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Category Archive: Cool Stuff

Jul 21 2014

Unexpected Science: Sixth Grade Edition

Lionfish live in the ocean Little Lauren gets a notion: Might they live in rivers, too? Would they thrive in brackish water? Lauren, ichthyologist’s daughter, Knows just what to do Slowly starts desalination Learns some brand-new information Of which we’re now aware New understanding’s always great So, never underestimate The sixth-grade science fair! Via NPR, …

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Jul 08 2014

Vials Labeled “Variola” Found. Could Have Been Worse.

Unless you are from Brazil, the scariest news today may have been the discovery of forgotten, unsecured, vials labeled “variola” (smallpox, to you and me) in an NIH lab. Hey, at least it was labeled! I’ve been cleaning out my office these past weeks, and if that NIH lab had been anything like my office, …

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Jun 04 2014

“I promise that your eyes will keep on watching…”

We gather together on Sundays With people who share our belief Our community spans generations In collective elation or grief We’re transformed in ecstatic communion There are times we—as one—hold our breath We have given our hearts to our passion In a way that defies even death This is bigger by far than religion Even …

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Apr 23 2014

Cuttlefish Shakespeare Fanboi Squee!!!!

So today is, as far as you know, William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (no one knows for sure, but it’s as good a day as any, and better than most, to pretend that it is). Which is cool. The odds are very much against anyone knowing I ever existed nearly 4 centuries from now (and if …

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Apr 18 2014

“Coming Out Atheist”

So Greta Christina’s new book is out now. As was expected, it is excellent. When she offered a copy for me to review, my only question was “what sort of verse form do you want the review in?” To my horror, she said she would love a Sestina. A Villanelle would be acceptable, but her …

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Apr 02 2014

There Will Be Light

One of the great things about today’s technological infrastructure (well, until the whole thing collapses and we revert to banging rocks together) is that you can have your favorite local radio station somewhere on the opposite side of the planet. Which is the case for me. Which means I get to hear stuff that will …

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Mar 19 2014

“The Squid’s Embrace…”

Down in the depths Of the salty Atlantic A seaglider measured the signs of the sea– Monotonous work, And it isn’t romantic, At least, I’d be bored if the glider were me Up to the surface And down to the bottom Again and again, that was all that it did No chance for a hickey, …

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Mar 16 2014

That’s not a Tree of Life–THIS is a tree of life.

Tree

Neil deGrasse Tyson, on Cosmos, brings up the “Tree of Life” metaphor. I like mine better. Artist: Mike McRae

Mar 15 2014

Meat

Just finished an absolutely wonderful book (about which, more later); in the notes was a mention of Terry Bisson’s wonderful short story “They’re Made out of Meat”. Studio 360 aired a version a while ago–give a listen: Bisson’s site has the transcript (or rather, the original story), for those who want. I love it.

Mar 11 2014

Don’t Panic!

… but it has been thirty years since the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game was released. I remember playing it. A 30th anniversary online version of the game is now available over at the BBC: A word of warning This game will kill you frequently. It’s a bit mean like that. But don’t …

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