In which Chris “Slick” Ford challenges me, and I accept. In turn, I challenge Valerie, Diddi and Stefan. You know who you are. h/t to Sir Patrick Stewart for illustrating how to properly take on such challenges.

say it like it is

good thing about Icelandic, it is phonetic, almost all the words are pronounced the way they are spelled, including Bárðarbunga the extra few letters are just what they look like. Fortunately Biggi Lögga is there to set you straight.

X-Volcanoes – Bárðarbunga

Bárðarbunga is arguably the scariest of the 30 or so active volcanoes in Iceland. Extreme volcanoes don’t always have extreme eruptions, but they are scary because they have the capability for extreme events, uniquely so. It is not the most active, it is not the tallest, it may possibly be the biggest in some sense,…

The Science of Inequality

Science had a very interesting special section this spring: The Science of Inequality – basically doing a summary and review of issues related to the stuff in Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century The section has a series of very interesting articles on a range of related topics: “Inequality in the Long Run” by…

Astrophotography

Astrophotography is the title of a gorgeous and very useful new book by Thierry Legault I had to taper off doing book reviews, much to the annoyance of all those lovely people who persist in sending me just the sort of books that I actually really love to read – it just got too time…

There was an interesting article in the Chronicle a few weeks ago: The Soul of the Research University by Nicholas Lemann. Lemann provides a very interesting discussion of the contradiction between the academic ideal of the research university and the political perspective of the vocational school of further education, including some healthy historical perspective on…

A research group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced ultrastiff ultralowdensity metamaterials by 3D printing of microarchitected microlattices. This is very cool – they do additive 3D printing using microstereolithography with nanocoating and postprocessing and can make self-similar lattices with densities varying by several orders of magnitude in bulk density but near constant stiffness.…

Day two of the New Frontiers wrap-up conference. This is a slow liveblog with more cosmology and life in the universe. Yesterday’s summary is here A couple of years ago, the Templeton Foundation funded the New Frontiers program to pose “Big Questions” in some areas of science. This is a slow liveblog – part II…

A couple of years ago, the Templeton Foundation funded the New Frontiers program to pose “Big Questions” in some areas of science. This is a slow liveblog – part II will be tomorrow with more cosmology and life in the universe Seed funding was provided to 20 investigators and small groups to start exploratory research,…

Some people, with good cause, do not like the phrase “dark side of the Moon”. The reason they do not like it, is because of a common cognitive misconception. Historically, the phrase refers to the farside of the Moon, which for most of history humanity could not observe, at all, because the Moon is synchronously…