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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Science is awesome in this week’s link roll

Eight days of school left, and then I get to return to Canada for a month! I had a nice dinner in Norwich on Friday with the math department. My train ride home should have been uneventful, but I stupidly forgot my suit carrier on the train from Norwich. So it’s somewhere in London Liverpool St Station, with any luck, and I get it back.

I didn’t have that many links to share, and I was busy last weekend, so I held them over until this week. But that means I have much more to highlight!

  • I’m always happy to read about how the atomic bomb has changed our world. Wait, that sounded wrong. Let me start that again.
  • I’m always interested to find out new side-effects of using atomic bombs in our atmosphere. For instance, it’s possible to determine if a supposedly pre–World War II painting is a forgery by checking the quantity of certain isotopes, like strontium, in the paint. Atomic testing has markedly increased such isotopes in the atmosphere, so paint manufactured after World War II is different from paint manufactured before! Now, scientists have used a similar process to confirm that our brains grow new neurons! I long believed that we only had a set amount of neurons from birth, so this is a cool confirmation made in the coolest possible way.
  • Speaking of science misconceptions, the Vlogbrothers have put together a good video of 50 misconceptions about science over at the Mental Floss channel.
  • I went to Christopher Emdin’s talk on hip-hop pedagogy back in Thunder Bay last year. He’s been collaborating with Rap Genius, and one of those products of collaboration is a rap contest about science! Here is the winning entry.
  • Last week saw the 10-year anniversary of the Opportunity rover’s mission to Mars. It was supposed to last 90 days.
  • Here’s a neat visualization of how Google censors the Web.
  • While we are talking about visualizations, how about some of the cost of childbirth in the United States?
  • Say what you will about the craziness of the United States, this story is from Brazil: a referee stabbed a player who refused to leave the field, killing him. So the player’s friends and family stoned the referee to death and cut off his head. Cannot. Make. This. Up.
  • The CIA is spent taxpayer money keeping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on ice by letting him design vacuum cleaners.
  • Interesting post over at Racialicious about intersections between feminism, motherhood, and racial identity.
  • Meanwhile, The Guardian has an interview with Ellen Page about feminism, including Page’s changing feelings about reactions to Juno.
  • Short article at NPR about the dearth of movies by women, about women, for women.
  • The Guardian also brings us a heartwarming and hilarious story about what happened when the NSA recruiters visited the University of Wisconsin in the wake of the Snowden scandal.

That’s all for now. I’m going to go see Now You Se Me.