These are articles which previously were collected in the "New
[Science] News" section of my home page. If a
link has expired, please let me know.
Archived on 6 July 1997:
The San Diego Union-Tribune hosts Science
City, an excellent collection of stories and articles. The current
highlight is a twelve-part history of evolution.
Generating random numbers is hard for a computer, which can't do
anything randomly (except crash). However, in an exciting development
that harks back to the dawn of the computer age (well, the '70s,
anyway), scientists have harnessed the power of Lava Lamps to generate
Wierd things seem to be happening at the center of our galaxy. No,
it's not exploding, as it does in Larry Niven's Known Space series, but
it is sending out an
Enormous Antimatter Beam. Fortunately not at us.
Organisms as diverse as robins and rhinos obey the same math laws
governing the way size
affects structure, plumbing and life history. Surprisingly (or
maybe not), these laws are fractal.
For example, an animals metabolic rate goes as mass3/4.
Quasicrystals, like perfect crystals (e.g., diamond), have
long range order. Unlike crystals, they aren't periodic. This gives
them some rather unique properties. Introduction to
Quasicrystals will help you get caught up on this unusual form
of matter. Don't forget to go to the bottom of this page and look for
some (DOS) programs which will help you understand crystals and
Penrose tiles are the two-dimensional analog of quasi-crystals --
long range order, but no periodicity. In addition, they are related to
Mean. You can read about them, or use QuasiTiler
to construct your own tiles. (Note: I've heard that you can buy Penrose
tiles for your floors. If anyone has ever heard anything about this,
please email me.) (Further note: I've also heard that you can get
Penrose-tiled bathroom tissue -- and the Penrose is suing the company.)
through the ages gives you a web based history of man's favorite
dessert. Oh. Never mind. Anyway, this site tells you a lot more about
pi than you may want to know. For the definitive history of pi, plus
gratuitous attacts on hippies, Aristotle, and the Roman Empire, go to
Borders and get a copy of Petr Beckmann's A Brief
History of Pi.
Like to doodle with numbers? See the Recreational
Math home page.
Space Report is a more-or-less weekly listing of every manned and
unmanned orbital launch.
Computers on the horizon? Maybe sooner than you think. Using a
"large thermal ensemble (such as a cup of coffee)", this sounds like
something out of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Speaking of the APS March meeting (I was, further back), you can
read about some of the highlights online.
If you are a real glutton for punishment, you can look at the abstract of my
Is history a science? Doesn't matter. Take a look
at past versions of this month and see what happened 25, 50, and 75
Nature has a special section on cloning
of sheep and, presumably, other things. There are news, opinions,
commentaries, and letters. You may need to register, but it is free.
Archived on 23 March 1997:
It is now possible to measure very
small forces. How small? Just enough to lift a protein molecule.
Two scientists think they know the region where
the famed Martian Meteorite originated Unfortunately, they don't
agree on the place. Split the difference?
of memory, one electron -- you can't get much more compact than that.
Humans have lived in South America for
12,500 years -- and maybe a lot longer.
Once thought of as a high-tech flop, the Hubble
Telescope is helping revolutionize astronomy. Now it's due for an upgrade.
engine, rejected by NASA for the original shuttle, may power the
next generation of orbiters.
MIT scientists are learning how to use quantum mechanics to put atoms to
work, possibly replacing some lasers and gyroscopes.
Stiff neck? If a water bed helps your back, how about a
discovery of extrasolar planets has led to a renewed interest in the
search for life beyond the Earth. (This is a New York Times article. You'll be
asked to register before reading. It's free.)
Which really came first? Dinosaurs or
Will methane be our next fuel? There appears to be
a lot of it.
for the flu? It might even be a baum from Gilead.
Not just light: MIT researchers have shown how to construct a rubidium atom laser.
Here is a popularization of the announcement.)
You've probably never seen this before: a scientific review of the
new Keanu Reeves movie, Chain
Reaction, a movie about
New studies show that genus Homo started using tools at
least 2.6 million years
Archived on 9 Feb 1997:
January 26 is the 58th
anniversary of the announcement of uranium fusion by neutron
Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto, died on January 17.
It is believed that the Earth's core rotates faster than its
surface. Johns Hopkins University scientists have developed a
model which may explain this phenomena.
Archived on 29 Jan 1997:
This is what happens when you expose scientists to too much
literature: Hamlet as an
allegory for competition between cosmological models. It is
unknown whether, or how far, the tongue was inserted into the cheek
when this paper was read.
Scientists at Purdue and Japan's Laboratory for High Energy Physics
have partially penetrated the "
Virtual-Particle Curtain" around the electron to reveal some of its true
The sun will come up tomorrow. But what about a million
years from now? Does
chaos rule the solar system?
Archived on 26 Jan 1997:
evidence of oceans and
rivers on Europa.
Astronomers have recently discovered Jupiter-sized planets in
Earth-like orbits around other stars. The planets can't support life
as we know it, but possibly their moons can. To find out, we've got to
for Habitable Moons.
We've been detecting high energy gamma ray bursts for years.
Sometimes they've been mistaken for byproducts of nuclear weapons
tests. But now, scientists at Marshall Space Flight center believe
these gamma rays originate from
the edge of the universe.
method for finding black holes has been suggested by a group at
Archived on 22 Jan 1997:
Douglas Adams said that the universe was weirder than you thought.
We mean really wierd. A new survey of galaxies shows that we may live
in a Three
Dimensional Cosmic Chessboard. You might think I'm making this up,
but it appears in Nature.
But does this really mean anything, or is it merely our need
to find patterns?
Remember the old story about a scientist "proving" that a bumblebee
couldn't fly? Well, now we're a lot closer to discovering the
secrets of insect flight.
Archived before 19 Jan 1997:
Astronomer and science writer/publicist Carl Sagan died on December
20. No matter what you think of his later science and politics, his doctoral
thesis was at the cutting edge of planetary science in its time.
Post hosts a discussion
of Sagan's life, career, and impact. The print edition of the post also
has an obituary,
as well as what the Post calls an "appreciation".
Finally, here is a longer
article from last May.
How long did homo erectus and homo sapiens
quite a long time, according to one anthropologist.
Carbon buckyballs and nanotubes, a "new" form of carbon, are stronger
than steel. Several years ago I wrote an article about this Buckystuff. Now, the technological
potential of these materials is
in the news.
Searching for a book online? If it's out of copyright, Project Gutenberg probably has it.
If not, they need your help to get it onto the net.
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