Technology

The incident report details are horrific and heartbreaking. If this was a radio broadcast, my editors and I would likely preface what I am about to relate with a warning: “The following report contains material that may be disturbing.” On July 2nd, 28-year old Joel Metz became the eighth cell tower worker to die on the job this year. OSHA and the industry have initiated new safety measures but nothing seems to be changing.

Super-sniffing elephants

Like Aesop’s fable, rats have another reason to be envious of elephants. Elephants also have significantly more genes that can detect different smells (i.e. olfactory receptor genes) than other super-sniffers like rats and dogs. In fact, compared to 13 other species, African elephants have 1,948 genes related to smell putting them ahead of the previous…

More Money than Brains

If the IT resources exist to simulate 90 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections between them, mediated by dozens of different neurotransmitters and organized into highly specialized networks, there’s still no reason to expect intelligence to emerge or a ghost to glom on to the machine.

It looks like a simple piece of paper and it’s nearly as cheap, ideally costing just pennies. But despite its small size, it’s poised to make an enormous impact and potentially save thousands of lives.

In the event of a Moon disaster …

We are celebrating an anniversary of Apollo 11′s landing on the moon. Here, I simply post a memo from William Safire, speech writer, to H. R. Halderman, felon, providing text to be read by Richard Nixon, World’s Worst President (of the 20th century), related to that Moon Landing:

Next great thing: Google Cardboard

Cardboard, some velcro, a rubber band, a couple of magnets, some other stuff, and your smart phone:

Check out this flying dinosaur

The discovery of  this non-avian dinosaur, Changyuraptor yangi, that lived 125 million years ago suggests that flight came before birds. The fossil was discovered in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China by Luis Chiappe from the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, CA. At nearly 4 feet long, it is the largest so-called 4-winged dinosaur discovered. The term “4-winged”…

Brandy Velten (doctoral student) and Dr. Kenneth Welch (Comparative Physiologist) from the University of Toronto wanted to know whether birds with very different speeds at which they flaps their wings (i.e. wingbeat frequencies) had correspondingly varying types of myosin proteins in their muscles. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Physiology last month.…

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…

Phew!! I just submitted my abstract for the Comparative Physiology meeting that will be held this October. Judging from the preliminary program, it is going to be an exciting meeting! Here is a description of the meeting from the American Physiological Society’s website: “Comparative physiology takes advantage of the diverse evolutionary histories and ecological settings…