Magnificent Frigate Birds

(April 19, 2018) Frigate birds are a surprising study in contrasts. On the one hand, I admire them gliding effortlessly high overhead, following the updraft above a Pacific beach in southern Mexico. On...

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April Quiz

Puzzles for brain training

(April 5, 2018) They say — someone says — eating blueberries, salmon and avocados is good for the brain. So is solving puzzles. Here's your annual IQ-increasing set of teasers. Nothing too...

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The E.T. Equation

(March 22, 2018) "... there must be extraterrestrial civilizations ... because the laws of nature that led to the development of life and intelligence on Earth must be the same as those prevailing...

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The Voynich Manuscript

(March 8, 2018) "The mysterious Voynich manuscript has finally been decoded." — Ars Technica headline Sept. 8, 2017 And here we go again. Every two or three years, ever since the so-called Voynich...

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Perpetual Motion Machines

(February 22, 2018) Around the year 1180, an Indian mathematician, Bhaskara II, invented what is generally claimed to be the world's first perpetual motion machine. It was a vertical wheel with mercury-filled...

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M. Sax's Brass Clarinet

(February 8, 2018) Adolphe Sax, were he alive today at age 203, probably wouldn't be surprised that Macklemore's 2012 hip hop hit "Thrift Shop" featured the saxophone because he designed it for versatility....

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Panspermia and SETI

(January 25, 2018) The last time I saw Bob Zubrin, at a conference of the Mars Society of which he's president, he was, as usual, passionately advocating for manned missions to Mars. "If...

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Long Distance Voyager

(January 4, 2018) You decide to store your car in a garage, return to it 37 years later, jump in and turn the ignition key. If it starts right away, you deem it...

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Take Two Aspirin

(December 21, 2017) It's a geezer thing. We old dudes typically start losing hair in our 60s, the crowns of our heads being the first to go — hence the monks' tonsure look....

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Nobel Sexism

(December 7, 2017) Cover up the next paragraph and take a guess at how many women have won the Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded to 206 people since its inception in 1901. And...

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Belphegor's Prime

(November 23, 2017) And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel." — Numbers 25:3 What was it about Baalpeor, a god of the Moab people,...

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The Sound of Bells

(November 9, 2017) "Never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee," cautioned poet John Donne 400 years ago. That was then. Weddings and funerals used to be...

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Listening to the Universe with LIGO

(October 26, 2017) For as long as our kind has looked up at night, all our information about the universe has come from electromagnetic waves: mainly visible light (amplified by telescopes since Galileo's...

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The Bronze Age

Part Two of Two

(October 12, 2017) Last week we saw how the three-part division of history proposed 200 years ago — Stone, Bronze and Iron ages — might have been a foursome if the Chalcolithic, or...

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The Bronze Age

Part One of Two

(October 5, 2017) We love dividing the world up into threes: animal, vegetable and mineral; mind, body and spirit; past, present and future; starter, entree and dessert. And so it was 200 years...

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Magnificent Frigate Birds

    • Speaking of fish-lovin' birds, two Ospreys were sighted together in the Manila Dunes. Hope they…

    • on April 21, 2018
  • Re: Shots, Shots, Shots

    • My Name is Linda Mark from USA/TEXAS Dr.SUKU Herbal Medicine is a good remedy for…

    • on April 19, 2018
  • Re: The E.T. Equation

    • If all humans die this year, Lumbricus terrestris, Georgia wiggler, fish bait would play hell…

    • on April 19, 2018
  • Re: April Quiz

    • Fortunately I have readers to keep me honest. #3, yet again: 0-9, 10 x 1…

    • on April 8, 2018
  • Re: April Quiz

    • Answer to #3 had a typo, should be 4 x 2018 - 1000 (for 0…

    • on April 5, 2018
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