Tag archives for MySci-Daily-Round-Up

While some of us slept through our modern literature class in college, we couldn’t help but stay awake on the day that our professor gave a stirring reading of T.S. Eliot’s cryptic poem, “The Waste Land.” Scholars have written volumes about Eliot’s torrent of disturbing imagery, which is laden with about as many literary allusions…

We’ve been humming the Foo Fighters’ song “Stacked Actors” all morning, ever since we saw this story from the Daily Mail, via the Huffington Post, in which a past associate of George Lucas claims that the movie impresario behind the Star Wars series is planning to make a movie featuring computer-generated likenesses of various dead Hollywood stars of yesteryear.  The Daily…

It’s been three decades since John Lennon’s murder by Mark David Chapman in front of his home in New York City on Dec. 8 1980. And those of us who were devotees of the funniest, most soulful, most protean, and most iconoclastic of the Fab Four have been left to wonder what else he might…

Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi-born artist and assistant professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has developed a name for himself with his provocative experiments in body modification as a means of expression. In March, for example, to remind people of the death of his brother Haji and others, both Iraqi and American, in…

An article from Information Week’s web site reports that the Air Force is keeping a tight lid on its new unmanned space plane, the X-37B. The robotic plane landed in darkness in the predawn hours of Dec. 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, after eight months in space.  The five-and-a-half ton vehicle…

For a long time, we’ve been perplexed by the weird, other-worldly phenomenon of ball lightning–luminous, usually spherical objects that vary from corn-kernel sized to several meters in diameter, and which usually  explode after a few moments, leaving a sulphur-like aroma. Since the first documented ball lightning sighting during a huge thunderstorm in England in 1638, countless…

Newspapers are reporting the passing of Sam Cohen, 89, the nuclear physicist credited with dreaming up the neutron bomb, a low-yield weapon which would kill people with radiation but spare buildings and infrastructure. According to his Washington Post obituary, Cohen was born in Brooklyn but moved as a child to Los Angeles, where he earned a…

We remember reading in Robert Hughes‘  history of Modernism, “The Shock of the New,” that the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 helped trigger the mass mind expansion that led to Picasso and de Kooning.  That’s because the then-tallest structure on the planet allowed people to view reality from a never-before-seen expanse, and to take in…

Just in case you’re not feeling sufficiently on edge, just consider this: There have been five major extinction events in Earth’s history that nearly wiped out life on the planet, and we could be inducing a slow-motion version of one right now. But could you be one of the lucky life forms that emerge relatively…

And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with Bristol Palin’s dancing. Somehow, in the election hoopla a few weeks ago, we neglected to report that Denver voters rejected–by a 5-1 margin, no less–a ballot proposal that would have set up a government commission to track extraterrestrial visitors to the Mile High City. The Washington Post reported the…

Here’s something that will blow your mind. Researchers at UCLA and the California Institute of Technology have proven that the humans can actually regulate the activity of specific neurons in the brain, increasing the firing rate of some while decreasing the rate of others. According to this recent UCLA news release, by employing this ability, study subjects…

You probably missed this story, amid all the hoopla about allegations that Tea Party supporters rigged the vote on “Dancing With the Stars” to keep Bristol Palin in the competition, despite her underwhelming talents as a hoofer. But a little-noticed report by a U.S. commission reveals that for 18 minutes on April 18, 2010, China Telecom manipulated the system…

There’s rumors on the Internets that Stuxnet, the mysterious malware that has attacked thousands—possibly millions—of computers around the world since its discovery in June, actually was a U.S. or Israeli cyber-weapon aimed at the Iranian nuclear program. Now, researchers at Symantec, the antivirus software giant, say in a blog post that they’ve found additional evidence that that…

Back in the late 1960s, America had a hit pop group called The Archies, who actually made it to Number One on the charts with the single “Sugar, Sugar”—a remarkable feat for a band composed of animated cartoon characters. (The Archies’ instrumental music and vocals actually were performed by an assortment of studio musicians.) We always saw…

If you think everything is going to Hades in a handbasket, just remember that things always could be worse. Personally, we always find that it lifts our spirits to re-watch some 1960s-1970s dystopian apocalyptic thriller, preferably one starring Charles “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!” Heston, such as “Planet of the…

If you think global warming isn’t a big deal, listen to this. Some scientists are predicting that in as soon as 100 years, some parts of the tropics could become so hot that humans would not be able to survive there. The Thermageddon thesis, of course, is a bit controversial—there’s disagreement, for example, about whether to spell…

Monday evening’s mysterious trail of vapor in the southern California skies, captured on video by a local TV news helicopter, appeared—at least to some—to be a clandestine missile launch. Others say it’s merely a routine bit of aircraft exhaust, viewed from a misleading angle. But contrails, AKA chemtrails, have long been a subject of scrutiny from conspiracists in the…

You’re probably wondering what happened to the MySci Roundup for the past few days. We are, too. Just kidding, but if we had actually experienced the“missing time” phenomenon of unaccountable time gaps in memory that some claim occurs during extra-terrestrial visitation, we wouldn’t be the first. James Everell, a Puritan settler in Massachusetts, and two companions reported having…

In case you’ve been lying awake at night, wondering about what would happen if your town or city is hit by an asteroid, maybe this will help you to get some sleep. Scientists at Purdue University and Imperial College in London have updated their online Impact Earth! event calculator, just for you. As this BBC News article details,…

  Everybody’s suddenly very excited about the Cleopatra, the ancient queen of Egypt in the First Century BC, and with good reason. Stacy Schiff’s new biography, Cleopatra: A Life,¬†which is¬†getting rave reviews, contends that both history and Hollywood have portrayed her inaccurately. The ancient queen turns out to have been a lot less like Elizabeth…

Here’s a particularly mind-bending new invention: Kor Ecologic and Stratasys have designed a car that can be manufactured using 3-D printing. The Urbee—not to be confused with Kirby, the animated Japanese video-game and TV star—is an electric-fuel hybrid designed to achieve an astonishing 150 miles per gallon (city/highway average), but even trippier is the fact that its…

We’ve got a block of scary programs for you on Saturday night, starting with American Paranormal: Haunted Prison at 8 PM ET. That’s followed by The Truth Behind Bigfoot at 9P, and The Truth Behind Zombies at 10P.Now, here are the spooky science and technology stories of the day.What zombies can teach us about brain…

There’s rumors on the Internets about a YouTube video of verite sidewalk footage shot in 1928 at the Premiere of a Charlie Chaplin movie, which shows a woman walking down the street and holding something to her ear, as if she’s having a cell phone conversation. The clip was extracted and posted by George Clarke, a Belfast-based indie…

We’re seeing signs of ominous portent everywhere these days, but particularly in software developer Eric Butler’s new Firesheep extension to the popular Firefox browser, which allows you to essentially eavesdrop on any open WiFi network and capture social network users’ cookies. On his website, the developer writes that 129,000 would-be snoops already have downloaded the extension, which…

In an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, former astronaut Russell Schweikart warns that it’s high time to get a system in place to deal with asteroids that might collide with Earth and cause a catastrophe of almost unfathomable proportions. Even if a relatively small asteroid smashed into our planet, he explains, it could destroy an…