Scientists publish a new analysis of Neanderthal and modern human remains in Europe using a more advanced carbon 14 dating technique, with interesting results.
While watching a television show about mining for gold, I learned that one of their many techniques for collecting gold is to wash the mats they work with using clean water, for it sometimes reveals fleck of gold among the sifted dirt. That’s a pretty good analogy for our cutting room floor each week. Here are some of the gold flecks we would have enjoyed covering in episode 475:
Scientists have for the first time presented indirect evidence for the existence of the elusive heavy strange baryon.
This isn’t a weird corpulent variant of bigfoot. Baryons are a special class of subatomic particle. Look around you…everything you see is made of baryons. Indeed, almost everything in the visible universe is made of them. The most recognizable types of baryons (in terms of name/brand recognition) are the protons and neutrons at the core of atoms. What makes them baryons is the fact that they are each made of 3 of the most fundamental and elementary components of matter… quarks. There are 6 kinds of quarks but protons and neutrons have to be a specific combination of just the Up and Down ones.
The Ocean Sunfish is my spirit animal. It hangs out in tropical waters, basking in the sun and snacking on the nutritionally poor jellyfish, requiring them to eat a lot.
Quite a smattering of ridiculousness this week. People open their mouths, and all sorts of nonsense spews forth. But in the end, it only matters if people choose to believe this garbage, and there is no better garbage-filter than a rationally skeptical worldview. Here are this week’s top 5 ridiculous comments of the week:
Hallucigenia, that total oddball fossil from the Burgess Shale may not have been an evolutionary dead-end after all. Evidence shows that it is probably related to an extant species of worms.
This creature was found in the Burgess Shale in Canada over a century ago by paleontologist Charles Walcott. The half-billion year old fossils found there were a Perfecta for science because not only was the soft tissue exquisitely preserved but it showed a tremendous diversity of new body designs at the dawn of multi-cellular life. In fact, all modern phyla existing today (except for one, Bryozoa) can be traced back to this Cambrian-Era Explosion of diversity.
Harvard scientists have created 1,000 interacting robots forming the biggest robot swarm ever.
Not impressed? The biggest interacting swarm until now had consisted of only a couple hundred robots. This is incredibly hard to pull off since the algorithms and software required to control so many bots at once is fiendishly difficult.
If you’re imaging hundreds of walking interacting terminator-style robots then I admire your imagination but you’re way off. We’re not talking about Asimo or even that little black rolling beeping robot on the death star. Anything like that is incredibly expensive and time consuming to build. We have to work out the basics of interaction before we attempt that.These robots were cheap and easy to assemble ($14 USD) and tiny (penny sized). They had no legs of course, not even wheels. They’re each supported by three stiff toothpick-like legs and they move by vibrating and skittering across the floor.
Astronomers have found proof that certain small asteroids stay together because of an extra cohesive force other than gravity or friction. Asteroids are not all monolithic space mountains of potential doom. Sure, many of them are solid dense bodies but a significant number are conglomerations of rocks from very large to the smallest grains…Rubble Piles.