy

Bad Agronomy

Aug 28 2010 | comment(s)

With Phil Plait getting his own TV show this weekend, look for new homages ... but why would anyone want to be bad?  I am not sure, though when you make something popular people will copy it, often for the best of reasons.

We even had a Bad Archaeology here years ago, for an article anyway.   Will we now change our name to Bad Science 2.0?   We don't like Phil that much.
A robotic hand attached to a small helicopter can successfully and autonomously grip objects while the helicopter is hovering(link to video there too) ...

Yale Aerial Manipulator

Article: Paul E.I. Pounds and Aaron M. Dollar,  Hovering Stability of Helicopters with Elastic Constraints, proceedings of the 2010 ASME Dynamics Systems and Control Conference (DSCC 2010).
Britons may be famous for their lack of fashion sense but they may have inherited one of their biggest sartorial crimes, wearing socks with sandals, from Italians.
From Daily Life in an Ivory Basement:
I'm a big believer in open science...but it's always interesting to think about how such things as "data release" can be perverted by clever scientists. I'm currently in France working on some ascidians with Billie Swalla...and we've been talking about what data we plan to release, and how. During these talks...Billie brought up an interesting historical parallel.
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