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Archive for the ‘Science/Technology’ Category

Every Time NASA Gets Excited, We All Hope It’s Because of Aliens

A NASA photo of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.

If you’re NASA, you should really be more careful about throwing around phrases like “one for the history books.” That’s the terminology John Grotzinger, head of the Curiosity rover mission to Mars, used in a recent interview. But he was light on other details, so, since wild speculation is human nature, people are trying to figure out what Curiosity could have dug out of the Martian dirt that can be called “historic.”

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Sad News: Jurassic Park Proven Scientifically Impossible

The triceratops scene from Jurassic Park, with a tear added to the dinosaur's faceI have news that’s incredibly disappointing to my younger self, age 3 to 9. Sadly, we’ll never be able to build a real-life Jurassic Park, because the half-life of DNA strands only lasts 521 years.

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It’s Time To Stop Pretending Dumb Twitter Reactions Are News Stories

Olympic gymnastic Gabby Douglas holding her gold medal.

There was a very, very, very pointless news story last week regarding Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas’ hair. A handful of idiots took to Twitter to complain that her hair looked unkempt. Now any reasonable person reacts to this “story” by not reacting at all, because what an athlete’s hair looks like is about as important as what shoes a surgeon wears. In this case, a high and tight bun is standard operating procedure for gymnasts, so I really don’t know where the conversation came from in the first place.

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Google Users All Want to Know If Ryan Lochte Is Single

Google’s suggestions feature (that is, when you start typing something in and it guesses in advance what question you’re going to ask) is a great way to get a snapshot of things the world is thinking, by showing what search queries tend to be on people’s minds.

For example, while watching the Olympics over the weekend, I did a quick search during a commercial break to find out more information on Ryan Lochte, the gold-medal winning swimmer. Notice the second suggestion:

Second Google search result for "ryan l" is "Ryan Lochte girlfriend 2012"

You can read a lot into “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

Who’s Higgs? And Who’s Boson? The Arbitrary Power of Names

Physicists Peter Biggs and Satyendra Nath Bose

Where did your name come from? Possibly from one of your parents, or a more distant, long-dead ancestor. Maybe you were named after a song, or a character from a book or movie your parents liked. Or maybe your parents looked at your squishy newborn features and decided you simply looked like a (insert first name here).

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Ray Bradbury Loved and Hated the Future

Last week, legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91. If you’ve only read one of his books, it was probably Fahrenheit 451, but if you read more, they’d probably include Something Wicked This Way Comes or a few of the hundreds of short stories he published in his lifetime, such as There Will Come Soft Rains. Or maybe you’d be more familiar with the screenplays he wrote for The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

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Why the Government Confiscated High School Sports Footage

Source: Talking Points Memo IdeaLab

Where do you save your files? I mean the really important ones. Ones that you couldn’t afford to lose if your computer went kaput. Do you have an external hard drive? Do you stash them in a cloud service like Dropbox? Or do you just keep them in “My Documents” and hope that nothing bad ever happens to your CPU?

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Building a Better Comment Board

Source: xkcd

At SXSW (the annual massive digital/interactive festival in Austin, TX), Gawker founder Nick Denton complained about the dire state of online commenting. Now the Gawker empire is built on the blogification (to make up a word) of news, creating a more intimate and reader-focused platform for delivering news, rumors, and gossip. It’s supposed to be about engaging with people. That’s why it was pretty brutal to hear Denton bite the hand that feeds him with this quote:

“The idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership — that’s a joke.”

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