Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Links!

We have some excellent science links this week.

Leading off, a remarkable article from Smithsonian Magazine titled Brain Cells For Socializing, and it details the study of Economo neurons, spindle-shaped brain cells that are only found in human beings, great apes, elephants, humpback whales, sperm whales, fin whales, orcas and bottle-nosed dolphins. Here's what scientist John Allman believes:
"The basic proposition that I'm advancing," he says, "is the notion that self-awareness and social awareness are part of the same functioning, and the von Economo cells are part of that."

From Brian Witte, a link to the remarkable discovery that ants have magnets in their antennae, and that soil is used as a magnetic sensor. In other words, ants have GPS.

Here's a link from Ben Younkins to a story that is just mind-blowing: Spy Fired Shot That Changed Germany. Why is it mind-blowing? Here's an excerpt:
It was called “the shot that changed the republic.”

The killing in 1967 of an unarmed demonstrator by a police officer in West Berlin set off a left-wing protest movement and put conservative West Germany on course to evolve into the progressive country it has become today.

Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended
Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany.

Freaking unbelievable.

Also from Ben, and also remarkable, is a link to a video demonstration of a still-working, 1964 Livermore Data Systems "Model A" Acoustic Coupler Modem. That's right--it's still working.

From Jonathan Arnold, a link to Nano GigaPan, a nano-photography site that has some incredible images.

From Andrew, a link to one of the greatest headlines ever: man charged in penis 'puppet' incident. Here's an excerpt (which is required in this case):
The police report of the incident said Timothy Wayne Martin, 44, of Auburn, Wash., was arrested after residents of the Arcadia Apartment Complex in Federal Way called police at about 10:30 a.m. May 13 and reported a man standing over an air conditioner intake wearing only an unbuttoned flannel shirt and "was apparently manipulating" his penis with a string "like a puppet," reported Thursday.

No news yet on whether this man was related to Shari Lewis.

Also from Andrew, a link to a real-life bionic woman, and the picture is absolutely stunning.

From The Edwin Garcia Links Machine, a wonderful article about the first t.v. image of Mars--and how it was made with crayons. Next, it's interstellar GPS.

From Staci Avison, a link to the Cloud Appreciation Society, and the gallery has some amazing images.

From Frank Regan, a link to some fantastic building art. John Pugh paints 3-D wall murals, and you really need to see them.

Glen Haag sent me a link to a classic bit of comedy: Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center. This clip, incredibly, is twenty years old, but it's as funny as ever. It will still be funny a century from now.

From Matt Teets, a link to a story about how autopsies and CT scans performed on dead soldiers are helping save lives.

I linked to a story about Everett Ruess, a few weeks ago, and David Gloeir sent in a link that confirms the mystery has been solved.

From Sirius, a link to a story about a giant blob found deep beneath Nevada. It's believed to be a lithospheric drip (and no, I won't pretend I'd ever heard that phrase before). Also, a link to a story about how spiders enter a coma state to survive for hours underwater. Then there's the discovery of the world's largest cave.

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