Interesting Reading #326

by | Aug 20, 2009 02:00 PM ET

Early Risers Are Mutants - "Don't hate those people who are perky and efficient after only a few hours of sleep. They can't help it. New research suggests that a genetic mutation may explain why some people sleep less..."

The Amazing Story of the Diver and the Whale - "The following incredible photos have been taken of a remarkable encounter between a 50-feet humpback whale and an extremely courageous diver..."

UK team's steam car bid on hold - "The first attempt by a team of British engineers to smash the longest-standing land speed record was dashed when the car's turbine became stuck..."

Arrow of time no longer double-ended - "A physicist claims to have solved one of the more persistent problems in physics: why time flows in only one direction..."

The 10 Stupidest Tech Company Blunders - "Some of the biggest high-tech deals never happened. Some of the most promising products and services never came to be. Why? Because the people and companies involved didn't realize what they were letting slip through their fingers, or they simply couldn't foresee what would happen afterward..."

The LED's Dark Secret - "The blue light-emitting diode, arguably the greatest optoelectronic advance of the past 25 years, harbors a dark secret: Crank up the current and its efficiencies will plummet. The problem is known as droop, and it's not only puzzling the brightest minds in the field, it's also threatening the future of the electric lighting industry..."

Roads that are designed to kill - "THREE YEARS AGO, I was driving in Atlanta early one morning when I saw a body on the road. It was a young female runner. I called 911 and then ran to her. She had a horrendous head injury but still had a heart beat. I started CPR, but her injuries were too severe. She died in my hands. I wrote a column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about what happened to the runner, and a flood of letters came in..."

In North Korea, Clinton Helped Unveil a Mystery - "The visit was arranged under a veil of secrecy with the help of an unlikely broker: a high-level American intelligence officer who spent much of his career trying to unlock the mysteries of North Korea...."

A Conservative's Road to Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy - "Given the traditional battle lines on the issue, Mr. Olson's decision to file a lawsuit challenging California's recent ban on same-sex marriage has stirred up stereotype-rattled suspicion on both sides..."

Ford's Electric Cars Will Talk to the Power Grid, Pick Least Expensive Electricity Rates - "Smart recharging will be extremely important for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. It would be pretty disastrous if millions of plug-ins started recharging their batteries during peak demand, which is why auto makers are working on systems that would allow the cars to be programmed to not only charge when electricity is cheapest, but also to communicate directly with the power grid via smart meters..."

LIGO Announcement: New Limits on the Big Bang - "The first few moments of the Big Bang — according to most theories of how it actually worked — should have produced gravitational waves in the fabric of spacetime that are still rippling through all of space today. But by now they should be extremely weak, and no detector has had the capability to detect them at any plausible predicted level..."

Dark Energy's Demise? New Theory Doesn't Use the Force - " Dark energy, a mysterious force proposed more than a decade ago to explain why the universe is flying apart at an increasingly faster clip, is no longer necessary..."

Giant Robotic Cages to Roam Seas as Future Fish Farms? - " In the future, giant, autonomous fish farms may whir through the open ocean, mimicking the movements of wild schools or even allowing fish to forage "free range" before capturing them once again. Already scientists have constructed working remote control cages..."

ICE BEAR: How it Works - "Pairing its revolutionary Ice Bear energy storage module with a standard commercial air conditioner, Ice Energy delivers the industry's first hybrid cooling solution specifically developed to reduce air conditioning energy demand for small to mid-sized commercial businesses..."

Why Should Engineers and Scientists Be Worried About Color? - "At the core of good science and engineering is the careful and respectful treatment of data. We calibrate our instruments, scrutinize the algorithms we use to process the data, and study the behavior of the models we use to interpret the data or simulate the phenomena we may be observing. Surprisingly, this careful treatment of data often breaks down when we visualize our data..."

I just noticed that _why apparently deleted his twitter account - "All disappeared... For those who don't know who I'm talking about..."

Mass Genome Crunching Rearranges the Foundation of Life - "A massive analysis of almost every bacterial genome sequenced to date suggests a new telling for the early story of life. One of the organismal tree's core branches — an offshoot of which later became the energy centers of plant and animal cells — appears to be a union of two other branches..."

Canadian model unmasks blog tormentor - "A Canadian model has won a landmark case in a New York court after Google was forced to disclose the online identity of a blogger who anonymously posted derogatory comments about the Vogue covergirl..."

How Different Groups Spend Their Day - "The American Time Use Survey asks thousands of American residents to recall every minute of a day. Here is how people over age 15 spent their time in 2008..."

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show

- "Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases..."

Pi calculated to a record 2.5 trillion decimals - "Researchers in Japan have calculated pi to over 2.5 trillion decimal places, more than double the previous world record set in 2002..."

"The Great Silence": Why Haven't Signs of Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life Been Discovered? - " The unsolved question of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is one of the greatest scientific challenges that currently confronts humanity..."

Soviet-era spaceships to do commercial flights - "An international spaceflight company plans to launch paying passengers on weeklong orbital trips by 2013 using vehicles based on Soviet-era spacecraft built for classifed military space stations..."

Low-income kids report first sexual intercourse at 12 years old in new national study - "As a new mother herself, Brenda Lohman admits to being shocked by the results of a new study she co-authored. It found that among nearly 1,000 low-income families in three major cities, one in four children between the ages of 11 and 16 reported having sex, with their first sexual intercourse experience occurring at the average age of 12.77..."

How to Eat on a Dollar a Day - "The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests' food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You'd have to really like the guest, I suppose..."

Winning While Losing: New Strategy Solves 'Two-Envelope' Paradox - "Researchers from Australia have taken a step toward resolving a seemingly simple yet unsolved paradox known as the "two-envelope" problem. They've worked out a new strategy that can enable a player to beat the game in terms of increasing their payoff. The strategy could have applications in optimizing gains in investments and other areas..."

Is This A Good Idea? Having your head transplanted onto another body? - "Having such a head transplant—or actually, from your point of view, a rest-of-the-body transplant—would have fairly obvious benefits. Why go to the trouble of Photoshopping the wrinkles from your Facebook portrait, traveling to an offshore rejuvenation clinic for human growth hormone therapy, or having yourself frozen at a cryonics lab, when you can just discard your worn cartilage, shrinking musculature and increasingly gunk-lined arteries and upgrade to a newer, better-equipped, higher-powered replacement?"

Methane seeps from Arctic sea-bed - "Scientists say they have evidence that the powerful greenhouse gas methane is escaping from the Arctic sea-bed..."

Bipedal Humans Descended from the Trees, Not Up from Ground - "A detailed examination of the wrist bones of several primate species challenges the notion that humans evolved their two-legged upright walking style from a knuckle-walking ancestor..."

Ancient civilization - How the Airplanes Were - "Under his initiative, the artifact measuring 5.6 inches in length and 7.2 inches of wingspan gave rise to speculations about ancient Egyptians possessing aeronautics technology. Interestingly, this model was found to have a very advanced ‘pusher-glider' mechanism that can keep it air-borne at speed limits of 45 to 65 mph. Its assumed ability to carry a heavy weight during its flight was greatly attributed to its downward-pointing wings..." More info:

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