Lyrebird unbelievable jungle bird mimic bird and human sounds mimics car alarms, chainsaws, cameras, all kinds of birds.

See the video here.

More info here.

Chemistry Land

November 27th, 2007

Some great lectures on this site with lots of pictures and article titles like:

Problem with Audiences, What Happens Behind the Scenes and Misconceptions About Air.

Done in an old-school pre ’97 web style but fun nonetheless.

Why Good Sleep is So Essential

October 30th, 2007

One in 3 Americans suffers from Insomnia. There are currently over 75 categorized sleep disorders, with more sleep disorders being discovered every year. Americans, on average, get 1-2 hours less sleep than is recommended, and for those of us with a bad mattress, those hours that we do get are even less likely to leave us feeling refreshed, and less likely to allow us to reach the restorative levels of deep sleep we need.

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Ever wish you could reach back in time and change the past? Maybe you’d like to take back an unfortunate voice mail message, or rephrase what you just said to your boss. Or perhaps you’ve even dreamed of tweaking the outcome of yesterday’s lottery to make yourself the winner.

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Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Adventures In The Fourth Dimension

September 15th, 2007

In October 1895, the twenty-nine year old H.G.Wells was in the first flush of his fame and success. The Time Machine, serialised the previous year, had appeared in book form over the summer, and was heading for the Christmas bestseller lists on the back of reviews that were already proclaiming its author a ‘man of genius’. Publishers and magazines were scrabbling over the rights to his future work, and outlines and sketches for The Island of Dr.Moreau and War of the Worlds were being briskly circulated on both sides of the Atlantic. Robert W PaulBut the most curious approach that Wells received that month was from a designer of electrical and optical instruments named Robert W. Paul, inviting him to his offices at 44 Hatton Gardens to discuss a patent that he was developing to bring the Time Machine to life before the eyes of the paying public.

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A good programmer working intensively on his own code can hold it in his mind the way a mathematician holds a problem he’s working on. Mathematicians don’t answer questions by working them out on paper the way schoolchildren are taught to. They do more in their heads: they try to understand a problem space well enough that they can walk around it the way you can walk around the memory of the house you grew up in. At its best programming is the same. You hold the whole program in your head, and you can manipulate it at will.

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In his enviro-propaganda flick, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore claims nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade. That’s been a common refrain for environmentalists, too, and one of the centrepieces of global warming hysteria: It’s been really hot lately — abnormally hot — so we all need to be afraid, very afraid. The trouble is, it’s no longer true.

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Fascinating New Scientist article (for subscribers only, but there’s a copy here) on conspiracy theories, and why we believe them:

So what kind of thought processes contribute to belief in conspiracy theories? A study I carried out in 2002 explored a way of thinking sometimes called “major event – major cause” reasoning. Essentially, people often assume that an event with substantial, significant or wide-ranging consequences is likely to have been caused by something substantial, significant or wide-ranging.

I gave volunteers variations of a newspaper story describing an assassination attempt on a fictitious president. Those who were given the version where the president died were significantly more likely to attribute the event to a conspiracy than those who read the one where the president survived, even though all other aspects of the story were equivalent.

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Not to mention the question of which way it goes…

No one keeps track of time better than Ferenc Krausz. In his lab at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, he has clocked the shortest time intervals ever observed. Krausz uses ultraviolet laser pulses to track the absurdly brief quantum leaps of electrons within atoms. The events he probes last for about 100 attoseconds, or 100 quintillionths of a second. For a little perspective, 100 attoseconds is to one second as a second is to 300 million years.

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