An amazing letter from Jourdon Anderson, an ex-Tennessee slave, wherein he declines his former master's invitation to return as a laborer on his plantation. (Dayton, Ohio, August 7, 1865.) Digitized by the University of Houston.
Friday, June 26, 2009
"Just as we vary in our tastes for alcohol, so do the monkeys...just as some people are teetotalers, so are some of the monkeys. Significantly, the percentage of teetotaler monkeys matches the nondrinkers in the human population..."
"A new study asking Australians to rank which everyday experiences give them the most pleasure has quashed the long-standing assumption that men prefer sex over food."
The survey was conducted by an ice-cream company, so your mileage may vary...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
According to research announced in May by pediatrics professor Jennie Noll of the University of Cincinnati, the more often that teenage girls tart themselves up in online presentations, the greater the sexual interest they provoke. [Forbes-HealthDayNews, 5-26-09]
Two scientists from Britain's University of Oxford, on a three-year study costing the equivalent of nearly $500,000, found that ducks may be even more comfortable standing under a sprinkler than paddling around in a pond. Lead researcher Marian Stamp Dawkins concluded that ducks basically just like water. [The Guardian, 5-20-09]
"Deep in the bowels of a brutalist concrete building on the Strand, long shelves are packed -- crammed, really -- with some of the world’s strangest substances, from the past, present and sometimes, it seems, the future. Take Aerogel: the world’s lightest solid consists of 99.8 per cent air and looks like a vague, hazy mass. And yet despite its insubstantial nature, it is remarkably strong; and because of its ability to nullify convection, conduction and radiation, it also happens to be the best insulator in the world. Sitting next to the Aerogel is its thermal opposite, a piece of aluminium nitride, which is such an effective conductor of heat that if you grasp a blunt wafer of it in your hand, the warmth of your body alone allows it to cut through ice. Nearby are panes of glass that clean themselves, metal that remembers the last shape it was twisted into, and a thin tube of Tin Stick which, when bent, emits a sound like a human cry. There’s a tub of totally inert fluorocarbon liquid into which any electronic device can be placed and continue to function. The same liquid has been used to replace the blood in lab rats, which also, oddly enough, continue to function."
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Frank's presentation on good covers inspired me to come up with a new department here at URMAblog, which I'm calling duck and cover. For the first installment, I humbly submit this one, from The Economist.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Mockingbirds may look pretty much alike to people, but they can tell us apart and are quick to react to folks they don't like. Birds rapidly learn to identify people who have previously threatened their nests and sounded alarms and even attacked those folks, while ignoring others nearby, researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This shows a bird is much more perceptive of its environment than people had previously suspected," said Douglas J. Levey, a professor in the zoology department of the University of Florida. (USA Today, 5/19/2009; hat tip to newsoftheweird.com)
"my name is gerry (jerry) phillips and i have been playing songs on my hands for 38 years! [queen's] brian may wrote this about this video: 'I gotta say ........ this is one of the greatest videos I have ever seen ... the guy is brilliant ... '"
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Your incoming president decrees that if you have your own photos from URMA'09, post them here. (Or send them to Jason, who will post.)
On the bus and off to lunch.
Doug Smith, Caltech.
Diane Boudreau, Arizona State.
Melissa Lutz Blouin, Arkansas.
Kicking off the videoconference with Endeavors folks.
Beth, Neil, Mark, Margarite, and Susan via videoconference from North Carolina.
Disaster City (where the grass is green and the girls are pretty).
Your incoming and outgoing presidents.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
"The poorer a man's intellectual equipment, the more does he revel in technicalities. A man with a wealth of valuable ideas is anxious to communicate those ideas, and will naturally tend to choose for that purpose the simplest language he can find. But a man whose intellectuality is a sham, and who has in truth nothing to communicate, endeavors to conceal his emptiness by an outward show of learning. . . . He fails to see that the love of long words and technical terms is in fact nothing but a symptom of his mental infirmity. It is a kind of intellectual disease." W.T. Stace, "The Snobbishness of the Learned," in Atlantic Essays 94, 99-100 (Samuel N. Bogorad & Cary B. Graham eds., 1958).