Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Science Links

Links for your reading pleasure.

Joel Stein sent me an excellent link to more information about the Archimedes' manuscript I mentioned last week. Here's a description from the website:
The subject of this website is a manuscript of unique importance to the history of science, the Archimedes Palimpsest. This tenth century manuscript is the unique source for two of Archimedes Treatises, The Method and Stomachion, and it is the unique source for the Greek text of On Floating Bodies.

What's really interesting is that they go into great detail concering the various techniques that were used in an attempt to recover the text. Great stuff, and you can read about it here.

From DQ reader Sirius, an article about a whale--with teeth:
Palaeontologists have discovered a bizarre whale fossil in Australia with a set of fearsome teeth.

..."Specialised skull features tell us that this fossil is undoubtedly a baleen whale," said lead researcher Erich Fitzgerald of the University of Monash in Victoria, Australia.

"Surprisingly, it appears that the original features of baleen whales did not include the filter-feeding apparatus."

Instead, the newly-discovered ancient whale probably used its large, sharp teeth to capture and chew prey, which it located using its large eyes.

The full story is here.

Brian Witte sent me an interesting "hobbit related" link. Here's an excerpt:
The skeletal remains found in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia, reported in 2004, do not represent a new species as then claimed, but some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today, according to an international scientific team.

The full article is here.

Finally, there's an article on MSNBC tonight about the trap-jaw ant. It's bizarre.
Scientists have discovered the fastest bite in the world, one so explosive it can be used to send the Latin American ant that performs it flying through the air to escape predators.

Suarez and Fisher, along with University of California at Berkeley researchers Sheila Patek and Joseph Baio, found the ant's jaws accelerate at 100,000 times the force of gravity. This means they can snap shut 2,300 times faster than a blink of the eye to reach speeds up to 145 mph, exerting forces 300 to 500 times the ant's body weight.

Here's the full article, and the "flying through the air" link above takes you to a video of the ant in action.

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