blog post photo
At the cosmic big-picture level, io9 blog’s “Ask A Physicist” feature follows the same basic structure as the Elmo’s World “Ask a Baby” routine that so amused you as a preschooler. That leads to this week’s fascinating question: Do we live in a multiverse, and if so, does that mean that somewhere out there in an alternative reality, you have an evil double who’s just waiting to kill you and take your place? Elmo says, “Elmo wouldn’t like that.”

After 40 years, archaeologists have finally reached the end of the tunnel in Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I’s tomb, which they’ve long hoped would lead to the ancient monarch’s actual burial spot. Alas, Heritage Key reports, it doesn’t.

New Scientist informs us of the discovery of the fossilized skull of a humongous ancient whale that lived in the Miocene epoch, roughly 5 to 23 million years ago. And this wasn’t some touchy-feely, gentle New Age-y cetacean either, but a scary predator with foot-long teeth and an appetite for baleen whale meat.

Wired Science tells us that the world’s most intense X-ray laser also may now become the fastest strobe flash for a camera ever, capable of flashing for intervals as short as a quadrillionth of a second. That’s fast enough to image atomic bonds breaking and proteins taking shape. The trick is doing it without blowing up the particles.

NanoWerk says that GE is exploring the use of nanotechnology to capture carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. If that works, it could be huge.

Captchas, those weird boxes that require you to type in some nonsensical word combo in order to post a link or a message on a web site, are in for an upgrade. This TechCrunch post highlights a new, more advanced behavioral method for telling the difference between humans and bots.


Lord Monckton ain’t gonna like this. The RealClimate blog reports that the Times UK has retracted a January story proclaiming that UN climate officials’ assertions about the effect of climate change induced shifts in precipitation on the Amazon forests were bogus. In fact, the paper now admits, that assertion was based on solid, peer-reviewed scientific studies.


NeuroLogica blog
looks askance at the marketing of dietary supplements to kids with autism spectrum disorders.


Could synthetic biology lead to the construction of living buildings? Greenbiz examines that creepy future prospect.


The Engineering Ethics Blog looks at how the Gulf oil spill disaster is going to alter safety technology in the oil industry.