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George Wilkinson
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Decoding Incan Khipus
Close up of Khipu cords dangling from the main strand. From the Khipu database project The New York Times ran an article on January 2nd about progress in understanding the Incan recording system - the khipu (or Quipu) system of knots . These constructions i...

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Natural fluorescence by chlorophyll as seen by satellite
Wired Magazine shows a cool satellite image showing chlorophyll-dependent fluorescence over the United States , based on an article which appeared in the March 25 issue of PNAS. Basically, light energy hitting the chloroplast can be successfully harvested t...

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3D construction of a blowfly in flight
There are a set of amazing reconstructions of the flight motion of a blowfly, available on YouTube, which show the workings of the muscles and exoskeleton. It looks like a steam engine. Very cool data visualization--  and a breakthrough in X-Ray technology ...

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Science of soccer ball aerodynamics
Deadspin has a great preview of the World Cup soccer ball, the Brazuca , and an analysis of whether the ball will swerve as much as the versions used in 2006 and 2010. Basically, knuckleball-like flight happens when the ball is under high drag, which occurs...

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Forged painting revealed by isotope analysis
The Contraste de Formes, now considered a fake. Source: European Physical Journal  There's a great detective story in the January issue of European Physical Journal, showing how a painting attributed to an artist can be proven to be a fake. The cotton fiber...

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Winter of 2013/2014-- ice coverage of Great Lakes nearing a record
Coverage of the Great Lakes on Feb 13, 2014. Paler shades represent greater ice coverage. Source: NOAA The Great Lakes system is more than 90% covered by ice right now, and is approaching the record of 95% set back in 1994. The ice is forming very rapidly n...

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30,000 year-old virus recovered from Permafrost
Nature has a news blurb about the isolation of a still-infectious viral particle from 30,000 year-old Siberian Permafrost. The story started with the 2012 report of the recovery of a blooming plant , which was germinated from fruits which had been cached in...

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Carnival of Evolution is up at Lab Rat
The Carnival of Evolution is up at Lab Rat on Scientific American blogs.

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How fruit flies home in while in flight
Fruit flies are strongly attracted by the scent of
fermenting fruit or wine. But, unlike photons or sound waves, odors do not travel
in straight lines, but waft and form areas of high and low concentration. Thus
it’s difficult for the fly to rely on scent a...

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Analyzing the RNA differences between queens and workers
Over
the past 30 or so years, biology has entered a second Linnaean
revolution , in which our understanding of the relationships among living
things has been radically re-organized, in this case driven by DNA and RNA
sequencing data. Carl Woese and the iden...
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