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Surfing on science.... It's not just skill and body strength that power a surfer over the waves - science plays a part too. I've just published a new article with the European Association of Surfing Doctors explaining some of the hidden secrets of #surfing   #science .
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Are scientists running out of names for big #space #telescopes?..... We've had the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal in Chile; now astronomers are hoping to build the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) nearby. Is there a risk we could soon run out of superlatives? While we ponder that, take a look at Robin McKie's excellent summary of the project for The Guardian.
A new telescope being built on a Chilean mountain – the largest ever – will be able to observe planets outside the solar system for the first time, writes Robin McKie
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A home robot that can do anything?..... Factory #robots can weld or paint, nothing more. Roombas can vacuum your carpet or mop your floor, but they can't do the shopping or cut your lawn. Who wants 20 different robots in their home to do 20 different jobs? If robots are ever going to catch on at home, they'll need to be able to turn their robotic hands to anything we can throw their way. Engineers at #Robomow (a company making robotic lawn mowers) have finally realized that's what we need! [Via Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum].
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If Earth becomes unliveable.... where will we go? Another planet? A giant space station? Back in the 1970s, #NASA artists tried to imagine artificial space worlds fit for people. The artworks they came up with show vast Bernal spheres and O'Neill cylinders packed with tree-lined landscapes, houses, rivers - and much that we love about Earth itself. Like giant mouse wheels spinning in space, they'd slowly rotate to give thousands of Earth refugees a fake idea of gravity. The thing is,  if we love Earth enough to project it onto weird future worlds, do we love it enough to protect it as it is? [Image courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center].
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More examples of NASA space colony artwork from the 1970s here: http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/70sArt/art.html
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Rediscovering how DNA was discovered..... Crick and Watson gained the credit for figuring out the structure of the #DNA molecule... but another member of the team is too often forgotten. Rosalind Franklin was a crystallographer whose X-ray studies of DNA provided vital evidence that tipped off the dynamic duo. Had she not died in 1958, aged only 37, Franklin might have shared the Nobel Prize with Crick and Watson... and her name would be rather better known. Even so, she's not forgotten. In this great little video, Andrew Marmery of the Royal Institution recreates her experiment with a laser pointer and a broken light bulb!
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Science about the house!...... How many pedalling hamsters would you need to boil the water for a cup of coffee? Why can't you dust your home just by blowing? How do canal barges help us understand storing? You'll find the answers to these and other bafflingly weird things in my new book Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home, just published by Bloomsbury. Find out more at http://www.explainthatstuff.com/mybooks.php
Books by Chris Woodford, writer of explainthatstuff.com.
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Explain principle construction and working rule of cold vapour atomizer
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Why your car is a chemistry lab on wheels..... Yahoo Originals is publishing an extract from my new book, Atoms under the Floorboards, which is published by Bloomsbury in two weeks time.
  #car #science  
What makes cars one of the most successful inventions of all time? The answer lies in science.
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How does #chemistry get your clothes clean?..... Ever looked at the label on a bottle of laundry detergent? What do all those dozens of different chemicals do - and why do they need to be there? In this nice little 5-minute BBC video, Richard Craven, an industrial chemist with Unilever, explains how to make a super-concentrated clothes washing liquid, going through all the ingredients, step by step.
Unilever's Richard Craven shows Clare Davidson how to make a bottle of Small and Mighty
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3D print yourself a new face!..... Amazing story on BBC News today about a person who has had replacement parts made for his face by 3D printing after a serious motorcycle accident.
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Feeling small - a quick trip through the Universe: Cleaning up my bookmarks today, I stumbled on this video from a few years ago: a quick trip through the entire Known #Universe from the American Museum of Natural History. I've you've never watched it, take a look now - and put human life in its proper perspective!
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Particles in particular: Why do we need all those #subatomic #particles? What do they all do? What if one drops down the back of the sofa and you can't find it again? Those of us (me included) who don't fully understand the mysteries of the atom can find an excellent introduction (or refresher) at The Particle Adventure, from The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (in 15+ different languages).
The Particle Adventure. An award winning tour of quarks, neutrinos, the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, dark matter, accelerators and particle detectors from the Particle Data Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
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The coding challenge..... When I was a teenager, back in the 1980s, I could program in assembler (assembly language - one step up from binary) - and so could most of my friends. Roll the clock forward a few (ahem) years.... and how many teenagers do you know who can write code today? They all have iPads and iPhones, they're all on Twitter and Facebook.... but could any of them code an app (or even build a website from raw HTML)? Do they hate Babbage as much as cabbage? And, if so, what's the answer?

Geat initiatives like #CodeClubs and the #RaspberryPi are teaching kids how to get dirty with code, just like we used to. But getting kids hooked on programming at a really young age is as big a challenge as ever. Here's a video about Play-i robot--a new project from Vikas Gupta that aims to hook kids on #programming and robotics before it's too late.
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The FREE online science and technology book, written by British science writer Chris Woodford.

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