Cool Links

The Giant Ocean Tank folks at the New England Aquarium aren't letting Halloween go by without getting some SCUBA attention.   

There's a jack-o-lantern underwater:

and A Wicked Witch of the Deep
Home schoolers will tell you they knew this (and results bear them out) found that the effect on a child's educational attainment was, in order;

1) parents' effort is more important than the school effort
2) school effort is my important than the child's effort

Yes, they say parental involvement is more important than even how hard the child is inclined to work.
Artist and astrophotographer Alan Friedman talked to Wired blogger Lisa Grossman about he got an incredible photo of the Sun in his downtown Buffalo, NY backyard - and you can too.

He hooked his telescope to a hydrogen-alpha filter

which selects a tiny slice of the visible light spectrum. Hydrogen, the chief component of the sun, radiates strongly in this deep-red light, letting both the sun’s outer layers and the feathery filaments that extend away from the disk show up in sharp detail (see photos below).
It's bad enough that San Francisco football fans are ridiculed, what with drinking white wine spritzers in the stands and all that.   Now baseball fans are becoming famous for being stoners.

Californians may well pass a marijuana legalization law, putting them squarely in defiance of the big government in Washington most Californians claim is a good thing - but it hasn't happened yet, so Dallas sports anchor Newy Scruggs became a YouTube hit when he noted people were smoking weed outside AT&T Park before Game 1 of the World Series and "the police aren't doing anything."
It's impossible that some in science protest anti-science thinking in defiance of evidence yet continue to regard "Silent Spring" as an accurate waypoint regarding science policy.    A culture war  on DDT led to banning it and replacement by synthetic substitutes far worse than DDT for people and wildlife and, due to high cost, the deaths of many more children in Africa.

Now, instead of the obvious solution for malaria used for decades without harm, a group of experts say we should give up on beating it.
Putting your kids in daycare with other germ-infested kids may have kept them from getting diseases like Leukemia - what that means is hyper-attentive mothers insisting you go through a space-age quarantine process before viewing their little cherub may be doing more young'uns harm than good.

And using your cell phone may be preventing Alzheimers.   4 more subtle habits keeping you alive at Cracked.
Halloween through the years in one easy graphic. Click image to see it in a more readable larger size.

The Evolution of Halloween
It's special effects on a budget and, if you like gaping holes through your stomach, it looks fantastic.

Evan Booth shows us all how it is done.   A portable DVD player attached to his stomach actually displays a live video image from a camera mounted on his back - so it shows what's behind him, giving the illusion of a gaping hole through his chest.

hole through body costume illusion
Britney Spears is not the first star to juggle the weight of fame and a gift for technical matters. Austrian born film star Hedy Lamarr, famous in the 1930s and '40s, was also a gifted electrical engineer. 

Lamarr was frequently quoted as saying, " Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid ." She may have played that role on the silver screen, but when it came to real life, Hedy proved that brainpower was everything.
Hollywood's going to need more military costumes for villains.   James Cameron, the-man-who-hates-Marines(1), has agreed to shelve other projects and film Avatar 2 and 3 (has filming sequels simultaneously ever worked?   Does anyone regard that second "Pirates of the Caribbean" as a good film?  How about "Back to the Future 2"?   You see what I mean) for release in 2014 and 2015 - supposedly because Fox made a donation to an environmental charity.
Democrats are looking to a pair of comedians, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert,  to do what President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and dozens of other Democrat leaders haven’t done yet this election season: Get someone other than Republicans excited about voting

Stewart and Colbert expect tens of thousands of fans to join them three days from now at the “Rally to Restore Sanity”, the progressive alternative to the various conservative "Tea Party" rallies held this year.
Forget corn and sugar and petroleum for plastics, scientists have developed a Styrofoam out of clay and milk proteins.

Like a lot of great research, it began with an accidental discovery in the lab.  A student freeze-dried clay and got something intriguing enough that they started mixing the clay with a variety of materials.

When they added a cow's milk protein called casein, they ended up with a super-light, fluffy, and foam-like material. With further experimentation, they hit on a recipe that worked wel.
A group of researchers are teaching Waldrapps,  the northern bald ibis, to learn a migration route by teaching them to follow a microlight.

It's part of a wider conservation plan to save this critically endangered bird - because the birds are usually taught migration paths by their parents, impossible because the birds are raised in captivity, an artificial way to teach them is necessary.   
As is often the case when anti-science hysteria turns evidence issues into political and cultural wars, the opportunities for rational discussion get lost.  

Lord Sainsbury says it is time for a new debate on GM foods as he thinks they will help feed the world population estimated to reach 9 billion people by 2050.
A cool link for today for the title alone, but discovery of an oceanic cousin of the Mimivirus — the Cafeteria roenbergensis virus — which has the second-largest viral genome ever found in a single-celled host, is cool in its own right.
Can't get enough romance, even on an airplane?   Air New Zealand is for you.   They are about to offer what MSNBC calls "Cuddle Class" on Auckland-LA Flights starting next April - it's ostensibly for families so don't get crazy and let out the little Maori tribesman in you.
China loves intellectual property rights when it is used by China against other countries but only then - if you've ever worked for a company that sells products in China, you know that you have zero recourse when someone starts selling your intellectual property for a dollar outside your office, but China says they take rights seriously.

If so, oops, The People's Daily, official mouthpiece for the Communist Party of China, let this one slip through in its review of the iPad - 
Courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Richard Vedder at the Chronicle notes that 5,000 Ph.D.s are working as ... janitors.

Did those of us who went to college before a political party decided a college education was 'a right' know there would be diminishing returns to a college education once everyone had one?  Sure we did, but that's no miracle of economics.  Heck, even Paul Krugman could have figured that out.   

Vedder agrees.
In the modern world of Wikileaks and ClimateGate, where and how you get things and their credibility matters less than how opponents can make political hay with it, the impact on science is evident as well.

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel and Gretchen Vogel writing at Science detail how accusations of scientific fraud from an anonymous e-mail address sent to the researchers in question but also to other prominent stem cell biologists, several scientific journals, and reporters has the paper authors defending themselves, virtually without cause.   
Appearing on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” program last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that people who don’t like Google’s Street View cars taking pictures of their homes and businesses “can just move” afterward to protect their privacy. Ironically, he said this on the very day that Google admitted those cars captured more than just fragments of personal payload data.