science

misinformation effect

Turns out I’m not alone in memory-is-an-illusion kick. Just the day after I posted that, Kottke gave a nice shout-out to this funny new blog called You Are Not So Smart. Dude is chronicling all the ways in which we delude himself. In other words: He picked the perfect topic for a blog. His subject […]

phrenology chart versus dermatome chart

My mom just sent me this dermatome chart (actually, she sent me this more useful chart, but the first link is prettier). [More on dermatomes here.] And of course the first thing that sprang to mind was: “Hey, phrenology wasn’t as bat-shit insane as I previously considered it.” I mean, ok, it was really crazy. […]

natural history observes itself

So the American Museum of Natural History has put online some archival photos of its exhibits being built and viewed from about the turn of the century to the mid-1960s [ok, ok, via kottke, he finds everything!]. And as this fellow Pruned points out the creepy/surreal shots of the dioramas being built are by far […]

optical illusion of glory

glory photo from wikipedia No, I’m not about to get all socio-philosophical on you. I actually saw an optical illusion called a glory about a month ago and didn’t even realize it until today! Earlier this afternoon I was reading up on the science behind rainbows and wound up at the wikipedia article for glory—a […]

winners solstice

Personal note: My family began celebrating (if only through cheeky verbal acknowledgement) the winter solstice around the time I became old enough to protest the vague attempts my parents briefly and occasionally made at actual religious observance. But in 2004, my mother thoughtfully sent me a bouquet of flowers from a Brooklyn florist to amp […]

LOLtheorists

I couldn’t tell you why, but I can’t stop loving this meme. Even more appropriate for kenspeckling than lolcode, I give you the loltheorists community on livejournal [via masters of media], featuring lol-riffic literary theorists, psychologists, computer scientists, media theorists, and moar! It doesn’t seem very moderated—the quality varies a lot and the better ones […]

brain gender

The BBC’s brain gender quiz tells me that my brain is skewed somewhat toward male-ness because: I’m good at matching angles, a task at which men outperform women. I’m mediocre at spotting which objects have moved, a task at which women outperform men. I usually blame this on the gnomes who steal my keys and […]

oh no, we’re out of spare planets!

I just took the ecological footprint quiz, and it says that if everyone lived like I do, we’d need 2.1 planets. Hm. On one hand, this is comforting in comparison to the 2700 planets needed for everyone to live like Tom Cruise. On the other, I’m probably one of the most tree-hugging people I know, […]

stuck for gift ideas? give your friends the plague.

ulcer-causing helicobacter pylori Now that my mid-August/late-September family birthday season is nearing its end, I can provide a plug* for my new favorite thing to give people: GIANT microbes. They’ve got all the oddly humorous pesky little cells you could ever want to give somone (and a few critters too), from bad-breath causing porphorymonas gingivalis […]

periodic table display

amazing display of the periodic table at DePauw University Is it wrong that a small part of me wishes I could get this amazing cherry-wood display of the periodic table by Theodore Gray and Max Whitby installed in my apartment when, really, I don’t even have room for a couch? Don’t answer that, play around […]